goals


We’re already one week into the month, but if I don’t start now, I’m afraid I never will. So, it’s back to business!

August ’11 Goals

1 – Read Feng Shui Book

One thing I didn’t mention before? My boss is really into Feng Shui. Our entire office (and our individual offices) are arranged to have good Feng Shui…and since I tend to like that kinda stuff, I figured it wouldn’t hurt for me to incorporate some of those ideas into my new apartment! First step: read about it.

2 – Move into the new apartment and create a peaceful and harmonious living space. (i.e. Feng Shui my apartment…)

3 – Create a new budget and decide on a tracking system (and USE it!)

I’m embarrassed to admit how long it’s been since I’ve followed a budget. However, if you’re a longtime reader you can probably guess. (Hint: it’s been a while since I’ve posted my expenses…)

4 – Work out 3 times a week. (At least)

Again, embarrassed. Other than a dance class here and there it’s been ages since I’ve really worked up a sweat (and I’m afraid sweating while riding with the car windows down does not count). I’m thinking since the Turkey Trot 5k is coming up in a couple of months I should ease into exercise with some jogging.

5 – Create at least one thing.

I haven’t sewn in months. I tried sewing not too long after the breakup, but I was emotionally and creatively drained. I tried again after that….but my place was a mess. As soon as I get settled I’m pulling out the machine and starting up with an easy project! (Either something for the shop, or a simple top for me…)

I’m keeping it relatively simple this month, so let’s hope I succeed with all of them!

I  feel like I really tried last month to keep things in line. I’ve always worked well with weekly paychecks, and with such a straightforward budget it really should’ve been easy….but it wasn’t.

I guess I’ve just been out of practice, and since I got my tax refund mid-month the buffer didn’t really motivate me to be careful with the numbers. So….I’m making goals for the month in the hopes that I’ll be a little more disciplined. (And yes, I realize we’re practically mid-month, but late is better than never…)

May ’11 Goals

  1. Track expenses and report here each Friday. (Just like in the good old times…)
  2. Close my no-longer-free Chase Account (can you believe they’re charging me?! Jokes on them….there’s no money in my account! This includes checking, savings, and credit card.)
  3. Wrangle up the money to pay off my car. (Still haven’t done this….first I was waiting for the summary of all my past payments, then I just let it sit…time to get it done!

And for the non-finance stuff…

  1. Make my follow-up laser appointment. (Hm, just realized I hadn’t mentioned this….)
  2. Read one book. (Picking it up at the library on Friday…)
  3. Clean up my room. (You’d think with all the time I spent at home while unemployed, things would’ve been nice and clean…..but you’d be wrong.)

So kids, May is looking like it’ll be my regrouping month. I’m over the initial excitement of finally having a job (although I’m still enjoying it), and the reality of managing my finances is kicking back in. Wish me luck (and will power, lol).

P.S. Thanks for the comments and suggestions in the previous posts. A few comments I want to reply to regarding helping out with my budget:

“Get rid of the car”. Sadly this never occurred to me, but I think it’s worth it for me to have a car in this city. Everything is so far away from everything, and transit doesn’t really have it “together” here. I’d much rather pay up than complicate my life that much right now. (Geez, I feel like such a brat saying that…)

“Get a roommate”. Yikes! Another one I hadn’t considered…..(and another one that makes me sound like a spoiled brat) but mostly because I did the whole roommate thing in college and I don’t want to do that again. I’ve gotten so used to living on my own that the only roommate I’ll ever consider having is my boyfriend….and that’s not going to happen anytime soon. I’d rather move into a smaller place and still have that freedom. (Speaking of which, I should probably starting looking into new neighborhoods….)

I’m starting to notice a pattern here….I start the month off pretty strong, but then something happens and I forget I ever had any goals or structure or anything. Around the middle of April I got sick, and when I recovered from that all the hard work I’d put in was forgotten and the rest of the month was a mess. I gained 3 pounds (well, 4 if you count the pound I had lost from not eating and throwing up for a day), didn’t workout for over 10 days….well, you get the picture.

