Goals: Set, Keep, Reach

Goals are vital. I’m always telling myself and people around me that if you don’t set a goal I can guarantee you, 100% of the time you WILL. NOT. REACH. IT.

Of course, right? But we all tend to live (at times) as if we are going to do and reach everything we want to without actually telling ourselves exactly what that is. Yes, we all want to live a good life. Yes, we all want to love. Yes, we all want to be different and make a difference. But what does that look like? Really?

I’m not one to say that there is a certain thing I want to “be” when I grow up, but I do have dreams and desires. But those dreams and desires will only come about in the form of short-term goals. Yes, mid and long term goals are needed as well–and hopefully I’ll talk about those soon–but if there is no short term goal that I can see I am getting closer to reaching, I start to lose hope. And when it comes down to it, hope drives us.

So…because I want to be transparent and I want to share with you specifics about my life (and I want to know specifics about  yours!) I’m going to list some of my more short-term goals in a few different areas.

FINANCIAL (so supposedly you aren’t supposed to talk about your finances with people but….why not??)
1. $1,000 in emergency fund by year end 2010
2. $2,000 in cash savings by year end 2010 (this is gonna be a hard one.)
3. $1500 for vacation in fall of 2010
4. $800 for school every semester (the rest is going on a loan….I know, I know, everyone says loans aren’t good but we’ll talk about that in a later post.)
5. Open a 401(k) and Roth IRA and begin to fund (I’m 20 and I know that’s when you’re supposed to start saving for retirement but I want to get my cash savings built  up first.

There are some other shortER term goals like a mini-vacation to TX one weekend, a new cell phone, saving for some furniture, etc, etc. And in order to meet all these goals it requires a little more attention to be paid to your finances than just putting your paycheck in your checking account and then swiping you debit card a few times. But take heart! It CAN be done!

HEALTH
Well, this is a good one, right? Sure, it’s good to have goals in the health area of your life but they are soooo hard to keep. At least for me, they are. As much as I don’t want to blame things on my environment sometimes I feel it really is the reason I’m not keeping my short-term health goals. But regardless! Here they are….
1. Work out 4 times a week.
2. No caffeine.
3. One “sugar-extra” a week. (Are you kidding me, right now?!?)
4. At least 6 hours of sleep every night.
5. Lose 10 pounds by May 1

These are goals. They are things I’m working toward. The no caffeine thing I have been doing really really well on. The second week of January I decided to knock out coffee out of my diet completely, and it was a VERY good decision. I have no more caffeine-induced, artificial energy. Only the raw thing! The other things I’m still working on. =)

EDUCATION/TRAINING
1. Read smart/successful/entertaining people’s blogs daily. (I have a wide array of blogs I read–friends about their daily life, new entrepreneurs, older entrepreneurs, CEOs, smart professionals, LOTS of personal finance bloggers. I encourage you to start adding good blogs you come across to your google reader so you can look at all of them in one place.)
2. Read books often. (Right now it’s a lot of books for school but if I have any extra time I like to pick up books I’ve heard are a must to read. I keep a “wish list” on Amazon so I always know what I need. =)
3.  Finish my bachelor’s degree.

Learning is for everyone. Whether you have your bachelor’s degree or not, you can never learn enough. So whatever you’re interested in keep learning more about it. And whatever you WANT to be more interested in, you can be by just sticking yourself out a little and finding a few blogs or books!

RELATIONSHIPS
Ultimately, I don’t want my relationships to be “goals” but sometimes I have to internalize some certain things I want to do in the near future with certain people I love or want to reach out to. Here’s a few examples.
1. More hang time with my family.
2. More networking with those I haven’t talked to in awhile.
3. More talking to strangers.
5. Not be so uptight and learn to enjoy the spontaneous fun-ness that always happens in a house full of 7 people I love dearly.

Obviously goals are better set, kept and reached when they have some kind of “numerical” value to them…because then you can measure it easily. Relationships aren’t numbers though, they are faces, and I’d like to keep them that way. So when I go to “measure” these relational goals I just have to let my heart do all the thinking.

Ok. That is SOO enough of my goals.

Now my questions for you!

What goals have you set, kept and reached lately? What goals do you need to set now? How do you keep yourself on track?

Millionaire To Do List

I’m not into the “get rich quick” schemes but what I am into is being responsible with my finances, and hopefully helping a few people along the way. I’m not the smartest person with finances but I read (a lot) of personal finance blogs and have learned a lot from ordinary people who have made mistakes and learned from them as well as who have made decisions that were straight dead on.

So there are a few things I’ve decided when it comes to my money.
One: It isn’t really mine so I hold it with open hands. It’s entrusted to me to use for the good of others and myself and to honor God and people around me. And…
Two: I would like to be a millionaire one day.

Pretty simple, really. Nothing to get stressed about. But it is a little something for me to get excited about and work towards. Slowly, but surely.

So here it is:

My Millionaire To Do List

1. Open a 401(k) plan and fund it up to the max my employer will match.
For me, this is 5% of what I make. So on a yearly basis I’ll add 5% of my income and my employer will match it so whatever 10% of my income is that year is how much will be added to my 401(k) for the year. Cool!

2. Open a Roth IRA and max it out yearly.
A roth IRA can be funded up to $5,000 a year. And what is great about Roth IRAs is that you get taxed on it as you put it in, not when you pull it out. Perfect.

3. Keep a budget and be frugal but not to too frugal.
What I love about a budget is that I get to tell myself how much I get to give myself in my savings accounts as well as how much I get to just spend on whatever I want. (Of course, the bills are in there too but not quite as exciting.) And it helps me stay frugal. Knowing that I want to be able to have an extraordinary amount of money in my savings accounts gives me the inspiration I need to live my day-to-day life a little less luxuriously.

4. Regularly find ways to increase my income.
This could be trying to get a raise or promotion at work, or starting a side business or selling random things I don’t need anymore. The more channels of income I have the more income I’ll have. And income is the best way to save more money. Cause I can live off of what I have right now. So if I make more, I can keep living off of what I have right now and save all the extra.

So the question is…why create a millionaire to do list? Why save instead of spend? Well, I don’t save for the sake of saving. I save so I can live well when I’m older. I  save so I can go on vacation later. I save so I can buy the new laptop with cash. I save so I can give to other whenever I want to.

I save so I can live well. =)