One of my goals was to debut this blog to my friends and family in January, and then February, and here we are knee-deep in March.
I failed. Twice.
I tweaked the blog here and there when I could but couldn’t find the time to get everything the way I wanted. What little free time I had I spent doing things far less frustrating than tweaking the design of my blog theme. Much like most of the goals I set as an undergraduate student, I wasn’t making this goal my priority, so it wasn’t happening.
In 2014 when my college advisor told me I’d be graduating in May 2015, a full year earlier than I was originally projected to, I remember feeling both excited and terrified. I couldn’t believe I had shaved off an entire year of my undergraduate studies! I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet, but I knew I wanted to be successful doing it. I knew that I was no longer going to be a student-athlete, so I would no longer be able to justify a poor diet being offset by my strenuous exercise schedule. I knew I’d have to start paying my own bills, which meant far less impulse spending. On that day in 2014 I realized my entire life was going to unrecognizably change a lot sooner than I’d originally planned, so my lifestyle had to change too.
I didn’t want my 2015 goals to only last till the end of January. I am many things, but I am not a New Year’s “Resolutioner!” So for 2015, I not only decided to set goals for myself as far as life goals, career goals, personal finance goals, etc. but I also decided to revisit them on a monthly basis to track my progress. 2015 was better than 2014, but still not good enough. 2016 is the year I’ve decided to buckle down and make those goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely).
Let’s take a look at my actual, unedited 2015 goals:
- Stay in shape without competitive rowing
- Improve credit store
- Build savings account
- Read more recreationally
- Adhere to medications
- Scale back fast food intake
- Increase water intake
- Decrease alcohol/soft drink intake
- Keep room cleaner
Again, not bad, but not highly specific, easily measurable, or timely. So my 2015 goals were just AR instead of SMART. When 2016 was on the horizon, I decided to revisit my goals and see how I could tweak them to make them “smarter,” and I added a few as well.
2016 SMART Goals:
- 1 run, 1 row, and 1 yoga class per week
- Cut back unnecessary spending/How much spent on non-essentials?
- Improve credit store/No balances carried over month to month/What is credit score?
- Build up savings/$25 direct deposited biweekly on payday/Digit savings balance transferred monthly/How much in savings this month?
- Open & fund IRA account/$50 deposited on second payday of every month
- Review prior week’s class notes Sunday night before bed
- Read one fun book per month
- Adhere to bedtime routine & medications
- Limit fast food intake, max once per week
- Limit alcohol intake, max once per week
- Finish 2 water bottles daily (32 oz)
- Keep room clean, vacuum once weekly & immediately put laundry away
- Keep car clean, vacuum once weekly
The areas I’ve struggled most in have been regular exercise, unnecessary spending, reviewing class notes, and immediately putting away laundry. But having these goals keeps me accountable! Not to mention how great it feels when I see the areas I’ve done well on, like raising my credit score to the highest it’s ever been (!!!), seeing my savings and retirement accounts grow, and really improving my overall health and wellbeing with a healthy diet and clean environment.
I’m not perfect; I never will be, but I only get so many trips around the sun. I feel better and more accomplished now than I ever have before, so I intend to keep this up and make those trips good ones.
What goals did you set for 2016? Are you staying accountable to them all the way here in March, or have you been a “Resolutioner”?