I’m done my Christmas shopping, wrapping and shipping. Aside from a bit of baking and candy making, Christmas is basically on lock down and under control. That doesn’t mean I’m out of energy though, so I’ve been looking forward to what’s next: New Years, and the often accompanying goals.
I’ll be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with New Years’ resolutions. Last year I didn’t even bother with writing about the subject. I find it frustrating watching people (and indeed, sometimes myself), declare lofty goals with no actual follow through. The Money After Graduation post Your Goals are Stupid hits a lot of points bang on the head.
Now that being said, I totally support anyone who sincerely is trying to better themselves and is setting goals to try to do so. If you want to make a positive change in your life, good on ya!
I used to take issue with the whole waiting until January 1st part of resolutions as well, but I’ve come to terms with that recently. You’re supposed to set goals that are SMART; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound. If you want to check on your progress and see how you’re doing, you’re going to need to remember when you started. You’ll probably find the dates easier to remember if you can associate them with something. I do my month end updates on the last day of every month. If I was doing them on the 17th of every month, chances are I’d forget to do it every once in a while. Some people don’t have a problem remembering random dates, but I find it easier to remember things if I have something to associate it with (like the month changing). Having so many people fixating on the beginning of the new year makes it an easy date to remember.
Most of my goals for 2014 also come with a stretch goal. Basically if I figure out part way through the year that my goal wasn’t challenging enough, it’s a slightly more aggressive goal I can work towards. In the meantime I’m not going to aim for the stretch goal right off the bat, because I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew and give up.
Bridget suggested making 3 goals. I’m squaring that. No apologies.
Financial Well Being
Goal: Build my TFSA up to 4 months worth of emergency living expenses ($10,000) by the end of 2014.
I did a calculation on what my basic emergency expenses were without cancelling anything like internet or my cell phone. Turns out that number is right around $2200. To account for anything popping up that I didn’t take into account, I set my basic living expenses at $2500. By the end of this year I should have about $2300 in my TFSA, so I’m at almost 1 month right now. I’d like to save another 3 months worth before the end of 2014.
Stretch Goal: Build my TFSA up to 6 months of emergency living expenses ($15,000).
There is a possibility that I’ll get a bonus at work in early 2014. If that happens, the money is going straight into my TFSA. I don’t know for any degree of certainty what the amount of the possible bonus is, but if it wipes out a good chunk of the 4 month goal, I’m going to aim for 6 months instead.
Goal: Maintain a credit card balance of $0 at the beginning of every pay period.
I’ve had a nasty little habit of carrying over balances from month to month. I want to squash this habit. My goal for 2014 is to have a balance of $0 on my credit card every pay day.
Stretch Goal: There is no stretch goal for this.
Goal: Track my daily spending and start punching it into a spreadsheet.
This right here is where my budgeting falls apart on me. I set perfectly manageable budgets, and then proceed to ignore them for the next two weeks. You know what would solve this? Writing it down and keeping track of how much money I have left in each category. Problem solved.
Stretch Goal: Add a spending analysis to my month end reports.
Accountability 101. I need to maintain my first goal before I can do this one though.
Goal: Increase the automatic retirement contributions from my paycheque to 12%.
For the last few years I’ve had 7.5% of my income going into my retirement account at work, while I contributed money to an RRSP on the side. This year I’m going bump my automatic contributions up to 12%. It’s a sizeable enough bump that I’ll feel a little bit of a pinch over the short term while I adjust to it.
Stretch Goal: Increase the automatic retirement contributions from my paycheque to 18%.
In the event that I get a raise this year, I’m going to be applying the entire thing to my retirement account at work as well. Like the bonus, I have no idea if/when/how much the potential raise would be, but until I hit 18% that’s where my raises are going.
Goal: Increase my net worth to $150,000 by the end of the year.
I’m estimating that my net worth will be sitting around $120,000 by the end of 2013. Between my mortgage principle payments, my increased RPP contributions and my TFSA contributions, this shouldn’t be a hard goal to hit.
Stretch Goal: Increase my net worth to $180,000 by the end of the year.
This one would be considerably harder to hit. This will require either a secondary income stream, or some significant increases in the investment department (so I better get that money in there ASAP).
Personal Well Being
Goal: Work out 2 hours per week.
Those with a healthy athletic life or workout routine will look at this and think it’s pitiful. In truth, it kind of is pitiful. It’s still a starting point though, and I don’t want to kill the goal by setting it too aggressive.
Stretch Goal: 3 hours per week.
I’m thinking this is more likely to happen in the summer, but let’s start with 2 hours, shall we?
Goal: Get 7 hours of sleep at least 5 nights a week.
Yes, I’m making sleep a goal. It may sound foolish, but I’ve been working on this and it’s been making a difference for me. I feel more well rested. Who knew, right? Getting fewer dark circles and just generally not looking like hell have been nice as well. Most nights I still hover around 6.5 hours of sleep, so there’s definitely some room for improvement here.
Stretch Goal: 8 hours of sleep 5 nights a week, and no less than 6 hours on the other two nights.
The “no less than 6 hours” is in there for a reason. I’ve occasionally been known to pull all nighters on Thursday nights when I get off work at 2am. I’ll go home, get a second wind and clean/read/blog, then decide at 5am that there’s no point in going to sleep. It’s kind of nonsense, and I need to stop doing it.
Goal: Replace all of my worn out undergarments (socks, bras, underwear).
This should be a cheap and easy goal, but honestly it will cost me a bit of money. Socks and underwear are cheap, but bras are not. I need to get rid of all of my threadbare/holey socks, worn out underwear, and buy at least 2 replacement bras. This will be at least $500.
Stretch Goal: replace all of my worn out basics.
I just recently brought my good, non-work jeans count up to two pairs (one bootcut, one skinny), so I’m hoping I won’t have to buy any other jeans this year. I do need several t-shirts though, and I anticipate needing to replace at least two pairs of ballet flats and a pair of running shoes. Bras and underwear come first though.
Goal: Get a haircut at least every 3 months.
Again, this isn’t one you’d think should show up on a goals list, but here it is. I have a habit of putting off personal care in favour of financial goals. This needs to stop. When my appearance gets raggedy, I don’t feel good about myself when I look in the mirror. There’s no good reason why I shouldn’t feel good about myself when this is reasonably easy to fix. I booked myself in for a hair appointment last week, and when I left I booked the next appointment for three months later. So far so good.
Stretch Goal: make a personal well being appointment at least once a month.
1 annual physical
1 annual optometrist visit
2 dentist cleanings
4 hair appointments
4 massage appointments (covered through work)
12 appointments in one year – one a month.
Again, you wouldn’t think this was difficult, but it’s been too easy to push myself aside in favour of looking after other things. It’s time to look after me.
Are you making any goals for 2014? What are your resolutions?
Recommended Reading: Getting Serious About Savings in 2014 <– our TFSA goals and starting balances are identical! That wasn’t planned at all!