Monday, June 4, 2018

2018 Goals Update

Agenda Notepad from Anthropologie (affiliate link)

This year, as an alternative to setting broader New Years' resolutions, I had a list of smaller goals, mostly monthly or quarterly ones, that I would check off and add to frequently throughout the year. Now that the year is practically halfway over, it's high time for an update!

I haven't updated before now, even though my original list only really covered the first quarter of the year, because I couldn't actually think of many new goals to add after definitively finishing up some of the more concrete items. It took those first three months of using old You Need a Budget or "YNAB" in the intended way (budgeting only the money you already have and saving up a "buffer" to "live on last month's income" and budgeting for next month as this month's paychecks roll in) to feel like I'd adjusted fully. I refinanced my student loans, though that process wasn't finished until February. I've been working hard at the office. The little steps to being lower waste thing is slow going, as I tend to wait for my existing supple of disposables (say, razor cartridges or parchment paper for baking) to run out before taking those steps, and that takes a while. 

It's probably not too surprising that some of the goals on my original list changed a bit over time. The "keep pushing myself" fitness goal took a back seat to a weight loss-related one, due to planning for a certain procedure. For me, that kind of goal relies more on dietary composition than exercise. There was a kind of amorphous goal of maybe saving money a bit more aggressively that was implicit in the "use YNAB properly" goal, and I've realized now that the main area of my budget that I could realistically cut from is food spending (both restaurants and groceries). So if I'm going to get serious, I need to decide on a few concrete ways to start, and then stick with them. Many of you have given me very good suggestions over time, and I definitely have the cooking skills and level of comfort in the kitchen that's required to act on those suggestions. It may take me a long time to get up my resolve and energy to actually do so, however.

Now for some of the new goals I'm working through now, which should cover the next few months:
  • Keep up with my bar membership-related to-do list. Unsurprisingly for any licensed profession, us attorneys have a constant list of things we need to do to stay current. It's usually just paperwork, nothing too difficult or time-consuming, but those tasks have a way of getting pushed to the bottom of my to-do list the moment there's any other work to do. You would not believe how many weeks it took me to put together my bar admission paperwork, back in the day. At the moment, I've just finished six hours of continuing education "CLE" coursework. Next up is getting a New York State court I.D. card and then one for the Southern District.
  • Get back in to the reading habit. I seem to fall away from reading for fun every other year or so, and then it takes some effort to get back into it. I lose momentum whenever I have a "dry spell" where I try a few "dud" books in a row. I have pretty diverse interests in books, and read a little of everything: popular nonfiction, memoirs, beach reads, and literary fiction mostly. I can be picky, however, and there are a lot of good books that I just can't get into and finish. 
  • Get my travel planning done. I already know when and to where my next big trips will be, one with K to Japan this fall and another with my mom and sister to Europe sometime in the early 2019. K and I normally prefer to get our travel planning done well in advance, but we've both been busy at the office, him a lot more than me, so the travel planning keeps getting pushed further down our to-do list. It's starting to look like we're going to leave it until the last possible minute several months from now, if we don't make a point of starting soon. (For my trip with my mom and sister, it's too early to book, I think, but I should put some thought into how best to accumulate and use credit card rewards points.) 
  • Shopping slowdown? Given that I expect my size and proportions to change significantly less than a year from now, there are certain categories of things I simply should not be shopping for, including most dresses (anything with a fitted bust), structured jackets, and coats. Most tops, except more relaxed-fit sweaters or cardigans, probably should also be avoided. I'm generally skeptical of the utility of shopping bans for myself because if I see something I want badly enough, I'm sure as heck going to get it. Still, by cutting out a few large categories of things to shop for, I would expect to shop less overall. 

How are you doing with your goals for 2018? Have you set any new goals for the later half of 2018? Read any great books lately? My most recently finished book was Paul Tremblay's Disappearance at Devil's Rock, but his earlier novel, A Head Full of Ghosts, was a better book (affiliate links). They're just fairly standard horror/thriller novels, nothing too special, but I enjoy them.

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