In 2011, I turn 30.
As I stated in my last post, this is a time for growing up and hunkering down on my responsibilities so that I can live the rest of my life unencumbered with past mistakes and be truly remarkable. I have two main areas of my past bad decisions that haunt me daily and are restricting the freedom I need to live the life I want: health and financial.
In the last 10 years of adulthood I've made general improvements in these areas and I'd like to acknowledge those now. Health: 1) losing and maintaining a weight loss of 50 lb, 2) becoming vegetarian (now semi-veg as I eat fish) and learning to cook, 3) generally being more active and sports involved, 4) overcoming very serious and life-threatening mental illnesses. Financial: 1) became self-educated about basic finance, 2) accumulated over $15K in retirement savings, 3) got out of (after unfortunately getting into) consumer debt, 4) managed not to buy a house (yes that's a win for me since I don't want to live in the same place forever) and avoid other major cultural hedonic pressures in the U.S.
However, 2011 is the year I'd like to devote to shedding the last reminders of my bad decisions before moving forward with my life. These reminders come in the form of debt (3 student loans totaling an impressively overwhelming figure just north of $33,000) and weight (at my weigh-in yesterday, it was 83.5 kgs, or 184 lbs, which is 9.5kgs or 20lbs above healthy for my height and 19.5 kgs or 43 lbs from my target goal of 64 kgs, 141 lbs).
Financial: My Christmas present to myself was to purchase Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace Revisited. I have decided that I will follow his program point by point since it agrees with most of my ideas about finances. What I've lacked before is what Dave calls "gazelle-intensity" to overcome your financial quagmire. So I will start with baby step one: Save $1000 in an emergency fund and stop using credit cards (Min Gi and stashed them in a drawer--we're not so sold on his plan as to cut them up; maybe when the emergency fund is complete). I will also need to develop a written household budget with Min Gi and stick to it by using cash only.
I've been tracking my expenses since landing in America and talking to my husband about goals and whatnot. Is Min Gi 100% on board? No. He's great because he's naturally so frugal, but he often abdicates financial responsibility for planning and goals. He'd rather let life "happen" and work things out along the way. We want a family and a future, so that's just not going to fly anymore. However, I need to own the fact that whenever he refuses to participate in our finances, I use it as an excuse to blow money on eating out and other things. I need to be responsible to me, even if he's not yet fully involved. And I need to be more patient. He nearly always gets there (wherever there is I want to be), he just takes a longer time.
Health: I know how to lose weight and I know what I need to do. The trouble is, of course, not doing it. I was doing well last year when I was focused on a few small goals a week. I think that's what I'll do again this year, but do one a week. And then keep doing it until it's a habit. We'll start with the biggest two: This week I have to start tracking my food in a food journal. Next week: Walking for one hour on the treadmill for at least 3 times a week (we'll build up from there).
One of my biggest derailers with both health AND finances is eating out. It's a great comfort to me in times of stress. And I am STRESSED. But honestly? It's unhealthy and expensive. I'm going to have to self-veto. Meaning I cannot propose it or initiate it. And I can only agree to it with a friend or my husband once a week. That and giving up soda (I am a diet coke FIEND) are my new year's resolutions. This final week of 2010, I'm cutting myself a little slack because all of my friends are in town who I haven't seen in four years.
I will blog once a week (and as needed) about my progress. I might fail at first and make some mistakes. I'm ok with that. But I want to resolve these things. In a small way, they have robbed my 20s of being fully fulfilling. And I'm mad. I'm tired of them robbing any more life out of me. The only reason I might alter these goals during the year is if I get pregnant, and even then, it will only change the order I tackle things (focus on building emergency fund before finishing the debt in financial; and focus on whole-health issues rather than weight loss first in the health area).
I am calling this whole thing Project 30. In the year I turn 30, I want to lose 30 lbs and drop $30K of debt. Lofty goals to be sure, but that's the whole point. Now, let's get on it.