My Personal and Financial Goals from 2015
First, a review of last year. I did not have a clear vision for the personal and financial goals that I wanted to accomplish in 2015 which probably held me back from my potential. I know it’s extremely important to set some type of goal to prevent aimless, unmotivated, and slow progress on the things that are truly important to you. I also know that writing these past failures and future goals down here will only help me in the realization of my success.
Financial goals – My basic outline for 2015 was to make more money, pay for my wedding, pay for my honeymoon, and try to hang on through Christmas. I also promised to myself that I would try to avoid jumping from one hobby/interest to another so quickly. Noble and mighty goals, right? Well, the good news is that I managed to do most of that, but the bad news is that I ended up financing basically my entire honeymoon which led to finishing out the year in more debt than when I started. Not exactly the best outcome for an aspiring family financier, eh? I also did not make much progress on sticking with one interest for a longer period of time last year. To be clear, my motivation here is that I find something that I can use to bring in extra income throughout the year. My erratic behavior really robs me of my long term motivation to succeed and improve myself. There’s nothing worse than looking backwards on a string of unproductive fits and starts.
Personal goals – I honestly can’t think of much that I sat down and got serious about in 2015 concerning my personal goals. In a very general sense I was trying to fix my tendency to procrastinate on things. The true test for this was my wedding/honeymoon planning which I give myself a C+ on. Everything got done and I know that we definitely enjoyed ourselves and created some very special memories, but I definitely waited until the last minute on a lot of the planning. I have struggled in this area all of my life including school, work, personal relationships, and personal goals. I usually tell myself that I work best under pressure (this is probably true), but sometimes there is no substitute for early planning and timing. This is especially true with financial matters that can sometimes be made cheaper if you get started early!
So, with 2015 out of the way what’s up for this year?
My Personal Goals for 2016
- Spend more quality time with my family – This is the first to come to mind and the easiest one for me to concede needs improvement. The vision I have in my head of how a family spends time together and our current reality are not the same. This is not to say that I never spend time with them, but I do feel like it’s not always quality time. I want to focus on building memories with my family and ensuring that my girls know that I’m available to them. When I think back to my childhood I have precious few real memories of family time and I want their’s to be filled! This is probably one of the easiest and hardest goals on the list. Easy because all I have to do is give them my time and hard because there are so many things these days that either seek to rob me of my time or that I tend to prioritize over them on my own. One thing me and my wife are working on is putting the phones down when we are together. We can have the time on our own, but if we are in the same room the phones turn off!
- Read two books a month – I was always an avid reader growing up and read many books a month from the time I was in elementary school all the way up to college. Since starting a family I have not kept up with this passion. There are a few reasons: less time, other interests, and the emergence of smartphones. I tend to get sucked into my smartphone reading articles, news, etc and spend less and less time consuming actual books. News may clue you in on what is happening in the world, but books will often give you the wisdom to interpret what is happening and will help you understand how the same problems were dealt with in the past. I want to focus on biographies this year in order to improve my working knowledge and personal development, but I also plan to mix in some good fiction as well to help me keep my sanity!
- Work on being proactive – As I mentioned above, this is an area in which I tend to struggle. I have struggled with this for as long as I can remember having deadlines. I have always met my deadlines, but there are sometimes issues that arise from cutting it close. Being proactive also doesn’t just mean that I get things done before deadlines, but also that I get some things done at all if they don’t have deadlines. This includes stuff around the house, planning, and generally throwing out water on the ground before there’s a fire.
- Establish a blogging routine and stick with it – I made my first post on this blog on 12/8/15. Since that time I’ve actually been fairly productive here and I’ve managed to create 15 posts as of 1/17/16 which would equate to about 2.5 posts each week. When I originally set out a rough outline for a blogging routine I set a target for three posts a week which I have yet to hit. As I type this I’m looking at my original posting schedule that I wrote out and I’m not even close to being on track or even on the same page with topics, hah! I don’t want to have some type of grueling, 7-post-a-week schedule, but I do think it’s important to have a routine if I want to be successful here. This is something that I enjoy and hope to profit from at some point in the future so it’s essential that I make strides here.
- Get back into the gym – This is the most cliche goal that I have on my list, but it’s cliche for a reason! I was very active in the gym through and just after college, but as I’m approaching my 30’s very soon it’s becoming more and more important that I establish new exercise routines for my overall health. I’ve found that age is really good at creeping up on you over time and will surprise you every so often.
