According to “The Internet” and practically everyone I know, 2016 sucked. And I can’t say I disagree… I think we’re all hoping for a better year ahead.
Recently I was listening to a podcast by Dave Ramsey, and he was talking about how to plan your financial future. Dave’s life is dedicated to teaching people how to find financial peace and personal wealth, and his method is very simple: give every dollar an assignment. Don’t just float through your month earning and spending, he teaches – have a goal, make a plan, and make every single dollar work toward that goal and propel you forward.
Dave’s teachings led me to an epiphany: this same concept applies not only to money but to personal goals and dreams as well. At work, I’m a very thorough planner – I look ahead a year or two and make plans about where I want to lead my team, breaking that down into smaller steps to figure out how we’ll get there. My team and I are never just drifting – we are always working toward the place we want to be a year from now. This planning (and a lot of dogged determination) leads us to great accomplishments. So why am I not applying that same planning and determination to my own personal goals and dreams? I have things I want to DO in this life! Why is personal enjoyment and my bucket list not worthy of the same dedication and drive with which I achieve my work goals?
For 2017, I’m making a plan. It’s not a plan for which I have to be accountable to someone else, or justify my results to anyone but me. But it is, nonetheless, a plan. It’s all simple stuff – I’m not dreaming of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or anything. But my 2017 plan includes building in more time with friends, more visits to family, and visiting a few new states (visiting all 50 is on my bucket list).
There are some personal and financial goals not included here, but in terms of fun stuff, these are my goals for 2017:
- Enjoy 8 books (either by reading or listening). I used to be a very avid, albeit slow, reader. Since the divorce, I find that I have more diverse uses for my personal time as well as a shorter attention span. But this year I want to make a point of enjoying 8 good stories.
- Take 2 classes just for fun. (All last year I toyed with taking a wheel-thrown pottery class but never actually did it. This year, it’s a goal. Other possibilities are flute lessons and a cooking class.)
- Take three day-trips or overnighters (either alone or with someone else). I’ve been wanting to visit Cincinnati’s National Underground Railroad Freedom Center for years. This year, I’m going. I have a brand new car for the first time ever, so I don’t have to worry anymore about the safety concerns of taking an older car on long drives. New car + places to go = FUN.
- Check one new state off my go-to list. So far I’ve made a memory in 20 of the 50 states. I’ve been waiting to do a long weekend in St. Louis for years. If I stop for a day to check out Brown County, Indiana along the way, that will bring my total to 22!
- See at least 10 movies this year. So simple, right? But I get busy in the evenings and don’t carve out the time to make plans with friends or take in a flick by myself. I only have 9 left to see to meet this goal, since my girlfriend Ginny and I saw Hidden Figures last night – it was excellent! I hope we are telling important stories like this in classrooms and not just in movie theaters.
- Spend more time with family this year. I have family in both Philadelphia and Richmond, and I’m planning visits to both this year.
- And last, but definitely not least, spend more time with friends. I am blessed with a wealth of good friends in my life, but we’re all busy and too much time can pass between visits. This year I’m planning to spend more time enjoying their company by scheduling times to see each other, rather than waiting for opportunities to arise. (Ginny, Tracy, Karen, Joni, Laura… this means you!)
Having these personal goals makes me feel so excited about 2017. Time to get out the calendar and make some plans! What are your plans for this new year?