The thing I love most about January is the opportunity for everyone to start over. Starting off with a clean slate. I used to be critical about those who declare resolutions at the beginning of the new year, but if it’s the only way to keep their hopes up, then who am I to judge them? It’s utterly hypocritical of me when I make resolutions for the new year myself, isn’t it?
Looking back at my long-term goals and word for 2015, I think I did OK. Not great, but still OK. My long-term goals included living a healthier lifestyle, which, unfortunately, was short-lived. I allowed myself to indulge so much that I packed on weight, gaining back all that I painstakingly tried to lose two years prior to our wedding. I did succeed, however, in terms of traveling. As my friend, Kelly Louise, had pointed out, I did what could take a lifetime to do for most people. I’ve been better, blog-wise, which makes me believe that I’m on the right track. I failed to be consistent with a lot of things in 2015, and I take full responsibility for my shortcomings. I’m easily distracted, hence my attention is all over the place. So much for being a notorious multitasker!
This year, I aim to focus on a couple of things towards attaining and maintaining my goals.
This isn’t something I should be sharing on the blog, but Roan and I are very fortunate in receiving a monthly housing allowance since he’s taken advantage of his GI Bill. During the first few years that I’m still in the Philippines, he was able to save his monthly allowances since he lived with relatives that didn’t require major monthly expenses. When I arrived here in the US, it was easier for us to look for an apartment we liked since paying for it isn’t going to be an issue.
Having lived with Roan for almost a year now made me realize a few trends in our overall lifestyle. I took over managing our financial resources and obligations since I got here, so I have an overview of the things we needed to work on, money-wise:
- Our lease is going to be up in May, and we have yet to decide whether to continue renting month-to-month in the same apartment complex or look for somewhere cheaper. While the government is providing for our housing allowance, it doesn’t mean that we couldn’t spend it however we like. If we could find an equally decent apartment that will allow us to pay for the rent plus water and electricity bills, then we’ve maximized our monthly housing allowance the best way possible.
- Roan and I have no intentions of renting an apartment our whole lives. Yes, Roan is entitled to a monthly housing allowance even after he’s graduated from school (again, a benefit he earned from serving the US Army), but we have to be very smart about it.
- We have plans on visiting relatives within and outside the country this year. We must start on saving at least 30% of our combined monthly earnings to fund not only our travels, but to save up for much greater things in the future, and in order to do so, we must sacrifice the following:
- Spending on unnecessary/less-important items. I may or may have not spent hundreds of dollars shopping for clothes and make-up last year. I’d forgive myself this one time since I did need some of the wardrobe I bought for specific seasons (i.e., fall and winter). I feel so terrible, however, for buying a lot of make-up last year. You see, some US-brands aren’t readily available and affordable in the Philippines, so having them within arms-reach made me want to try them all. My vanity is overflowing with make-up and other beauty stuff, that out of the 100 items I purchased last year, I may have only used up five of them. It makes me feel bad because I allowed myself to feed my wants rather than my needs. In hindsight, I could’ve bought myself (and Roan) a ticket to another city with the amount of money I spent on things I don’t really need. My trip to North Carolina to help my auntie clear her storage in December was a reality check for me: to not invest so much on material things because you can only take too much of everything.
- Eating out more than home-cooking. Cooking for two adult people is proving to be more difficult than having to cook for an army. It’s always more convenient to just go out for dinner and call it a day. In so doing, we both easily gained weight. Every once in a while is OK, I guess, but not several times a week/month. Shopping for groceries is quite a challenge, too, since we must not overdo it; otherwise, we’d be dealing with food spoilage. Throwing out food gone bad is no fun at all. Meanwhile, meal planning is in accord!
- Spending money we don’t have a.k.a. credit card use. Roan and I have been doing great in this department since we both know better. Besides car payment and insurance, the only debt we’re paying off is that from purchasing basic furniture for our first apartment. We didn’t own any furniture before that besides the mattress, so we had to get the ones we need (i.e., dining table and chairs, dresser, couch, and TV stand and media center). We decided not to invest in really good furniture until we purchase a house of our own. We also didn’t have to spend much on kitchenwares and appliances because Roan’s cousin gave most of them as a belated wedding gift. The only time I maxed out one of my credit cards is when I made a major purchase (I’m looking at you, MacBook Pro); since then, I made sure that I only use my card when completely necessary.
Realizing and admitting to myself the cause of my weight-gain, I have no excuse now to maintain a sedentary lifestyle. I must keep moving, but I need to challenge my cardiovascular endurance and strength/resistance training if I intend to lose all that weight and keep it off. Being watchful with what I put in my mouth is another story. Those two go hand-in-hand, therefore double efforts must be made. I won’t go further into details in this regard since I’ve talked about my fitness journey (or the lack thereof) more than once here on the blog, thus making me sound like a broken record.
I have written all these (and more) in my personal journal, too, in order to hold me accountable. My priorities are now in order. Over the years, I have learned that telling someone (in this case, my SCATTERBRAIN readers) about my goals also seems to increase the likelihood that I will stick at them. Here’s to wishing everyone a great new start. May we all have a lifetime of happiness and success!