Finally Checking in on My Goals for 2014

September 15, 2014


In 2012 and 2013, I started each year by writing a long list of goals and I rocked at doing quarterly check-ins. This year, however, has been a little different. I think because my mantra for 2014 was to “do good, feel good”, I actually felt an aversion to checking in on a regularly basis; it felt too structured, and this year was supposed to be more about making continuous improvements, in order to try and become the best possible version of myself. I did mini self-check-ins from time-to-time, but I didn’t feel like writing any formal updates here – until now.

So, if you remember, my mantra was meant to do two things: guide me to become a more helpful person, all around, as well as to do a good job of everything I touched. I wasn’t aiming for greatness – I just wanted to do good and feel good about it. For the first few months of the year, I kept a mini Post-It note in my wallet which had my mantra written on it. While that helped me make a few good decisions for my finances (i.e. stopped me from making more than a few impulse purchases), it wasn’t in my face when I needed it at other times. Eventually, I wrote my mantra on a larger piece of paper and stuck it on my cork board.

I’m not a big believer in vision boards, or anything like that, but I can’t deny that seeing my mantra on an almost daily basis has helped shape a number of decisions I’ve made this year. In fact, I can honestly say I think I’ve already succeeded at “doing good” in all the areas of my life I had outlined. I’ve been successful in working smarter at my job and taking a few real vacations; I’ve continually changed my workouts so I’m focusing on healing my body and not pushing myself to reach any unattainable goals; I’ve also been listening to my body more, in terms of knowing when I need to rest (love me a good nap) and what foods I should or should not be eating; I’m always trying to be a better friend and family member; and I’ve given a little bit back to my community, too. In summary, the mantra has worked!

To go along with it, however, I also had a list of goals I wanted to accomplish this year. With just 108 days left in 2014, I think it’s finally time to see which ones I’ve achieved and which ones I still need to work on:

Boost my Emergency Fund to $10,000 – As of today, I’m sitting at close to $8,000. I don’t know that I’ll quite be able to hit $10,000 this year, but I’ll certainly try!

Contribute $5,000 to my RRSP – I’m way off track here and will be lucky if I put $3,000 in my RRSP. However, I did have my pension transferred into it, which was a great boost for my net worth.

Travel wherever my budget allows (dreaming of New Orleans, Denver, and either the UK or Indonesia) – Obviously, travel has taken up a huge portion of my budget this year. So far, I’ve been to: Toronto and Victoria numerous times, the Dominican Republic, Tofino, Whistler, Edmonton and Portland. This week, I’m going to New Orleans. Next month, Denver. I think I’ll stay close to home, after that, so I can focus on some other financial goals… but 2014 has definitely been a year full of travel!

Purchase a new bed, as well as a desk and chair – A good friend gave me his old desk and chair, when he moved up north for work. I’m still without a new bed, though, and I’d like to change that before Christmas (hence wanting to cool it on all the travel expenses).

Finish the Canadian Securities Course / pass the exam – This did not happen. However, we just extended my course for another year, so I can focus on studying again this winter.

Start communicating offline more – This did happen, and in a big way! My original thought with this goal was that I wanted to chat with the media more, and I did a little of that (and may be chatting with CBC more soon!). However, I never imagined I would plan and host two meet-ups with readers in Vancouver and Toronto. I had no idea what to expect going into either one, and was blown away by the conversations we shared. We definitely need to have more of these!

Read 24 books (or more!) – I’ve probably started 24 books (no joke), but have only finished 11. At this rate, the shopping ban for books could last 4-5 years, before I’d finally finish all the ones I own.

Incorporate yoga into my workouts – Sites like Do Yoga With Me have made this so unbelievably easy – and I’m not just saying that because my friends’ brother is the founder and most of the backdrops are of my beautiful hometown. No, it’s because everything is free! My new fave workout: Rise and shine, baby.

Donate blood at least quarterly – I donated blood for the first time in January and immediately knew I wanted to make it a quarterly goal. Unfortunately, my body has had other plans. At the end of May, I tried to donate again, but failed to meet the iron requirements (by 4 freaking points). I’ve been taking iron supplements ever since, and am still not where I need to be. So… maybe I’ll just try to do this once/year!?

Give back whenever, wherever, however possible – I don’t know that I’ve done enough here yet. Yes, I took part in the YWCA’s high school mentorship program in 2013/14, but I decided not to do it again because of some plans I have for 2015. I’ve donated a minimum of $50/month to charity, which has felt good. And I also donated the nearly 400 items I’ve purged, so far, to my local library and various charities. But I want to do more. The project I’m starting with Sarah (Daisy‘s real name, which she finally revealed!) will help, so I may just focus on that and not worry about other volunteer opportunities right now.

