When I was looking back at my goals for 2009 the other day I wondered why I hadn't succeeded with them. I've been thinking about that quite a bit ever since and I came up with a couple of thoughts.
The first thought is not original in the least. I think about this every time it happens, then develop amnesia until the next time I end up majorly off track with my goals. I forgot about them. On the face of it, that sounds pretty darn dumb doesn't it? I forgot that I planned to pay down 1/3 of my total indebtedness? I forgot to keep current with my bills? But it happens to me all the time. I set a goal. Sometimes I even plan out how to get to the goal. I start off well. Then I forget. It's like falling asleep, waking up and not being able to recall the dream you just had. Over the years I've come to realize that this zoning out or forgetting is a form of resistance. What I haven't figured out is why I have such strong resistance to so many types of positive changes (because I'm not just talking about financial issues here). And why do I forget instead of just rebelling? Is it a way to be passive-aggressive with myself?
My second thought was more practical. I need a way (or ways) to help me stay focused on the goal so that I will work toward it and continue to do so until I achieve it. What will kep me headed in the right direction? Accountability strikes me as a likely possibility. Really? Knowing I'd have to admit failure here on the blog didn't help me keep up with my goals this year, did it? So maybe I have to be accountable on a more regular basis, like monthly or weekly, or even twice a week. If I know that every Sunday and Wednesday I have to address how I'm doing maybe I'll actually stay on task. Setting monthly goals is also an idea, but monthly goals that relate to the overall ones directly instead of additional random goals.
In the end, what got me fired up enough to write this post was going online and looking up a property I had considered earlier this year. It was smaller than I wanted but in the right price range and I might have done something about it if I'd been able to easily access the money we have tied up in my Eldest Daughter's house. I didn't because they weren't in a position to refinance and take out that chunk of equity now that my daughter will be going off on maternity leave in the New Year. In fact, they won't be able to do that until she goes back to work at the end of her year-long leave. They can't make the ratios while she's only getting 57% of her usual salary. So I know that my dream is kind of on hold for a year. And this property isn't on the market currently. I don't think it sold; I think it was just taken off because there wasn't enough interest in it.
Anyway, I'm using it as a bit of a focal point. I looked up what the mortgage on it would be and then got serious about figuring out how to pay down some of our debt because I also need to come up with another $4,000 to $5,000 over what I can eventually access. I looked at how fast I could just put it aside versus paying down debt and then saving, versus doing both at once. Once I pay off my credit card debt I can take that money and add it to the mortgage payments. Basically, it looks like I can do this in 18 months to 3 years and then pay off a 25 year mortgage in 5 years. In the end, I've decided that doing both at once provides me with psychological benefits so that's what I'm planning to do.
Now, I realize I don't have this piece of land and that it may not be available once I reach the point where I'm ready to move on it. But there have been a few pieces of land in that same price range over the past year so I'm willing to trust that there will be another one if this particular property isn't available. At least, once I pay down debt and save up that money I'll be prepared to jump on something when it comes up. Otherwise, the best deal in the world could come around and I wouldn't be in a position to accept it.
I'm still working on refining my goals a bit. I'll put them up soon, along with how I'm planning to keep myself accountable.