There are a lot of thoughts on the internet/in books these days that in order to be successful have to focus on one thing. One big goal.
I kinda agree... but I think one thing per category. Because as much as I want to get my budget on track, I also want to strengthen my relationships and make healthy choices, and develop my inner artist. These things need to develop into a symbiotic relationship, not just be one thing at a time. I can't spend 16 waking hours a day focused on my budget. That's insanity! And I can't spend 16 hours a day focused *just* on moving my body more. I have other shit to do!
The categories, for me, are:
Self Care (Physical)
Self Care (Mental)
These are not stand alone things, it's like the pie chart of my current focus... but it's not like "Relationships" is a goal... it's not even a sentence. So, to dig a little deeper, my goals within these categories are:
Career - Be intentional with my current projects, work extra hours in order to get the thinking work done that I can't seem to get done in an open office with phone calls and emails. It will be worth the investment of some extra time to really feel ownership around this new project... to dive in head first and try to figure out as much of it as I can and present to my boss rather than waiting for him to ask the questions.
Relationships - My growing romantic relationship is a priority, quality time spent together with each other and in groups with both our friends. Really learning about each other through intentional time together (focusing on texting less throughout the day and having (gasp!) actual dates!)
Self Care (Physical) - Going to the gym at least 3 times a week (M, W & F). Walking or biking to work more often (ties in with mental self care because I can listen to audiobooks or read while I walk & saving money to help with finances!). Starting small with the goal of going 3x a week, not even stating what I will do there yet, just need to make that into a habit and then when I get bored with "just doing whatever", I'll start following my Nerd Fitness workouts. I already have a plan! Also if I go enough times a month my work reimburses me for the gym (saving money).
Also under "Physical" is food. So I will spend time preparing food options and having them ready because if I do not prepare, I make poor choices with whatever is handy. I want to nourish my body and eat good things. Sometimes that will mean chocolate, but it needs to be whole foods, preferably made at home (for budgeting purposes)
Self Care (Mental) - More reading, and more walking will give me time for self reflection. I would like to write more regularly but I'm not ready to make blogging into a weekly or daily habit. I do enjoy writing but I have so many other creative things I want to pursue. This category is actually the hardest for me because the time that I can use to do physical activity and the time I can work late to get better at my job (without interruption, allowing "Deep Work") is the same time I have to be creative. There are many different types of creative efforts I am interested in developing but this is the place where I really need to pick one. Right now that is painting. This means I need to put away all the other crafting supplies. I don't mind being surrounded by them as they are inspirational, and perhaps painting will grow to be multi-media art... who knows where my creative intuition will take me, but right now, the call of painting is strongest!
TL;DR: Painting (specifically landscapes, oils, gouache and acrylics, maybe still-lifes, maybe portraits - and my BBE [Best Boyfriend Ever] got *us* an oil landscape painting class for my birthday! Pretty stoked.)
Finances - I will update my budget at the end of every day. I finally gave in and downloaded YNAB (You Need a Budget, after listening to the Art of Manliness Podcast, then reading the book. I have set up many excel spreadsheet budgets before but there's always been a hurdle of how to use credit cards while treating your budget like cash. I tried the envelope method with actual cash but that just doesn't work with my lifestyle. I tried YNAB several years ago but it was a clunkier beast and today it's a cloud based subscription software that's MUCH easier to use! Today was my first day tracking expenses and it was pretty easy from my phone and just, way, so much easier than my previous spreadsheet. It's helping me realize
a) how much I need to get out of debt (again)
b) never getting into debt again (except my house and possibly a future different house)
c) how much past me has gotten in the way of future me (debt, spending my money before I earn it means that future me doesn't get to have a say in how my money is spent because it's already spoken for)
d) I can afford things that I want, I just need a little time to save up to get there... I can have anything, i can't have everything. So I have a few budget line items that have allocated $0 towards them but once I pay off this debt, and any windfalls I get, I can reach some very specific goals pretty quickly that will give me PEACE OF MIND, which is the most important thing to come from this whole budget thing.
So... to simplify my elaborate responses, for my own sake:
Career - Finding before and after hours times to get more work done (during the week only, no working weekends)
Relationships - Quality, intentional time, especially for my romantic relationship (less distracted texting, more dates)
Self Care (Physical) - Gym 3x a week & Meal Prep
Self Care (Mental) - Painting & Writing (writing seems to come in bursts and I have all these drafts I don't finish unless I finish it the moment I feel moved to write something. Perhaps that could change with regular scheduled writing sessions... but for now I want to "Create like an artist and work like an accountant" (quote-ish from Cal Newport's book Deep Work which is what I am currently listening to and kind of wishing I had a physical copy instead of an audio book but I might just need to listen to it a second time with a notepad handy)
Finances - Use YNAB, check it daily or at least weekly to make sure I'm on track. Use windfalls to knock out debt before building up other goals.
I can do these things. I went and saw the Rachel Hollis documentary of her Rise conference. A friend on Facebook shared it and she has been to both Rise conferences... I on the other hand had never heard of this lady and didn't have the bandwidth to look into her much before going to the 2 hour screening. Afterwards though, I immediately went home and bought her book "Girl, Wash Your Face"... I'm not a fast reader but that was Thursday and today I'm at like 91% done with the book. I am EATING IT UP! Good stuff, getting me motivated that I have done hard stuff and I can do more hard stuff. Motivating me to get out of my own way. Try changing a small habit for 30 days before adding another one. Being kind to myself but not letting my excuses get in the way of who I could be.
Ok so one other thing... I don't feel like I elaborated enough on the symbiotic relationship of these goals... so I'm using a free web-based app called Mind Meister to make a mind map of it. Not cause I think you don't believe me but because if you can't make a diagram of an idea... is it really an idea? No. No it's not. Also, I like making graphics, also I feel inspired to make a visual and feel like it's the cherry on the top of this post!
Mic drop (that's what it feels like anyway when I get this BURST of energy to create (write) something. I'm learning if I don't complete it in one go then it's not going to be written! I do need to do some updates about tidyiness. I've hit some speed bumps but still very much want to have a tidy/intentional house. I just have too much stuff! Narrowing in my focus on specific things is helping, I still have a good amount of stuff to go through and not much time to spend going through it. I might need to take a mental health day to deal with all my crap but oh man it's going to feel so good when I do finally get set up! The one thing I can say about how my bedroom hasn't stayed clean is that I didn't have a place for everything in order to keep everything in its place... but that's a post for another time. For now, I must sign off and dream of mind maps!