Tag Archives: Goals (met and un-)

Diversion of interests

With the restful break from school, my mind found the energy to think of things unrelated to high school. Namely, finances and fitness, my two F’s on the report card of ’07.

Wait, did I just say “things unrelated to high school”? Nevermind.

Finances

I wracked up a lot of credit card debt in the summer of ’07. Now, it’s nowhere near the $37, 000 that some had when they decided to turn things around, but it’s enough I’m like, “Really? No.”

I don’t want to be my father, hiding from phone calls and cycling through credit cards. I still also owe around $25,000 on my student loans, and some to a few other organizations.

Needless to say, my net worth is low. Negative. …Just about negative the amount I owe, as a matter of fact.

So the best way to get a positive net worth, it seems to me, will be to pay down that debt aggressively.

And I do mean aggressively. Y’all know how I can be.

First, of course, some research and some personal info-gathering. My debt reduction chart shows my initially-calculated debt. This is the debt that I’m snowflaking, despite it including my student loan, which is currently more than 50% of my annual income. (Not for long, though, since my income will be increasing.)

Ah, snowflaking. I like the idea. More on that in a minute (or go read that link). For it to work, really, though, I have to know my spending habits. That’s what PearBudget is for. Almost too simple, it’s a budgeting dream, in many ways. With very little work, I can see how much money I have available in each of my spending “categories”.

I’m using Zen Habits’ “How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck” article as a resource in broad goals. I’m not freezing my credit cards, but I certainly ain’t using them. I haven’t in months anyway, so that’s not a habit I have to break. I’m using the envelope system for variable expenses like food and gas.

I, am, in fact, switching to using cash. There’s a lot of debate about the advantages vs. the disadvantages of using a cash-only or mostly cash system, and I’ve read a lot of it over the past week. For now, though, that’s what I’m going with. Debit cards make it easy for me to fudge numbers on how much money I have left to spend. Cash won’t.

Which brings me back to snowballing. It’s an idea proposed by Dave Ramsey (and as soon as the library gets a copy of the book in, I’ll be reading it) and modified by many. Paidtwice wrote the primer to snowflaking (one such modification) I’m using as a basis for my plan of action. Good reading, as it also explains snowballing.

In the past week, with budgeting and laying out what money has already disappeared since my last paycheck and what I’ll be spending in the next few weeks, I’ve already managed to pay more on my debt than I have in months.

On the positives of money (i.e. income), Moolanomy wrote a great article titled “Six Streams of Income“. In looking at my income, I have two streams and one up-and-coming drip-drip-drip. The first two are my main job and my second job at the hospital. The third is crocheting. I’m currently making a blanket for a friend of mine, who has agreed to pay the costs of the yarn plus a little extra. (That extra will likely go right into paying debt.)

That’s a tempting idea to pursue. Crocheting is fairly quick, makes cool-looking bags and blankets, and could earn me a pretty penny.

So money’s big on my mind, but surprisingly not depressingly so. Once the debt gets sliced and diced, it’ll be time for serious saving and investing.

Fitness

Ah, fitness. I let my body slip when I started teaching. I haven’t gained a single pound, but I’ve lost almost all muscle definition. I’m… gushy. Bleh.

So I made an investment in myself over Chrimmus break. I bought a set of dumbbells. Not the silly plastic ones, but dumbell bars with standard weights that you rack on yourself. Expandable as I gain strength.

I’ve made myself a reasonable fitness plan. I have too much else I want to do to dedicate more than a half hour a day to exercise, except on Saturdays. So that’s what I’m doing. Whether it’s a 1/2 hour of weight-lifting or a 1/2 hour of running (etc.), I’m getting in something to improve my fitness level 5-6 days a week.

Yes, some of it’s for looks. I’ve always been proud of the fact that I can carry a decent amount of weight on my frame as muscle. That’s pretty cool for a woman, and very nice at my mediocre height. I have a particular fetish for nicely cut upper arms, too.

The rest is that I’ve noticed how not-strong I am. If my classroom window gets stuck, there are times when I have to ask a student to pry it open so that we can have some airflow. (Especially since I’ve had no air conditioning or heat in my classroom since, oh, September.) I don’t like that. I want to be able to move stacks of textbooks easily and pick up desks with no strain. Whatever I need to do, I want to be able to do it.

