Wow! 2020 was one for the books and I couldn’t be happier to have it in the rearview mirror. Although we’re not in the clear for 2021, I am feeling hopeful that life will start looking a little more normal. Since last year was the start of a new decade, I made my first attempt to set 10 year goals. It was challenging at first to think that far ahead, but after giving myself a little structure I came up with reasonable but attainable goals. I thought I would describe my process here in case any one else wants to start making a 10 year plan (or 5 years!) and needs to hear how one person attempted it.
I first created general categories of my life: Financial, Career, Health, Love/Relationships, and Fun. Your categories may be different to reflect what’s valuable to you. In each category I thought of what I would like to accomplish in 10 years. I tried to come up with measurable goals, although some are not (I really don’t know how to quantify the strength of my relationship with my son….that is just something you know!). I then thought about what I could do the first year to start working toward my goals…so I created a 1 year goal column and outlined what I thought would be helpful. Lastly, I created a 5 year column and basically did not fill it out! Ha!
|Category||1 Year -2020||5 year||10 year|
|Financial||Automate: additional $500/mortgage payment/month|
Max out Jer and Jen IRA Contributions
Jen/Jer add $650/month to Investment Account
$333/month in B’s college fund
|Have the mortgage paid off|
Have $1M+ in accounts
Have $60k in B’s college fund
|Career||Look into getting Credential /Start process|
Continue building a blog – post at least 4 times per month
|Get the promotion||Earn $***,000/year|
Get at least one promotion
Create a body of work with my hobbies/interest
|Health||Walk 10,000 steps a day|
Sleep 8 hours a night!!
Do anti-anxiety practices
|Be of average weight|
Have no chronic health conditions
Be anxiety-free in my day-2-day life
|Love/Relationships||Don’t take myself too seriously |
Spend quality time with J and B
Make time for friends and create friendship opportunities
|Celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary|
Have a great relationship with B
Have a network of friends with whom I regularly engage
|Fun||Execute my style |
Try a new hobby
Go to 5 events every year!
|Read over 250 books|
Try something new every year
Go to at least 50 events
I found having the goals written down helpful. If I started feeling lost in the middle of the year, I revisited the list and got back on track. Of course, 2020 made some of the goals hard. I mean attend 5 events! YIKES! That did not happen. Working from home also hindered my step count (particularly after it got cold outside).
Sine I’m thinking about 2021, I thought I could make note of my progress in 2020 (how did I do? Did I do ANYTHING on this list?) and set goals for 2021.
2020 – Goals in Review
Financial – A+
I completed all the goals on this list. That’s the great thing about financial goals….you can automate them and basically have them completed after one day.
Career – A+
I also completed all these goals. Admittedly, they were not that difficult. My industry has a credential that would increase my salary, so I spoke with the organization who oversees it and had my college transcripts evaluated. They told me what additional classes I need to take before I can sit for the exam. I found a university that offers these classes and I just need to complete my application.
As for the blog, well for the most part I have posted ~4 posts per month. Some months more and some months less, but it averaged to 5 posts per month.
Health – B-
Oye. I didn’t do a great job with most of these items. After we started working from home, I barely walked during the day. I would walk after work when it was warm outside. But now that the weather is cold, I have to make an effort to get any type of reasonable step count in. I’ll definitely be re-evaluating this for the new year.
Ever since I had my son, sleep has become oddly elusive in my life. It’s hard for me to sleep a full 8 hours and I’m tired. I want to sleep. I just can’t seem to stay asleep. I could really use some advice on this one because I’ve been struggling with this for YEARS. Help me. Please tell me how to sleep better.
Anxiety. Well, I’m happy to report that my anxiety decreases every year! I have a list of things to do when I’m feeling anxious/sad, but this year the most effective “intervention” was to acknowledge I’m feeling anxious and basically tell myself this is not something to be anxious about. It has weirdly worked….although I’m not perfect!
Despite not really achieving 2/3 items on this list, I think that I have made good progress on some health-related items that were not on my radar last January. I’m giving myself credit for them here, because they were IMPORTANT and needed attention. (I guess I’m giving myself extra credit?).
