Photo courtesy of Leland Francisco via Flickr.

Ah, New Year’s resolutions. It’s that time of year again, right?

When I looked back at last year, I also took a look at my New Year’s resolutions post from last January. It was specific, yet vague at the same time and as I read through it, I realized I really didn’t stick with any of my resolutions. I said last year would be a year of saying yes and living in the moment and while I think I did a better job of the latter, I definitely didn’t open myself up enough to opportunities. While things came together for me professionally in the last year, in other areas, I still struggled. That said, there are a lot of things I’m proud of from 2014:

I ran a half marathon in the freezing cold, finished my sixth marathon and spoke at the Women in Travel Summit. I was elected to the board of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association, hiked the Grand Canyon from the north rim to the south rim and took a bike tour of Toronto. I traveled to Bulgaria, spearheaded a super successful fundraising drive at work and hosted a professional exchange fellow from the country of Georgia. I wrote posts for three new websites, spoke at two Meet, Plan, Go events and defied fears about Ebola to travel to Mali and Burkina Faso. And, perhaps most importantly, I picked out a dress for my six-year-old niece for Christmas that she absolutely loved (this is a big deal for an aunt!).

So what’s in store for 2015?

This year, I decided I need to set some more specific goals. I need to hold myself more accountable and start living the life I really want to live. I also took a look back at a post I wrote on my 37th birthday – 14 Things to Do Before 40. So far I have accomplished exactly one thing on that list (the Grand Canyon), which is a bit disappointing. I still really want to do most of the other items on the list sooner rather than later, so I need to get going (no, the world won’t end if I don’t do them all by 40 – but it gives me something to aim for!).

Here is what I plan to do in the next year:

Become proficient in French

I first started thinking about learning French while on my career break – even though I was using Russian to get around, I found myself meeting so many European travelers who spoke French as a first or second language! They would happily speak to me in English, but would always converse with each other in French, often leaving me out altogether. I tried to take a French class last summer to prepare myself for my trip to West Africa, where French is widely spoken. It was pretty much a disaster, but I’m not read to give up yet. I got a great deal on Rosetta Stone and plan to throw myself into that to become proficient in French by the end of the year.

Publish an e-book

I have had drafts of two different books going for the last year, but go so caught up in other things, that I haven’t touched either in months. With few travels planned for the first few months of 2015, I will likely cut back on blogging a bit to focus on book writing instead with a goal of publishing one of the two books by this summer.

Pay off all my debt

Due to some miscalculations with my taxes last year and spending more on traveling in 2014 than I probably should have, I have amassed a bit more credit card debt than I’d really like. I also still have the mortgage on my condo. I want to eliminate both by the end of the year by paying off the credit card debt and selling my condo.

Reach my ideal weight

This is an ongoing issue for me and one that I am finally going to take seriously in 2015. I reached my all-time heaviest just after the holidays, a full 25 pounds heavier than I was four years ago. In addition to just not being happy with the way I look, the extra weight makes it harder to run the way I’d like to (I can’t see doing another marathon at this weight) and it’s just not healthy. On several occasions in 2014, I “tried” to lose weight, but let myself get easily discouraged and gave up, eventually packing on even more pounds. It certainly didn’t help that I developed Achilles tendinitis in October and had to cut out almost all physical activity for the next two months.

My plan for 2015 is already in motion and since December 29, I’m already down four pounds. I am changing to a mostly Paleo diet, cutting out processed foods, grains and sugars (I already can’t eat gluten, but the sugar will be a challenge!). I have a Couch to 10K app on my phone to help me ease back into running and I joined a gym just four blocks from my house to give me more options for cross-training and running when the weather is bad. I also downloaded an app to track my weight – again, to hold myself more accountable. My goal is to lose 25 pounds by Memorial Day (if not sooner!).

Finish my 7th marathon

Last year was a horribly injury prone year for me and I want to get my running back on track. My goal is to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. next October as a warm up to my eventual goal of running the Great Wall Marathon in May 2016 (one of those 14 things before 40 I want to do!).

Travel to 3 new countries

More on this in another post, but I have several new countries on my list for 2015. The challenge, of course, is deciding between new places to check out and other places I’d love to return to. And limited vacation time. And limited money.

Travel to 3 new states

Again, I’ll expand on this in another post, but I want to use my weekends to explore more of the United States. I have only been to half of the states in the U.S., so there is a lot out there I have yet to see!

What are your goals for 2015? Share below!

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