Happy New Year everybody! Welcome to 2019.
It always comes so fast, I don’t know why I keep being surprised by it. Happens every year.
Know what else happens every year?
People resolve to:
- Get more fit
- Lose weight
- Sleep more
- Drink less
- Eat better
- Save more
- and so on
And many people are kind of “over” resolutions, because we are so bad at keeping them.
I have for years resisted the resolution bandwagon, for this reason. But I have discovered that there is a big difference between a resolution and a goal.
“If there is a specific achievement it’s a goal, but permanent changes to your life are resolutions since you keep doing them every day and not just until a specific achievement is reached.” (source)
Under this definition, I do actually make resolutions, several times per year.
I have in the past made changes to exercise more often, to eat less meat, to create less waste, to clean more often, to create better sleep habits, and so on, with the intention of doing these things every day. Of course I fell off the wagon on a few of these things, and have tried more than once to instill these habits.
But life is a journey, a work in progress, and I do still believe in incorporating these things into my life.
For the New Year though, I decided a goal is a better practice. One that follows the SMART principles:
- Specific – no “eat better” allowed here
- Measurable – what gets measured gets improved (just ask Erik)
- Attainable – a big dream with small steps to get there
- Realistic – a thing which can actually be accomplished
- Timely – set a time limit! You need to feel the urgency
Goals, when written down and as specific as all the above, have a much higher likelihood of being completed or achieved than vague promises or following the social media crowd.
I want my goals to improve the things I value the most: relationships, finances, health, and happiness.
Thus, my goals for 2019 include:
Call one family member per week
I usually am pretty good about using the commute time home to chat with my mom. But I need to also make it a priority to talk to the more remote family members like aunts, uncles, and grandmas. They won’t be around forever, and they have plenty of wisdom and stories to share. I want my family to never doubt that they mean the world to me, no matter how far apart we all are. That will equal out to at least 52 phone calls over the course of a year!
Date night at least once per month
My relationship with my boy is the most important one in my life. Not just because we live together and see each other every day, but also because so many things depend on this relationship, like our weight and health habits, happiness, and finances too. Luckily, I think he’s pretty cool, and he thinks I’m pretty cool too. We need regular, focused, one on one time away from typical distractions like video games and cell phones and bills to keep that spark strong.
Savings rate of 50% or better every month
I have slacked on calculating this for far too long. No more. My goal is to, at the end of January, and each month, calculate our actual savings rate. This will be complicated since we both have a work mandated 401k, as well as an HSA and Roths to factor in, before any contributions to our mortgage, taxable investment accounts, and money market. But I want to do it, at a minimum quarterly, to better see where we are. The market is crazy and net worth is not a thing I can control. But savings rate, we can control, and improve.
Max out both Roth IRAs by end of February
I know there are all kinds of arguments for dollar cost averaging and putting a set amount into the market each month no matter what. But there are some potentially big changes coming in 2019 (if they pan out, I’ll tell you all about it!) and we want to put that money to work as soon as we have it and not worry about it for the rest of the year. So the goal is both fully funded Roths by the end of February to the tune of 11k*. Limits increased for 2019 to 6k each, therefore it will be 12k total! Thanks Josh for catching that!
Veganuary (ish) – one month of 99% vegan eating
This will be a way to detox from the insanely overboard consumption over the holidays. (#TMIwarning) I’m a fraction of a pound away from 160 and had a bowel crisis over Christmas, if you must know. (#sorrynotsorry) It will also ease me back into my intended way of 80/20 plant-based life-long eating. Exceptions include animal products that meet my extremely stringent criteria, and I will not make a nuisance of myself if invited to someone else’s house or event, I will eat the food offered.
The Daily Dozen – I will do my best all year to stick to this
The Daily Dozen is based on the book “How Not To Die”, which I loved, own, and highly recommend reading. I also aim to re-read it through by the end of March. It is taped to my refrigerator to make it easy to remember. Basically loads of high antioxidant foods, whole grains, and veggies. Plus water and exercise. By eating all these things every day, you have a lot less room for junk.
Do more of what is good or good for me
OK, this is the closest one to a resolution rather than a goal. This loops into the health goal, in that I want to do more of what is good for me, like eating plants, doing yoga and HIIT, and sleeping. But I also want to do more of anything that makes me happy, within reason. Obviously popcorn and wine makes me happy, but shouldn’t be every day. But reading? That I can, and should, do every day. A nice warm bubble bath? Sure. Gardening and loving my quail? Yup.
Make someone smile every day
That person can be my husband, a stranger I smiled at, someone at work whom I give a genuine compliment, or even myself. There is too much doom and gloom and selfishness in the world, we need to pay more attention to the good all around and within us. Like thanking the stranger on the bus, or Penny from ShePicksUpPennies who celebrates money wins, large and small.
Cheers to making 2019 all we can dream!