My Financial Goals for 2016
- Clear away more than 50% of my debt – Now that my wedding, honeymoon, etc are behind me it’s time to really buckle down and clear out some debt! I currently have credit card debt (0% interest, for now!) from the honeymoon, two car loans, wedding ring financing, and student loan debt. My student loans are currently in deferment and I will be focusing on the more immediate threats for now. I am struggling to find extra money outside of my normal expenses each money to service this, but we are expecting some windfalls this year and our plan is to throw everything extra that we can at our burden. Depending on how the year goes we may be able to clear out the majority of our non-student loan debt. I’m excited about this one!!
- Solidify my budget and stop flexing – I do a pretty good job budgeting several times a month, but I need to recommit to daily updates to keep myself on track. We are also bad about abusing our budget and having to flex different categories by “stealing” from others. We use a “budget to zero” approach, which I like, but we’ve got to get strict with it or it won’t accomplish anything. This is the basis really for all the other financial goals because this will cause us to derail more than anything else!
- Keep my 401k and HSA contributions going all year – Last year I got a promotion and transferred to a different city as a result. During the transition I suspended my 401k/HSA contributions because we had a lot of expenses to handle and I didn’t want to fall behind. As is the case when things like this are suspended I did not hop right back on the contributions when I could have. Instead, I let the 401k lapse for far too long. This probably doesn’t seem like a hugely inspiring goal, but for me it would be a milestone as I’ve had to suspend these multiple times in the past. I’ve got to stick with the “pay yourself first” mentality.
- Establish blogging as a source of online income – One of my biggest financial goals is to secure income outside of my W-2 job in 2016. I have dabbled with lots of things over the years and found some success, but nothing was very sustainable. I have been passionate about the online space for as long as I can remember and the older I get the more I realize that the majority of folks out there simply aren’t very financially literate. I believe that doing my part to educate people while improving myself will lead to opportunities for personal and financial growth. I plan on have a solid routine to contribute to and improve my blog, work on networking with others and contributing guest posts, organically monetize my site in order to receive some income, and generally figure out the whole “blogging thing”. I’m having a blast so far and I know that this will be a great source of fulfillment and opportunity for myself and others!
My Professional Goals for 2016
- Make progress on career track – I am new in my position this year so it’s not exactly like I’ve been treading water in this space, but now that the newness has worn off it’s important that I start to solidify my future prospects in any way that I can. This will involve a deepened relationship with my boss, more networking within my region, and more successes within my own unit. I believe that I am generally on the right track professionally, but I think that I am currently struggling over the hump to the next level of performance. I also need to get some clear objectives in my head about what exactly needs to happen in order to get a promotional opportunity in the future. Promotions are always a good thing for financial goals as well!
- Prioritize development of my managers – I am the General Manager of a unit with about 65 employees and 3 assistant managers. For the past year I felt as though I was really still getting used to my own position and didn’t really prioritize the development of my assistant managers. They are a good group of people and I need to be available to spend more 1-on-1 time with each of them to help them achieve their own goals and aspirations. This goal should be easy to action on, but it’s also a little harder to measure. I will stick to measuring quality time spent with them rather than any type of numbers. This is probably more meaningful anyway!
- Become a mentor – This ties in a bit with the development of my managers, but when I think about becoming a mentor to someone I am thinking more along the lines of helping someone actually get into management or whatever else it is that they are aspiring to. I will be putting more focus into locating the people that have high aspirations and helping them figure out how to get there. This is a little new to me so I’m not sure exactly how to frame my goal, but I think that starting down the road and putting time into it will suffice for this year. If I figure out more about it as I go I may up my game! I am also thinking of a way to help improve the financial literacy at my workplace because I’ve become aware that most folks simply do not know how to plan for retirement at all. This deeply disturbs me and it’s something that I think I could have a huge impact with over the course of a year!
- Meet my boss’ boss and improve my networking – One issue that I have in my professional life is that despite being a pretty outgoing person I am not very forward when it comes to networking and meeting other professionals. I think this stems from a lack of confidence in my status and I’m diligently working on improving this area. I have been told many times that it is essential to make a good impression with not only your own circle, but the rings around it. I am also in a position to occasionally shake hands and speak with the top dogs in my business so I have to be prepared to take advantage of that opportunity and make something happen!
Whew, I did NOT expect to have as much to say about my personal and financial goals this year as I did. What started out as a brief outline really forced me to think about what’s important to me and what I’m frustrated about not accomplishing yet! I tried to set some good goals and not make any mistakes and I think I’ve done okay so far this year!
What are your personal and financial goals for the year? Anything that you didn’t get done last year? Let us know in the comments!