April ’10 Goals

1. Read 30 minutes each day. Nope, not this month either.

2. Complete 2 sewing projects and post about them. I did it! I actually finished 3, if you count the tutu I made for my sister’s dog. (4 if you count the pants I mended for my cousin.) I only failed at the posting part.

3. Track my eating for the full month. I did great for a while….until about the 15th when I got sick. After that I got out of control. (Ben & Jerry’s in my freezer is never a good thing….especially not when they’re BOGO free.)

4. Dedicate 2 hours to something career-related each day. Well, I’ve definitely done some thinking and some searching, but NOT 2 hours each day. Oops…

So, 4 fails out of 4. NOT good.

May ’10 Goals

1. Track every single expense for May. Ok, confession time here…..I haven’t tracked my expenses for a single month ever since I got laid off. [gasp] Yeah, I can’t believe it either. The good thing is that with my severance pay, unemployment benefits, and tax refund I’ve only had to draw funds from my emergency savings one month (and that was an accident, I originally made it an automatic transfer then changed my mind and forgot to cancel). However, I realize that won’t be the case forever, so I have to make sure I know where my money is going.

2. Sew that one project I’ve been putting off. (It involves improvising without a pattern….but nothing too complicated.) I’m also going to post the two dresses I made, but I’ve been having camera problems.

3. Lose 5 pounds. This is by sticking to my workout plan and a structured diet (basically limiting carbs to 1 serving a day and making the rest proteins and veggies.) and recording what I eat. I have to start getting aggressive with this, otherwise I’ll be losing the same 5 pounds forever. I can do this.

4. Run twice. With my indoor workouts I haven’t been getting any runs in. I don’t really mind that (I get a more than adequate cardio workout with P90X), but I’d like to get outside again. I’d like to also aim to get out to a nature trail at least once too.

March was an interesting month. The month my health insurance expired, along with my official pay….I guess reality started sinking in and it wasn’t always pretty. I had a couple of emotional breakdowns, but still, I believe things could be much worse….luckily I’ve been working out consistently, and I honestly think it’s the only thing keeping me sane right now. (Not that I always act sanely…) Anyway, all that to say my focus wasn’t exactly on my goals this month….

March ’10 Goals

1. Apply for unemployment. Search for a new job. Success! Well, success in applying for unemployment (I even got my first check), and I’ve been searching…..no job yet though.

2. Eat well. More specifically:

  • plan meals whenever possible, even if it’s just day to day (Semi success….sometimes planned meals, and I am now on a sort of meal plan regulating how much of each type of food I eat. After two days my weight has already started moving back down.)
  • no eating fast food on my own, preferably only on weekends (I’ll reserve that to meals with the BF) (I might’ve gotten a burrito or two on my own…but only $.89 ones!)
  • no more making cookie dough, please. (Success!)

1 1/2 out of 3….definitely not a success, but not failure either!

3. Work out every day (per plan). I worked out 29 out of 31 days (skipped two Saturdays). I’d say that’s pretty darn good! SUCCESS!

4. Read 30 minutes a day. I did great for the first two weeks….but it dwindled after that. FAIL.

5. Use mouth wash and floss every night. Um….uh…..yeah, fail. See #4.

So, if I was to celebrate the small victories…..I worked out nearly every day!! I rock!

I need April to be a better month….really….

April ’10 Goals

1. Read 30 minutes each day. I’m giving this another shot. In order for it to become a habit I need to figure out a particular time….either first thing each morning, or last thing at night. We’ll see which sticks.

2. Complete 2 sewing projects and post about them. This will accomplish two things….get me to use my sewing machine, and get me posting things other than moping. Everybody wins.