Love/Relationships – B
Okay, none of the goals in this category are super measurable and the first “goal” feels a little embarrassing. The first item listed was “not take myself too seriously” and I actually think I did a great job on that one. This is one of the benefits of getting older. You become more comfortable with who you are and you start not giving a shit about trying to be what others want you to be (or what you think they want you to be). Yet, I somehow feel like I still need to remind myself to be silly and myself.
The pandemic basically forced non-stop quality time with Jer and B. Overall it was great. My only criticism for myself is to spend more one-on-one time with B.
Make Time for Friends and Create more Friendship Opportunities: I think I did an OKAY job with making time for friends and a terrible job at creating friendship opportunities. I realized that I never prioritize making friends. For most of my life, it would just happen naturally. Yet, somehow…here I am and I feel like it suddenly has gotten a lot harder in my 30’s. In addition, the pandemic didn’t help this one. I mean, I didn’t have many opportunities to do new things.
Fun – C
Execute my style – I’m honestly not sure what I meant when I wrote this. I think I was trying to say embrace what you love and do it (through decorating/clothes etc). I definitely did some of this…so I guess it’s acceptable?
Try a new hobby – Yes, I did this! I started learning more graphic design and I got a digital pad for drawing on the computer.
Go to 5 Events – I’ve attended a few (virtual events). I don’t think I had 5, but I’m excited to think in 2021 that I could do this more!
Overall – Solid B
I don’t think this is bad for a pandemic year and honestly, I think we all need our goals to be graded on a curve this year…so really it’s an A!
I’m feeling really good about the current plan and have modeled so many possible outcomes based on our current investment and saving levels that I’ve convinced myself that we’re on track. BUT I want to keep making some progress on this, so these are like extra extra baby steps.
Read 1-2 Books on Investing – I’ve read so many beginner books on personal finance that I feel ready to move onto the more complex stuff. Any recommendations?
Move $50/month into Robinhood Account – I know stocks are the worst, but I’ve enjoyed buying stocks this last year. I never invest a ton and I only invest in the companies that I really know (and generally use).
Pretty straight forward goals on this front.
Enroll in Grad Classes to Complete Certification – Well, last year I did all the upfront work to organize the “plan” for getting the credential. I guess this year, I should actually do it.
Post on Blog Regularly 6x per month – I want to make blogging a more regular habit and increase the time I spend on it.
This year it became clear that I have a few things I kind of ignored and I can’t really do that. My goals for 2020 reflect this new sentiment.
Attend all maintenance appointments and procedures: My 10 year goal is to have no chronic health issues, and I know that the key to preventing this is to attend regularly to my health. That means I will start getting my annual exam/physical and ensuring that all maintenance appointments are scheduled/maintained. I’ll have them run my bloodwork to make sure that my cholesterol and other biometrics are looking good.
Complete Cardio and Weights 3x/week: For most of my life, I’ve had some type of work out plan. But I’ve been dreading exercise the last few years because instead of feeling fun it feels like work. I am going to focus on enjoying exercises (here comes some roller blading!) this year.
Learn to Manage Stress: I have coping mechanism and know all about the gratitude lists, walks, sleeping etc. to help control stress. This year, I intend on dedicating more time to learning about managing stress and implementing the interventions.
Have a monthly one-on-one “date” with B: There is nothing like a spending a little one-on-one time with your kid! You REALLY start hearing what’s happenings with them.
Establish Traditions Throughout The Year: We’re pretty good at holiday traditions, but I think it would be fun to incorporate a few more traditions throughout the year. I brainstormed a few ideas, but would love to hear about some of your family traditions!
Send Cards on Birthdays and Celebrate Others: I use to send cards on holidays and birthdays. This kind of got away from me as life got busier. I want to revive it and just let the people I love know I’m thinking of them. A nice card goes a long way.
Make Time for Friends and Create Friendship Opportunities: A repeat from last year. 🙂 It was a good one.
Dance 3x per week: Dancing for me is like a really good antidepressant. I feel great while doing it. I feel awesome after it. Plus, I think this would count as my cardio.
Create Something Once Per Month: Since the family has been mostly stuck in the house due to COVID, we’ve gotten pretty creative with projects (we did paper mache this year!). Those projects were really rewarding and just plain fun. So, I want to make sure I am keeping up with crafting…since it’s been such a nice escape.
