Updated: Aug 25, 2021
I know that this is supposed to be a personal finance blog, but for the first blog of the year, I decided to deviate from the norm.
I was recently in a conversation with one of my cousins, (who is an amazing designer) about my 2019 goals board. As she is a designer, I was consulting her about ways to make my 2019 goals pretty. The picture above was my attempt. And I'm proud of it. I am certainly not the most artistic person, but I created something that suits my needs. But I digress.
In this conversation with her, she recommended that I share my 2019 goals on my blog. At first, I thought "how is this related to financial fitness?" But the more I thought about it, the more I decided she was right.
I started my financial fitness journey by establishing a goal I wanted to achieve: paying off my student debt. And then I researched steps to make that happen. So why not share how my journey of goal-setting has evolved since then? Also, I still have financial goals I am working on and a new year's blog seemed to be the right medium to share them with my readers.
As you can see, the top of my board is a morning prayer. This past December, I read a devotional that encouraged the readers to choose certain scriptures from the Bible that speak to them and write them down. Those scriptures should form the basis of your daily morning prayer. I chose eight that spoke to the things I am trying to improve upon in my own life, and two of them deal with finances.
The first one is "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps" (Proverbs 16:9). How is this related to finance you ask? Well, I'm not sure if you've been reading my blog but its all about planning. And we should plan, especially when it comes to our finances. There are many scriptures that talk about how the wise man plans for emergencies and only the fool lives day to day without preparing for the future (budgeting anyone?!). But I already know that. That's why I like to plan. This scripture reminds me that even though I plan, things might interrupt that plan. My steps might be different than I initially plotted out, but that I can still achieve my goal.
I've talked many times in this blog about having to revise my plan in order to reach the same goal. I'm sure this will happen to many of you all as you begin (or continue) to plan financially. Remember, just because the steps may be different that you initially plotted out, does not mean you can't reach your ultimate goal.
The second verse is "Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do" (Deuteronomy 15:10). One of the reasons why I want to be financially fit is to be able to give to those less fortunate than me. Of course this good intention is often put to the side when I think of all the things I need to save for or purchase for myself. I put this verse in my morning prayer to remind myself that I am already in financial place to give to those less fortunate, whether that's giving loose change to or buying a meal for someone on the street, or donating to charity. I prioritized putting that in my budget so that I can realize a goal I had set for myself.
The second section of my board are my 2019 Goals. I'm sure everyone has had some experience in setting down goals, plans, resolutions, prayers or what-have-you for the new year. I have never been one to do that. Resolutions aren't my thing because they've always seemed so vague to me. But recently I've been listening to this podcast Corporate Homie, that made me rethink planning out 2019 goals.
They took some of the resolutions folks would normally choose, like "I want to lose weight," and made them actionable: "I will go to the gym three times a week" or "I will record my calories every day for a month." They suggested making your goals into things you can check off having done or not, similar to the SMART goals framework. They are obviously not the first to come up with this way of setting goals, but I liked the way they framed it.
The most important differences in their approach for me were separating your goals into categories, any categories that applied to you, and asking people to be your accountability partners for different goals. I chose three categories: professional, my blog, and personal. For accountability partners, I asked my dad, who is also my pastor, to hold me accountable to going to church twice a month. I asked my sister to be my accountability partner for another goal. In this way, I have folks checking up on me to make sure I'm achieving my goals, and I don't have to rely solely on my own will power and determination.
Some of my goals are financial: doubling my emergency fund, buying a car, and becoming knowledgeable about investing (so I can blog about it for y'all!). As I have mentioned, being financially fit is a continuous journey, so I am always trying to set new financial milestones for myself, and grow in how to better manage my finances.
Obviously not everyone is going to make a poster like mine for their goals. Maybe you'll do a vision board or a list. Or maybe you have your goals in your head. However you chose to do it, I encourage you to make some goals, even if they aren't bound by the calendar year. Throughout this blog, I've laid out many things you can begin to do (in your own way) to start or continue on your financial fitness journey. Think about making some of them your goals to accomplish this year. Determine why you want to be financially fit. Read The Total Money Makeover. Start budgeting. This is a new year and a new you (as cliche as that sounds). You can make this year your year of financial change, and if you need an accountability partner, I'm available!