Daughter's 2020 Goals

Last year when I wrote my resolutions and personal goals for 2019, life was a lot different. On the same front, our business was in a very different place. Today’s blog, even though a few days late into the year 2020 already, I will be mapping out my personal goals for 2020. My theme for 2020 overall is to develop better habits. If I focus on the habit of doing these things, they are more likely to stick.

If you have any goals or resolutions for 2020 that are similar, or would like to follow my development throughout the year, let me know in the comments below. Without further ado, here are my 2020 goals!

1. Enjoy more.

a picture of the Tucson sunset
Enjoying the Tucson sunset at our favorite spot, the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch.

I have a tendency to schedule every second of my days. From the moment I wake up until the moment I let my eyes close to sleep for the evening, everything is planned. It seems like I have this constant feeling and urge to accomplish as much as possible, regardless of the time frame.

In 2020, I want to make sure that I am productive, but also enjoying it. There are so many things that are on my weekly and monthly to-do lists that it is easy for the weeks and months to fly by without me even realizing it.

For example, this year my husband and I are planning on buying a home. At first, this seems just like a headache. Finding a good realtor, finding the perfect mortgage, finding the right neighborhood, etc. But I want to enjoy looking for a home. I want the whole experience to be something that I can remember and tell my kids. So instead of fussing over how much time it takes, or how frustrating closing a deal might become, I am going to focus on the power of making a huge decision, having the privilege to make that decision, and just overall the ability to move on to the next step with my family.

My husband and I have decided that at least once a month, we will get out of the city, take a long drive and really enjoy the whole weekend. I learned this hack from Life Kit on an episode about happiness. If we treat each weekend as a mini-vacation, we are more likely to come back on Monday refreshed and ready to be productive and… well, happy.

2. Become financially independent.

I’ve never spoken about my student loan debt on this blog before because I’m always shy about talking about money and finances. However, I’ve realized that if I don’t face it, I become even shy to myself about thinking about my debt. I will go months without looking at the balances, and I come to believe that if I don’t think about them, they will just go away.

Pennies falling out of a glass vase.
This a more photogenic version of our savings account.

Not only is that incredibly wrong, but it has hurt me financially over the past couple of years. When I graduated from University in the fall of 2013, I didn’t have much debt, just a few thousand from a private bank to pay for an intensive language course. Of course, I didn’t think about it. I just needed to make the minimum payments and everything would be fine.

However, when I went to graduate school, I wasn’t smart. I enrolled without even a penny to pay for it. Federal financial aid approved me for the entire cost. I was living abroad, and my goal was to work for the federal government after graduating so I could apply for student loan assistance programs and for the PSLF.

To make a long story short, I let my loans get way out of hand. I wasn’t smart about getting them in the first place, and so I wasn’t prepared for the mounting interest. I wasn’t ready for the physical stress that they would put on me and my family.

This year, I’m taking it in strides. I’ve already started my path to paying off those debts and having an emergency fund. I’ve begun to listen a lot to Dave Ramsey, The Financial Diet, and follow many Instagram accounts about tips to lower expenses and raise income. So this year, my goal is to pay off at least 50% of my student loan debt. It will be tough, but I’m excited to continue the process with some of the financial habits I’ve developed over the past couple of months.

3. Read More

This is always a goal for me. I’m a huge reader as it is anyway, but I still don’t feel like I devote enough time to enjoying (see goal #1) reading widely. I recently watched a Youtube video by Max Joseph, called BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content. This is a fantastic video. It breaks down the reason why we read so little and some actual steps to take to read more.

An  open book in my lap sitting on a grassy field with my shoes off.
Me in my ultimate happy place.

Every year I log onto Goodreads and make a year goal for my reading. Last year it was 20 books, which I quickly passed. This year I’m making the same goal. I’m not raising it, even though I know I will read more than 20, but I want to also (cough goal #1) enjoy the books that I’m reading. I get so bogged down in reading a set number of books. When I finish them I’m more concerned with logging into Goodreads and marking my progress and I don’t give myself a chance to reflect on the book.

In order to read more, and read more widely, I’m dedicating at least 30 minutes to reading each day. I realized that when I wake up in the morning, I spend 30 minutes on my phone checking all my social media platforms and my email. Instead, I’m going to open a book for thirty minutes. Not only will this be way more relaxing to my mind, but it will get me in a better mood, and better prepared for the day ahead.

So that’s it. My simple 2020 goals. I didn’t want to overload myself with unrealistic expectations. I’m focused on making good habits.