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?

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Smarty Pig

Let me share with you a secret…

Saving money can be fun. For real. It’s always been fun for me to make a goal and work to reach it, but it’s even more fun now that I’ve come across a cool new website (and basically financial institution) called Smarty Pig. You can also find Smarty Pig on twitter @smartypig

With Smarty Pig you can set one goal, two goals or ten goals. And then you can set it up to have money withdrawn from your checking account either automatically or whenever you choose to go towards your goal. When you add to it, there are graphs and percentages to show you how close you are getting to reaching your goal.

And the REALLY cool thing–that I have yet to experience–is that other people can contribute to your goal. You can send out a link on twitter or facebook or set up a link on your blog where anyone who wants to can see how close you are to reaching your goal and help you out if they’d like. And speaking of! If you just feel the inkling down deep inside to contribute to my current goal you can do so HERE.

It’s really simple and actually a lot of fun.

Right now my only goal is my 2010 vacation. I’m hoping to save up $1500 by August so Chara and I can go on a cruise in the fall. I’ll write more about our ideas later! I haven’t been on vacation in so long and am definitely looking forward to it.

If you’d like to start saving for something in specific, you might check out Smarty Pig and see what they have to offer.

What are you currently saving or wanting to save for? If you’re not saving yet what is the biggest hindrance you face?