Life Update, February 2019

I like writing small updates around the turn of the month, but this time I want to deep dive into what goals I tracked for January to give a sense of how varied and granular it can be and still be super helpful (to me).

I track my goals in Trello with a very simple board layout: columns for To Do, Upcoming, Doing, and Done (cleared out once a month at our goals dinner). I keep the mobile app on my home screen, keep visible bookmarks to the board on every browser, and remind myself to check the board in my habit tracker daily.

I completed over 30 goal cards on the board this past month (which is crazy) and I’d like to share all of them to show how even the smallest goals can add up to a real feeling of self confidence and success.

Completed Goals

  1. Update SunPass: Got a new car and had to update my toll account with the new car’s information.
  2. Update Credit Card Info: Had to have my CC reissued after a fraudulent charge, so this goal helped me track and update all of the places that stored my CC info with the new card.
  3. Open Roth IRA Account: One of the outcomes of our end-of-year budgeting update was to each open Roth’s and max them to the best of our abilities. I opened mine via Schwab, mostly for convenience.
  4. Identity Theft Paperwork: My personal information was used to open a Best Buy credit card to the tune of $2600 before it was caught. Four additional accounts later and I have fraud monitoring turned on everywhere, credit protection, etc. This goal mostly tracked all the paperwork and phone calls I had to make to get it all straightened out.
  5. Doctor Appointment: My physical therapist wanted me to inquire about an MRI, so off to the doctor I went. I logged some other minor issues to discuss to make sure I got over the social anxiety of discussing awkward topics and I walked out with an X-ray order, an ultrasound appointment, and three prescriptions.
  6. CR-V Door Edge Guards: I created this goal to get them ordered and installed, but once I saw how pointless, thin, and brittle the OEM metal strips were, I decided to return them and go without.
  7. Late Xmas Gift: I mailed a fancy towel to a friend! Pretty simple. It got lost in the shuffle of the holidays and I was glad to finally make time for it.
  8. Trim Flickr Photos: Flickr now limits free accounts to 1000 photos, and with my past of Florida spring photojournalism, I had to cull down from around 3400. This was the definition of a slowly-but-surely goal; I hacked off 100 at a time until it was done.
  9. Investigate Gym Membership: My physical therapist also wanted me to get in the habit of working out more regularly, and one way I wanted to do this is by joining the student gym at work (it’s very fancy). I paid for a membership for the spring semester and attended an orientation. This also spawned a lot of other goal cards on the board.
  10. Hip X-Ray: I got assigned a hip/lumbar X-ray after the doctor visit and this tracked me checking insurance, making an appointment, and getting it done.
  11. Buy New Shoes: I had mowed the grass one too many times in my work shoes to wear them out any longer, so I snuck into the Oviedo mall right before close one night and pulled the trigger on some New Balance. This was another goal that I pursued quickly and didn’t try to get just right; I tried on a couple pair, took a chance on these, and looking back, despite being hesitant about being hasty, it was clearly the right call.
  12. Set Up Arlo Q Camera: I was gifted a small Arlo Q for Xmas and wanted to set it up by the door to watch for packages. It ended up being mostly impossible to configure to not go off every time a car drove by, but I gave it my best shot.
  13. Work Out at Gym: I did it! This was a goal to get off my butt with my newly-purchased membership and work out. I went with a friend over one weekend and did about a half-hour of cardio and finished the visit with a few games of ping pong.
  14. Get ‘Trash Panda’ Merchandise: Ever since their naming campaign, I’ve wanted to snag some merch from the new minor-league baseball team, the Rocket City Trash Pandas. Their simple T-shirt fits amazingly in medium.
  15. Distribute Oral History: I had wanted to spread the word of my grandpa’s interview to the family, but without a Facebook account: easier said than done. With a lot of no-shows at Xmas, this was my way to force myself to find their contact info and at least provide my uncles, aunts and cousins with access to the project.
  16. Blog Post: 2018 / 2019 Goals: I track blog posts on the board because 1) it’s nice to reconcile that work against other goals and 2) writing turns out to be time-consuming and pretty difficult. Just having the goal in my face keeps me at it until I hit on that spark and push through.
  17. New License Plate Holder: As part of the whole new car thing, Rob got a new Florida Manatee license plate with a nice, cheap holder/frame to go with it. So nice in fact that I made a goal to snag one as well.
  18. Fund Roth IRA: With the account now open, I moved savings to max out the Roth for the 2018 and 2019 tax years. I split 2018 about 90/10 between SWTSX and SWAGX. Haven’t decided on 2019 yet.
  19. Find and Book Blue Ridge Cabin: We’ve made a good habit of getting away to our favorite mountains and hikes every October for the past few years, and this is the time to get good prices and availability on cabins. We found a handful that would accommodate the larger group size we’re aiming for this year, spent a night whittling down the options, and put a down payment on one. It’s a ways away but excited for this one!
  20. Purchase Bow Ties: It started as a way to troll an uptight meeting at work, but I’ve taken a liking to wearing bow ties to work to accompany my button downs. I ordered an assortment on Amazon and spent a night with Rob pairing them to each of my shirts (and saving photos of each grouping for future reference). I’m still a little hesitant as to how well I pull it off but so far they’re a hit.
  21. Auto-Pay for CR-V: New car, new monthly bill. I set up autopay from our bills account, adjusted the direct deposit, and immediately forgot about it.
  22. Blog Post: Top Games of 2018: Another post that I put off for too long. I wasn’t sure if it was worth writing but I’m glad I did it in retrospect.
  23. Send Dolly USB Drive: My dad’s sister loved my Oral History project but could barely follow it on her phone, so I sent her the MP3s on a USB drive. I was tenacious about this one: walked all over campus looking for stamps and got it in the mail as soon as I was able.
  24. 2018 Tax Return: Per the whole identity theft thing above, I wanted to get my taxes done ASAP to avoid dealing with a fraudulent return. I’d been collecting the tax docs in Google Drive and was able to pull some down online before they were mailed to me. My refund is down about half (the tax law passed messed with my withholding) but it’s all fine in the end.
  25. Angled Audio Cable: I needed to snag an angled audio cable for my super-secret projector setup in my spare bedroom so it wasn’t being crushed up against the wall. This was an easy one but encouraged follow-through on installation after the purchase.
  26. Prepare Gym Bag: Starting a gym routine was daunting, so I threw this goal on the board to help get me halfway there. I bought a bag from Dick’s, snagged some microfiber towels from Amazon, and filled it with shampoo, deodorant, and extra clothes. It’s sitting in my office now leaving me with no excuses.
  27. New Shower Head and Curtain: I wish-listed a shower head and received it as a gift from my brother for Xmas. I love it so much that I put a second in the master bathroom. A month later and I wanted it in the last bathroom too. It creates a lot more humidity so I gotta be careful but oh my it’s heavenly.
  28. 5 Dysfunctions of a Team: Our book club at work chose this for February’s discussion. I pushed through my hesitation and frugal deal-hunting reaction, bought the book on Kindle, and was done reading the thing two days later. It’s a great read and is highly recommended for anyone working in a team setting (so, everyone).
  29. Re-Arrange Savings: This finally got completed recently after Ally opened our joint savings and we were able to transfer everything there. More pooled savings, less individual savings, and more investments.
  30. Halo Fest MMXIX: Instead of another boring Patriots Super Bowl, we hosted our second annual Halo Fest, playing hours of custom local games across four Xbox Ones and Halo: Master Chief Collection. We ordered catering from Gringos Locos and didn’t burn the house down! By the end of the night I was thoroughly happy, full, and didn’t give a shit about football, so mission accomplished.
  31. Blog: February Update: This blog article! I mean, all the articles are on the board, and this one is no exception.

