I turned 35 yesterday. I feel like that’s one of those “important” ages – not in the way that birthdays ending with 0 are, but in the way that so often you see lists of things that you “should accomplish by age 35”. Heck, it has been meme-ified because in our society these days, it’s really hard for the vast majority of people in my age group to achieve things financially with “average” salaries. And yet, setting financial goals by each age is not a bad thing to do, even if sometimes the numbers with which you are presented seem unachievable.
Which is why about 8 years ago, I put together my own list of personal goals. These were tailored for me and my situation, and covered a wide swath of areas of my life. Some of them I had the idea to accomplish before I turned 30. In the years before that happened, I checked in on my list to see which areas I may have made progress in, and which projects might be taken on with more seriousness. Once I turned 30, I went back and re-evaluated the goals altogether – which ones should I keep on the list? Which ones were no longer relevant? Which ones had I achieved, or at least partly achieved? Which ones required continual follow-up? And then once all the items on the list were evaluated, I either changed them, or removed them, or added new ones that fit the place my life was in, and where I wanted it to be in the future.
And here we are – 35, and I am once again looking at my goals list. I am currently in the process of editing the list, moving things I have accomplished over to my “Achieved!” draft email, and removing ones from the main list that no longer make sense. Looking at what I have accomplished always gives me a little boost, and knowing that I did things is a good feeling. It’s fascinating to look at the list and see how my life has changed in 5 years, and how that has changed the kind of goals I now set for myself. This time around, I’m also trying to write SMART goals – or at least ones that are smart-er than my old ones. I’m not too worried about the “time-bound” aspect because these are all things I want to accomplish within the next 5 years. But instead of things like “Keep in touch with my friends who live far away,” I’m adding in a specific task that I need to do – like, “Email a far away friend on the Xth of every month”. That way I have a task to do that I know how to achieve this goal!
So now I’m going to do a little bragging/admitting things I needed to do in the past followed by some public goal-setting. You’ll see that it’s a mix of BIG HAIRY goals and smaller “around the house” type things on each list. Some will be easier to accomplish, and some just won’t happen, but they’re goals for a reason and they are things I want to have achieved. Watch this space in 5 years time to see how much I got done!
- Reached a certain professional pay grade.
- Changed jobs to be closer to home.
- Moved back within the Beltway and to a place where metro/public transport was walkable.
- Had a long-term boyfriend / got married / had a baby.
- Traveled (Argentina/France/Iceland/Galapagos; NYC semi-regularly)
- Finished a 10K (Did a half-marathon!)
- Donated 10 inches of hair to Locks of Love
- Found a slipcover for my sofa
- Bought a coffee table
- Paid off my car
- Paid off my student loans
- Saved up 1x my pay in retirement savings
- Bought a House
Things to Accomplish by 40
- Save for, and then buy a new car
- Have an emergency fund
- Talk to a financial planner
- Estate planning
- Attend professional conferences yearly
- Have my freelance writing published 4 times per year.
- More travel internationally (Japan, Germany, Italy, Iceland)
- Continue travel domestically (NC, San Francisco, Philadelphia, San Antonio?)
- Get back into running
- Buy a bike and ride it semi-regularly
- Deal with my photo collection
- Learn to use my sewing machine OR get a new one
- Re-paint rooms in house
- Re-do rooms in house
- Finish other various house projects (sorry about the vagueness, trying to keep the public list short!)
- Host a dinner party at least 1x per year (to use my china)
- Make photo books for family life/travel
So that’s what I’ve got. It’s a lot on the plate, and I don’t expect to finish it all (the current list is not even all here because I didn’t want to overwhelm y’all!). But even accomplishing half of the items there would be amazing. So keep your fingers crossed that I can make things happen.
What about you? How do you set goals? How often do you re-evaluate your goals? What’s something you have accomplished recently that you’re proud of?