My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. To be honest, I do love eggs, bacon, pancakes and oatmeal (not necessarily in that order) but my love of breakfast isn’t because I love breakfast foods. I simply love food. Breakfast is the first meal of the day. The first time I get to eat. The one time I don’t associate any guilt with what I am eating because hell – it’s all going to get burned off anyway! I ate 3 spring rolls for breakfast today. They were freaking delicious. I definitely need to come up with a budget-and-paleo-friendly way to make them in the New Year.


Speaking of which, I posted yesterday about some of the goals I have for 2015 and now I have some more to add and some adjustments to make.


I want to follow through with my girl’s group. I made a group on Facebook today for women in my city because last night I realized how much I missed connecting with other women close to home. I do have my amazing best friends but they are literally all in different cities and some are even in different states. It gets lonely! Plus I miss the extra benefits of friendship – advice, someone to grab a bite to eat with, fellow movie reviewers, someone to share books with, crafters, gym buddies, wine drinkers, and dancing into the night. My boyfriend is pretty great, but he just isn’t a girl.


I want to tackle some challenges that I see online and haven’t yet been able (*hem hem* willing to put in the effort) to do. Some options for my “off months” include (see below this list for an explanation of what an off month is):


  1. Photo Challenge – every day for a week/month/year. I think I would do a month since a year might be too long, a week too short. Or perhaps a week at first, and then add weeks until I hit a month? It would give me a cop-out clause… A friend of mine literally takes a picture every day all year and then scrapbooks them all to see her year in review. How awesome! I wouldn’t make a physical scrapbook since I am TRYING to cut clutter, but a digital one would be nice! I’d like one of those picture frames that display digital photos. :) I think this would fit best in March. As the third month of the year I should be more inclined to walk in the changing seasons, and I can focus more on my mental health as prioritizing my physical health should be more of a habit by then.


  1. 26 Books – This is a challenge of my own making. I want to read 26 new books this year. One for every other week. Do you have any recommendations? This also falls in with mental health and wellness.


  1. 30 Day No-spend challenge – This one is a BIG deal for me. I think it would be great to do this one twice actually. Once every six months, with the second one coinciding with my debt-freedom goal (that is in October – so the first one would be in April – tax time! How convenient.)


  1. 52-Week Jar challenge – This is a year round savings project that I want to do in addition to my $1,000 emergency fund. If you haven’t heard of it, the challenge is for you to put the same dollar amount as the week we are in of the year. So week one = $1, week 2 = $2, and so on. By the end of the year you accumulate $1,378 with almost no effort. I want to do this with my boyfriend so we can split the expense and the pot – and use the money to take a trip in summer of 2016. I played with the numbers to make the end of the year easier and the year more balanced, and neither of us will have to put more than $20 a week (the last four months) towards the goal. That seems manageable.


  1. Give It 100 – This is an online challenge/website, that asks people to upload a 10-second video once every day for 100 days. The idea is that you can teach yourself anything, and make anything a habit, in 100 days. On the last day you get some extra time and the whole 100 days will be compiled into a 3 minute video to look back on your progress. I am going to do this with my Health goals in January – to work out EVERY DAY for 100 days. I’m not going crazy here, I just mean that if nothing else I will take a walk, ride my bike, or do some crunches every single day even when I don’t make it to the gym.


What is an “off month?”


I came up with this concept because I wanted to tackle my Happiness Project throughout the year but my 4 biggest goals will likely take more than one month each. Gretchen did eleven goals I believe, and added the previous month’s goals to each month as she went. For example, if she did health in January, she did health and vitality in February, and health, vitality and marriage in March, and so on. I don’t think any of my goals will be tasks I can accomplish within one month, nor do I think I would be able to make any of them a habit in a month. So I want to start each goal in 3-month intervals.


Health is first – January. Because it is the most important and something I need to change for life, not just a few months during the year. It also has three parts that need equal focus: diet, fitness and mental health. I talked a bit about this before, but my breakdown goes like this:


            Diet: planning meals, eating in, cutting carbs at dinner, paleo, whole, local, organic, lots of water.

Fitness: (See Give it 100 above) Moving daily, yoga, the gym, kettlebells, working up to running a mile.

Mental: Meditation, sleep schedule, being happy (photo challenge, 26 books).


I plan on tackling the above trifecta in January/February/March in that order. In January I still plan on moving daily and incorporating a sleep schedule, but everything else will be as the months come.


Decluttering goes with spring cleaning, so that would be my official goal as of April. To go with my first no-spend month, I will organize my finances. As luck would have it, my current budget only goes until April, so I would need to make a new one then anyway. (To get me through to October.) But this also includes going through my bank accounts and closing the ones I’m not using, scanning my old tax documents and saving them on my portable hard drive, and making sure my life insurance and medical history are in order (getting copies of my medical history, getting my checkups in or scheduled). Two investments I need to make before April – a fire proof lockbox and renter’s insurance. Although these cost money, they are both towards the greater good – protecting both my financial information and my financial assets.


I also want to tackle my physical and “cyber” clutter. So tracking down old accounts and googling myself to clean up anything that needs to be, getting my hard drive in order and my electronics in top shape. I did my email over Christmas, now I just need to track down those old accounts! I need to research finishing my degree and take the spring season by storm – getting the yard sales in and my junk OUT. I want to move towards minimalism.


Start my business by July. I would research before then (part of my research in April to go with my BA and MA), but I’d love to launch by the end of July and beginning of August – school supplies would be the perfect time to get into it and would allow my team some time to get Christmas supplies together. I would want to get a mentor before then, and hopefully start filing any paperwork. And of course, to get a team together!


Pay off/make progress on my debt by October. Like the business, I would be working on this from January on, but I would want to have this month, as well as November and December, to re-evaluate and hit any remaining financial goals I set. In my savings goals I aim to:


-          Save my baby emergency fund ($1000)

-          Do the 52-week challenge

-          Save for Christmas – my savings goal for Christmas is to spend no more than $25 per person, plus my train fare home ($50 max) and diapers for my new niece or nephew. ($100) That is a total of about $800, or $80/month (not including December or January).


Also, my current deferment on my student loans ends in May, and I want to find out how to consolidate all my loans into one. I plan to defer one more time then – to get me until November. In October, I will apply for the consolidation so that I can start making the dreaded payments in November. With any luck, my temporary job will be permanent by November and I will be making more money and be able to make a bigger dent. Plus, In October I will need to make a new budget to get me to January, and start evaluating the remaining debt for 2016-2018. I won’t tell you my plans beyond then, as I’ve written a novella already today.


Later, gators.