Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions 2010

For almost twenty years I have made New Year's Resolutions to coincide with the year (7 in 2007, 8 in 2008, 9 in 2009, etc). So here are my ten resolutions for 2010 (it was either ten or zero and I'm not a wuss--I'm not afraid of 10 resolutions!). However, I am doing something a little differently for the new decade. I wanted resolutions that can broken down into SMART steps: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. It took a long time to develop resolutions that fit the bill and weren't along the "get fit/lose weight/save money" line.

So without further ado:

1. Max out a Roth IRA automatically. It's not enough to max out a Roth this year--it needs to happen automatically so I can best take advantage of the compound interest.
2. Pay down at least half my student loan debt. That’s about $9,500, but I think I can do it. I guess it will come due in August, when I graduate--I'm not waiting the six month grace period or anything like that. Basically as soon as I get my last reimbursement from work, I'll start paying.
3. Give to charity. This is something that's really been missing from my  personal finance philosophy. I do give on a one-off basis when something really strikes me (like MoneyMateKate's Creative Christmas Challenge) but I want to do some research, find a charity/charities to support and pledge to give a certain amount or percentage per year.

4. Finish graduate school while maintaining a 3.86 GPA and turn in my thesis early. I have till August but I want it done in May. I'll also be paying for the remainder of the degree out of pocket.
5. Read more than 100 books. I was so close this year--I read about 94 books in 2009. I've broken 100 books in years past (I've been keeping track for about six years now) and now that I'm done with the school-work intense classes for my degree, I want to get back to it.
6. Cultivate a more positive attitude. This one's hard to make SMART, but I think it's necessary. I tend to look on the side of "The glass is half empty, and the water inside's probably polluted anyway, oh god, who cares, everything's terrible!" and it's tiring and irritating. I'm going to try to look on the brighter side, particularly in my trigger areas, like noises I can't control or getting frustrated while cooking.

7. Take the stairs whenever possible. This is the single easiest thing I could be doing to be healthier. I already walk anywhere that's walkable, but I could climb four flights up and down every day at home, which is not insignificant! Unless I'm carrying lots of groceries or pushing the laundry cart, I pledge to take the stairs.Certain heels give me an out also, but I promise not to overuse that excuse.
8. Seven minutes of yoga per day. Dr. Oz's seven minute workout (via the New York Times' realistic resolutions article) isn't just yoga--it incorporates push-ups and sit-ups into a pretty all-inclusive workout. And I can carve out seven minutes a day, at least three times a week to start.

9. Develop a regular posting schedule for my "real name" blog. I'd like to eventually be known as an expert in the industry and this is as good a way as any. Three to four posts a month to start is reasonable, probably developing to more like three posts a week.

10. Make less of an impact. I just read No Impact Man, and am really inspired. I'd read his blog a few times and couldn't quite seem to get into it, but the book really stuck with me. As a result, in 2010 I'm committing to make less of an impact. I'll use re-usable bags more often, buy items with less packaging or buy used, turn off lights more often and take other steps to try to reduce my impact on the environment.

Well, there it is!


  1. I have the same reading goal (and have also been keeping track of how many books I read for 5 or 6 years now!) Having a goal in that area is really motivating, especially because it helps keep me off the internet when I'm not being particularly productive.

    I would love to read your "real name" blog, not just because I like your writing, but because I'm really interested in the industry. I understand if you want to keep that totally private, though.

  2. Good luck with your resolutions! :) I'm sure you can do it.

  3. Best of luck with your resolutions! I really like the idea of doing 10 resolutions for 2010. One of my goals this year is to be more environmentally conscious and to reduce my footprint. I am donating things I no longer use to goodwill, reusing things, using cloth napkins etc...

  4. I think I need to do monthly resolutions, or yearly ones with 12 steps each. Oh my, that sounds like I have an addiction, lol.

    Hint for the charity thing - charities would rather get regularly scheduled monthly contributions of $25 than a $300 check once a year. It gives them a bit of secure funding for their programs, something to work from. If I led a normal life with a regular income and regular hours, this is what I'd be doing.


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