Attend 5 (or more!) Events: Ha! I am not letting go of actually doing things in 2021. My fingers are crossed that this will happen.
Tips for Accomplishing Goals
Well, those are the goals I hope to accomplish in 2021. It looks like a lot and it is! But I’m going to tell you a couple of tricks I have to help me complete most of the goals.
- January Bulk Completion: In early January, I will spend a day or two doing as much as I can to accomplish goals in one day. For example, this January I will set up an automatic monthly deposit into Robinhood, I will complete my online application for the grad classes, schedule my maintenance health appointments, and enroll in our company’s wellness stress management program.
- Plan and Schedule: I will review the remaining goals, brainstorm what to do and schedule it on my calendar. For example, regarding the monthly date with B, I’ll designate a day/time and decide what we’re going to do each month. Then it’s as simple as having the day arrive and just following through with the plan. It eliminates me from scrabbling every month to remember, schedule and think of something to do. Basically, I’m setting up the system for each goal to make it easy to achieve.
- Revisit the Goals: I usually revisit the goal list a couple of times a year and spend a couple of mornings updating the plan or expanding on it if needed.
- Set Some Discrete Goals: I think it would be really hard to accomplish 10 goals that require daily and/or weekly attention. I recommend having at least a couple of goals that are one-offs (you do it once and you succeed). For example, going to my annual health appointments would be discrete goal. I think even attending 5 events is rather discrete. Of course, not all of your goals can be like this but it helps build confidence, motivation and creates momentum.
- Look Forward to the Work: Set goals that align with your values and require things you enjoy doing. For example, I like to read…so reading 1-2 finance books is something I look forward to! If I hated reading, I would try to find 1-2 video classes instead. I enjoy making (or buying) cards…so sending them to my family/friends is also an enjoyable process for me. When I am looking forward to doing the work, the goal is much more likely to be completed.
- Think about the Average: You know those articles that will appear in about 3 weeks that say, “80% of people have already failed at their new years resolution.” Well, they are LAME and have the wrong mindset. Creating new routines and habits take time and some weeks you are not going to be perfect. Life just doesn’t always allow for it. Sometimes you are sick, your family is sick, your busy with a work deadline or you are just not feeling it. If you think about the average over the month/year, it will give you the flexibility that life requires. For example, dancing 3x/week is a good enough goal, but there will be weeks where I do not dance at all and others where I dance every night. That’s okay with me because it usually works out in the end. This mindset will also give you the motivation to keep going instead of just giving up when one of those off-weeks happen.
- Pay $$ and Put Someone Else in Charge: I find that my goals fall flat because of lack of planning and scheduling. For example, I have a goal to “create” something every month. If I struggle with coming up with projects or gathering the supplies, I could just pay someone to do this for me. My husband thought about getting me the Maker Crate (made by Kiwi). They send you a kit and directions for a monthly craft project. Paying them the monthly fee would eliminate most of the hurdles involved with accomplishing this goal. A similar process could be used for workouts (hire a trainer or purchase a predefined work out program), eating healthy (weekly meal delivery) and more.
- Create a Vision Board: I know this is not for everyone, but I really love doing this. I made a vision board in 2017 and I still look at it when I need a boost. It encompasses everything that I value and want out of life. I may update it for 2021, but the process requires you to think about what you want and then your subconscious will always be on the look out for it.
- Have a Way to Track You Goals: The tracking method should be as easy and as passive as possible. WHY? Because the more time you spend establishing a tracking system and implementing it, the less time you have for your actual goal (tracking should not be an extra hurdle). I can view all my transactions on Robinhood (so I can easily/passively track the completing of that goal). WordPress will track how many times I post per month, I don’t need to do anything extra. My calendar will track my dates with my son and maybe I’ll always take a picture of us and add it to a folder in my phone (same with the monthly craft thing). My fit bit will track my workouts. Whatever you do, make the tracking simple, simple, simple.
- Be Flexible: If a goal is no longer a priority or something more important arises, I am okay with updating the goal list. If 2020 taught me anything, it’s the importance of pivoting when needed.
So, tell me what you are your 2021 goals?