I realized that I don’t usually set New Year resolutions or goals. Sure, each January I write a post titled “20XX Goals,” and actually did so before I even had a blog. Really, though, I’m mostly writing a To Do list, albeit one with a long time frame. Still, I don’t usually set goals that are excessively challenging (which makes it all the more shameful when I don’t accomplish them!).
I wish I could say that I’m really going to challenge myself this year, but many of my goals are repeats or are based around numbers I already think I can beat. Some of my non-financial goals are just things I really want to do, with their inclusion on the list just a way to make myself overcome my natural laziness.
1. Max out all retirement accounts.
Including my 401K and both Chad’s and my Roth IRAs. If Chad gets another job with a 401K, we’ll work on maxing that out as well.
2. Save $15,000 in cash.
This number is estimated assuming that both Chad and I will be employed at our normal jobs all year and that no emergencies or abnormally large expenses crop up. If we have good luck, e.g. I get a great raise or Chad wins a larger scholarship, further savings goals will be the following:
- An additional $2000 earmarked for travel. We’ve tossed around the idea of a trip to Ireland in 2012 when Chad graduates, so it would be nice to have some money already set aside.
- $5000 into savings for a car. So far, we’ve managed with sharing one, but we could need another one depending on Chad’s job situation.
I’ll be shocked if we get even close to the bonus savings, but we’ll see. If I somehow manage to do all of the above, I’ll start paying down the balance on my student loans.
3. Earn at least $5,000 in overtime this year.
I’ve wavered on this number a little bit. I know I can earn this much this year, just from normal weekend working and the inevitable call-ins, but this isn’t an area where I want to strive for much more. After all, money is nice, but not at the expense of my sanity!
4. Stay within my budget on personal spending.
“Personal” is a catchall category that I use for clothes, haircuts, books, music, etc. I’ve set this at $200 per month, with an as yet unknown bonus during April for my birthday. I want to make sure I give myself the money to indulge, but I don’t want to go crazy. $200 per month seems like a crazy amount of money, but c’mon. I could be saving $25,000!
Health & Fitness
1. Work out 4x per week.
Not on average, but every. week. I know there will be a few times that I don’t make it (in fact, I have already technically failed this goal since the first week of January I only made it to the gym 3x), but I’m willing to forgive a few lapses as long as it remains relatively consistent. At least 3 of these days must be moderate-to-vigorous cardio workouts, and strength training (not yoga, but lifting weights) should be at least once per week. This feels really specific to me, but the fact is that once I get to the gym, I don’t mind putting the work in. I might as well have a plan!
2. Keep a food journal on weekdays.
They say that just the act of keeping a food journal makes people more healthy. I’ve been keeping one so far this year, and although it hasn’t been helping to curb my habit of eating donuts or birthday cake that people bring into work, it certainly has opened my eyes to the amount of crap I eat every day! Hopefully this realization will propel me toward better food choices in the future!
3. Eat lunch with my coworkers one or twice per week.
This is a combination of life & health goals. For one, it’s a good bonding experience with my coworkers and provides a little break during the day. For another, it will help me to focus more on my food, rather than just scarfing down some soup while I read email or read charts.
4. Lose that pesky extra weight.
Chad and I went to a party on New Years Eve, and at one point, seemingly every girl there was talking about their #1 resolution: lose weight. But none of them would actually admit to wanting to lose weight! It was all variations on the same theme, and one by one, they proclaimed, “I don’t care about the number on the scale, I just want to be more healthy.” So I’ll be the one who confesses that I care about the number, I care about my pants size, I care about whether or not my ass looks fat in those jeans. In general, I look fine, I feel fine, but I still have my little vanities.
5. Cook more.
Chad is taking a crazy class schedule this semester, so I’ll probably be fending for myself, or cooking late dinners for the two of us. Normally, I’d just have cereal or takeout, but I want to at least make a salad or something. This one is hard to quantify, since I know there will be some nights where Golden Grahams just sound delicious!
1. Wear everything in my closet before buying any new clothes.
I mean everything – tights, shoes, jewelry included. There are certain things in my closet that I avoid, just because they aren’t super flattering or because I never quite figured out how to wear them or because I shrank them when I forgot they were dry clean only. By wearing everything I have, I’ll be able to figure out what I’m still missing (“this blouse is crying out for a sky blue cardigan!”), what really should be passed on to someone else (my little sister gets all the stuff I accidentally shrink or grow out of), and what pieces I truly love.
The only exceptions are seasonally-inappropriate clothes that can’t be adapted to the weather (some of my summer sandals – not sure if my workplace is ready for sandals + tights) and party clothes. If I should have a party to attend, though, I have to wear something I already own!
2. Blog at least 2x per week.
I made fun of myself when I first set this goal in 2008, but it turns out that it actually is a little hard for me! Each year, I typically can keep it together until June or July, but once the glorious long days of summer begin, I have little patience for sitting at a computer. It usually takes me until the next round of New Year’s Resolutions to get back into the swing of things.
3. Make our apartment like a place real people live.
We never intended to stay in our apartment so long, but with Chad looking at a 2012 graduation date, it seems likely we’ll be renewing our lease again in August. We’d put off decorating and buying some new furniture since we didn’t want to have a bunch of new crap to pack, but since that probably won’t be an issue for a while, I think we’re going to take the plunge. We’re armed with some Christmas & Hanukkah presents, so hopefully the financial sting won’t be too bad.
Bonus fact: Once we’d gotten our apartment in California looking the way I wanted, I was offered a new job that came with a raise. Crossing my fingers that this works for Chad!
4. Stop cursing so much.
I have a bit of a potty mouth. It’s just that certain four-letter words add such emphasis and hilarity to otherwise dull statements! Still, someone mentioned the term “executive polish” the other day, and I don’t exactly have that. No one has ever mentioned this as an issue (except Chad during football games, but that’s just something he’s going to have to live with), so I’m being proactive. I’ve enlisted the help of some friends in my office who have promised to call me out if they hear a dirty word, and they suggested a “Swear Jar.” Every naughty word that slips out means a dollar donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital!
One unintended side effect is that now we have lively conversations about which words count as swear words. Some are obvious, but some exist in a gray area (damn, frick, etc.). (Middle fingers, if you’re interested, are only worth $0.50.) Even my boss gets in on the debates sometimes. Some others in the office are talking about starting their own charity swear jars, although we all agree that the people who really need one probably wouldn’t be interested.
5. Read 50 books.
This feels much less impressive after I read that a couple of bloggers are going for 100 books (is this you? I read it on someone’s blog, but can’t remember whose!), but 50 books will be enough of a challenge for me. Especially considering some work stuff that’s coming up this year. Anyone have any recommendations?
6. Kick ass at work.
No, I don’t have to pledge that I won’t go online or that I’ll spend less than 30 minutes discussing last night’s football game during work hours. I just want to make sure that I feel like I’ve done good work, that I’ve put in effort where it’s needed or required, and that if there are any complaints about my performance, it’s not that I didn’t try hard enough. Normally I’d put a goal like, “Get an ‘exceeds expectations’ on my final review,” but if my company’s policy this year (managers were told to give everyone lower evaluation ratings, even so far as a recommended distribution! This is BS by the way, and I say that as someone who actually got one of the good reviews) is any indication, sometimes those kinds of things are outside your control.
I know my abilities, and I just want to exceed my own expectations. That will be good enough!