Ever since I was a kid I’ve been very goal oriented and weirdly motivated by the endorphin rush that comes from checking something off my to do list. So it should come as no surprise I enjoy this time of year — reflecting back on what goals I accomplished the past year, kicking myself with a few face punches (metaphorical) for the ones I didn’t, and looking ahead and making lots and lots of lists for the coming year.
2015 was a mixed year for me, though I would say I leave it with a sense of generally pretty spectacularly amazeballs awesome — overall, financially, it was a very solid year, though not without some important lessons. Personally, it couldn’t have been better — Sweetie Pie moved closer to me after being in a different city for two years; I traveled a lot and saw many, many old friends; I started to feel like my house is becoming my home; and I started exploring all sorts of new pursuits outside of work (like this blog!), and somehow managed to achieve some balance of not feeling perpetually “busy” (I chalk that one up to good old fashioned gratitude!). Professionally, however, last year was a disappointment — I had some tough days at work and have been embroiled in some deep soul searching about where I might want to go next, how to get there, and the best recipe for lemonade in the meantime.
In terms of my specific goals, here’s the rundown:
- Take two classes in a new skill – Check! Improv and forging (yes, like a blacksmith!)
- One international trip – Check! I am a little sheepish to say I unexpectedly and joyously got in THREE international trips in 2015! What!
- Call my sister once a month – Check! More or less; we missed a few but generally made up for it with in-person visits.
- Ten new hikes and bike rides – Fail! This is the most disappointing failure given that I live in the glorious Pacific Northwest. I got in seven hikes and a few long rides, but didn’t do a good job of keeping track so I’m not sure of the final count.
- Three camping trips – Fail! Only one this year, but given my excessive international traveling I feel just about OK about this.
- Max my retirement accounts – Check!
- Make $100 online – Failcheck! This was intended to be my Etsy store, for which I’ve had a goal of setting up and making $100 since oh … 2009? Once again, I did not do this. I did set up the store and I did make a few things to list there, I just haven’t listed them yet. (Did you know the capital of Procrastination is Procrastination City?) So this will be another goal for 2016, or maybe I’ll take this one off the list and realize it just isn’t meant to be (fear of failure, much?). However, I DID make $100 on another hobby, not online, as the set designer for a local theater production. I also made well over $100 “online” through AirBnB and Craigslist renting of my basement apartment. So on a technicality I’m counting this one as a win.
- Pay a certain secret amount off my mortgage principal – Check!
- Hit a certain secret amount of total net worth – Check! This one’s cheating a little bit because Mint added a new feature to count the Zillow “Zestimate” value of my home, which is bonkers right now and definitely in bubble territory. Since I’m not planning to sell my house or move any time soon, I don’t think this should really count in my active net worth, but it’s nice to see the number grow so fast. 🙂
- Donate a certain secret amount to charity – Double Check! I literally gave double the amount I’d set for myself. It squeezed a little, but I think that’s part of the point, and no question I care deeply about the causes I contributed to.
- Ask for a raise – Check! I was prepared, organized, rational, and supported my request with well-researched documentation — a textbook case (of something!) if there ever was one.
- Get a raise – Fail! But I tried. This was not a positive experience and I will not try again (because I was explicitly told not to, what the crab-eating fox!), but that’s a story for a different time.
- Call or see all my Facebook friends — they’re my friends, right, so why shouldn’t I? Failcheck! Taking this literally, I failed, but as a goal, it was great because I made more of an effort to stay in touch than I have in the past. I saw the vast majority of my friends in person and had substantive interactions with everyone.
- Spend <$500 on clothes – Check! I came in at $448.13 for the year, woohoo! This includes a handbag and Superfeet inserts, which if I was feeling generous I would exclude, but it’s great I don’t have to! It does not include some clothes (including a generous supply of PJs and two shirts) that I got for Christmas, which will give me a nice head start for next year.
- Spend <$500 on lunch – Check! Total $377.20 — I did much better in the first half of the year than the second , but still one for the W column.
All in all, pretty darn good. As for 2016, you’ll notice a lot of repetition, some simplifying, and some streamlining even more phrugal phantasies:
- Have and recover from hip surgery (this will be a doozy!)
- Run a 5k, at some point in the year following said surgery. My money’s on no earlier than November, but I’m not actually putting any money on it because if I were a betting man, this is not a bet I would take.
- Get a new job
- Spend <$250 on clothes – this is going to be hard!
- Spend <$250 on eating out for lunch
- Continue to call my sister once a month
- Take two classes in a new skill
- 10 new hikes and bikes
- Make homemade laundry and dish soap
- Max out my retirement accounts
- Stock my Etsy shop and sell one thing. Just one thing.
- Get my net worth to a certain secret amount
- Visit a new state
- Track all my spending
- Calculate my net spending/saving ratio for 2015 and beat it in 2016
- Finally get my butt to the Methow Valley in Washington
- Write this blog at least once a week
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a very happy, healthy, and wholesome new year! What are your goals?
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