Have you ever felt “stuck” in life?
Have you ever found yourself asking, “Is this really all there is?”
“Will I ever actually be able to reach my goals?”
Lately, I have been feeling “stuck” and frustrated in many areas of my life. In terms of finances, I haven’t been able to make much progress on my student loan debt over the past month due to (not exactly cheap) repairs that my 16 year old car needed.
I’ve found that focusing on my long-term goals helps me to feel less “stuck”. We will all hit rough patches and unexpected things will come up. Still, these things will pass and we will make progress in the future even if we aren’t making headway right this second.
Recently, I saw an Instagram post by Finance girl (AKA Natalie Bacon) that inspired me to live more intentionally. As Natalie said, creating a life plan (getting “unstuck”) begins with awareness and intention. We often overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in three years. Finance girl suggests writing down your three year goals for eight major life categories: finances, health, career, religion (or spirituality), recreation/fun, environment, and service.
So, here are my three year goals! What are yours? Share in the comments :)
Of course, this one is incredibly important to me. My hubby and I have over 100k of student loan debt that we are trying to pay off in three years. This is a pretty lofty goal considering that we are both earning entry-level salaries. Having a difficult goal is motivating us both to scrimp as much as possible and to earn extra income on the side. Even if we don’t reach our goal in exactly three years, we will at least get close to paying off our loans and that’s what’s important – we are making a huge amount of progress. We are saving 40,000 dollars in interest by paying our loans off over just a few years instead of 10 years.
Recently, I made a commitment to lose 50 pounds. I’m over halfway there – I’ve lost 30 pounds but I have now hit a plateau. It’s time to throw in some more variables. My goal is to keep adding new, more intense forms of exercise to my routine. I’m struggling with this one but taking it one day at a time. I’d also like to find ways to make my diet even healthier. This is a tough one, so it’s time to get creative. I already eat a whole-food, plant-based vegan diet. One guilty pleasure I still have too much of is wheat bread, so I will cut back on bread. I also add a lot of calories to my salads with salad dressing, and I could start making my own dressing.
My three year goal is to maintain my weight (after I lose another 20 pounds). I also plan to continue eating a healthy, whole-food diet and exercising at least four days per week.
While I was completing my master’s degree in HR, the classes that I enjoyed most were focused on recruiting. I thought I would end up working in recruiting or as an HR Generalist. I stumbled into a Benefits/Payroll Administrator position mostly by accident, and I was surprised to find that I love the more data-oriented areas of HR. I now work as a Payroll and Accounting Specialist and I love my job. My three year goals are to take on additional responsibilities at work, to grow as a payroll professional, and to learn more about accounting.
As I work on paying off my debt, I would also like to find ways to earn extra income on the side. I’ve thought about finding a part-time retail or clerical job, but the amount of money I would make and the number of miles I would put on my (already very old) car wouldn’t make the time investment worthwhile. Instead, my three year goal is to start earning money through blogging and/or photography.
I have always believed in God, but seeing fundamentalism turned me away from religion. I recently started attending a non-denominational church that emphasizes a relationship with Jesus Christ over being religious. I have thoroughly enjoyed the services so far and I would like to continue learning and growing in faith. My three year goal is to become a member of this church.
It’s hard to come up with a three year goal for this one…so I’ll just say my goal is to continue working on being a better wife, a better friend, and a better daughter. My friend recently gave me some advice that I found interesting. She said “if you keep having the same argument with someone, try phrasing what you’re saying in a different way. If they aren’t hearing you, say it in a different way that might make more sense to them.” It seems so obvious, but it’s something I had never thought of before. We all learn and understand things differently – something may make perfect sense to you, but to someone else, there may be a better way to explain it that will actually resonate with them. I have been working on this and will continue to do so.
I have also been working on saying “I feel…” rather than coming across as attacking the other person by saying things like “you always do this…” or “I hate it when you act like this.”
Another goal I have is to make Facebook a politics-free zone. There are some issues I feel very strongly about, but the truth is, a Facebook post is not going to make anyone see things from another point of view. People who already agree with me on a certain issue will continue to agree, and people who disagree will continue to stubbornly refuse to even consider another point of view. All it does is create unnecessary conflict. I plan to keep FB politics-free and I also plan to keep certain “friends” on my acquaintances list so I don’t have to see the frustrating and offensive things that they post every day.
Because I am pursuing a crazy goal of paying off over 100k of student loan debt in just three years, I have a spending ban on outings with friends and the hubby (I only make exceptions for birthdays and anniversaries). This does not mean that I spend every weekend at home binge watching Netflix and obsessively checking my bank account. I still get together with friends often – I have just found free things to do with them instead (like going for walks, board game nights, movie nights, free yoga, free festivals, etc.).
My three year goal is to continue finding fun, cheap things to do with my hubby and our friends – even after our debt is paid off. Once our debt is gone, we will be saving for a down payment on a home and we will start putting a large chunk of our incomes toward retirement. Paying off our debt will not be an excuse to “celebrate” by going on crazy spending sprees.
Over the next three years, I will make an effort to recycle more each year. In 3-4 years, the hubby and I will be moving out of my parents’ house and purchasing our own home. We both feel strongly about decorating our future home in a minimalist way. We both dislike clutter and prefer cleaner, minimalist interior design. Because we will be buying less junk, we will have much less to throw away – which benefits both the environment and our wallets.
I recently started working on a volunteer project through Sponsor Change. I would also like to get involved with a local pug rescue. Unfortunately, they have more volunteer applicants than they need (which is awesome for the pugs but not so great for me). They do need fosters but that’s not something I can do right now because of my current living situation. My three year goal is to participate in 5k walks for nonprofit organizations and to raise money for worthwhile causes (such as animal rescues and NAMI).
What makes you feel better when you are feeling “stuck”? Do you have any three year goals?