Despite not achieving some of my goals yet, I still feel like 2014 has been an incredible year, so far! Since I know some of my original goals are now out of reach, I’ve decided to cut a few, and write a new list of things I’d like to accomplish between now and the end of the year.

Goals for the next 108 days:

  • Put $2,100 in my Emergency Fund
  • Put $1,000 in my RRSP
  • Travel to New Orleans and Denver, then chill out at home (seriously!)
  • Buy a new bed
  • Study CSC
  • Read 5 books (let’s aim for 16 total)
  • Work on a new project with Sarah

Have you checked in on your goals for 2014? What do you want to accomplish before the end of the year?

Flickr: dixieroadrash

  • Dayle September 15, 2014 at 4:13 am

    Hi Cait!

    Thank you for the inspiration to check in on my goals…I am putting it on my to-do list for this week!

    I also have missed a number of mine for various reasons, and I think it’s a great idea to kind of revise the list and outline what is remaining for the rest of the year. I’ve also started to think about my goals for next year.

    A few things off the top of my head to accomplish this year:
    – Read at least 2 more books which will hit my goal of 18… I’ve actually been reading the Narcissism Epidemic and although I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been a really slow read for me.
    – Continue my once-per-week posts on Gail’s blog and not miss any
    – Start writing some health and fitness related posts for another blog
    – Successfully fininsh the Finance course I’m taking including writing the exam at the earliest possible time (leaving more days to enjoy the holiday season)
    – Run that half marathon in October even though my training has been mediocre at best.
    – Christmas on my cash budget I’ve already saved and find mindful/amazing gifts for my minimalist boyfriend
    – Start putting plans in motion to fix up my house to sell in the spring
    – Hit my savings goals by saving another $3700 before the end of the year (will be tight!)

    Oh my!! I have lots to do…. so I better go get started!!
    Have a great Monday :):)

    • Cait Flanders September 15, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      A long list, but I’d expect no less from you, Dayle! Always the goal setter, I’m sure you’ll achieve them all and set yourself up for a great 2015. :)

  • Charlotte September 15, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Awesome job, Cait! I love seeing these check-in posts because it’s so neat to see how things change over the course of a few months- some goals are knocked out of the park whereas others are no longer relevant. Can’t wait to see what you and Sarah are working on!

    • Cait Flanders September 15, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      I almost wish I’d done a check-in sooner, but it’s still nice to see where I’m at and what I can potentially accomplish before the year is up.

      And we can’t wait to share it. :)

  • Bridget September 15, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Looks good to me! I need to check back in mine.. the only one I think I’ll meet is getting my EF to $5,000.

    I had a goal to read 100 books and I won’t even come close… but I’m currently slugging through Shantaram which almost 1000 pages, and when I looked it I thought, “oh I shouldn’t read that, I could read 3 books instead for the same number of pages, then I’d be closer to my goal” and then I realized how freaking stupid that was and didn’t do it.

    So jealous of your travels!!!

    • Cait Flanders September 15, 2014 at 10:11 pm

      Haha, I wouldn’t feel bad about not reaching 100 – especially if you read a 1,000 page book. You’re my reading hero, girl.

  • Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore September 15, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I’m not going to meet all of my goals this year either. In fact, I’ve already revised a few of them as the year has gone one. But, I’m ok with that. I know that I’m still making progress and getting better, financially, health-ily, etc. That’s the main thing.

    • Cait Flanders September 15, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      That’s exactly right. If you’ve taken the time to revise your goals, it still shows you are actively working towards them. Be proud of that, Kayla.

  • Addison @ Cashville Skyline September 15, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Digging your mantra, Cait. And you’re doing a great job with your goals. Looking forward to meeting you in New Orleans this week! :)

    • Cait Flanders September 15, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      I didn’t realize you would be there – how exciting! If you see me, please introduce yourself, Addison!

  • Aleksandra Sagan September 15, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Reading 24 books in a year sounds like a great goal!

    I was an English major and love, love, love to read. But, now that I have an adult job and life, the more difficult I find it to settle down with a book. I should start incorporating reading more literature into my goals.

    • Cait Flanders September 15, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      That’s a good idea. I try to read at least a little bit each day, but there are many nights where I fall asleep almost as soon as I hit the mattress.

  • Ciel Belle September 15, 2014 at 9:43 am

    I dont think I will be hitting my goals either, but I have been revising them along the way. I am making better financial decisions – which I think – was the main point of placing my financial goals online in the first place =)

    • Cait Flanders September 15, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Then that’s fantastic! One decision at a time. :)

  • Money Pinch September 15, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Wow! Wonderful goals Cait!

