I have all sorts of other posts in the pipelines right now but those are going to have to wait because: I’ve achieved one of my goals for 2012!
Originally when I sat down to plan these goals I wanted to make sure they were achievable and measurable. I used to set goals like “exercise four times a week” or “eat at least one vegetarian meal a week” but I always became frustrated with those. What if, one week I exercised and the next week I didn’t? What if I was mostly good at exercising but every few weeks I slacked off, could I really consider that goal achieved? Instead, when writing my 2012 goals, I made sure that they were measurable, that there would be a specific, definable moment where I could point at that goal and say “I’ve done it.”
Today I get to point at one of my goals and say “I’ve done it.”
As of today, I’ve officially cleared $7,500 in debt since December 31st.
That’s $7,500 in about five months, or about 21 weeks, or exactly 145 days.
I’m just going to take a moment and say: Hells yeah I did!
That wasn’t all through my sheer hard work. It’s not like I achieved my 2012 goal in less than half a year by being frugal. I had some help. About $4,000 of that total was from my monster tax return, which obviously boosted this number in a huge way. I’m still counting it though because I could have spent that money on meaningless consumer products instead of putting it towards debt. You can see from the graph below that there was a pretty big drop in March, that’s me kissing my massive tax return goodbye.
Another way to look at it is how much principal I’ve cleared monthly by the numbers. I figured this out a few days ago and I’m happy with the results, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.
My average debt principal cleared per month is around $650. There are a few spikes there because of five paycheque months and income tax returns, but overall, that’s what my debt is lowered by every month. I’d really like to get this number up and of course it will as the average daily interest charge decrease, more of my payment will be going to principal instead of interest. Another reason that I’m not paying as much on my debt as I normally would be is because I’m also saving for my wedding. Once I’ve got that squared away, I’ll redirect that money onto my debt, which will get that number up nice and high. That probably won’t be until 2013 though.
Where To Go From Here
Since I’ve already achieved my debt repayment goal for 2012 and it’s not even June yet, where should I go from here? I think I should set a secondary debt repayment goal.
Yesterday I wrote about how pointless debt repayment schedules are, and I stand by that. A lot could happen in the next seven months, so what target would be a realistic goal for the end of 2012? I think, since I had such an easy time reaching this goal, my secondary debt goal for 2012 will be a bit of a stretch goal.
What’s a Stretch Goal?
A stretch goal is a goal that is achievable, but that can only be achieved by stretching resources. It’s not an easily achievable target, you can’t coast along to achieving a stretch goal. You have to work for it.
My stretch goal for my 2012 debt repayment is to pay off a total of $12,000 in debt principal. $12,000 in twelve months just has a nice ring to it. According to my calculations, if nothing changes in my situation, I’ll be able to achieve this goal, it’ll take some work and I’ll probably have to stretch my finances a bit to reach it, but I’m confident in my abilities.
So let’s all give three cheers for achieving measurable, definable goals!
Have you set any goals for 2012? How are you doing with them? I want to know!