I’m rather uninterested in my bathroom scale at the moment. That number’s probably going to stay the same as I shift body composition again.

I’m setting small fitness goals for myself, much like the finance ones: build the habit, lift a little more, run a little faster. It’s all functional, though, rather than revolving around numbers. Numbers are for finances right now.

To bring it back home

Leaving this blog unattended for two months has kind of hurt my soul. I miss the internet as a creative outlet and a place to vent. I didn’t want this place to become a teacher’s haven, when I come just to bitch about school, but now I’m kind of getting a second wind. I’m becoming a real nerd again, with the energy to be interested in more than one thing. I make no promises, but I am sitting here now, on a Sunday afternoon, taking the time to write here instead of grading papers.

Not yet balanced, but definitely more so than before.

Revisiting those 101 things…

Edit: That’d be those 101 things in 1001 days. Silly me for not linking.

This hasn’t been in progress nine-weeks of a quarter yet, but I’ve got myself back on a regular workout routine so that I’m back up to four or five days of 3- to 4-mile walks a week (#5). I’m not running yet, in part because I’m still working on keeping the calf muscles loose enough not to reintroduce the foot problem, and in part because I’m not keen on diverting the energy to do any kind of moderately serious rehab/training. I’m more concerned about my loss of lung efficiency and (shallow though it is) all the weight I’ve picked up since Thanksgiving. But I’m back on the road to good physical health.

I’ve also recently acquired a credit card (#21). It’s really for the Thorn and for emergencies, since I’m not keen on paying for Thorn shit immediately out of pocket.

Regarding #42, I’m up to eating several pieces of fruit about four or five days a week. The cafeteria keeps oranges, apples, and bananas stocked, so I usually grab an armful or two every morning at breakfast and pack them away.

More than goals that can be enumerated, though, I’ve met and matched some more internals goals that’re leaving me feeling much, much better and clearer-thinking. I hit enough of a bottom from stress and fatigue a couple of weeks ago that I’ve decided that the only way I’d like to go is up. So I’m going up. Cutting and slashing and rearranging. Well, not so much cutting and slashing, but definitely some trimming and rearranging.

But I’ve learned all about my limitations and my stress-quirks and the way I work and how to optimize that to a fine edge and how to dull that edge. I’d consider this extremely useful information to have, despite the craptacularness of acquiring that knowledge, because it’s changed quite a bit in the past four years.

Several weeks ago, I told Luke that I felt like I’d lost my peace. Like I didn’t feel comfortable or happy in my own skin and in my own mind and in my own life. Since then, slowly but surely, I’m realizing and/or reaffirming what I am and what I want and regaining the strength to just be without some need to impress everyone and their granddaddies. I may fuck up (like the take home test and the interview this week, and, of course, other things other weeks), but it’s my standards that matter, whether mine are lower than others want me to have (at work, for instance, where I recently dropped my position as editor of their newsletter) or higher (in Fundamentals, where I’d like to learn more than *mumblesomething* percent of the material, regardless of the class average).

Self-centered though it seems, it needs to be all about me in some ways where it’s not currently and definitely wasn’t previously.

Better than New Year’s Resolutions. Or is it?

I was looking back at my New Year’s resolutions of last year. I cannot currently run 10-minute miles for a half-hour (le sigh). If I study more or stress more about schoolwork, I’d probably need to be locked the hell up. So there’s one success. Post-undergrad thoughts are still up in the air, but I’m looking at some specific things; no internship yet, so there’s another non-complete. Doing and done the creative writing thing. So there’s two. I shed those thirty-plus pounds. Three. Johnny is dead. *shrug* Didn’t take up a martial art, but I have learned a hell of a lot about self-defense.

I’ve been following Mr. T‘s progress on his 101 in 1001 goal. The idea is to complete 101 specific, unambiguous, work-inducing tasks in 1001 days. I apparently don’t do so well with lists (see above), but we’ll see if even just forcibly listing some things reminds me that I want to do them.

The hard part about coming up with this list is calculating on what date 1001 days from now falls. Horrible, horrible math. Looks like October 1, 2007 (post graduation!), though, according to time and date.com.

Okay, I’m a lying bum. The hard part is coming up with 101 reasonable things to do in two and three-quarters years. Took me a week.

I’ll update this post as I make complete things, and I’ve got a WordPress category for it should I feel inclined to ramble about individual items.

Ready, set, go.

Number complete: 19

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