    The goal I have accomplished for myself this year was to finish my second degree and I have done it! :)

    My goal for the rest of the year is to save $1000 a month!

    • Cait Flanders September 15, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      Sounds like a reasonable goal! And congrats on crossing the first one off the list. :)

  • Annie September 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Nice post! Always good to check in on our goals… Never too late or too early to readjust if some got lost on the way!

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now (though first time commenting I think, sorry about that ;) and if I have to check in on my own goals for 2014, I must say that you played quite a big role in my main goal this year : pay off my debt and start saving. So simple. Never done it before, though. I had on my mind to tackle my debts once , but it was never so bad that I could’nt make it each month. It’s as if your blog made me realize that I have a good job, paying more than enough, but still I was living paycheck to paycheck, and any unplanned expense would force me use my credit card, which was already always full, often more than my limit, though I sent big amounts in there every month… I had no saving (at all, like in zero, like in the day before my pay, I would have 30 dollars in my checking account, and that was it). It made me feel as if my finances were a total failure since I was this “grown up” with a good full time job, and still lots of consumer debt and no saving at all. I guess I wanted to have the lifestyle I felt like I deserved since working full-time, and that’s also the one everybody around me seems to have, without have the funds to pay for it without getting further into debt.

    All this novel to say, last year I stumbled upon your blog, read it all (or almost), discovered a whole community of PF bloggers with nice, realistic stories of debt repayment, and I decided that 2014 would be the year I would totally get rid of those 7000$ of debt that I was carrying around. Not that big of a mountain, but I’m sure you can see how one would carry this from month to month to years. I’m not done yet, but I will be on November 15 if everything continues to go so well. I reviewed my way to live, to spend, to plan. I found freelance gigs in translation to speed the process up, and I now have more savings (though not a ton) than I ever had. It just feels so good. Next year’s plan is to try for baby number one, and I simply love this feeling that our finances won’t be an issue from now on, though we’re far from rich, but happy with our jobs and lifestyle.

    So I guess, thank you for having written what I needed to read to start and hang in there. And for being such a motivation through the year, you and all those other bloggers you made me discover.


    • Cait Flanders September 15, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write this comment, Annie, and for sharing some of your background with myself and other readers. You basically described my old life to a tee, so I can imagine how you used to feel about your situation. Congrats on finally deciding to make your finances/debt repayment a priority. You’re setting 2015 up to be a very successful and exciting year. Shall we start counting down the next 2 months until you reach debt zero? :)

  • Nadia September 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Well I’ve hit some of my goals like the big one of being employed. I’m still hoping to get my driver’s license this year. I’ve gotten one credit card paid off. One student loan should be paid off by the end of the year. So while not as far as long as I’d like I’ve definitely made progress.

    • Cait Flanders September 15, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      That’s amazing progress, Nadia! Seriously, I hope you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished so far. Make sure you celebrate on December 31st, before you make new goals for 2015.

  • debs @ debtdebs September 16, 2014 at 3:47 am

    Nice check-in! Anxious to hear about your project with Daisy/Sarah (still getting used to her real name!). I’m going to be doing presentations in the community on PF, supported by the CPA organization, which I’m really looking forward to.

    • Cait Flanders September 16, 2014 at 6:05 am

      You’re doing those just sometime later this year, Debs? That sounds interesting! Tell me more :)

      • debs @ debt debs September 23, 2014 at 5:18 am

        Just attended introductory training last week. I’ve got lots of materials I need to go through and then plan my first presentations. I’m going to start either with my church or the senior’s center. Stay tuned!

  • Leigh September 16, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I think your new bed will be amazing :) I also wanted to say I think the picture for this post is just lovely! I don’t know if you take all your photos but I think your eye for composition is wonderful.

    My goals are using my savings wisely for this baby (due in a few weeks) and to find a way keep paying off my debt off while I am on EI. I’d also like to add a little to my TFSA and *fingers crossed* stay out of it this year. Next year, I will want to lose all this extra baby weight! :)

    • Cait Flanders September 16, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Aww, I did not take it – hence the image credit at the bottom – but I’d love to eventually take all my own pics!

      Congrats on your soon-to-be new bundle, Leigh! And good luck with your goals. :)

  • Kristen September 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    I think you have done amazing job on your goals. Sometimes life gets in the way of plans. I find I am always adjusting goals based on unexpected changes.

    My mantra is breathe (I can be a little intense). I have beautiful art with it and a necklace I wear on days I need a little extra help!

    Wish you the best of luck with the rest of your goals.

    • Cait Flanders September 19, 2014 at 8:20 am

      A necklace, eh? That actually sounds like a nice idea – to just have a constant reminder close to you. I’ll be thinking about that for a while now, I can tell… thanks, Kristen. :)