Friday 1 January 2016

Reflection | A Year in Advance: 2016

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Happy New Year!

Two Thousand and Sixteen is upon us and I will spend the next six weeks writing the date wrong on everything, including my work reports, and living in the previous year. It's that time of year again where you have to fight for the equipment in the gym, chocolate and alcohol sales dip and everyone becomes a recluse for the next month.

Normally I like to set myself bucket list goals to complete by the end of the year so that I am always working towards the bigger picture of what I want to achieve overall in life; huge picture I know. This year is a little different for me. My run of bad years is hopefully over. 2015 was the third in a row and as the saying goes 'bad things come in threes'. To help me achieve some of the bigger items on my bucket list and be more content in the present I have decided this year to embrace the resolution and have year long goals which by the end of the year hopefully I will have achieved. Below are my resolutions for the upcoming year:

Become Debt Free

This is one of the biggest goals for me to achieve. I know personal finance, or even finance in general, is a taboo subject which people don't like to talk about. I'm going to break this and confess I am in some debt. When I was eighteen I embarked on my first year of university in Cardiff which wasn't eligible for student finance or any grants as it was classed as a foundation year. This meant I had to fully support myself, course fees, materials and books, accommodation and food. I was working three jobs and burning out and didn't get the qualification grade I was hoping for because of it. Burning out still wasn't enough to support myself and I ended up turning to a credit card for help. That was nearly seven years ago now and the debt I created is still a burden. While I have been paying it off, I haven't been managing my money sensibly and as a result the debt is still there and looming like a dark shadow. Turning twenty five this year and having friends buy houses and get married in the last year has made me realise I need to stop living in denial and sort my shit out. To do this I have a spreadsheet for all of my income and expenses which incorporates all my tax paid, pension, national insurance etc, created by the excel guru that is James. I have also got a new app on my phone called Income OK which I can log all income an expenses which will break it down by day, week, month and year and show me a very handy visually pleasing colour coded pie chart. I love a bit of colour co-ordination. Hopefully all of this effort will mean that by the end of 2016 I will be completely debt free and I will have started, fingers crossed, saving for a house.

Live a healthier lifestyle

I know, I know... isn't this everyone's January resolution? Well this year it is mine too. Over the christmas period and my festive holiday to the Caribbean, where I was fed like a king, I have gained nearly a stone and a half in weight, which when you add the extra stone I gained over 2014 means that by 2020 I will weigh an excessive amount. My clothes are getting a little tight and pinching and the ever feared muffin top has been spotted. My skin is also riddled with spots and blemishes and before my sun tan my pre-make up face was a very odd shade of unhealthy grey. After reading a gazillion articles and books I've realised I need to look at what I'm eating and my exercise routine. Here's how I'm hoping to achieve a healthier lifestyle by the end of 2016:

- Eat better food: less pre-packed frozen meals and more fresh prepared meals
- Quit snacking on high sugar treats throughout the day: also remove snack drawer at work
- Exercise at least once a week: gym, running, work out at home
- Swim once a week
- Start Ballet Classes (and also hit a bucket list target)
- Spend more time outside and less time in front of Netflix and the TV

Perfect the Work, Play, Study, Me Balance

As mentioned in previous posts I have taken on quite a lot for the next 5 years with my new addition of studying. Over 2016 I want to perfect my lifestyle balance to ensure I don't burn out or have to miss out on things because I need to get this report done or hand in this assignment. I don't want to embrace the typical student mantra of I'll just pull an all nighter tomorrow and go out tonight and it will be fine. My body is getting too old for that way of thinking and also I've been there and done that and been disappointed with my results at the end of it.

What are your goals for 2016? 

Love Rachel x

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