Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 New Year's Resolutions Recap

 Here's a final look at how I did with my 2010 resolutions.

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. Well, I started out the year automatically contributing and then maxed it out in September. I guess I meant that I'd rather do it as I went instead of all in one go just before the opportunity ended in April of the following year. A
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. I paid down about $8,000 before we decided to pay the minimums on loans and build up our emergency fund so Peanut could quit his job and freelance. A
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. I gave four times as much in 2010 as I did in 2009, which is still a pitiful amount compared to my income. But I didn't do it in a methodical manner, which was a point I made here. C

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. I was not allowed to turn in my thesis early (guess they want you to have to pay for that second class!) but I kept my GPA up and got an A- on the thesis, and I'm now guest-lecturing for my thesis advisor. A
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. And the final count is.....132! Some of them were "gimmes" like wedding planning books but still. I blew away my own record. I'm convinced that this is because of my Sony eReader -- I read about 20% faster on it, partly because I always have it so I can read at any opportunity, and when I finish one book I can start another. A+
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. I did pretty well with this, I think. There's still room for improvement, but I am a happier person than I was last December. B

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. I made it further into the year than I expected with this, but I still quit before the year was up. It got too hot or I got too tired or whatever, and I bailed. Still, I saw results -- last week when our elevator was temporarily out of service, I could walk up the four flights without getting out of breath, something that was absolutely not possible at the beginning of the year. C
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. The biggest fail of all -- I bailed on this in the first month. F

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. This is another abandoned goal -- I actually completely shut down that blog and don't own the domain anymore. My desire for privacy outweighed my desire to blog publicly. I don't consider this a failure, though, since my priorities changed so drastically. No grade.

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. I still have so much room for improvement here. I'm not doing the Fake Plastic Fish challenge or the 100 Things challenge or anything like that. Still, I've made a point to do the things I said, and I consider my impact on a daily basis. B

Incorporating these goals into my monthly goal recaps really helped me keep them in mind, so I will probably continue doing that. It's interesting to note how my priorities changed over the year (these were written when I was not yet engaged and now I'm married, for example) and also interesting to note that it was the health/fitness goals that had the worst follow-through. Those are some things to keep in mind for 2011.


  1. I'm impressed at your endurance! I think it's also great that you were able to acknowledge that some of your priorities changed and not be hard on yourself about that.

  2. Looks like you did a great job!

  3. I give you a B for your charity efforts - 4x as much AND inspired by me?? Yeah, you get a B!


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