I’m not the kind of person who plans things out. At least, I don’t use to.
As the prospecting type, I was quite happy to go with the flow. In fact, my biggest struggle in life was knowing what I want. My friends used to look at me with amusement when I tell them that planning for the future scares me. While they have a set of goals that they strive to achieve when they reach a certain age, I was quite content with taking one day at a time. I lived by the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I still do.
But, somehow, things changed. I guess I grew up, eh? About time, too.
How It All Started
Lately, I’m into exploring the idea of personal finance and financial independence. I poured hours and hours into reading blogs and resources to help me understand this seemingly foreign concept. I learned a thing or two, but much of it is still a mystery to me.
One of my takeaways though is identifying my goals. That is where everything begins, after all. For someone who was not so big into plans, this task is a bit daunting. Where do I start? Am I fit for this? Do I even have real, tangible, and plausible goals?
Apart from lofty ideas and a ton of delusions, I have nothing much to offer when it comes to future plans. I do have this cherished dream though – being a hermit. But more on that later.
I clamped down on my doubts and decided to give this a try. Maybe this will work. Maybe this will give my faraway plans a semblance of structure.
But why am I setting my goals in the middle of the year?
Well, I was too busy at the start of 2021. So many crossroads. So many changes. I only get to breathe this month. Another reason is that I work for an Australian company that observes the start of its fiscal year on the 1st of July. I am not yet too late if I want to set my goals at this time.
Allocate an hour a day for prayer and meditation
I’m not a religious person, but I do believe there’s a higher being or beings that govern the universe. Praying is a habit I have developed since I was a kid. I just can’t sleep at night without uttering my usual prayers, nor go on a day without doing the same. I don’t meditate in the real sense of the word. What I do is to try and just be for at least five minutes. I make an effort to be present, to listen to my breathing out and breathing in. I usually look out the tall window and appreciate the way the world unfurls for another day.
Read at least one book before the year ends
Since 2017, I was on a hoarding spree. I bought hundreds of books that I plan to collect for my hermit dreams. Needless to say, I did not even finish more than 10 in the last three years. I guess you can say I’m in a reading slump and I don’t know how to get out of it. I have started on a book or two but I’ve abandoned them midway. I know I need to make a conscious effort in fixing this bad habit. Maybe writing this down and sharing it with you will make it work.
Try to be more organized at work and in life
I love spontaneity so my days are often unstructured. It is good for my mental health. But, and it’s a big BUT, I tend to overindulge and cram in the face of looming deadlines. In the next few months, I aim to follow a routine that will hopefully keep me on track. It can be as simple as drinking my morning coffee before my 7am shift starts or taking a walk for five minutes after work. I’d love to be more proactive when mapping out my weekly deliverables, too. This way, I can set a workable pace around my schedule.
Re-learn how to bake cakes and cupcakes
I used to bake a lot when I was a teenager. When I graduated from college, however, I had to relocate into another city. I forgot all about the art of baking for 8 long years. This year, I plan to rediscover this old love. So far, I only managed to bake a passable batch of vanilla cupcakes. I’m still thinking about what to bake next but I will try to do this at least once or twice a month if time allows.
Go back to writing for myself
Writing is my way of life. I earn from it. But in the past few years, I barely get the time to write for myself. Yes, I write but all of them are for work. It’s different when I write from the heart. I don’t know how to quite put it into words but writing for myself is somehow more liberating and fulfilling.
Pay Off Outstanding Debts
I’m still paying the debts we incurred more than 10 years ago when my mother borrowed money for our college education. We had leased my father’s piece of land to a distant uncle. Two years ago, he gave us back the land even though we haven’t paid off everything we owed yet. I planned to pay it off last year but the pandemic happened and we were tight with money. This year, I am determined to finally tick off that long-standing goal. I’m almost there. My target is to pay the remaining balance by October.
Replenish my Emergency Fund
I have been saving for an emergency fund long before I knew that there was such a thing as an emergency fund. It has always come in handy in the past few years. Recently, I depleted my fund when I used it for the big move back to our hometown after living away from home for almost 9 years. Last March, I had less than 10k (in PHP) in my emergency fund and I am currently rebuilding it back to 50k. I am almost 75% done. I might be able to accomplish this before June ends. If I do, I will definitely add 25k more to my original goal.
Start Saving for a Buffer Fund
I have recently come across this term – buffer fund. They say it’s a fund that you put aside for short-term needs. It should be equivalent to your one-month salary. You can use it in cases where there are delays in your salary or when you come up short of your monthly budget before payday arrives. So far, I only have 3k in the account I allocated for this. I have a long, long way to go.
Get Serious with my House and Lot Fund
My mother and I have been planning to rebuild our house but we don’t want to build on the land that we don’t fully own. We’re currently living in a family compound but the lot was not subdivided between my father and his siblings yet. I thought it best to acquire land myself. We already have one in mind and we are just waiting for the owner to confirm before we start the process of buying it.
Since it may take months or a year before that happens, I’m making use of the allowance to save up for a down payment. I don’t know how much it will be but I’m planning to set aside at least 100k. I don’t want to take out a huge loan for it so I’m trying my best to save as much as I can. At present, I only managed to save a little more than 10% of my goal. But I only started last April so I guess it’s still good progress.
Commit to Budgeting More Religiously
Budgeting gives me a headache, but it also helped me a lot in staying on course. I do this every month but I’m planning to make it a weekly habit. This way, I can account for everything. While I follow the income – savings = expenses template, I still find it hard to stay on a budget simply because I am not as strict with my budget goals. I put too much room for indulgence and it’s something I want to fix soon.
Wrapping It Up
So, there you go. My 2021 personal and financial goals are set in writing. I hope this will help me be more accountable. I know my greatest hindrance is myself, but I’m taking on the challenge.
How about you? Do you set yearly goals, too? How are you doing with them? Feel free to leave your comments. I’d love to hear from you.