Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Goals For 2018

Happy New Year! I know I'm a day late with this, but I hope that you all have a joyful and successful 2018. A lot of you have listed your blogging/collecting goals for the year ahead and I'm going to list a few of mine - with a twist.

Did somebody say goals?

In the past I've had all these grand plans in my head for the new year, only to watch as they quickly unravel. It's not that I break my resolutions so much as I can't even get an action plan off the ground. Last year I learned my lesson and made no such goals for 2017. 

But this year, I've made a list of things I want to achieve - and I'm trying hard to be optimistic and resilient. There are some sports card goals and some blogging goals on my list, but the two most important ones are personal and I simply cannot put them off any longer.

1. Lose 50 pounds. Or 30 pounds. Whatever...just get in shape.

I had not weighed myself in at least two years. Before I went back to work five years ago I was charting my weight and exercising regularly. I made a conscious effort to eat healthy most of the time. But ever since I got my collections job I've been stressed, and that stress has spread to other aspects of my life. After a while I just stopped caring and let myself go. 

Yesterday I weighed myself, and I was shocked at the number. I knew I'd put on some weight but I didn't realize it was so much. (I won't reveal the exact number - but it's more than the combined weight of the two women I've been crushing on.) I do feel winded and achy at times, and it's something I always wished I could address but lacked the motivation to do so. This time next year, I want to be under 200 lb. But in order to do that, I have to put together the elliptical machine that's been sitting in my upstairs room for a year and a half.

2. Get a full-time job. Or a better paying part-time job. Or at the very least, a job that's closer to home.

I've been at my current place of employment for nearly five years. My coworkers and bosses are mostly pleasant, the pay is decent, and the work is not as difficult as I expected. But I'm a part-time employee with zero benefits, and I'm approaching my 40th year on this planet. I can't waste any more of my prime working years. I can't keep working so far away from home. I've got to find a full-time job with decent pay and benefits.

Last February I came soooo close that it discouraged me from trying again. But, as with my health, I've given up far too easily. I'm not going to let that happen in 2018. I'm going to focus a lot more time and effort on these things. 

Here's how my sports card collection plays into all of this...

For the past few years, collecting sports cards has been my escape from the harsh realities of adulthood. When things weren't going well in my personal life, I bought cards. My collection was one of the few things I could control - How much can I spend? What set should I build? How should I store it? - and it was one of the few things that brought me joy.

As many of you know, I set a sports card collecting budget of $0 for 2018. That's my third goal.

3. Do not spend any money on sports cards all year.

The main reason I'm doing this is to turn my priorities inside-out, to invest the time and money that would normally go toward collecting on other aspects of my life - saving for the girls' college fund, home improvement projects, buying new clothes, health, fitness, etc. etc.

That said, I will allow myself the option of spending some money on card supplies and/or grading some of the vintage cards I bought on COMC this past year.

Which reminds me of my next goal...

4. Reach the top 100 on COMC Challenges All-Time Leaderboard

Thank God for COMC, am I right? Having a way of earning store credit through challenges is the only way my third goal is even possible. There are about 50 cards sitting in my inventory that I'd like to bring home, and another 30-40 on my watch list I'd like to purchase. Perhaps I'll hold them until Black Friday so that I can take advantage of free shipping (assuming they don't take that perk away from us.)

I've had a bit of challenge fatigue over the past few weeks, but I feel refreshed and ready to climb this mountain once again. Cracking the all-time top 100 is kind of a silly goal - especially since I don't know exactly how many points I'll need. Right now I'm ranked in the 120's, so unless the 100th highest total is over 600,000 points I think I can get there.

5. Make 20 trades (and keep better records of my trades)

There is another way to add new cards to my collection without spending money (on the cards, at least.) I haven't kept a log of all my trades but I know that my 50/50 exchange led to at least a dozen. Perhaps I'll run that again this year, or maybe I'll do something slightly different like a 'trade deadline' week where I just scan all my traders for that particular sport and see if I get any nibbles.

It might bust my budget if I do them all at once - especially if I'm sending to Canada - but if a majority of them are PWE trades, the bill shouldn't be too bad.

6. Write 100 blog posts

This should be no problem. Even if I take more time to address my health issues, and even if I somehow manage to find a full-time job, I can still churn out two blog posts a week. I've got plenty of ideas for posts, and plenty of cards to scan and discuss. But I do want to make my posts shorter, and I definitely want to make more time for reading and commenting on your blogs.

There are other things I want to do, but I'll stop short of calling them 'goals'. I need to figure out what to do with my other blog - which is private at the moment until I decide. I'd like to spice things up here, perhaps with a new banner pic or layout. (I had the idea of buying a bunch of 1991 Topps Micro minis and arranging them to spell out "The Collector" but I can't spend any money on cards- and I don't have a working camera at the moment.)

I also want to do a better job of cataloging my collection. I'll never achieve Billy Kingsley levels of record keeping, but I should try and make a list of my team/player collection needs, so that I'm not receiving the same cards in trade three and four times over. 

Finally, I want to get back to reading books. I'm almost done with the David Ortiz biography (which is due back at the library tomorrow) and I got two books as gifts this Christmas - including John Green's latest Turtles All The Way Down. I lost my enthusiasm for Young Adult fiction over the past couple of years, but that may be because John hadn't written anything in a while. 

I think that about does it for my list of goals. Check back with me in 364 days and see if I achieved any of them. I wish you all the best of luck with achieving your goals this year!