2021 taught me three things: have a theme for your goals, make your goals visible, and aim for the bare minimum.
The bare minimum? Visible? Themes?
Stay tuned for the freebie I use to help myself keep up with my goals below!
The long short of themes is that it helps you narrow your focus on your goals.
For 2021, my theme was Health & Wealth. (I like my rhymes okay)
As the title states, I focused mainly on my goals that helped propel my health or financial goals.
I had a mission to continue either maintaining my weight or adding some nice habits to eventually get to a healthier weight.
My other overarching theme was the fact that I knew as soon as I started working full time that I did not want to work for the rest of my life until I’m old and not able to do most of the things I desire because I didn’t plan ahead of time.
Plus I want to have options to pursue anything I want instead of hoping I have enough PTO to cover it.
This alludes to the envious feelings I had about my BFF’s impromptu LA trip I mention in my November update post.
I eventually found the FI/RE (financial independence retire early) movement and opened up my Roth IRA and taxable brokerage account.
Every time I wanted to give up or get extra lax with my goals, I could always dial it back and think, “What can I do to help push me in the direction of this year’s theme?”. And it didn’t even have to be a goal that I had formally planned beforehand.
My goals were/are:
- $1k combined in my Roth + taxable account (DONE!)
- $1k combined in my online HYSA + local credit union (DONE!)
- Pay off ¼ of my car loan (~$3500, principal + interest) (DONE!)
- Continue monthly student loan payments
- Exercise once a week for at least 15 minutes (will explain in a bit)
- Savings Challenge with Mom ($24/month) (DONE!)
- Save $500 towards Hawaii with friends
- Read or “read” (audiobooks count!) at least 10 books (DONE!)
⅝ isn’t too bad! Plus the student loan one will be done as soon as the year is over. So basically six done.
All of these contribute to my main theme in some way which makes them easy to think of when I make specific decisions.
Visability is key
I have ADHD (I think my posting schedule speaks to this) and “out of sight, out of mind” dictates how I keep up with habits.
I have three trackers on my wall to keep up with long term goals.
The main goals I have relate to my health (physical and mental) since my financial goals are kept in check via YNAB kind of.
- Exercise once a week for at least 15 minutes
- Walk at least 5k steps a day
During my morning/evening routine (or shambles of one), I mark what I have done. After a week when the new year starts (the time I’m super gungho about doing all of the goals), I see that I at least made it a week with completing all of them.
This in turn creates a snowball effect that increases the chance I do them since I want to fill out the boxes!
As you can see above this, there’s a lot filled in despite the disaster this year has technically been.
I also placed the trackers next to my bedroom’s door as I leave to help remind me to check, fill in, or remember to do the habits.
Do the bare minimum (seriously)
After reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, I realized that doing little bits of a larger impacting habit helps you build the habit without feeling that New Year’s Resolution rush (and subsequent crash).
This is why I worded my exercise goal the way it is.
Instead of “exercise every day for at least 15 minutes” or “move every day”, I chose “exercise for at least 15 minutes once a week” because I knew that anxiety riddled, exhausted, and flaky me would be able to do this at least in the most mundane way.
By doing this and tracking, I’ve effectively made it a SMARTER goal.
Specific: Obviously a very defined action. Plus the bare minimum of exercise for me is putting my headphones on, setting up a makeshift standing desk, and marching in place while watching a YouTube video which I can do for hours even if I forget to walk mid way.
Measurable: 15 minutes can be objectively measured. Plus expanding on my “definition” of exercise, I regularly watch 25+ minute videos at like 1.75x speed which is about 14.3 minutes of video.
Achievable: Uh yeah. I could accidentally “exercise” my way to this goal by going out with friends lol.
Relevant: Definitely relevant since every pound lost equals four pounds of pressure off my knees. I’ve had three knee surgeries before age 18 to correct a bone deformity so this is a mega important benefit since I want to be able to move relatively well when I’m older.
Time-based: 15 minutes for the short term, and the year for the long term.
Evaluate: Check in to see how I’m doing by looking at my tracker.
Reward/Revise: My reward is honestly the actual habit and little dopamine hits I get when I fill in another square. I don’t plan on revising this goal but I can if there’s a time where it gets tough. So I can just lower the time to 10 minutes which is still way more than zero.
So when you make your goals, make them in mind with the “you on your worst days” so you can look back and see that you can still achieve your goals despite having a bad day.
Thanks for reading this far. Here’s the freebie I mentioned!
2022 goals planned so far
My 2022 theme is Career & Where (had to make it rhyme but I’m even a little meh about the title lol).
Basically, the year is focused on my efforts to travel in my local area and developments for my career (I’m aiming for nursing school!).
The goals I have planned so far are:
- Pay off ¼ of my student loans (~$7k)
- Continue student loan payments (basically the minimum payments in case anything happens)
- Hike at least once a month
- Read or “read” (audiobooks still count!) at least 20 books
- Save $500 towards future wanderlust!
- Travel to 25 new cities in my area (and actually explore them)
- Figure out my minimalist wardrobe
I still want to keep my weekly 15 minute workout, 5k steps, and shower goals. However, I will batch the steps to other habits in order to prevent tracker overload.
So basically, my Fitbit will track my steps instead of the combination of a paper and digital tracker.