I used to not like making resolutions specifically for the new year. It’s not that I didn’t like setting goals or that I never fulfill them, it’s just I didn’t see the point of only doing them once per year or waiting until an arbitrary time to make them. Instead, I’d set and accomplish various goals throughout the year.
However, January is a slow month compared to the several hustle-and-bustle months preceding it, making it an excellent time to slow down, reevaluate things, and, yes, set resolutions and goals. Plus my wife likes to make new year’s resolutions, so happy wife, happy life, right?
Goal setting can be an art in itself. One popular style is the SMART criteria, where SMART is an acronym where the letters can mean different things depending on who you ask. While nice, I prefer to have two types of goals: abstract goals, and concrete goals that satisfy the abstract goals.
For instance, an abstract goal might be “get into better shape.” A concrete goal that satisfies the abstract goal might be “take a 30-minute walk every day.”
The abstract goal is the why and the concrete goal is the how.
Note that concrete goals typically satisfy the criteria of SMART goals, whereas abstract goals do not. However, the abstract goal gives the concrete goal meaning.
Onto our goals.
Abstract Goal: Spend Less
We have two concrete goals for this.
One is to eat out less. Last year we limited ourselves to eating out once per weekend (although we cheated on this a few times). Our new goal is to eat out at most three times a month.
That’s a 25% reduction. Last year we spent almost four grand eating out (although a thousand of that was for our honeymoon in Iceland). A 25% reduction means we’ll spend a thousand dollars less this year, or $750 if you don’t include Iceland.
A picture I took of a grass field in Iceland
We also intend to be more frugal when we do eat out by using coupons or ordering less expensive dishes.
The other is for her to cut my hair. I got my hair cut five times last year for a total of $88. That’s almost $18 a haircut. Hair trimmers can cost anywhere from $260 for a professional hair trimmer (haha, not buying that one) to $20 for a much cheaper, but still quality hair trimmer. You might even do better if you shop around.
It might not sound like much, but it will pay for itself in less than a year.
Abstract Goal: Earn More
I’m not going to go into details, but I have an upcoming opportunity at work to increase my income at work beyond the normal merit raise. It’s not without risk, however.
Onto things I can be more specific about, I am expanding the t-shirt designs I have on Amazon to other print-on-demand sites. Currently, I have a TeeSpring account and a RedBubble account, and plan on expanding to other platforms as well. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything more specific or concrete than that.
My wife has already been on top of this one. She’s been busy the last couple of days selling leftover decorations from our wedding. I think a large portion of these items we never used to begin with.
I challenged my wife to write a book this year, which I told her I can publish on my Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing account. I’m also wanting to write an ebook, so we’ll see how that goes.
I also want to publish an Android app, even if it’s something simple and easy. I’m thinking tic-tac-toe.
I’ll continue my experiments promoting this blog and my other, dog-oriented blog. I haven’t been too successful with that other blog, but I have been successful (in my eyes, at least), with the social media aspects of that blog.
Abstract Goal: Professional & Personal Development
In November of last year, we both joined Toastmasters, and we both have our first speech next week. I still need to write that one, which I’ll be doing as soon as I publish this post (procrastinating much?).
I will be graduating with my Master’s in Computer Science this year, either at the end of summer semester or the end of fall semester. It depends if there’s a course offered during the summer which I can take.
She’s wanting to start a LinkedIn account, and I’ll help her with that.
I plan on reading more. There’s no specific amount of books, but I always want to be reading at least one book. The topic is irrelevant, at least for the point of this goal.
I will continue listening to PodCasts rather than over-the-air music radio. The radio repeats too much, anyway.
(Oh, and the book-publishing and app-publishing goals from Earn More section fulfill this goal, too!)
Abstract Goal: Be Healthier
The eating out less goal from the Spend Less section fulfills this abstract goal as well.
I plan on taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator. There are only three flights, and it’s much quicker, so there’s no reason not to take the stairs.
She’s going to continue going to the gym and taking classes there. When the weather gets warmer, we’ll walk more. The dogs will love that.
She’s pregnant with our first child and due in April, so having a healthy baby is on top of our list (despite its position in this post, let’s say I saved the best for last!). We’ve already got several birthing and baby classes lined up in the next couple of months, are hard at work figuring out the daycare things, and have been reading books on various baby topics.
2018 is looking to be an exciting year. New baby, better pay, increased networking… What’s in store for your 2018?
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