Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 252 - Update: New Year's Revolution

Image by Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
On January 1, I discussed my plans to start a New Year's Revolution - basically my way of defining my 2011 goals in a more proactive context than the typical resolution. Now that the year is almost half over (yikes!!), I thought it would be a good time to assess the progress I have made on my goals based on the tips I gave out at the first of the year.

1. Surround yourself with supportive people who are of like mind. I have generally been surrounded by supportive people my whole life so this was fairly easy for me. But knowing that I like to be fairly self sufficient and independent, my challenge was to actually utilize those people willing to help me. I have made an effort to ask for help more often and have relinquished some difficult tasks to certain people willing to take them on.  The most difficult, yet most important, part was phasing out people who are unsupportive and oftentimes detrimental to my well being. Sadly, this list of people has included very close members of my family - one being my mom. I do hope that this is only a temporary step, but I am also very confident in my decision at the moment and know it is the best for me and her right now.

2. Introduce accountability. When Mike and I combined our finances it immediately brought with it a sense of much needed accountability for me and my budget. When you have no one to answer to but yourself, it is easy to "cheat" and reason your way through unnecessary purchases. Knowing that Mike has full disclosure when it comes to what I buy helps keep me on track. Plus when I screw up (and believe me, I have) he is pretty good about talking me out of all my rationalizations for what I did. It makes for rocky times every so often but the end result is worth it.

My blog also keeps me accountable. I can't imagine telling the world that I want to pay off $60,000 in one year and then not even coming close! Knowing that twice a month I have to update my readers on my financial status definitely helps keep me in line.

3. Make an action list. This is probably my #1 stress buster. Getting thoughts out of my head and on paper makes future tasks seem more tangible and much easier to accomplish. Most of my lists are on paper - typing just doesn't do the trick for me. Although I have a natural tendency to make action lists, I still need some nudging sometimes.

4. Create a timeline. This has been one of the most important actions I have taken. Rather than tell myself I'm going to "pay off my debt", I introduced a specific amount plus a time limit to paying off that amount. Knowing that $60,000 paid in one year equals $5,000 paid each month lets me know whether I am actually on track each month to meet my goal. It also tells me exactly how much extra money I have to find each month in my budget for debt - either from cutting expenses or creating income. I believe humans are built to meet deadlines and without a time limit there is less drive or dedication to a goal. No matter the goal try to create some sort of deadline for yourself. Otherwise you will most definitely see it again on your 2012 list of things to accomplish.

5. Don't just think big, DO BIGGER.  I struggle in this area. I have so many ideas swirling around in my head at any given time but actually putting them on paper and drafting a plan to "do" still doesn't come naturally to me. Over the next six months, I would like to work on being a do'er in terms of what I want the future to hold for me. I am a little too patient sometimes when it comes to relationships and my future plans. Then I realize I just waited and waited and nothing happened. No more. There may be some big changes in my future personally sooo.... stay tuned!

Sarah
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