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We are all so busy and have so many goals in life, thwarted sometimes by the demands that life throws at us. How can we stay on track with what’s important to us, while juggling the balls of everything else? Today I’m sharing with you the real life way I track my goals to save money, pay off debt, stay hydrated and take care of myself so I can conquer each day.
You may remember that I did a no-spend month a couple of years ago. It was a fantastic way to re-set my spending and learn about why and how I was tempted to spend money that I could have been saving. I also save money by bringing my lunch to work. Last week I got too busy and didn’t prep anything at all for lunch. I went out to eat 4 days. One of those days I had a meeting out of the office, so it doesn’t TOTALLY count… but the only reason I didn’t go out to eat on the 5th day is because I was eating leftovers.
Not only was that super expensive, it was also unhealthy. I feel so much better when I prep my meals, so I spent a couple of hours on Sunday meal planning, shopping and then prepping lunches and a dinner. By planning ahead, I also avoid extra trips to the grocery store. Only going once per week saves a ton of money all on its own.
Pay off Debt
I am obsessed with debt payoff these days. I have multiple spreadsheets on my computer that outline how I’m doing with my goal to pay off my law school student loans, as well as different formulas that (kind of) show me what would happen if I added $100 more here, or there, to my debt payoff plan. I say “kind of” because my student loans are so huge that some spreadsheets just don’t go far enough to show me what the final payoff would look like, but even looking at the next two years or so is enough to motivate me to see the big picture, and throw that $25 I saved somewhere, or the $12 reimbursement check I didn’t expect to receive in the mail, toward my loans instead of toward going out to eat when I brought my lunch to work.
One way I pay off debt is by bringing coffee from home. I know I say this all the time, but if I ever relapse into my gourmet coffee addiction, my bank account balance plummets faster than you can say “16 ounce, hot, white chocolate mocha, yes I want whip cream.”
Chevron and polka dots. Oh and coffee, always coffee. — Not listening to the last 104 voicemails I’ve received has finally come back to bite me. The new hair salon I’m trying today called to move my appointment from 10:00 to 10:45 this morning. I didn’t have their number programmed and didn’t bother to listen to the message. So I arrived 1 hour, instead of 15 min, early. I got to take a gorgeous walk outside for awhile, and found this pretty neat mural. So I think it will all work out just fine!
Having a quality coffee mug is important, and I’ve been obsessed with the Contigo AUTOSEAL travel cups for hot beverages for a couple of years now. Luckily for me, they just came out with a cold water bottle that helps me accomplish another goal that’s super important – staying hydrated!
I drink water aaallllllll day. I’ve actually noticed that on days where I’m feeling grouchy or irritable, there’s a pretty good chance that I forgot to bring my water bottle to a morning meeting, or forgot it in the car, or didn’t fill it up, and I’m just behind in my normal water intake.
Because of this, I’m always on the look out for a good water bottle. I learned about Contigo’s AUTOSEAL Chill line on Monday of last week and I went straight to Target to buy one (*ahem* two). Then I got super busy and forgot them in my trunk on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning I washed the Iced Aqua one out, added some ice cubes and have literally used it and the Target exclusive color, Matte Black & Iced Aqua, every day since! The other Target exclusive colors are the Stainless Steel with Monaco (second row, second from the right) and Very Berry (third and fourth rows, to the left).
I had a doctor’s appointment Wednesday morning. I was really nervous because I was getting stitches removed and the results of a biopsy. Water always makes me feel better when I’m nervous, so I brought my Contigo AUTOSEAL Chill with me. (Stitches removal was mostly painless and the biopsy results were great!)
Then I went to work and worked for two hours until it was lunch time. At lunch I went on a walk. I can’t tell you if my morning water was still cold by then, because I’d already drank all 24 ounces and refilled it. *Matching shirt not intentional.*
A few hours later, I refilled it again, just in time for my barre workout at 5:30 p.m.
