I believe that it's important to set goals in life. Something to give you focus and something positive for you work towards. They don't have to be on a monthly or yearly basis, just when it feels right for you. I also believe in writing your goals down. By doing this, you hold yourself accountable for trying to achieve them. When goals are written in black and white, they become "real". I honestly believe that if I hadn't started this blog and put the things I wanted to change out there into the universe for all to see, I wouldn't have come this far.
In that regard, I'm going to provide an update on my 2011 goals. Here goes...
Stick to our budget : We're starting to get the hang of paying in cash and zero based balancing, but there were some slip ups along the way. I really want to continue to make progress this year by better budgeting for expenses I didn't think about last year. UPDATE : WE ARE ROCKING THIS GOAL!
Replenish our emergency savings account : We were lucky enough to fund our emergency savings in 2010 but unfortunately, we depleted it. One of our big goals this year will be to replenish this back up to $1000 minimum. UPDATE : WE ARE LIVING ON THE EDGE OF OUR SEATS AND HAVE PUT ALL OF OUR SAVINGS TOWARDS OUR DEBT. (WE ARE PAID 4 TIMES PER MONTH AND IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY WE DECIDED WE COULD PULL FROM ONE OF OUR PAYCHECKS TO COVER THE EVENT.)
Pay $20K towards debt : This is really aggressive and probably only possible if my niece doesn't need as much help with college this year, but we're going to try! If we are successful, that will reduce our debt by 1/3... I really hope we are successful. UPDATE : WE DID IT!
Continue to find creative ways to lower our budget / increase our income : We've looked at getting a new (read - cheaper!) apartment, closer to our jobs, but haven't been successful... yet! The search for one will continue in the new year. I was able to lower or eliminate a few bills in 2010 and I hope to do more in 2011. I also keep toying with the idea of a side job to increase our income, but haven't quite come up with what will work yet. I hope to make progress on that as well this year. UPDATE : WE DOWNSIZED, CUT BILLS & BOTH GOT NEW JOBS WHICH INCREASED OUR INCOME.
Read more books : Since we've cut our cable and internet, I definitely have more time on my hands to read. I hope to read at least one book per quarter. Starting with finishing that book from early last year that I started! First, I need to find where I put it, then wipe the dust off... UPDATE : DIDN'T READ AS MUCH AS I'D LIKE TO.
Scrapbook : I've started a great scrapbook but have yet to finish it. I really enjoy being creative and want to spend time this year doing this. UPDATE : FAIL :(
Speak my mind more : At times I back away from confrontation and let things fester. My goal is to work on speaking my mind more before things become a bigger issue. UPDATE: DOING WELL!
Learn to forgive more and really let things go : Overall, I am a pretty easygoing and forgiving person, but I have a couple of things that I have been holding onto. I know that if I can find a way to forgive and let these feelings go that I will be a better person for it. UPDATE : PARTIAL SUCCESS.
Start a family : My husband and I have decided to start trying for children :) It's taken me a while to get here mentally (since I do enjoy our carefree lifestyle) but we both agree, that we'd like to have a family. As much as I'd like to be in a better situation financially before having a new addition, I am not getting any younger and more complications can arise with each year that we wait. UPDATE : PLANS HAVE CHANGED...
Continue to advance in my career : As I'm the breadwinner, I need to continuously think of my career and ways to advance. I hope I can continue to grow here with my current company, but if not, I'm prepared to move along to someplace I can grow with. UPDATE: WORK IN PROGRESS.
So, as you can see, I didn't meet each goal but I made some great progress overall. It looks like I did good in the financial area and not so great in my personal goals. My hubby has noticed this as well and is pushing me to focus more on doing what makes me happy. Being someone who focuses on others a lot, this is a bit of a challenge for me, but one that I'm very happy to accept! 2012 goals will be shared soon.
Question : Do you give yourself goals to focus your efforts on or do you naturally just do what you "should" without having to write it down and make much of a conscious effort?