At the start of every year I like to set goals and reflect on what was accomplished.  Here’s what I had set as an objective last year:

1.  Buy a House. It’s time for Teresa and I to get a permanent address in South Minneapolis (hopefully.)  We will start the formal process of getting a lone and looking at houses pretty soon after getting back and can formally move as early as March, though we have a window of 8-10 months to find something we like.  This is a big step and something we’ve been thinking about a long time.  I’m excited about it.  When we do get a house, I’m hoping to get another dog, similar to Stella but with a different color.  We have a list of things we need in a house, and a fenced yard is one, which would help with the said new puppy.

2.  Pay off XX,000 in Student Loans off. I’m not quantifying this as it’s really not that important for others to understand just how much cash goes to it, just know it’s a lot of money.  I have a big amount out in loans and you’d flip your wig to see how much interest in generates.  They are 8% interest!  Most people I tell that reply with something to the effect of “WHAT?  That’s near criminal!”  Bad timing I suppose, but that’s what federal loan rates were when I went back.  Regardless, the faster it’s paid off the faster I can invest in other things, so the next few years those loans will be a big target.

3.  Lose 10 lb. and end 2013 in the 160-165lb. range. This was definitely one of my resolutions for 2012, and honestly I think I did pretty decently.  I lost 10 lbs and am roughly 173-175lb on any given day.   Losing weight is not easy.  But I’ve had a big swap of fat for muscle and look better by far than I did before starting the regimen.  A big part of this goal will be to alter my eating habits.  That’s always my albatross, but after getting home it will start.  Lots of lean meats, beans, apples and other fruits combined with a good exercise regimen.  As part of this goal I’ll also be looking into a new physical activity to combine with normal gym routines.  More to come on that, but I’m not sure what I’ll do as of yet.

In terms of progress, numero uno is signed sealed and delivered.  We have a great house in Bloomington that’s big enough to live in for a looooong time, should we choose to.  Regarding number two, I didn’t state precisely how much to pay off as a target, but it was a good size number and I also paid off slightly more than my objective.

The last goal was where I fell short.  Although I’ve made significant progress, I am still roughly 170 lbs.  That may not sound significant, but the amount of exercise and change in types of exercise feels like a win.  A lot more squats and core work, as well as a fundamental shift in how many calories I’m intaking has been a big improvement.  Also just being more aware of health and how decisions affect it in an ongoing manner is valuable.

Regarding this year, my objectives are more of the same:

1.  Pay off XX,000 in Student Loans off. Again no need to go into specifics as finances aren’t important in terms of actual amounts, but it does require discipline and a consistent effort to not spend too much on frivolous things.

2.  Save More Discretionary Income for Long Term Finances. Being an adult is pretty boring when it comes down to it.  You have to think long term and be conservative in order to make sure you can take care of yourself and family.  That’s what this goal is about.  I’d like to start purchasing stock from the company I work for (a great organization to say the least), put away money in a Roth IRA for both 2013 and 2014, as well as build up our emergency funds.  This is a lot of saving, but can be done if approached diligently.

3.  Lose another 5-8lb. and end 2014 in the 160-165lb. range. If it takes two years, I still got there, right?  :-)

4.  Take a few trips with Teresa to places we haven’t been to before. This is a bit contrary to my other goals as it takes money to travel, but there’s also a time/ability factor to travel.  If we want to have kids, trips are harder to organize and there are only so many years you have to do so.  Nobody on their death bed says, I wish I would have travelled less and spent more time at work.  Breaking away from work is harder and harder for me, so that makes this a very real goal.

Many people set goals for a new year and I’m no different.  What many people don’t do is write them down and then hold themselves accountable.  These goals are actually pretty simple, but they require spending time every day and approaching them consistently to achieve.  I find that writing them down makes me feel more accountable — it works for me and it might for you too.

I still would like to get a best of music post out for last year, hopefully I will do that soon.

All the best to you and your family this year!  Best of luck on your aspirations — I’ll leave you with a quote from Walden, my favorite book:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!  Live the life you’ve imagined.”