I like the idea of telling other people my goals about as much as I like talking about politics. I hate it, so I make a point to never do it.
Let me explain why.
First and probably foremost, I swear I must grow a horn right out of my forehead when I share my ambitions with some people. And I just hate that feeling. Of course, I never actually do grow a horn out of my forehead, but the looks I get can be pretty convincing. Confusion and disbelief are a couple that come to mind. And pity. Pity’s another one.
Second, I’m an introverted and private person with an aversion to meeting others’ expectations. I’m not comfortable telling others about my potential future failures. I already believe I’m behind in life so I do what I can to keep myself from feeling like a total loser. Add in a friend’s innocent expectation of progress to the mix and I turn into an apathetic underachiever. Don’t feel bad if you don’t understand. I certainly don’t.
Some say sharing your goals with others will keep you accountable. Others say it can actually keep you from achieving them. I say the bottom line is do what’s right for you. Know what motivates you and what hinders you, and choose accordingly.
For me, I’ve come to the conclusion that *not* sharing them hasn’t really helped. Yes, I do get to stay in my comfort zone, skip the pressure of accountability and get a pass on any guilt from blowing them off. But I’m not any more motivated to reach them.
And in the case of getting out of debt – well, the whole concept is just downright uncomfortable to begin with. Confronting our huge pile of bills, restricting my spending, practicing delayed gratification, getting my husband on board …
Dang. I’m feeling anxious just writing about it.
So, heck, why not go the whole nine yards. Bare my soul for the world to scrutinize. Carry the weight of others’ expectations. Make a commitment that the world is counting on me to keep.
Maybe I’m catastrophizing. Just a little.
But I do need to let go of some limiting beliefs. It’s about more than just improving my financial picture. This journey is about making myself a better person, too. I can’t let my fear of failure be a bully to my hope for success anymore.
So, all that to say, I’m going to share my goals with you. Sorry for the dramatic buildup.
Here are a few I’ve come up with:
* Pay off our credit card debt
* Increase our 401K contribution to 15% of gross income
* Add $2000 to our monthly income
* Triple our monthly college fund contribution
* Give more consistently to our church
* Save up enough to pay cash for a summer family vacation
Depending on what your financial picture looks like, this might seem pretty conservative. For us, it’s quite ambitious. In fact, just seeing them in writing makes me feel a little *too* optimistic. But, hey, what’s that saying? Shoot for the moon and you’ll at least reach a star. Something like that. A star sounds pretty darn good compared to the mountain we keep crashing into.
So that’s where I’ll start. Writing stuff down and sharing it. A little scary, with a pinch of exhilaration.
Do you have financial goals for the new year? I’d love for you to share them with me! If not, I’d encourage you to write some down. Then do what works for you – keep them hidden behind a password or lay them bare for others to see. The most important thing is that they’re yours. So don’t neglect them, because they’re precious.