My new water bottle and I had such a good thing going, that I decided to use it by my bed too. When I woke up in the morning, get this, it was still cold! I love it! It’s so much easier to stay hydrated when it’s easy to access your water and it’s the right temperature.
My barre studio has an RSVP system, where you must RSVP for class ahead of time, and if you don’t show up, you lose a credit. Not only that, you could be the jerk who kept someone who WANTED to go class out of the room because they were told the class was full.
On Saturday I headed to a late morning barre class that I did NOT feel like attending, alas I had RSVP’d, and brought Contigo’s Matte Black & Iced Aqua AUTOSEAL Chill. The matte black version was likewise effective! I also felt GREAT after the class and was really glad I went.
I hadn’t thought very much about what these are made out of, until I dropped it the first time. Regardless of the color, they’re all stainless steel! Bonus: You couldn’t even tell I’d dropped it, the first or the second time. I’m a bit clumsy so keeping my workout routine (eventually having a strong core will make me less clumsy, right? Right!?), with a water bottle that can withstand an all-day schedule and being dropped a few times is essential! Plus, with the autoseal technology, I never have to worry about spilling water all over the place when I inevitably knock it over on my desk or my yoga mat.
To get your recommended about of water intake, you only need to drink about 2 1/2 Contigo AUTOSEAL Chills! If you’re doing hot yoga, add at least one more refill. That’s so manageable that I’m positive you can do it!
Keep the Right Focus
I have shared my morning routine with you guys a few times. That routine helps me keep my focus on the right things instead of being caught up in my to-do list. Achieving your goals is super important, but you have to stay healthy about it, otherwise you’ll just burn out.
I intend to spend time every morning setting my focus and intention for the day. It doesn’t always happen, but it makes a big difference to think of my “why,” and reminds me that my value isn’t measured by how busy I am. Knowing the reason “why” I am trying to live better each day makes achieving my goals and going from activity to activity way more manageable.
I haven’t done my monthly goal series this year because I’m already doing my monthly series on student loan repayment. That means I have to track my goals somewhere else or they won’t be accomplished. I have been using this goal tracker for years. I pin it up somewhere that I will see it super frequently. The first year I used it, I kept it right above my coffee pot. In my new house, there are cabinets there and I can’t bring myself to tape anything to them, so I have been keeping track of my goals in my planner. For this quarter, I’m going to pin this chart up by my computer at work so that I see it all the time again, and not just when I open my planner.
I wanted to share this chart with you because I know it’s highly effective and can be completely personalized. Download it by simply clicking the link below, no e-mail necessary, I promise.
All of the actions we take in life build together to either keep us on the right track, or take us (even a tiny bit) off course. Bringing a water bottle to work saves me a ton of money on beverages, makes me feel better, and helps me to stay focused on getting tasks done at work, rather than distracted by wondering if there are any sodas or other expensive sugary options someone nearby. I also bring a travel coffee mug to work, which saves me the $4-5 on a White Chocolate Mocha and keeps me from being tempted to order a blue berry scone (another $2-3 and a ton of sugar!). The money saved ties right into my goal to pay off my law school student loans.
I work a full time job, like many of you, and go from activity to activity, starting first with my morning routine, which includes writing here. If I’m not working out after work, then I’m headed to bible study, book club, happy hour with my girlfriends or a date with my boyfriend. A reliable water bottle is key to staying hydrated, happy and healthy, and starts my day off on the right track so I’m not irritated because I’m thirsty, or extra sore after a workout because I sweated out the little hydration I had when I showed up to Barre or Yoga. The Contigo AUTOSEAL Chill is perfect for my life on the go, and the goals tracking chart keeps my eye on the prize in baby steps.
Here’s my own personal goal chart for April. I will print it out soon and cross dates off instead of highlighting them. You can see that I blocked off the weekends for my goal that is week days only. Also…. don’t tell my dentist about how I’m doing with that flossing plan…
Tell me, what goal are you going to write on your monthly goals tracker?