On goals

Sometimes I think I might set too many goals and resolutions.* Right now I’ve got four official goals: three new ones for December and family dinners carried over from November, but technically I also have a few extras. Since I overspent in November, I’m avoiding restaurants in December as much as possible (day 1 was a success). I’ve also set a vague goal of biking to work one day a week in December and I’m already thinking ahead to January and February (two days a week and three days a week respectively). And of course I have my ongoing financial goals. Right now, I dream of saving $700 a month each month for taxes (I’m pretty good at this one), saving $500 a month toward retirement (I’m terrible at this one), and paying off my car in 2015 (this is also going to be a toughy especially with the above two).

I’ve often heard advice against setting more than one goal at a time (it’s too hard, it’s unfocused, you’re more likely to fail both, etc) but that’s just not me. One goal seems to lead to another, until I’m literally buried in them (I’ve listed seven active goals in the first paragraph alone, plus two that I’m not really working on… yet). I love setting goals. I love imagining myself achieving them.

I’m currently subscribing to a “You Need a Budget” (YNAB) article series on budgeting (if that wasn’t obvious from the title). In the first article, the writer ended with a challenge–write down your long term and short term financial goals. Easy-peasy, but it made me realize that I don’t have to start every goal the minute I think of it. Good ideas will keep. So some goals, like “buy a house” can wait until a goal like “pay off my car” or a resolution like “save for retirement” are established. Not that I am trying to save for a house right now, but the idea has crossed my mind. First things first. Second things second.

And if you’re interested, here is my list of long term and short term financial goals (not that I am working on all of them)

Long Term
Retire early
Buy a house
Pay off my car (in 2015)
Fully fund a retirement account
Short Term
Get a retirement account
Afford the fancy clothes I’ve been ogling

*The difference between a goal and a resolution: a goal is a defined marker to reach (ex: saving $8,000 for my emergency fund) whereas a resolution is an on-going effort at betterment (ex: to exercise ten minutes a day). I set a lot of both.

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