Resolutions Update, 01.25.11

At the end of 2010, Jolie at Shaking the Money Tree graded herself on how well she did with her goals for the year.  I think I’ll try the same for my 2011 resolutions thus far…

Resolution #1: No using my phone in the car.: C- I’m bummed that this one comes first on the list.  My hope was to have ZERO phone usage, so even though I’ve been better, better doesn’t count for too much in this case, as it’s a matter of safety (if it wasn’t an issue of safety, I’d go easier on myself on this one!).  For instance, I have answered my phone and then pulled over to talk, and I’ve still been texting at stoplights sometimes.  An improvement over driving and talking, but it still isn’t what I was going for.

Resolution #2: Keep car cleaned out. A+ This is going really well!  Doing this daily isn’t bad at all.  I’m glad I’m in getting into this habit before classes start back next week and I’m commuting daily.

Resolution # 3: Allow 45 minutes minimum to get to school or work. A+ This has such a big impact, I’m glad I’m doing this.  I’ve only been using this for work so far (next week I’ll add in school), but I have shifted to where this leaving time feels like I’m on schedule, not ahead of schedule (so I don’t dally just because I think I have the time to spare).

Resolution #4: Make quarterly resolutions. C+ If you remember, the catch with this one was that I could change my mind and do weekly or monthly resolutions.  I haven’t done so well with the resolution I had in mind, which was to keep a daily journal for jotting down things I’m thankful for and things I’d like to include in my prayers.  Even though I only kept up with that for a week and a half or so, I have done a pretty good job of working towards smaller goals: pursuing more “side hustle” opportunities and working on getting my computer organized.  I also got my room in livable shape.  So, I have been focused on little goals, just not the ones I’d planned.

Resolution #5:  Read a non-History book each month (or, at least, a non-assigned book). A+ For most of January, I wasn’t making much progress on the books I thought I’d be reading.  Then, when I was at my boyfriend’s house this past weekend, I found Into the Wild. Apparently all I needed was a book I could get lost in, and that I did.  Interestingly enough, it is recommended here as a thought-provoking book with a minimalist theme.  I’m not much for writing book reviews (grad school knocked that out of me), but it’s definitely worth the read!

Resolution # 6:  Create a home inventory: a) purge unnecessary and unused items via donation or sales, b) organize remaining items, c) itemize and record items. A+ Choosing to participate in the Declutter Challenge 2011 has been the best step I could have taken towards this resolution.

Resolution #7: Implement an exercise calendar. This is a tough one to grade.  Yes, I made a calendar, and yes, I marked the days on it that I exercised.  The problem is that it is January 25, and I only have two days marked with an “X.”  That is not exactly what I was going for.  So, while technically I should get a good grade for this one, I don’t feel like I quite deserve it.  At least I have been thinking about exercise more often than last year!  🙂  Maybe thoughts will turn into action for February… perhaps a B is an appropriate grade for January?

Resolution #8: Pay myself first. A+ These days, putting money toward my savings goals is the most exciting part of payday!  While my amounts are small, the importance is big.  I’ve been able to put some extra income streams toward savings goals, too.

Resolution #9: Daily Financial Tracking. A+ This is the practice that I started in October; it’s still going well!  This month I have started recording the amounts I put toward savings, too.

Resolution #10: Calculate my “Actionable Net Worth” monthly. A+ This was only a one day commitment, but I did it!  I’ll post more about this after I calculate February’s.

Resolution #11: Give some money away. A- My plan for the year is to give $250 to my church and $150 to other causes/organizations/charities.  I have given 1/12th of the church contribution, but I haven’t given any to any other causes.  A guy from NPR called and asked if I’d make a donation again this year.  I told him I would love to, but that I wasn’t able to that day and asked him if he could call another day.  He said he’d call in a few weeks.  I plan to give NPR more than 1/12th of my “other” fund, though I’m still not sure exactly how much.

Resolution #12: Open a Roth IRA. A I haven’t saved very much for this in dollars, but I have done pretty well percentage-wise.  I have made three contributions to my Roth IRA fund (the account at ING where I’m saving up to purchase a Roth IRA) this month: $35.74, $25.02, and $25.  That’s not too bad considering I’m trying to build other savings accounts, too.  Oh, and that my January 16 paycheck was approx $140 less than it was supposed to be because of days missed on account of snow.

I’m pretty pleased!  It’s easy to see which things are coming to me pretty naturally and which ones are going to take a little extra effort.  I gave myself several A+ scores, which might make it seem like my resolutions were too easy, but the funny part is that I hadn’t been doing them before, even though they’re not too hard.  A conscious decision to make a change + a tiny bit of effort = big results!

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