Sunday, January 8, 2012

Clean Slate

Hey there,

It's 2012, and world ending predictions aside, I'm trying to figure out what I want from myself this year. I found out over the past two years, that if I put my mind to a goal, even a tough one, I can really do it. I also realize that I'm the type of person who particularly enjoys turning things into 'projects'.

In 2010 I made a goal of not buying anything new for a year. And I did it. I didn't even buy so much as a pen. And it felt very good and gave me a strong sense of being able to tough something out. I also was able to be quite effective financially with paying things off and saving.

2011 was a different kind of year. I set my primary goal on my physical health and really decided to give 'er. It was quite successful. I lost 30.2 lbs in 2011 and have been regularly attending a boot camp exercise class three mornings a week at 6:30 a.m.  If you know anything about my typically Taurean sensibilities, this will shock and amaze you. It's been an ongoing effort to eat better and be more active, but well worth it in terms of how much stronger and fitter I feel. Like everyone, I'm getting older and there simply is never going to be a better time to get healthy. Also, it's something I'm just going to need to keep chipping away at forever. Like the dishes and laundry - you're never really done.

So here we are at 2012. I'm feeling fitter and stronger, but I still haven't gotten quite to my goal. And in fact, to get really specific, my goal is to reach a 'Lifetime Membership' with Weight Watchers, so I can be hired as a leader there, and phase out my second job. For those of you who have read my blog in the past, you'll know it is a long held dream of mine to 'retire' from having two jobs. My economic reality is that with 25 months left to pay on my student loan (I'm paying $1050 per month to shorten it to 25 months-was 28 months), I NEED two jobs.

I'm hoping that by getting to a goal weight & getting hired by Weight Watchers to lead groups, I can kill two birds with one stone: Stay focused on my own healthy living, AND put my facilitation skills to use while moving them to a less draining second job.

My current second job is four evenings a week for 3.5 hours working with people who have been homeless with addictions and mental illness. It is important work, but after a full day working in community mental health, lately, I find myself struggling to have the energy to do this all evening too.

What I've been working on in my spare time, leading up to and since New Year's, is quantifying my plan to make this stuff happen. Spending less money is also a part of the picture. As someone (maybe Chris Rock?) said, I don't want to be working two jobs just to be broke at the end of the month!

I also think that I'll feel MUCH differently about having two jobs when I don't NEED them both. i.e.: if I was just saving dough with the second job and had the Financial Freedom to chuck it anytime I wanted. I've conceptualized my NEED for the second job as ending when my student loan is paid off. My second job pays me approximately $1380 per month. (There are other perks like 40% of a monthly metropass and about $65 month to my RRSPs). My student loan is costing me $1050 per month. When that expense is paid in full, I should theoretically be able to survive without my second job.

But, I also think that every extra $1050 (one month's worth of student loan) I can scare up, shortens my NEED to have a second job by an extra month. I'm looking to shorten the 25 months remaining if at all possible.

Another thing I'm working on is a real budget that has me automatically transferring money on payday that accounts for all expenses that will be coming out, rather than going in and doing it manually the day of. I want to automate it and be ahead enough of the game, so that there is a tiny cushion. Wish me luck! It's still in the fantasy stage with us being 'super cash poor' right now :)

That's about all for now. Hope to be back in touch with y'all soon.

xo Tara


Christine said...

Wow Tara! You did an awesome job with your health/fitness goals this year. That's impressive. And I had no idea you wanted to lead WW groups. That's brilliant! We need to get together soon...

Jo said...

Congratulations on meeting your health goals, and well done!

At some point each January I do my budget by using financial software (I use GnuCash because it is free)--more like a hypothetical cashflow plan really, with my year's regular (and automated) transactions entered ahead of time. It's an afternoon's work to do it, but I feel comforted knowing I have a plan for the rest of the year, and one that includes not only all my needs, but a few wants as well.

Diane said...

Happy New Year!
It's nice to see you back here again, I was wondering how you were doing (I hope that doesn't make me sound like a stalker...).
Well done on your health goals and good luck for this year!

No New is Good News said...

Thanks Ladies for your nice welcome back comments, it's been too long!