Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Resolutions for 2008

I'd forgotten that I'd written a post listing my New Year's resolutions for 2007 until I came across it while browsing through my archives last week. Like most people, I made a list of general resolutions without measurable results, and while I kept it in the back of my mind for a while, by March I'm sure I'd mostly forgotten what I'd written. It was fascinating to look back on what I'd resolved a year ago, to see which resolutions I'd successfully accomplished and which fell by the wayside.

It was a really good exercise to look at the list and think about my progress in accomplishing my goals. Aside from the last few weeks, I've kept a healthy lifestyle all year, and I do think I definitely improved in being more generous and open-minded (though I still have a way to go). And since I do have a job I'm really excited about lined up for after I graduate (so exciting!), I can cross that resolution off the list. But I have to admit that I failed in improving my patience, which has always been a struggle for me. Trying to be more patient and understanding is definitely going on this year's list as well.

2008 is going to be a very exciting and challenging year for me, full of major life changes. I'm graduating from college in May and will be starting work in July. I'm going to be a financially independent adult with a real job and real responsibilities, in a new city I'm unfamiliar with. I'm going to have to learn how to manage a long distance relationship with my boyfriend (Boston to New York, not so bad), make new friends and find a semblance of balance between my professional and personal life. It's all a little overwhelming and slightly scary, but also incredibly exciting at the same time.

Posting my New Year's resolutions somehow makes them feel more concrete, and since many of my friends and family members read this blog, makes me more accountable. If you're serious about making changes in the new year, I highly recommend writing them down and sharing them with the people you love, remembering to keep them in a place you'll remember to check, just so you'll be reminded of them throughout the year. Keep your resolutions realistic, and think about small steps you can take to accomplish them. It can be harder with more general goals, like my resolution to be more patient, but I'm writing a personal list that includes all the situations where I know I'm too impatient, and how I could act better during those times. I've found that identifying the problem areas and then making a list of steps to take to improve makes meeting my goals far easier.

Here are my resolutions for 2008:

1. Improve my financial literacy. I'm not nearly as bad as many other college students I know, since I've read some books and blogs on personal finance and have taken non-credit classes in the subject, but I want to make sure I totally understand every financial decision I have to make in the next year, so that I can make the best choices. For someone who's as math-phobic as I am, it can be a little intimidating at first, but I know that I can get it all down before I graduate if I really focus on learning these important skills.

2. Make the most of my final semester of college. I have absolutely loved my college experience thus far, and I want to make sure that I leave in May with no regrets. After graduation, my friends will be relocating to jobs and schools all over the world, and I want to spend as much time with them as possible. I also want to get more involved in all the activities that are unique college experiences (especially those that are unique to Smith). I know I'll be ready to leave when May rolls around, but it would be so great to leave feeling like I've accomplished and experienced all that I wanted to.

3. Become a more patient person. I can give myself credit for becoming more patient in 2007 in at least one area of my life, my driving, but that's mostly because I was a bit shaken up after getting into a 5-car accident in May (I wasn't at fault and luckily no one was injured). I still find myself getting frustrated every time I have to wait for something, and this unnecessary negative emotion isn't benefiting me in the slightest. Hopefully 2009 will find me to be a more mature, patient person.

4. Being nicer in general. Because I'm very hard on myself and a bit (okay, more than a bit) of a perfectionist, I can often be too hard on others. I want to be more understanding and show more kindness in my interactions with others, and not always hold everyone to such a high (and often impossible) level.

5. Keep a balanced life. I pride myself on having a very balanced life, of staying on top of my work, engaging in extracurricular activities, making time for my friends, family and boyfriend, and for making time for myself and respecting my own needs. But I know it's going to be a lot more challenging once I enter the real world, where I have much less control over my environment and it will be harder to plan my days and weeks (I hear that bosses don't give out syllabi, shocking, I know). I'll need to improve my flexibility and keep my stress levels under control, while not letting one area of my life overwhelm the others.

These are my five main resolutions, though there are a number of tinier, more specific resolutions pertaining to different people and situations. Unlike last year, I do plan on printing off this list and posting it near my computer, just so I'm regularly reminded of the (very public) announcement I made to keep these resolutions. I'm so excited about starting 2008 and I wish you all a happy new year!

4 comments:

Dana said...

Meg,

Here's what I wish someone told me at the point in my life you are at now: Put MORE (significantly) into your retirement from the beginning. Read one of the David Bach books on becoming rich and you'll pick up some good advice we all wish we'd followed (the automatic millionaire is an easy one). I socked 10% of my pay into my 401K in my first few years of employment and it got a great start - I could and did borrow against it for my first house downpayment (I was required to pay it back promptly, so I didn't suffer any ill-effects). After a few years, I was seduced into only doing the amount that was matched and I am regretful about that -

Congrats on the start of the greatest year of your life so far!

Anita said...

Meg, I could be your mother and just want you to know how much I enjoy your blog. Your wisdom and thoughtful perspective is very refreshing; thanks for taking the time to write. I have to smile a bit - my number one resolution for years is to be nice! It actually gets more difficult as one gets older :).

Linn from IA said...

As always, I really enjoyed reading your latest blog entry. And It helped inspire some thinking about where I'd like to be(and who I'd like to be! )in December. Meg, I think you're a fine writer and an interesting person.

A personal finance website that I've found helpful is www.thesimpledollar.com (absolutely no connection!) as I enjoy the combination of book reviews, links, and advice. He's recently been doing a chapter by chapter analysis of What Color Is Your Parachute, which may be applicable to the changes ahead for you.

PS. I especially enjoy your professional situations entries -- they helped me get my new job!

Great photos said...

My resolution for 2008 is to study my past resolutions and decide why these weren't good...like my resolution from January 1, 1984:
"Like totally figure out that Rubik’s Cube for once….NOT!"

Francie @
Frantic Home Cook