I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and took the opportunity to spend some quality time with your friends and family. I certainly ate far too much and overindulged plenty! I’m not feeling too bad about it though, because I managed to fit in a trip to the gym on Christmas Eve and am planning another few sessions this week back in Scotland (as well as Skiing)!
Mrs Scot and I made it back to Scotland yesterday in great time – we left London at around 06:30 and the roads were absolutely dead! It was almost as if we were spared in the end-of-world apocalypse as we hurtled up north. It is great to see my family and have Christmas all over again!
Comedy at Christmas
Among lots of great presents, Mrs Scot gave me a few of the Karl Pilkington books. - Has anyone see idiot abroad? If not, I highly recommend it; the man is an unintentional comical genius! As I read the book, the voice inside my head narrates the words in his simple and whingey tone – hilarious!
Another comedian that has got me hooked again this Christmas is the Irishman Brendan O’Carroll with ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ – If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it! Even my friends across the pond should find it funny!
I wrote a post last week entitled 2012 – What a Freaking Year, which looked back over some of the major things that have happened in my life through 2012. From marriage to buying a house and going on honeymoon to starting a blog; these things don’t happen automatically or without any thought. In order to achieve milestones or make progress, we are required to set goals and make plans. New Year’s Resolutions – clichéd as they might have become – are a fantastic opportunity to plan your year ahead. They are not however, an excuse or justification for being irresponsible for the last few months of the previous year!
I am sure that I am not alone when I say that I have many a friend of Facebook who is always talking about how much they drink and that it will be a new years resolution to stop! **SLAP** You are missing the point entirely! Start reducing the amount now and drink in moderation… the same thing can be applied to eating, health, fitness, spending money etc.
Setting Goals not Resolutions
Many bloggers write about how to set goals when saving money and the technicalities behind them. When setting general goals, I consider two main things:
- What do I want to better in myself or what do I want to achieve?
- How much time / work is required to get there?
Quite simple really – you choose goals yourself. Don’t pick a generic goal, or somebody else’s; rather something that you want to accomplish. Secondly, make sure that the goal is realistic and that you have the time to achieve it. The last thing you want to do is set an unobtainable goal or conflicting goals – for example you wouldn’t want to set a goal to lose x amount of weight and also bulk up with muscle, or to travel extensively as well as spending extra time with family and friends when you have limited vacation.
Set clear and non-conflicting goals, which are definitely achievable. Aim for the sky, but concentrate on a few main objectives.
My Goals for 2013
I am setting myself goals under the following categories:
Clear Credit Cards – As some of the longer-term readers will know, Mrs Scot and I bought the furniture for our new house on a credit card. This was intentional and you can read all about it here. In 2013, we are going to eliminate all credit card debt!
Reduce Base Monthly Outgoings – Like any responsible person should, I evaluate our monthly outgoings regularly. The end of the year marks a great opportunity to re-assess tariffs and memberships of all varieties: energy, mobile, internet, TV, gym, shopping, wine clubs etc. Do you really need it at all? Has Netflix and iTunes replaced the need for cable/satellite? Are you exercising inside off-peak hours when you are paying for a peak membership? Are you even using the gym enough? For me this will involve haggling with many of these companies and playing them off against their competitors. I am not afraid to move providers and neither should you be!
Continue Investing – Although I have not discussed investing much on this blog, we have been investing in an ISA wrapper over the last few months. If you want to learn more about this, then you will have to sign up for the SavvyScot newsletter! For those of you who read the above goal and are questioning why we are investing with credit card debt, read the linked post. The credit cards are interest free until after summer.
Make at Least Two Overpayments on Mortgage – This is something that I discussed earlier this year on a post ‘Why Amortization is Important’. Our ultimate short-term financial goal is to pay-off our mortgage. The best place to start is with overpayments!
Earn 5 Figures with SavvyScot – Quite self-explanatory and hopefully quite achievable – for more information, check out the Newsletter!
Health, Sport and Fitness
Complete a Tough Mudder – I have signed up a for a Tough Mudder challenge in summer 2013. I think that most people will have heard of this, but essentially it consists of a half-marathon run around a military assault course with some pretty wicked obstacles! Check it out! This will require a LOT of training and dedication over the next few months – including healthy eating!
Start Cycling to Work – As some of you will remember, my commute is over 30 miles. My goal here is to start cycling to work in the summer (at least one-way).
Stick at Wakeboarding – Mrs Scot and I discovered how much we enjoyed wakeboarding late last year. In 2013 we plan to continue with this and I want to be able to land a jump!
Relationship and Family
Marriage – The last year (our first year) of marriage has been an absolute blast! I have seriously had the best time ever and I am aware that like anything, marriages require effort. The goal here is to ensure that Mrs Scot and continue to make time for each other and don’t let our jobs get in the way of our relationship!
Date Night – We got quite sloppy at having our date night towards the end of 2012. This was mainly due to being so tired with long work hours etc. To continue in 2013!
Learn Afrikaans – Given that half my family speak this as their first language, I need to get the finger out and properly learn Afrikaans this year. While I can understand a lot, I need to be able to speak fluently before we have kids. I don’t want Mum having a secret language do I?
What is your top goal for next year?