At the beginning of January, I outlined some of my longer-term goals for 2018.
These goals centered around financial health, new experiences, and building a new business. While I believe in long-term goals and visions, I also believe in the importance of breaking these big goals into smaller pieces. I spent December getting grounded about what I wanted out of 2018, and then spent January settling back into the routine of my life and evaluating what is and isn’t realistic (and what is and isn’t truly a priority).
See also: I didn’t *do* much in January as far as goals were concerned. Instead, I let everything just sit for a minute.
Let’s be honest, I think I experienced a sort of “resolution hangover” in January. Is that a thing? It feels like a thing.
I’d spent SO much time in December outlining goals, setting visions, taking inventory of where I was, and come January, I wrote it all out and then just stopped. In retrospect, that was completely fine, but there were moments where I wondered where all of that motivation and resolution I’d felt in December had gone.
There is research that supports the fact that we feel a sense of accomplishment simply by stating and defining a goal, & sometimes that reward is so strong that it mimics actually having accomplished that thing (even when we haven’t even started). So, we know that announcing plans to other people satisfies part of our self-identity just enough to feel as though we’ve already accomplished something.
I mention this not because we shouldn’t share our goals. That’s up to each individual person in terms of what motivates them; I’m motivated by seeing my own progress in a very tangible way, and in motivating other people to believe that they can make changes also. I love tracking things, and I love a sense of community. These, for me, motivate me to share my goals and progress. Others are more personal (and private) in their approach and that’s completely fine too.
I mention this because it’s important that we recognize that once we state our goals we continue doing the work and not just bask in the “accomplishment” that we set goals in the first place.
And that’s where I’m at.
In January (which felt like the longest year ever, right?), I let all of what I’d defined in December as 2017 ended simmer on paper and in my mind. I asked myself if these were truly my goals. I went through a perspective-shifting experience that made me truly re-evaluate what matters in my life (like, super big picture matters). And I learned that how much I can truly accomplish in any given month may need reconsideration, I did accomplish these goals:
Financial – On Track
One Big Picture goal for 2018 is to improve my credit score, and I opened my first credit card in 10 years. This is a major milestone for me. Long story short (long story later), I’ve been denied credit for years because I fucked up so royally in my early and mid-20s, starting with completely unnecessary credit cards in college that I very immaturely treated like free money. I know. I’m still recovering, and to have improved my score enough to be approved for a credit card was a big deal.
It has a training-wheels limit of a few hundred dollars. My plan is to keep it around 30% utilization, paying at least the minimum balance but striving for balance paid in full every single month. The priority here is on-time payments, since that’s what wrecked my score to begin with. I made the first payment on time (early) and this will be one of the single most important pieces of my financial goals in 2018.
As for savings, I didn’t add much in January, but I made up for it in February. My goal was $100/paycheck and I’ve managed to save $50/paycheck instead. I’m calling that progress, and I’ll keep striving for more.
For March, I’ll keep rolling on the on-time credit payments and moving money to savings, but I’m going to experiment with a couple of no-spend challenges as well. More on that later.
I have a long way to go to get my finances to a truly stable place, but it feels good to make even small amounts of real progress.
I had set other goals as well, but I’ve decided instead that for now, I’m throwing my intention and energy almost fully at this one. Once I see a few significant gains (a debt paid off, my emergency savings fully funded), I’ll come back to other goals. But, foundation first.
[photo credit: Photo by abigail low on Unsplash]