Sunday, October 17, 2010

Are You A Goal-Setter?

I’m really curious to know. I’m not. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have goals. I set targets in my mind…I’m really good at planning, just not so good at the execution stage of the game. And I’m no good at things like New Year’s Resolutions. Never set them. I don’t have a 5-year plan. Or even a 10-year plan.

You would think that an organized, anal-retentive type-A person like myself would have these things, wouldn’t you? I mean, I have some goals in mind, but nothing set in concrete or anything actually written out on paper. And those goals can change at any given moment…for any given reason. So yeah, pretty much that means that I just don’t have them, right?

By now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, huh? I know that I have a tendency to “ramble” a bit…understatement of the year! When I wrote the other day about how I’ve managed to save almost $500 in less than two months’ time, it really got me thinking. It made me think about how I did that without even really trying to do that…so what could I do if I set my mind to it? How could I make my money (what little I might have!) work smarter for me so that I could save even more?

What I mean by that is that if I applied a little bit of what I’ve learned in the past two months to more of my financial “life” how much could I really end up saving? If I could save $500 in two month’s time…doing nothing more than clipping a few coupons and shopping a little bit smarter…what could I save if I really TRIED?!?! If I did just what I did the past two months, I could feasibly save somewhere around $3,000 over the course of a year. So if I could do that without really trying, then what could I do if I tried?

And what if actually took the money that I saved each week and put it into a special spot? Like a new account, or my sock drawer, or wherever it is that I like to squirrel my money away to…would watching it add up motivate me that much more? I think that it would…I mean, if $500 could motivate me to do all of this thinking, what would seeing $1,000 or more do?

I talked it over with Brent the other night, and although he doesn’t exactly share my “level of enthusiasm” about the topic of money and savings that I do…he sure does like the rewards that it brings about and he’s on board with whatever I want to do. I think that I’ll continue to do what I’m doing for the rest of this calendar year, but maybe try to incorporate my goal into a New Year’s Resolution of sorts. I know, I know, it’s only October! But believe me, the holidays are right around the corner and it’s a small miracle that my Mom hasn’t asked us for our Xmas list yet…so thinking about a New Year’s Resolution this early isn’t really all that early.

I think that it’s not too early to think about these things, mainly because in order to make my money work smarter, I need to really take an honest look at how we spend our money. I think that I know what we spend money on, but I really need to take the time to look at our actual budget versus my “in theory” budget because I’m sure there’s a vast difference between the two! That means pulling financial records on all of our accounts and really looking at the transactions…maybe making some charts and graphs and doing all those nerdy things that makes me happy…insert happy, longing sigh here.

And since this is all new to me…the lone person in the room that doesn’t actually set goals or resolutions…I’m wondering how you all set your goals. Or if you even do. Maybe I’m not in the minority as much as I think that I am!

When do you start thinking about your goals? How early is too early? Do you start thinking about them now…or the night before/after the new year starts?

Do you physically write them out somewhere? Do you publish them to at least one other person so that you’re a little more accountable?

How do you celebrate when you meet your goal? What happens if you don’t meet your goal?

These are all things that I’m wondering about as I start making my “savings plan” for 2011. I also think that I need a catchy sort of name for it…Brent laughs and rolls his eyes at me…but I’m a girl and if that’s what I want to do, then that’s what I’ll do! I’m still working on that aspect of it…the name seems slightly less important than the actual goal itself, although there are days that I might actually argue that point.

Any advice that you could throw my way would be really appreciated! I’m trying to fumble through it…but a little help never hurts…LOL!


Pamela Fagan Hutchins said...

By all means, make a catchy name for your goal, and a logo, put it up on the wall where you can always see it and chart your progress. It's visually rewarding, and awesome. I set my goals ahead of time, I build spread sheets with charts, I look at progress in intervals. I believe that what we measure we can improve, and that we measure is what we focus on. So, pick those goals wisely, measure, and never let it leave your mind or sight. I wish I could say how I handle not meeting goals, but, and this will sound terrible, but I never let myself fail to meet them. I will KILL myself to meet a goal (it's a disease, I know). I will revise a goal that becomes unattainable b/c of things outside my control, but that's about as soft as I get with myself. Ha ha. I don't advocate my level of insanity, but I can tell you that being concrete, visual, and specific makes a difference. And when I work with employees on it, remember: SMART -- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound. :) Sorry, I could go on about goals for days, I love them so much. My husband says I'm so goal oriented I walk in a 30 degree forward lean. Ugh.

A Mother...Again said...

@ Pamela - what GREAT advice! Thank you SO much...I'm taking notes and going to put it all into effect soon. I'm glad to know that I have a resource to turn to if I have any sound like an expert! :)

Amber said...

I love your goals! I am very much a planner. However, we've been through some major transitions in the past year or so, and I have rather "fallen off of the wagon." I look forward to following you in the future. I found you via the Monday mom blog hop!

Nikkolish said...

Great ideas! I love that you are so motivated. I must admit that I'm somewhat of the same type of person as you. Totally Type-A, but a tad lacking in the execution as you put it. I think if I had some of Pamela's motivation (and spreadsheets!) I might actually do better with the execution. You have motivated me to set some goals in this area. Thanks!