Let’s Start this New Year Right!

Let’s Start this New Year Right!

Happy New Year!  Welcome to 2017 everyone.  Are you shocked that is it already 2017?  Yes, I am too!  2016 seemed to fly by.  How was 2016 for you?  What was good about last year?  What was not so good about last year?  And what was great about last year?

I like to take time reflect about my previous year before making plans for the coming year.  I don’t like to call these plans New Year’s resolutions.  All too often New Year’s resolutions are abandoned before January is even over.  I like to think about changes I want to make in myself and my life.  Where do you want to be at this year next time?  Would you like to have paid down your debt, have more savings, a different job, be in better shape, or have a new hobby? Whatever you want to accomplish, it is possible.  It just takes time and perseverance.  Now is the time to make your plan and start the work to get you to your goal.

Break your goal down to be SMART, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Based.  Your goal should be specific, here is an example with the following two statements.

  • “I want to pay down some debt.”
  • “I will pay down $3,000 of debt by the end of 2017. To achieve this, I will pay $250 a month towards my debt.  I will get $250 a month by cutting my spending in the following ways; eating out less, getting rid of cable and using coupons.”

The first statement is very vague, there is no plan associated with it. How much debt?  When will you pay it?  Where will the money come from?  The second statement is SMART, the plan is laid out and clear.  You know your overall goal and it is broken down by month so you can stay on target throughout the year.  You are much more likely to meet your goal if your goal is SMART.

I personally like to have a monetary goal and a fun/hobby goal each year. My monetary goal for this year is to save $8,000 for a new/used car.  I have had my car for 12 years, it is 13 years old.  It has been a bit of a lemon (I have replaced the engine twice!) and I have coaxed it along for all of these years.  While my goal is to run this car into the ground, I have a feeling that may be happening soon!  So, I want to be prepared for that.  For my next car, I will be buying a nice used car with cash.  My husband and I don’t want to take on any more debt as we venture to Financial Independence.  As such, we are saving money for this future car.

I have two fun goals for this year.  The first is to learn more about lighting for photography.    I normally take nature photography and utilize natural light.  I need to get out of my comfort zone and learn more about lighting in order to become a better photographer.  Now, to make my goal SMART.  I will take an afternoon or morning each month (4 hours total) to read about lighting techniques and practice them.  One afternoon a month may not seem like a lot, but 4 hour a month equals 48 hours total for the year. And that is just learning new skills time.  I will be incorporating these new skills in all of the photography I am doing.  My second fun goal is to host friends at the house more. 2016 has been a whirl wind for us and we feel like we have not spent enough time with our friends.  In an effort to maintain and nurture those friendships, we will be hosting once a month.  This could be a small dinner, potluck, casual fire pit or front porch sitting.

I encourage you to make a SMART goal this year with me.  What is your goal for 2017?  Leave a comment and let me know what your goal is and how it is SMART!

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