What does it take to get from here to there?

Generally I’m not much of a goal setter. This often surprises people who know me because I tend to get quite a bit done and I don’t procrastinate too much (though procrastination does sometimes help spur me to action). I probably fit the typical mold of a goal-oriented individual. I plan projects out in advance, see all the details, express strong opinions, and I’m fairly driven. Still, when it comes to long-term goals, I’ve had few.

My goal averse outlook is beginning to change. Over the past year, I’ve set specific long-term goals. Perhaps my Saturn returned. Perhaps I finally grew up. Perhaps I got bored of the perpetual day-in-day-out without having anything specific on the horizon. What I’ve noticed is that I’ve accomplished these goals much faster than I initially estimated. The act of simply setting and stating the goal almost wills it into being. Of course, it takes work and discipline too, especially financial goals and lifestyle changes. But the simple act of naming the goal and taking the initial steps begins to set the change in motion.

Where are my goals leading me?

Basically, I want the good things in life–including time–without having to spend a lot of money. In fact, I want the good things while spending less money. I want to change some of my habits and move towards greater freedom, financially and otherwise. But I don’t want to sacrifice certain activities I love, such as decorating with stylish finds, hosting parties and gatherings, and having enough to give to charity and otherwise make a difference in the world.

I’m not entirely sure what the end result looks like, but I have identified some goals, some steps, to get me there.

This past year, my accomplishments include:

  • Buying a home! My husband and I purchased a townhouse style condo last spring. This choice made a lot of sense for us financially and really improved our quality of life. That said, taking on a mortgage is a delicate balance. It can certainly end up making life more complicated if borrowers don’t take the time to fully consider the implications.
  • Paying off my credit cards and car loan.
  • Cooking at home more. Or, at least, eating at home more. My husband is the primary chef in the household, although I do know my way around the kitchen. And I love to bake.
  • Spending less money and discovering the sense of security that comes with this.

This last one was huge. Wanting and spending less brings about a huge sense of relief. It’s a mind shift that can’t quite be put into words. It has to do with feeling satisfied, secure, and worrying less.

My current goals include:

  • Fully fund our emergency account. I want to accumulate at least six months worth of living expenses in our savings account. The down payment on our condo wiped out a good chunk of our savings and I’m ready to build it back up, stronger than before.
  • Decorate our condo by using everything we already have and only replacing or purchasing what we absolutely must. And, more importantly, find inexpensive ways to do this.
  • Write and create more. I’m happiest when I’m making things. For a long time, this was almost exclusively limited to oil painting but I’m ready to try more media.
  • Start a little side business. I’m scheming, but I’m not certain of any particular plan yet. I enjoy my job but, in my heart, I know I’m meant to be an entrepreneur.

What are some of your goals for yourself? How do you plan to make your life simpler, and better, at the same time?

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