This post is a part of Credit Card Insider’s Financial Fitness series for 2016. (Please note: the following is not an affiliate link, I just chose to participate in this series to share my financial and fitness goals for 2016)! Credit Card Insider is focused on helping Gen Y’s and millennials education in 2016 surrounding credit since it can be scary and a big responsibility. They even have a section specifically for students here.
2016 is moving forward full-steam ahead, and a huge amount of exciting things are happening for my viewers, family, friends, and myself! All the buzz of people kicking off their 2016 goals & resolutions for the new year makes me feel incredibly happy. Two of the bigger themes I’ve been focusing quite a bit on are the double F’s: Finances and Fitness. Both of which seem to keep me in a healthy equilibrium – physically & mentally.
I am definitely one for goal setting when it comes to finances and fitness, but I practice it as a year round evolving process. When the new year hits, I always like to check in even more-so to see how progress is going. The way I do this? I keep an accomplishment/opportunity journal, fairly similar to Maggie at Northern Expenditure’s ‘Fill-The-Bucket‘ list! Anything that happens (whether it’s beating a PR for running, or getting to spend more time with the family) gets written down. That way if I experience that “I feel as if I am going nowhere” doubt, I can look back on the journal & have the ability to take into account everything I have done. The little and the big things. Sometimes, they don’t even have to relate to finances & fitness – but all happenings give me the ability to accomplish my goals.
Now, I know that life happens and can certainly redirect the trajectory you anticipated. When this happens – I practice fostering the mentality that every moment experienced enhances your growth as an individual (whether it feels like it, or not). Regardless of what happened in the year 2015, three months ago, or even two days – the triumphs and the pitfalls – I intend to see it all as progressive. Perspective is everything. 🙂
So with the way I view goals…I could jot them all down here for you – but you see, I know that over half of them are going to be completely changed. And I’m okay with that. I know it sounds a bit crazy (trust me, I’ve tried specific/measurable goals before)…but I kept feeling as if I always fell short. The kind of feeling that seems a bit more reactive than proactive.
Here’s what I’m going to do instead – I’m going to reflect on a few key financial & fitness happenings from last year. I’ll give you the run down of my thought process on the positives, negatives, as well as the outcomes & action items I’m going to follow up on this year. Half the battle is dealing with the inner workings of your mind playing tug of war on what you should & shouldn’t do. It’s a trial & error process, but one that I enjoy experimenting with! I know this may vary from your goal setting/resolutions, but this is the approach I’ve decided to embark on. Let’s get to it!
1. I’m at the gym for the 3rd time in a week, feeling great, when BAM…I’ve hit that “I’m done” wall (and it’s only been a total of 15 minutes)…
- NEGATIVES: What the heck?! I just got here. I’ve got to keep this work out streak going. I’m exhausted, and my mind & body are just telling me “stop.” If I leave now, it’s a waste of a trip, change of clothes, and I may miss out on the huge endorphin rush of a full work out. Am I really that person who quits after 15 minutes?!
- POSITIVES: Okay, I made it here. I mentally felt I was prepared. I still got a few work outs fully completed throughout the week. Great! I have more time to finish reading, or writing. Awesome – I am so glad that song came on because I’m definitely feeling it.
- OUTCOMES & ACTION ITEMS: When my body is seriously overworked, that’s when I stop so abruptly & it really isn’t the best to keep pushing too hard. It prevents me from facing any injuries, or a complete shut down that turns me away from working out for weeks at a time. On these days when my body says “stop,” I focus on stretching & maintaining my flexibility, versus toning & cardio. I also need to ensure I get the proper replenishment after my work outs to prevent intense soreness (I just don’t bounce back like I used to in high school).
2. I got a raise and/or an unexpected amount of cash!…
- NEGATIVES: I….now have more of a capability to spend money?? Yeah, I mean it’s just once, right? Next week is pay day too. I haven’t spent money in a long time, so this seems like the right time to go for it. Here comes lifestyle inflation creeping in…
- POSITIVES: More opportunity to increase my short term savings, save for that downpayment on a house, allocate more towards my retirement contributions!