3. Track my eating for the full month. Following a meal plan would be extra good, but tracking is a good place to start.

4. Dedicate 2 hours to something career-related each day. I’ve been wondering….what the heck do I do all day? I sleep in, I waste time online, I watch “TV” (on my computer), and yet….I barely do what I should be doing….either finding a job, or figuring out where I want my life to go. So, two hours need to go towards: 1) building my skills resume (vs. technical), 2) checking out listings or contacting possible employers, 3) utilize the free resources online, 4) get my side-business ideas rolling (i.e. testing, getting samples out to people, spreading the word, designing a logo?). I’ve got plenty of stuff to do, and that should take up much more than 2 hours each day. But 2 hours would be a good minimum, even for “bad days”.

I guess my “big picture” goal for April is to get some structure into my life. If I meet all these goals, I’d say I’m well on my way there!

In case you haven’t noticed (which you wouldn’t if you read this via some kind of feed reader, and that’s ok. If you don’t,  I recommend Google Reader), I have decided to track my Weekly Goals on the page where I usually track my Monthly goals. I definitely think they will help me focus on a shorter term, I just feel odd posting each week with a recap. I may change my mind and do that anyway….we’ll see.

For those who were wondering, I thought I had done pretty well with my goals last week….until I sat and actually started writing a recap. Turns out I didn’t do so great…

1. Complete my resume and send out to key people by the end of the week. Well, I completed my resume….the first time. After I got some notes from those I sent it to, I just, well….ignored it. Needless to say I didn’t send it out to any key people.

2. Bake at least one loaf of bread. Hm, nope. No go here either.

3. No more cookie dough or cookies until Friday night. Ugh…the dough was gone the day after I wrote up these goals. Gosh….I’m a mess, aren’t I?

4. Come up with affirmations to read each morning. I didn’t read them each morning, but I did remember them whenever I felt negative thoughts come into my head. (Well, until the weekend. I’ll repeat….I was a bit of a mess last week.)

5. Read at least 15 minutes a day. YES! Finally something I DID do! I read way more than 15 minutes a night!

For this week I’ve already posted them on my goal page, but here they are anyway. They line up pretty closely to my monthly goals, which I guess makes sense, even though it’s somewhat redundant. I happen to like redundancy though.

Goals for March 1 – 7th:

1. Read at least 30 minutes a day. (I’m worried if I remove this now I’ll quit before it becomes habit, plus I’m upping the time a bit. I can definitely read 15 minutes, 30 minutes is a slight challenge.)

2. Finish that resume once and for all. Start a second resume for non-industry related opportunities. (That second one will be the real kicker.) Oh, and post the technical/industry one on some job boards or something.

3. Keep a detailed food log. (And DON’T eat any ice cream without adult supervision. I currently have a gallon in my freezer, so that’ll take some willpower.)

4. Bake a loaf of bread. (Second verse, same as the first.)

Let’s hope I get to cross a few of those off once and for all! (Ahem, 1 and 4)

This was a pretty unproductive month, what with my moping and losing focus. Either way, I think I’ve ended the month with a bit more of a push, so I’m hoping March will be great!

1. Start sewing! This didn’t happen, and it’s looking more and more as though I’m going to have to teach myself. I’d previously planned on my mom teaching me, but it’s been tough to coordinate that. On top of that, the machine I thought I’d get to learn on isn’t in that great a shape, so I’m looking at buying a new one. (I’ve debated getting a used one, but if I stick with it…..which I likely will, I’d need to upgrade anyway.) Conclusion: FAIL.

2. Work out every day. I’ve been doing this relatively consistently. While I’d planned to have morning workouts, they’ve evolved into afternoon workouts. Which is ok, I guess….it just means I’m less productive than I hoped I’d be. Anyway, I only missed 9 out of 28 days. It sounds fine, but when you think of it that’s over 1 week out of 4. Or 75%. I’m going to call this a FAIL. (Although I’m not completely disappointed with what I have been doing.)

3. No new plastic bags when shopping. I did pretty darn well with this. But not a complete success. I forgot about this when I went to Teavana and they gave me a bag (it wasn’t groceries, so I was caught off guard). I also bought more stuff than I planned to during my last grocery trip and ran out of room in my reusable bag, so I had to take one plastic bag home. Then at the Farmer’s market I completely forgot my bags, so there went another. So, 3 plastic bags used in the whole month. Not bad for my first attempt! Either way, this is still a FAIL.

