• Zach

Keep your Resolutions in 2019 with this Simple Plan

Updated: Feb 22, 2019


This is the time for resolutions, plans, and, for the vast majority of us, having those dreams fade away as we get swept along in the current of our every day lives.  But New Years Resolutions and goals can help us chart the course to the lives we want, and help us fix the glaring problems we see when we reflect on where our lives are now, and where we want them to be.  


For a long time I swore that the only resolution I would make at New Years was to make no resolutions.  Resolutions felt arbitrary and contrived and I just couldn't be bothered.  Work would get stressful, and put requirements on my time that wouldn't allow me to make progress on them. Why even start them, when statistics show that 80% fail by February, at least according to a 2015 article from U.S. News and World Report.   It just seemed like an exercise in futility.  


But here's the thing, I still set goals and I work every day towards reaching them.  The one I've been most successful at lately has been saving money towards my first real estate investment.  The one I'm a bit less successful at is to do more sit-ups and eat healthier.  There are reasons for both my success and relative failure for both of these goals.  


It was my original goal for the time period starting in September to save 7,500 AED per month and have enough by May for a down-payment on a rental property.  In order to reach this goal, I follow my spending plan, of only spending 150 AED on week days, and 270 AED on weekend days, and try to be under those numbers as many days as I can.  I don't really have a problem with this, as I have gotten used to that level of spending and find that I'm happy there and don't feel deprived.  On days I want to splurge and go over that, it's ok, because most days I'm below those numbers.  If you want more information, check the articles on how to live a fun and frugal life in the UAE and on how to not let lifestyle inflation eat away your raises.  I've also gotten lucky these last few months with my side hustles!   The income from them has been great, with consistent gigs with my bands, some photography sessions, and money for writing.  Compared to last year, my income is up almost 50%, even though I can't count on the side hustle income staying at that level.  The third reason this has been an easy goal to reach and surpass is that I keep myself accountable each month by tracking my spending on a Spending Tracker app (free on iTunes and Google Play) and then I write down the true information in my blog, so before I spend money, I have to think twice about it, not only how it will show up in the tracker, but how everyone who reads my blog will be able to mock me!  

The result is that instead of saving 30,000 AED like I planned, I've actually saved over 56,000 AED in just 4 months!  I've almost doubled what I expected through the combination of tracking my progress, a little luck, and accountability.  


I will never not use this!


My other goal, of being healthier through more sit-ups and eating more salads, however, is not as successful as I'd like.  I've set the goal that whenever I start watching a new episode of any show, I'll do a set of sit-ups.  I've been able to do this about 10% of the time.  And honestly, that's a 10% improvement over what I was doing before, so that's a move in the right direction!   In terms of eating healthier, I have tried, but I just am far too drawn to delicious, unhealthy things in large portion sizes.  I haven't tracked my progress for that, and I haven't held myself accountable in any fashion.  If I had to guess, I would say that I am eating 20% healthier than I had been, but around 30% less healthy than I should.  


There are larger lessons to be drawn from this tale of two goals. 

1.  Set goals that are measurable, and that you measure.   

2.  Getting lucky is awesome!  Sometimes that's the difference between reaching your goal and not, so don't get too hard on yourself if you have a stretch of bad luck, but also don't think you're a genius if you have a stretch of good luck. 

3.  Hold yourself accountable by telling others your progress.  If you can, find an accountability partner.  This can be someone who has a similar goal to you and you report in to them daily or weekly on your progress.  It can be putting it as a Facebook post or tweet.  It can be in a blog post too!  If you have financial goals, joining a Personal Finance group like SimplyFI here in the UAE can help you find a group of like-minded folks who will help keep you on the right track. 

 

So, here's my resolution for 2019:

A. Keep saving at a strong rate to buy my first property. 

B. Do a set of situps or pushups for 50% of the TV episodes I watch and eat at least 3 salads a week.  I will also start tracking those better, and reporting out on my blog to keep myself accountable.  


What will you do? How will you track it and keep yourself accountable?  If you want help, I'm happy to be an accountability partner or find you one!  


Thanks to The National for publishing this piece!

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