- OUTCOMES & ACTION ITEMS: It is SO feasible to fall into that trap of lifestyle creep when you suddenly experience more cash flow. When you receive these increases – think about how your current lifestyle is. You’re doing just fine aren’t you, no need to increase spending right? These increased cash flow opportunities allow you to propel faster to the goals that you never thought were possible (check out: Teeter Totter of Decreased Costs and Accelerated Goals).
3. Another #FitFam picture scrolls across my feed…
- NEGATIVES: I’m sitting here eating a slice of pizza. Wow, I feel really quite lazy right about now. How did they even get that way? Is this picture photoshopped? Wait, it’s the filter. It’s got to be the filter. **I put both hands in the air & shrug my shoulders.**
- POSITIVES: That is some serious motivation. Heck yeah, I had some serious work outs this week. This person’s got what it takes to put in hard work, sweat & dedication. This snapshot is the result of lots of time spent on something they are passionate about, and that’s really cool.
- OUTCOMES & ACTION ITEMS: All pictures are a snapshot in time. If I do not know someone on an incredibly personal level, I have no idea what amount of time, energy & work was put into that incredible photo. But I do know if that’s where I want to be, I need to put in the effort & energy too. Not just sit idle. Take action. Also – results will not come suddenly. Everything you are, or become great at comes with time.
4. So you didn’t buy a house when you thought you were…
- NEGATIVES: Not building equity. Not officially a place of our own. Permanency. Home sweet home. The list continues (if you followed my journey this summer, Financial Indecision and Resolution: Renting will give you the breakdown of the whirlwind my fiance & I had just getting our feet wet with real estate).
- POSITIVES: Less stress while planning a wedding. A bit more freed up cash flow. Flexibility. Also, we can be incredibly picky on where we would like to officially call home when the time is right to buy for us!
- OUTCOMES & ACTION ITEMS: Holy guacamole, our time spent looking for a home to buy was during one hot summer when interest rates caused a LOT of action in the market (refinancing, moves, lots of inventory to choose from, and many bidding wars). Not to mention a huge factor, for the 3rd year in a row Oregon is the most moved to state in the U.S. For first time home buyers, this can be quite the daunting process when going head to head with seasoned buyers. The most important part is we got introduced to the process and had great guidance (through Jason – if you’re looking to buy in the Portland area, email him at Jasonsellspdx@century21.com!), learned a TON, and went to enough house tours to start really narrowing down what we’re looking for. We’re now propelling our savings towards a bigger downpayment, and also building up a larger emergency fund. That way if any unanticipated maintenance action items turn up, we aren’t in a bind!
5. YAY! Everyone’s getting engaged!
- NEGATIVES: (Okay, so to start with this category is pretty lame I know. Especially considering I am engaged right now, too – and couldn’t be happier)! How am I going to balance all of this? Will I have enough money to make it to all of these upcoming festivities & nuptials? Okay, okay – got to request that vacation time to head out of town for the weekend.
- POSITIVES: So. much. happiness. for all of the newly engaged love birds! I absolutely cannot wait to celebrate! I can’t wait to see her/him and the look on their face when their forever is walking down the aisle! Yes…I am a romantic, and can certainly have my girly moments. Now, I also get to spoil the heck out of this special person in my life that I can’t believe is getting MARRIED.
- OUTCOMES & ACTION ITEMS: There’s a reason save the dates & invitations get sent out so soon – for planning & preparation purposes! When I know a huge event such as a wedding is taking place in the future, I will start preparing to save sooner rather than later (need some tips on how to do this? this post here will help you out). I do not want to have to think twice for a person I care about when it comes to celebrating their marriage! I value their relationship, and will prepare my finances accordingly for their wedding.
What were some of your financial or fitness happenings for 2015, and how are you taking them on in 2016? Anything related to my experiences? I want to hear what you’ve got to say in the comments below!