Happy first full week of 2019!
I’ve shared my goals on the blog the last two years (2017 here, 2018 here), and wanted to do the same this year. Though I love the idea of starting fresh with a new year and setting goals for myself using January 1 as a marker of change, I also tend to take stock of my life in a similar way on my birthday each year in November. I make a list of more personal goals in a the same notebook each year on my birthday for what I hope to accomplish for the next year of my life. When I was 27, I accomplished every private goal I wrote down except for one—find a new job. I was then offered a new job four days after I turned 28, so I decided to count it. Some years, not all my goals come true, and many times, my goals change throughout the year. But regardless of what they are, whether or not they come true, or whether I change directions, I do think it is really important to take stock of what you want, write it down, and put it out into the universe.
Last year, the three goals I shared publicly were to save more money, eat/drink better, and take a solo trip. I’d say I really only accomplished the last goal when I took my solo trip to Charleston in June. On the money goal, I did increase my 401(K) savings contribution twice, but I didn’t grow my emergency fund in a significant way. On the eat better/drink better, my diet didn’t change in any significant way—but I didn’t gain weight, so at least there’s that, hah. I think one of the reasons I failed at the first two goals is that I didn’t attach specific numbers to them, which made it hard to measure them or work towards anything concrete. So this year, I am trying to be more specific about my goals.
So, without further ado—here are my goals for 2019. (I wrote goals to accomplish by the time I’m 29 in my notebook this year like always, too!) I’d love to know what you’re working towards this year—drop me a note in the comments below.
01. Save $5,000 in my emergency savings fund.
When I enrolled in the LearnVest program a few years ago, one of their major tenets is that you should have at least six months salary saved up in an emergency fund in case you ever lose your job or fall on hard times. (An aside that I no longer do LearnVest—I loved it and thought it built such a great foundation for me, but now I just take the principles and practice them on my own!) This is definitely something I agree with as having a safety net to fall back on during a stressful time could make things easier.
I feel confident that my 401(k) contributions are working to set me up for a successful retirement, but I don’t have as much liquid cash on hand as I would like. My emergency savings is in a high-yield savings account that’s held at a different bank than my checking account, which in theory, should prevent me from touching it. Yet several times over the past few years, I’ve taken money out to help cover moves or trips with friends, and I want to stop that habit this year and only touch this account in a true emergency. I’d also like to grow its balance by about $5,000 (or even more if possible!) so that I have more of a buffer for hard times. That sum equates to about $417/month, which I think is doable by contributing blog income and cutting down on impulse shopping / that last drink I never need at the bar.
02. Make grocery shopping work for me and cook at home once or twice a week.
I hate grocery shopping, which is rather ironic consider I love pretty much any other kind of shopping. I also find it a huge challenge to cook for just one person—I’m not the biggest fan of leftovers for more than a meal, and I can never go through frozen leftovers in my freezer fast enough to prevent them from freezer burn. Given these dislikes, it should be unsurprising that I don’t cook at home all that often. When I first started working, I usually bought lunch out and then made something really simple for dinner at home. After grad school when I started working out more regularly, I was too hungry by the time I returned home to cook anything, so I started picking up salads on my way home from class. All of a sudden, I was eating out pretty much every meal—and I don’t even live in New York, hah!
I don’t foresee myself packing my lunch again anytime soon. Lunch culture is big where I work, and most people buy their lunch at the on-site cafeteria. Since I am new, I don’t want to miss out on that opportunity to meet and get to know people, and I really have enjoyed the food at the cafeteria so far. However, I do think it would be nice if I got back in the habit of making some simple, healthy meals at home a couple of times of week, so I’ve been trying to mix up how I grocery shop. For one, I’ve been relying on Instacart to delivery my groceries so I can avoid going to the store—and truthfully, I don’t find it much more expensive than going myself; it probably is only $5-7 more. For another, I’ve realized that I really enjoy shopping at Whole Foods because they have an awesome selection of pre-made foods and their produce is really fresh. Shopping there is definitely too expensive for me to do it all the time, but I’d love to allow myself to shop there once or twice a month to help with my grocery store rut.
03. Read 62 books this year.
As I mentioned in last week’s post, I read 52 books last year, and would love to read even more books this year. In other seasons of my life, I know I won’t have as much time to read, so I am trying to make the most of this time in my life when I can. I read for about an hour or so every night before bed, and try to have a book on me at all times for whenever free or waiting time presents itself—like on the Metro, in a long line at a store, waiting for a friend, the like. 62 books is definitely pushing me a bit, so I am really hoping I can stay committed to this goal!
04. Only keep items I buy if I truly love them.
Last year, I bought some really great things, but I also bought a lot of items that I loved in theory or looked better online than they did on me. This year, I want to be really purposeful about the items I keep, especially when it comes to clothes. I want to make sure I love the fit, fill confident in the piece, and that will last more than a season.
A blogger I admire, Meg Hall, is giving up shopping for a year—you can read her post on it here. While I love that idea in theory, I don’t think it’s realistic for me in 2019. However, I do think I can focus my energy on buying fewer, better things and returning the rest. Whatever I haven’t ended up keeping in the past, I usually sell on Poshmark or donate. While both of those options are a good way to purge my belongings, both take time and effort, especially Poshmark. Returning items from online shopping purchases does, too, so I am going to concentrate on looking for holes in my closet and trying to fill those, as opposed to just buying things I see on a whim, which I also think will help with this goal.
05. Travel to a new state.
One of my life goals is to travel to all 50 states by the time I am 50 years old. I am 28 and have been to 29 states. I like being ahead of this goal and love exploring new places, so I’d love to cross a new state off my list this year. I think I am poised to do it—maybe even a few times over! I can’t wait to see what my 30th state will be.
One of my big goals that’s not reflected on the list above is to learn my new job and start adding value at work. Right now I feel kind of like a fish out of water, but every day is a little bit easier. I’m excited for the day when I feel confident at work again—I know I am going to learn so much and be able to work on so many fun projects this year!