I used to be a big resolutions person. I would make this big list in December and have all these great goals for the year. Unlike a lot of people I would actually accomplish them all too. But I moved away from that this last year. Even though it was great from a productivity standpoint it wasn’t good from a mental health standpoint. I’m the kind of person that puts a lot of pressure on myself and when I say I’m going to do something, I do it. Even at the cost of my wants, needs and usually my sleep and sanity. For me, resolutions were starting to breed unhappiness in my life.
This time last year I started this website and I was using it to force myself into monthly challenges with weekly updates. It was fun and I really enjoyed it at first. Then it started to become burdensome. I was not adjusting my challenges to fit realistically within the balance of my life. I was overworked and overwhelmed and then I realized that the only person putting pressure on me to do these extra things I had no time for, was me. I was the problem. That’s always a fun realization…
So I have had to learn to let go. I threw my resolutions out the window in July for the first time ever and I started to teach myself to be in the moment and realize it was okay to (in my idea of the word) fail. What I didn’t realize at the time was I wasn’t failing at anything. I was allowing myself to be free. To take each day as it came. I was allowing myself to set goals, but being more realistic about the outcomes and time limits and realizing the goals can shift and change constantly based on what’s going on in my life. AND THAT IS OKAY.
This was a huge eye opener for me. Around this time I started following a lot of great blogs and writers who were throwing the idea of resolutions out the window as well. Why toss on added pressure in your life? It’s great to set goals and to have plans! It’s still one of my favorite things. But those plans and goals should be flexible and able to be adjusted. One of the blogs I was reading was talking about creating a Word of the Year for yourself. Instead of a giant list of things you want to get done and forcing yourself to do them and hit target dates you go through your year with a word in mind. A word that will guide you.
If this is still confusing here is a great website devoted to creating a word of the year. Fair warning, the site is little religiously devotional so just side step that stuff like I did if it’s not your thing.
With a word of the year, goals can still be set, lists made, but with a word of the year they turn more into guidelines. The idea is to guide yourself throughout the year based on this one word. So if you have a goal to get healthier and be more fit this year, rather than setting a weight goal or a calorie limit (because we all know how well THAT always works out) you could have your word of the year be ‘intention’, and you can go through the year doing everything in your life with more intention and you can focus that word on what you are taking into your body. Not only are you leaving more wiggle room for yourself for when life gets in the way (and it will), but you’re going about your day with the word in mind. This word not only helps with a health goal, but can be focused on a work or family goal too. Go about your day with more intention in your mind. Don’t just do things to do them, feel the intention behind those actions, words or even food choices.
I like the word of the year because it’s more of a mind set rather than a specific thing you need to do. It should be a word that sets the tone for every day for you this next year.
My word for 2020 is SECURE. I’ve been getting obsessed with my finances lately, which has included factoring my net worth, paying down debt, saving up an emergency fund, and investing for the first time outside of my 401k. This year was all about gathering information about all of those things. I’d like to use this word to guide me in taking action every day in what I do. I chose ‘Secure’ over ‘Save’ or ‘Money’ because it’s the one word I felt really spoke to me about the importance of having a financial backup plan.
This doesn’t mean I’m not going to spend money! I’ve got trips planned and fun things to do that involve money this upcoming year. Key word being ‘planned’. But what my word odes mean is I’m not going to jump into any money spending without thinking about it first. My word will help me ask questions with every action I make: Did I plan for this purchase? Is it an emergency purchase? Does this help me towards my monthly saving goals? Is this necessary?
And then bringing it back around to my word: Will spending this money I didn’t plan help me feel more secure?
See how a word can guide your decision making?
I turned 30 this year and I have stared to think more and more about the future, while also trying to live in the present. I don’t want to go crazy and leave myself with $100 every paycheck and squirrel away the rest. I want to still go have a good time, see the world, see my friends, see Taylor Swift in concert again (July!), but I also want to be feel secure in knowing I planned for those things. They weren’t last minute shopping sprees placed on a credit card (I can thank Barbie for teaching me that was normal and okay).
At the moment I am only four paychecks away from having no money. If I don’t get paid for three cycles I will have nothing. Okay, I’m being dramatic. I have a husband who could pay the bills until I get another paycheck. If we both lose our jobs we could dip into 401k and withdrawal for hardship (I NEVER RECOMMEND THIS, but still it’s an emergency option), and we have great family members who could help lend us money if it really did come down to it. But I don’t want to have to do ANY of those things. I want to feel secure with my finances and my life so that if an emergency pops up I can take care of myself and feel secure in my life. After all, Millions of Americans are just one paycheck away from ‘financial disaster’.
So to avoid all that, I have some financial goals this year, but my overall goal is to feel more secure in my wealth and savings by the end of next year. I think the best thing people can do is be more transparent with their finances. We’ve been taught that discussing salary and wealth is taboo, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s also more helpful for everyone to use REAL NUMBERS when discussing finances to help others see what it takes to become more financially smart. Here are my goals, and I put these out there KNOWING that they might change or need to be adjusted, but keeping these goals in mind with SECURE at the forefront:
- Save 10K in an emergency fund
- Max out 401k for the year
- FYI the max for 2020 is $19,500 and if you’re not AT LEAST maxing our your employer match DO IT NOW. THAT IS FREE MONEY.
- Open a Roth IRA and max it out for the year
- I STILL HAVEN’T OPENED THIS YET AND IT MAKES ME FEEL SO BEHIND – FYI the max is for 2020 is $6,000
- Pay off car
- I owe $11,781.44 on my car and plan to pay it off by June – a year and a half early
My last bit of advice for a word of the year is to force yourself to see it every day. I’ve got the word pinned on my desk, face wash drawer, computer at home and even on my bedside table. It helps me visualize it every day and keep it at the forefront in everything I do this year.
What’s your word? And if you want to go this route and are still having trouble choosing a word, one of my favorite bloggers, Jessica Rose Williams just posted about her word and gave some great tips on how to choose yours including:
- What do I want more of in my life?
- What do I want less of in my life?
- Imagine yourself a year from now and allow yourself to dream. What’s changed? How do you feel?
- What’s the name of your ship that’s about to set sail to that island where you want to be?
Let me know your word!