12 Changes: March


I’ve been feeling really unmotivated since February to continue on with my 12 Changes project. I was SO excited to do it at the end of 2011 when I had been planning it and I did so well in January that it really surprises me how my motivation went out the door in the last 3 weeks. But it has.

I’ve been trying to figure out WHAT it is I’m doing differently since January that has made my motivation to change bad habits waver, but it all kind of feels like excuses when I try to write it out. The truth is, if I don’t hold myself accountable for every thing I do in relation to that particular “change”… Then I just don’t do it. I need to SEE my change in front of my face every morning, I need to feel like it’s something I want to do each day. San wrote a great post about her 12 Changes that really resonated with me, too, where she explained the difference between “should” goals and “want” goals. There are the goals that you SHOULD accomplish (for me it was clearly getting fit, but I’m working on it) and the ones you WANT to accomplish (eating healthier was way up there on my “want” list). Maybe the reason I’ve been lacking motivation to continue is because I was so UN-motivated by my “should” goal in February.

I want to change all this for March and get back on track. I’m currently not really feeling up to it, but I want to push myself to feel excited about this project again.

The last two months, I wrote my goals down with pen & paper, hoping that would remind me of what I’d like to accomplish more clearly. This month, I want to try something different. I’m going to type up my project and print it out. So instead of sharing PHOTOS of what I want my March goals to look like, I’m actually going to get back to blogger basics and actually write about them.

I want March to be about BUDGETING.

I did this purposely. I knew in 2011 that I would be coming home from Florida at the end of February, so March was a natural choice for me to get back into the swing of budgeting. I tried doing this a few times in the past and did REALLY well, but then I kind of let it all fall apart.

I’d like to NOT do that this month. 

My Budgeting Goals

1. Track every single purchase for the month
– Look into using my Mint account more regularly again
– Carry around a notebook to carry receipts/write numbers down

2. Create a real budget. Stick to it. 
– Dig through archives and refine the one I made last year (it was working!)

3. Read at least one book on budgeting (suggestions?)
– I was thinking something by Gail Vaz-Oxlade, heard she is good… Must do research! I need a writer to motivate me

4. #88 on the 101
Spend 5 months not buying any food except groceries. Have a weekly treat!
– Set a grocery budget, make lunches/breakfasts
– Stop spending change in vending machines!

What I want by the end of the month

I want to feel more secure with the way I spend my money. I am an impulsive buyer, and I want to learn to stop. I’m already pretty good at talking myself out of a LOT of purchases, but I still manage to spend way beyond my means. I want to learn to NOT spend money that I don’t have. I want to be on my way to paying off debt & saving up for school and future vacations. (as per yesterday’s post!) I know that I still live at home & have it pretty easy in terms of paying bills- although I do have a few- but it’s time that I learn what it means to SAVE money instead of SPEND it. I want to be more CONSCIOUS of the money I make. 

** As for January and February’s goals that have yet to be accomplished? Those are still on my “to-do” list! I just need to figure out how to start at square one and work my way back to a good, healthy place. It’s always a challenge but I’m determined to do this because I feel great when I’m working towards a healthier lifestyle!

If you’re doing 12 Changes, what do your goals for March look like? Have you been successful so far this year? If yes, what are your tips to staying motivated? And if not, what are you doing to get back into the swing of things?


8 responses »

  1. I like this goal! I started following this template (https://docs.google.com/previewtemplate?id=0Aqko7Xi-nxN1dElRZ3RiUzJRY05fcngxaXRua3NEb0E&mode=public) which has been a lifesaver. I’m doing much better with budgeting and making sure I’m not spending money willy-nilly. Plus, trying to afford two cruises, it was necessary to establish something! Ha.

    Being more secure in your finances is such a good feeling. I hope you’re able to figure out what you need to do to get to that point.

    I have NOT been successful with my goals this year, but I’m trying to just keep going and figure it out along the way. My addiction to soda has lessened a LOT and I’ve been good at tracking so far this month, so good things ARE happening. Just hard when you don’t SEE a lot of progress.

  2. I find that reading about people and how they handle finances and savings is really motivating for me. So thanks for sharing! Before 2011, I was REALLY good about saving but it was really easy (rent less than 500 dollars because of roommate and a better income.) In 2011, rent went up a couple of hundred, no more roommate, and less income. Mid 2011-2012, rent went up AGAIN and utilities went up and income stayed the same at just “meh.” In 2012, I thought I should stop making excuses about “things are harder now” and start acclimating my finances. So my goal is to save a standard minimum of 10 percent per paycheck.

    This means hardly any eating out (hard since I have a food blog that was mostly restaurant reviews), no more regular clothes buying, and doing more free activities for socializing. It’s not so bad when you get used to it!

  3. Good luck! Getting a handle on your finances is so tough. I wasn’t very mindful of it in my early 20s and i regret that. I put money in my retirement account, but besides that, I didn’t really pay attention to waht i am spending. Now i am almost obsessed with it. I keep track of what’s coming in and what’s going out. I think it’s great that you do not have student loan debt, though! I have so much, it makes me sick to think about and makes me feel guilty when I do things like go on vacations…

    Anyways, good luck, I hope this month goes well for you!

  4. Mel i think the problem is you’re over complicating everything and setting too many goals. for example i think the habit your aiming to form here is not budgeting but tracking your spending. i suggest doing that rather than trying to do everything at once. takes more time but its more likely to stick.

  5. I love your goal of budgeting this month and I am really curious to see how this will be going for you. I might want to put budgeting on my goal list for later this year and definitely could use some head-start tips from your experience 🙂

    Don’t beat yourself up, though. Even though you didn’t feel so accomplished in February, all that matters, that you dust yourself off and try again in March 🙂 I am here to support you.

    P.S. The link to my post (on the 12 changes blog) is linking to a BBC article – just FYI. 😉

  6. This is a great goal! I loved San’s post too. I’m not usually motivated by “should” goals, which is why this month is tough for me. I mean, it is a want goal… I love to write (even though it doesn’t feel like that right now) and I should (as in NEED to) do it for school. I just think we need to be easy on ourselves…. go at our own pace and not beat ourselves up if we fail… afterall, a goal is a goal, not a requirement… I think if we can just be true to ourselves and actually TRY that should be enough.

  7. I check my Mint account everyday! Its been really eye opening to see where my money goes, especially in regards to food. I knew this year would be a belt tightening one but I’ll be glad to be on the other side of debt again!

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