Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another Kind of Snowflake

The topic of goals and microgoals came up the other day on The Simple Dollar and it’s pretty cool. Basically, you come up with 10 goals that you want to achieve over the next several years and then you choose a small action (the microgoal) to take towards each large goal every day.

This is a really good way to achieve your goals because as long as you’re taking regular steps (no matter how small) towards your goal you’re in good shape. The key is that you’re always moving and moving in the right direction. It’s really very much like the debt snowball and snowflaking.

With the debt snowball you list your debts, order them either by interest rate or size of debt and plug away at them. You pay the minimum on all but your target debt. That one gets hit with everything you can throw at it. When the target debt is eliminated you move on to the next one in line. This debt gets battered down even faster because now you’re paying the minimum on it plus all the money you were putting towards the original debt. Rinse and repeat until all the debt is gone.

When you snowflake you do all of that but you also take any windfall money (bottle refunds, eBay sales, tax refund, money for taking a survey, etc.) and also apply it towards your target debt. Snowflaking gets you where you’re going even faster. Why? Because you’re focused on your goal and you’re always moving towards it, even with teeny tiny steps.

So the goal and microgoal system is just snowflaking applied to goals other than debt reduction!

I mentioned yesterday that I like this idea a lot and now I’m ready to share my list of goals.

1. Take Religious Studies courses, potentially leading to an undergraduate degree.
2. Become fluent in Hebrew.
3. Study oenology and viticulture, potentially leading to a degree.
4. Grow lavender for sale.
5. Buy a minimum of 5 acres of land in our chosen retirement area.
6. Build a home on the land.
7. Plant grapes and open a kosher winery.
8. Get totally out of debt and stay there!
9. Lose 10 pounds.
10. Accumulate enough retirement funds to supplement our pensions and other income streams.

These goals are ones to be achieved between now and 15 years from now, when we’re due to retire.

Here are my current microgoals (not so much for today, as for this week).
1. Talk with my husband about taking a Biblical Hebrew course starting in September. It’s a weekly class from September to May. Done!
2. This course actually fits into both my first 2 goals. Done!
3. Bookmark information regarding the introductory course at Okanagan College, which can be taken online. Done!
4. Replant 5 lavender plants in larger pots.
5. Check mls.ca for interesting properties. Done!
6. Look online for information on rubber roof tiles that look like slate. Done!
7. Buy yeast and potassium metabisulphite. Done!
8. Pay our share of utility bills for city house. Done!
9. Go to the gym. Do 20 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes stretching.
10. Look for the form regarding the reinvestment of my maturing GIC. Well, I found one but I think there was another one too.

How about you? Are you interested in snowflaking towards non-financial goals?

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