4. Read (at least) 15 minutes each day. I did absolutely terribly on this one….until the last week. (During which I read EVERY day!) Another FAIL.

Like I said before, I’m hoping March will turn things around….

March 2010 Goals

1. Apply for unemployment. Search for a new job. (That’s part of qualifying for unemployment anyway.) Now that my severance/continued pay has officially run out, I’m eligible to apply for unemployment….might as well, I’ve already indirectly paid for it, right? The job search part is going to be the challenge….the “measurable” part will be to do something, anything that will get me closer to a job for at least 1 hour a day. (And I do realize that’s very little, but it all just seems daunting to me right now.)

2. Eat well. More specifically: plan meals whenever possible, even if it’s just day to day; no eating fast food on my own, preferably only on weekends (I’ll reserve that to meals with the BF); no more making cookie dough, please.

3. Work out every day (per plan). Again, I’m keeping this. I should be at 100%, not 75%. I specified “per plan” because the plan I’m following allows for some rest days, so I’ll keep those in there.

4. Read 30 minutes a day. Since I had such a great success for one week, I want to make this a habit….as they say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Again, fiction or non-fiction counts, as long as it’s a book.

5. Use mouth wash and floss every night. Hey, don’t judge just yet! I DO brush my teeth after all….but that’s about it most of the time. Since I’m considering dropping my dental coverage I need to take better care of my teeth. No cavities so far (ever!), and I’d like to keep it that way. Flossing and mouth wash seem like a good place to start.

For some reason or another, about this time last week I already had it in my head that January was over; that was when I remember I’d made goals at the beginning of the month. (Oh, right….oops.) It wasn’t too bad, but there were definitely a few “Fail”s in there.

January Goals

1) Track every single expense using PearBudget, and stay within budget. I still need to catch up from last week, but for the most part I’ve been tracking everything each week! I’ll know for sure if I stayed within budget after the weekend, but as of right now it’s looking pretty good. I have plenty of room left in every category! Amazing, right?!!

2) Create a meal plan each week. Ok, this was a total failure. I didn’t plan a single week. However, I did try to get more creative with what I did cook, it was just a day to day thing. I’m going to continue to make an effort to do this, but if an entire week doesn’t go planned, I won’t be heartbroken as long as I’m not reaching out for the fast food.

3) Follow my new cleaning schedule to keep my apartment from becoming a pigsty. Um, another fail. Yikes. My apartment has definitely been a mess, mostly due to moodiness and plain laziness being so busy, of course.

4) Watch less TV, read more. I’d say I’ve done fairly well with this. Unfortunately I’ve been replacing my “TV time” with surfing the internet (i.e. reading blogs and sneaking around Facebook), and while that’s not always bad, I don’t really feel like I’ve accomplished anything at the end of the evening.

January doesn’t look so hot on paper, now that I’m looking, but I can’t really complain. I feel pretty good about it. February is also shaping out to be an exciting month. Not sure why, I don’t have anything exciting planned, but I just “have a feeling”…

February Goals

1. Start sewing! Have 1 lesson or “sewing session” each week. I’m thinking every Sunday morning after breakfast at my parents house?

2. Work out every day. Preferably in the morning, that way I have no excuse (which means I need to go to bed earlier). I stopped earlier this month when I started feeling a pain in my upper arms and freaked out that I’d get injured right before my dance show, so I stopped. I have to start up again!

3. No new plastic bags when shopping. I usually use grocery store bags as garbage bags, but I’ve been collecting them much faster than I’ve been throwing them out. I have several reusable bags, so I just need to remember to take them with me!

4. Read (at least) 15 minutes each day. Self-explanatory. I have a couple books I need to finish reading so I can review them on here, plus I never did finish reading Anna Karenina. I have to get on that!

It goes without saying that I will continue tracking all of my spending, and finally clean that apartment of mine on some kind of schedule, but I’d really like to focus on those 4 things above. I mean, I should be tracking and cleaning regardless, right?!

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