Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Goals

I did reasonably well on my 2010 goals (see here for the write up), but I want to set even SMARTer goals next year. SMART, for those of you unfamiliar with the strategy is:

Time bound

For me, I think the most relevant tweak for 2011 is making sure my goals are sustainable and measurable. :-)

  1. No Clothes Shopping: I want to stop shopping as a hobby. Once I start shopping, I quickly get offtrack & have no self control. As a result, I think I need to set up a goal that provides a reward for each month I don't shop (for clothes/shoes). I love massages/pedicures/spa stuff of all kind, & enjoy it so much more than clothing. But, the instant gratification of heading to the mall, the retail therapy aspect, and the hunt for a good bargain seem to outweigh that in the moment. Put another way, I truly enjoy treating myself to experiences more than a $15 shirt I'll wear twice, but I'm not spending my money in a way that reflects that.

  • 2011 goal for shopping: No shopping for a year for clothing, shoes, or makeup. Exceptions: replacing running shoes if they wear out, replacing any must have makeup that I wear every day. I think once I break myself of the habit of viewing shopping as a hobby, it will change my entire perspective for good. Other goal - make a list when shopping for the kids & stick to it. No random/impulse kids clothing purchases.
  • Reward for hitting my shopping goal: For each month that I stick to my goal, I'll get a massage. For three months of hitting my goal, I'll add in a mani/pedi. For six months of hitting my goal, I'll plan an entire spa day. If I hit my goal for the entire year, I'll do a spa-focused weekend getaway!
     2.   Budget/variable expenses: I've set up a goal for how much my credit card bill should be each month (we charge most of our regular expenses on our credit cards & then pay off each month), & want to stick to that every month of the year. My total monthly credit card charges should be no more than $3710. Note that some of those charges are fixed ($1850 in preschool and $110 in utilities that get charged to the credit card). After minusing out those fixed expenses, we're left with a monthly variable spend of $1750. This $1750 includes the following categories: groceries, gifts, gas, personal/fun, boys activities, eating out, house projects, clothing/shoes for the kids.
  • Reward for hitting my budget goal: Increased savings & financial flexibility! :-) Hitting this goal is critical for my 401K payoff goal.
     3.   401K loan payoff: 2011 goal for paying off 401K loan: This is a huge goal for me in 2011. Paying off the 401K loan gets me maximum flexibility for eventually leaving my current company and either working somewhere else, working reduced hours, and/or taking a substantial pay cut to work at a non profit. I can't do any of these things with the loan hanging over me, so I'm highly motivated to ditch this.

My current loan balance is $43K, but one additional payment will be applied in 2010. I have $2000 in a snowball account saved up (note that this loan cannot be paid off early unless you're paying the entire balance, hence the snowball account). I have about $20K of funds that will be available through my FSA reimbursement, stock awards, and employee stock purchase that I will use. I will also be making $8K of regularly scheduled payments as they are due, which leaves me with approximately $13K to save during the year. Gulp. I know I can do this if I focus.
  • Reward for hitting my 401K payoff goal: Job/family life balance flexibility.

      4. Fitness goal: I'm pushing hard to hit my 150 workouts for 2010, but I want my goal in 2011 to be: more flexible, encourage strength training, & rewards me for longer cardio workouts. Right now, I give myself credit for any 30 minute cardio workout, which means that most of the time I stop at 30 minutes. Slacker. :-) I'm thinking of structuring the 2011 goal into three tiers:
    • Cardio - 4500 minutes of cardio in 2011. This is the same as my current goal of 150 workouts, but gives me flexibility to do longer workouts on the weekend, etc.
    • Strength - 1500 minutes of strength training in 2011. I definitely need to tone up, so this is a great way to build in time & make sure this happens.
    • Stretching/flexibility - 1000 minutes of flexibility in 2011. I'm thinking of using this for stretching or yoga/pilates.
    • Achieve my goal weight of 130 lbs.
  • Reward for hitting my fitness goal: Looking & feeling great!

      5. Personal Goals: This is a bit of a mixed bag, but I tend to over-focus on my financial & fitness goals & forget about the rest of my life. You know, the other stuff that makes life enjoyable? :-) I'm very goal-oriented (as you can probably guess), so I'm hopeful that setting clear goals for myself will motivate progress against these.
  • Organize one room in the house each month. The goal for January is the master bathroom & I've started on this, but have a ways to go.
  • Have a minimum of one date night per month with M.
  • Get together with 2 friends per month.
  • Take a photography class. The reason you don't see many pictures on my blog is that I'm a terrible photographer.
  • Create wills & trusts for the kids. We have drafts, but they are not nearly as specific and detailed as they should be.
  • Get additional life insurance on both myself and M, for the wills.
  • Create a list of 25 favorite meals.
  • Learn to bake bread.
  • Take a pilates class.
  • Run a 5K.
  • Make a 2010 family photo album.
  • Make a 2011 family photo album.
  • Take the boys to Disneyland.
  • Read 12 books.
  • Re-learn to ski. I'm taking lessons, so this will hopefully happen this winter.
  • Teach our oldest to be a moderately good skier for his age (ski green runs, ride the lift, etc).
  • Introduce our youngest to skiing.
  • Consciously consume (to me, this means thinking about every purchase, consider reusing something we already have before making a purchase, etc)

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