Thursday, December 27, 2007

Goals for 2008

As my copy editing teacher Raleigh Mann used to love to say, "Keep It Simple Stupid." (KISS). So I try to keep my goals/resolutions fairly simple and very attainable. Last year I really only had three major goals and I think I'm going to keep them on my list for this year and add a few more. But I think this year will be focused around three major themes: finances, career and health & fitness.

Under finances I have a few goals I would like to obtain:

1. Increase my 401K contributions

The first ten years of contributions to your 401K are so important in the long term so I would like to get up to putting in 10% of my salary versus just maxing out the company match contribution.

2. Rainy Day Fund
I unofficially have a financial adviser whom I call Poppa K. He's always getting on me to make sure I have an account that has at least 6 months of expenses in it because you just never know. This by far has been the hardest goal to reach but I understand the importance of it and I want to do it.

3. Pay Down Debt
The debt consolidation was the best thing I could have ever done in 2007. (Thanks Poppa K). You wouldn't believe how much easier and how much faster I see results in the reduction of my debt because I'm paying to one place instead of several. I just make one large payment and it has freed up some of my money. Now that I have consolidated my debt I want to put more towards paying it off sooner. I'd like to have it paid off by December 2008 but even if I don't hit this goal I know by 2009 it will be.

I plan on making major career moves in the new year and to do that I need to do the following:

1. Enroll in management classes and training programs

I actually got this great idea from one of my mentors Sandra Long, Managing Editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. (I have several great mentors) She suggested several classes and programs to build my skills and help me to obtain my professional goals.

2. Classes, classes and more classes
I work part-time at and one of the benefits of working there that I have never capitalized on is that I get to take classes and seminars for free. So I made a list of the classes I want to take through March and had my boss enroll me. I'm looking forward to the free professional development. I also want to take a writing class with Sue Shapiro at the New School in the Fall BUT I will only be able to do that if the next goal happens otherwise I won't have the time.

3. Take control of my workaholism
I actually tried to resign from one of my part-time jobs but they readjusted the job to better suit my needs so I'm staying BUT in 2008 I have to quit working so many additional jobs. This is a HUGE problem for me because I like my jobs, I enjoy working, it keeps me focused and balanced. The additional money has helped me to do things like buy windows for my Mom's house and pay off credit cards and just have fun in NYC. But I know I need to eventually quit some of my hustles so my goal is to quit by summer and hopefully in the fall launch my own company. That would put me at one full time job and one side hustle that is my own business.

4. Get Published
Several of the classes I'll be taking in 2008 through my part-time job are writing classes. So I would like to get at least one of the articles I write for these classes published. I'm targetting the pieces I write to either a women's magazine or the modern love column in the New York Times. Mia always has plenty to say about dating and relationships but is it compelling enough to get published in the New York Times?

Last but not least is health & fitness. First my two goals from last year go back on the list.

1. Get back in shape
My problem is that I work so much I don't leave a lot of time for exercise. But I know I need to either get back in to dance classes or join a gym and hire a personal trainer to keep me motivated and on target.

2. Keep on cooking
I have been purging my home for the new year and I finally put all the recipes I have saved from Essence magazine into a binder. So my goal is to try at least one recipe a month. Doesn't sound like a lot but even cooking once a month for me is a lot.

3. Read more books
For some this may not fall in to the health and fitness category BUT I have a hard time focusing. I always need to be doing 10 things at once. But reading requires undivided attention and thus it is a means for me to learn to relax more. This year I read 15 books so my goal for 2008 is to read 30 books. I'm already off to a good start thanks to the help of my girlfriends who started a book club. That's a guaranteed 12 books. And I have so many books on my bookshelves collecting dust. I also want to finish the Left Behind Series of books I started reading this year. So if I do that I'll be sure to hit 30. Being the over achiever I am I would say I want to read 30 by the summer but I'm going to cut myself some slack and just strive towards having 30 books read by the end of next year.

And there you have goals for 2008. So as you can see I have a lot of things I want to achieve in 2008 but I think they are all very attainable and there is enough variety in the things I want to do that I can do more than one thing at one time and for me that is the key to reaching any goals I set for myself.

BUT I'm going to need your help. I need my friends to support me and push me. Every now and then ask if I have worked on any of my goals. People I care about and who I know care about me holding me accountable keeps me on target. I should probably print out this blog and hang it up on the fridge at home and on my bulletin board at work. This year I didn't revisit my goals but surprisingly I did work on all of them throughout the year.

What are your goals for the new year? What are some things you would like to accomplish in the first 3 months, 6 months and by the end of 2008?

Goals for 2007 Recap

It's that time of year when you take a look back and then plan for the future.

So in looking back I looked at the 3 goals I set for myself this year and how I did in achieving or not achieving them.

1. Pay off some credit cards
Every year I gain more ground with this goal. This year I decided to take out a debt consolidation loan and it has changed my life. I'm on track to be credit card debt free by September of 2009. But I'm an overachiever so I'm hoping to pay it off sooner than that.

2. Get back in shape
I didn't do as well as I hoped with this goal. I started taking salsa and hip hop classes in the beginning of 2007 but didn't continue with it throughout the year.

3. Keep on cooking
I still don't cook as often as I should or could. I realize my problem is that cooking requires focus and I'm a multi-tasker. It's very hard for me to do one thing at a time. I can't cook and watch TV or cook and talk on the phone because that's a recipe for disaster. I did burn the hell out of myself again this year, making cupcakes...I know who burns themselves making cupcakes. But I have perfected my gumbo, my cornish hens are always juicy and my yellow rice and peas never fail as a great side dish.

So overall I'm happy with how I progressed in 2007 but there is always room for improvement in 2008.