Posted in Getting Started, Life

Setting Goals

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If you planned to drive to Nome, Alaska, you probably wouldn’t leave the driveway unless you figured out where Nome was, got out a map or plugged Nome into your GPS to figure out what roads to travel, and estimated how long it would take to get there so you could make sure you had enough clothes, money, and snacks to make the trip.

Or, you could think,”Screw planning! I’m going to live my life on the edge!” then jump in your car and take off on the road trip of a lifetime. You will have a great time feeling bold and adventurous until you find yourself somewhere in Canada, or possibly Alaska, and realize there are no roads to Nome. You can only get there by airplane or boat. Or dog sled, if you’re desperate.

Sucks for you, hot shot.

You can’t get to Nome without a plan, and you are going to have to be lucky as hell to succeed in life without a plan. Success, by the way, isn’t defined as being CEO of some large company, living in some large house, and driving some large car. Success is having the money and time to do what you want to do to be happy and relatively worry free. That’s it. You just have to decide what that happiness looks like.

Happiness is not something ready made. 
It comes from your own actions. 
                                   - Dalai Lama

In 1992 (because I’m old af), I sat on a chartered boat in the British Virgin Islands with my partner and decided, Damn, this is the life! We went home and wrote down a goal to live on our own sailboat and take a year off in five years. I filed the piece of paper and forgot I had written it.

Five years and one month later, I found that piece of paper as we packed up our house to put our stuff in storage. We had bought a sailboat and had arranged to take time off,  and we were about to leave on a year-long trip on our boat.

Money can't buy you happiness, 
but it can buy you a yacht big enough to 
pull up right alongside it. 
                                           - David Lee Roth

My partner’s parents had always emphasized the importance of goals and how crucial itbahamas is to write them down to make them real. I kind of thought that was bullshit until I found that piece of paper. It was like the written goal was some magic spell, working in invisible ways through our lives for the previous five years until we — Abracadabra!! — had a sailboat and the cash to take a year off to sail to the Bahamas.

That’s some pretty impressive magic.

Step 1: Figure out what you want. Not what your parents want, not what you think you should want, not what your friends want. It’s hard to stick to a goal if you aren’t committed, and you are never going to be happy just trying to make other people happy.

Step 2: Figure out what needs to change to make your goal happen and make a plan. Do you need money? Then you are going to have to spend less and save more. That needs a budget, a.k.a. a “money plan.” Do you want a certain job? Go research the job and make a plan to make yourself and optimal job candidate. Want to take off for a year on a sailboat? Research sailboats. Live cheap. Learn how to not kill yourself. And Make. A. Plan.

Step 3: Track your progress and adjust your plan as needed. How are you going to know if your plan is good if you don’t make sure it’s working? Plans needs to be adjusted as time passes to keep them working. Your goal stays the same (probably) but your plan needs to adapt.

Step 4: Achieve your goal!

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Posted in Getting Started

What Does “Having Your Crap Together” Look Like?

It is a universal truth that everyone wants to feel in control of their life. From the age of two when we start insisting “Me do it” to old age when we want to stay in our homes and live our lives as we see fit, we want to be in charge and feel equal to all of the challenges that life holds. We understand that for all human beings, power over the details of our lives equates to personal happiness.

To me, “having my crap together” means that I understand and am on top of all the messy details of my life. Specifically, I am doing everything I need to do to optimally manage my

  • Finances
  • Health
  • Home
  • Property, likes cars and other valuables
  • Family
  • Relationships

Having your crap together means that you don’t have to lay awake at night and worry about bills, because you have a budget and you know how to stick to it. It means that your home is organized and relatively clean, that your cars are well-maintained and stocked for emergencies, that you are eating right, exercising, and visiting the doctor at appropriate intervals. You have insurance, and a will, and carry only the most necessary debt. You have goals and a plan to reach those goals.

Having your crap together means that you are managing your life like a responsible, dependable adult and that you fully understand the rules and behaviors you need to achieve and maintain a happy and successful life.

I am a happy, middle aged, relatively well-off adult with a brilliantly happy marriage, two great kids, and a pretty well-run life, but I’m also overweight, out of shape, have boxes I haven’t opened since my move two years ago, and a garage I can barely find room to walk through. I have personally put off doing important things like wills, budgets, insurance reviews, and lots of other crap that I know I need to do.

Everyone has aspects of their life they can make better. I hope this blog can be a guide to do all the crap you need to do to help you improve yours.