Goals in Progress

  1. Exercise at Work: Now that I’ve got my bag and first visit down, I want to gain a little comfort in going during work. I’ve been once so far, and I don’t want to mark this complete until I’ve been another time. And this is the whole deal: changing clothes, walking over, getting a locker, cardio for 20-30 mins, showering, walking back, and changing back into work clothes.
  2. Springs Photo Book: I finally broke ground on this! I outlined some reasonably detailed tasks on one productive day and dove in, rating the best photos and arranging a basic outline. Hopefully I’ll have a PDF and an ordered hard copy by the end of February.
  3. The OCD Workbook: Working through this as assigned therapy homework. I’m three chapters in, and even though it’s not material I really enjoy reading and working through, I feel good doing it and learning about the condition. Don’t plan to be done with this in February but this is a longer-term goal so that’s okay.

Upcoming Goals

  1. Additional Talks with Close Friends: I am very thankful for the help and advice some have given me for my recent anxieties and fears, and I’d like to bounce thoughts and notes off of a few more kind souls that have agreed to help.
  2. Extra Savings: I got a few extra bucks that didn’t fall into our new budget plan and a tax refund on the way, so I’ve got to figure out where that goes. I’m leaning my brokerage account, but who knows.
  3. CR-V Trailer Hitch: My new car needs to be able to hold my bike rack, so I need to buy another hitch from U-Haul (highly recommended) and schedule installation.
  4. Group Ex Class: Having started the gym habit at work, I’d like to push myself even farther outside of my comfort zone and attend some group exercise classes. Nothing crazy, but something like Yoga, Pilates or a spin class could be fun!

That was my January! It’s always the months that feel like they’re going nowhere that end up being the most productive. Regardless, I’m thankful for the drive I was able to scrounge up.

If you need any help getting into goal tracking, using Trello, or just need an accountability partner, let me know! I’ve helped a handful of friends do this and it’s always super fulfilling to watch it help them be more honest with themselves and get more done.

Here’s to a successful and happy February! Thanks for reading. 🐾

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