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2011 Goals: First Month Status

This article was written by in Planning. 14 comments.

The year is no longer new and novel. I’ve stopped accidentally writing “2010” on my checks, though I still double-check the date before sealing envelopes. New Year’s resolutions often don’t last past the first month of the year, so it’s time to see how “average” I am — how much I am like the typical American who doesn’t stick to the lofty goals set at the beginning of the year. For the record, I don’t see dropping goals as a problem, because setting the goals, and thinking about the type of person you want to be or the accomplishments that mean the most to you, is almost as important as reaching those goals. The better those goals are, the longer it will take, too.

As usual and expected, I’ve already had some successes and not-yet-successes in 2011. Here is how I’m doing so far in comparison with my goals for 2011.

My income for the goal is to earn $100,000 more than I earned from just my non-day-job revenue last year. January was a promising month. I don’t know if I’ll be this lucky later in the year, but I’m taking this as a good sign. A quick introspection: if you look at the words I used in the last sentence, I’m attributing January’s success to external, uncontrollable forces like luck. I should continue to see my success as a result of my hard work and focus, and possibly a seasonal trend.

When I set my goals for net worth, I noted that the bottom line will be slightly out of my control due to how much I have invested in an unpredictable stock market. It’s not completely out of my control — I could change my investments or pull my money out at any time. I won’t, though. I accept the short-term volatility in the stock market in return for a chance at excellent performance over time. I’ll publish my net worth report shortly. With the S&P 500 up 1.49% on the year as of writing this article, and with significant income this month and limited major expenses, I expect to see a health increase since December.

With my investments, I receive a score of “didn’t succeed yet.” I should have opened my Individual 401(k) by now, but I haven’t finished with the applications and forms. Thanks to my delay, I missed a better opportunity to buy into the stock market. Now that I’m between 401(k), I’m not gaining the advantage of automatic investments. I resolved to invest 10% of my income to retirement, and I haven’t yet put this in place a system for ensuring I accomplish this.

I set a goal for myself to take a little more time out of my life for photography. Specifically, I directed myself to have at least two photography sessions each month. Some of my plans in January were thwarted by a number of snowstorms, and I preferred not to take my photography equipment out in the bad weather. I managed to fit only one outing in January, taking photographs of a friend’s band performing at a local cafe and bar. I do have my second shoot of the year, a portraiture session with a vocalist, scheduled for this week. Just like a flexible budget, three shoots in February can make up for the one shot in January.

I have good news with my health goal. I resolved to lose fifteen pounds in 2011 through more exercise and better nutrition. I’ve already lost five pounds. I mentioned I’ve been tracking my exercise with an Android application, and it helps me see how, once again, the weather is thwarting me from getting done what I want to get done. I haven’t been running as often as I’d like (three times each week) due to snowstorms. However, this is just an excuse. If I wanted to, I could run in the snow. I could buy a treadmill. I could shovel my way to a local gym. I need to get back on track in February and lose another ten pounds or more.

Although I’m not meeting all of my goals yet, I still believe it’s better to have these goals and continue working towards them rather than what seems to be a new trend: eschewing goals because typical Americans give up within a month. I don’t know any typical Americans. Everyone I know is a unique individual who has their own motivations, desires, and challenges. While it’s likely that, on average, people trend towards “typical,” that’s not how it works when looking at any one individual. It may be popular to forgo setting goals this year, but overall, those who set goals and think about their ideal identity have a much better chance of working towards their ideal than those who give up before they start.

Did you set goals or resolutions this year? How are you keeping up?

Photo: ollesvensson

Published or updated January 31, 2011.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

Yes! I am going to include my progress weekly (Friday) on my blog to keep me motivated and accountable. This is new to me, making it public. We’ll see if the results are better or not by year end.

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avatar 2 TakeitEZ

Nice review of your goals. Flexo. I have three goals that I am putting into effect starting tomorrow (I know, I know..a month late, but better late than never).

#1 Exercise four days a week for at least 30 minutes

#2 Eat healthier and less food

#3 Complete my A+ Certification by July 2011

I made a more detailing the steps on how I would achieve each of these on my notepad and TomBoy note application. Wish me luck…..uhhh I mean wish me hard work and great results!

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avatar 3 Donna Freedman

You still write checks, too? I feel less alone.

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avatar 4 skylog

i appreciate this comment. i purchased new checks at the end of 2009, as i only had three left. i should have thought about this a little longer…..i still have two left. the only one i wrote in 2010 was to a friend because i was trying to finish off the old ones.

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avatar 5 Anonymous

I’m a terrible goal setter but I guess that has the side effect benefit of not failing on my goals! I guess my main ambitions for this year are to increase the exposure of my website and to secure a promotion at my day job. Those things aren’t written down anywhere though, so I guess I have a ways to grow with this New Year’s resolution thing ;)

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avatar 6 20andengaged

My main goals for 2011 are to eliminate my credit card debt and lose 20 pounds. I know I’m most likely going in the opposite direction for the weight loss, unfortunately, but I went grocery shopping and bought more healthy food for the month, so I’m looking forward to that. I just need to get the motivation to get to the gym. As for the credit card debt, it’s hard because of my lack of income, but I’m hoping to use my tax refund towards eliminating the balance on a couple of cards.

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avatar 7 gotr31

I think you are right about the importance of deep introspection into one’s life. It is necessary to have a deep desire to improve yourself for true change to take place.

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avatar 8 eric

I set some general goals but nothing too specific. It works for me and I’m still on track. :)

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avatar 9 Anonymous

I’ve actually started my goal process of differently this year in that I have a larger goal to finally clean up my finances but rather than coming up with some grand ideas on what I should achieve I’ve been using January as the month to take a really hard look at the numbers. While not as glamorous this will really let me set the stage for the next few months and its slowly working. Over the next week or so I’ll really narrow what I saw in January and start making changes and setting concrete measurable and achievable goals (I’ve already started with some short term goals for my net worth)

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avatar 10 faithfueledbennetts

I did not ‘officially’ make a resolution, but, I would like this to be the year my husband & I are finally out of debt & I think we can realistically do it. I would LOVE to start 2012 with a clean slate free of debt and never look back!!

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avatar 11 4hendricks

I need to lose 20lbs, have lost any desire to do so. Need to pick that desire back up.
Really need to earn more income, however with our career fields, we are lucky to have jobs in our area, we will see what the future brings. Good luck!

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avatar 12 Cejay

I set a few goals and have not done that great on any of them. I resolved to exercise more and lose 35 pounds this year. I have lost 6 pounds but the exercise has been nonexistant. I am going to get my home in order and declutter. I have gotten some work done on my closet but not much else. I resolved to entertain more and that has also been thrawted by some snowstorms. I have entertained outside of the house and have a lunch date tomorrow with a new friend. Work goals are not worth mentioning so lets not talk about that. But I have gotten a start on some things and know where I need to pick up the pace so that is good.

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avatar 13 Anonymous

When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Appreciate it!

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avatar 14 lynn

I’ve never set a goal for the first of the year. I think about things and ‘move forward’ to a goal. Last month I decided I would do some fun things each month. I went hiking, had a picnic with a friend and went to the library. It was nice, but I found out I prefer to do things at home. Watch a movie or garden. My fun is someone else’s work. I found out I am a low key person who enjoys quiet and nature. And I finally accepted this.

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