Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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My goals for 2009

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Many bloggers have already proclaimed their goals for 2009.

I have always admired (or is it wondered) about those of us who are brave enough to list their goals for all to read. This sorts of makes the writer accountable and hence create a strong level of motivation.  

Some come up with a list of things they want to achieve. Others come up with SMART goals. I guess that so long we have something to shoot for, it’s still miles better than aimlessly wandering around for the year. Have a look at some of the goals set.

 - Julie’s 

- The Ladies of Liberty (who focus on the need of deployed female service members)  

- A young 40 something lady artist and educator blogging about her journey to break the family’s “fat curse”   

- Really Ready for Change 

I am a lot more shy. I feel as if I am undressing in public if I were to declare all my goals in detail. (Maybe I am just scared that I’ll miss my goals and be called a bum.) Yet I want the accountability and the motivation. I also want the support of the goal buddies that my readers can be.  I figure that a fair compromise would be for some goals to be kept private and some to be detailed here. 

So here goes: 

Health and general well being 

I want to get up at 5.30 am daily.  

This goal is driven less by productivity concerns, and more about having a morning ritual of exercise. In addition this goal will help me get my spiritual matters in better order. As a Muslim, I have an obligatory prayer that has to be done around 6 am or so. I have been late for this Fajr prayer far too often.  

This morning I read Frugal Dad who is setting a goal to get up at 4.30 am daily. He is planning to make even further improvements in his productivity, fitness and personal well being. 4.30 is a little too early for me.  

I am reading again the post I wrote in November 2007 on how to set up a routine for rising early. The tips I had gathered on how to rise early did work for me. Unfortunately I allowed myself to backslide.   

Signing up for a Qi Qong class and practicing it regularly. 

I have written about the great positive effects of Qi Qong. This goal has just been carried over from 2008 when it was made and left undone.   

Have 6 short nature hikes in 2009 

I loved the hikes we used to do when we were in school. Much later in life and much more unfit, I joined the Malaysian Nature Society and went for a hike they labeled as “a walk in the park.” Boy, it was a real toughie for me. That was the first and last. 

I have read some really interesting material in a website called Nature Escapes. Rick has listed plenty of treks and hikes that can be done in 1 – 4 hours from Kuala Lumpur, which is only a 45 minutes drive from my home. 

Nature Escapes’ treks and routes promise to be a lot less taxing on the bones whilst being no less enjoyable. I shall choose some of Rick’s suggestions and go off on the short treks once in 2 months.  If I can get my children to join me in some of these outings, then this goal would be an outstanding success. 

Family 

To have at least 5 Outings in 2009 – cheap and enjoyable – Ulu Bendul like 

This has been explained in my previous post 

Support my wife and children fully so that they meet their own goals  

I have talked a fair bit about my children’s goals. My wife, one the other hand, wants to keep her goals private. I’ll do all I can to help my family members meet their own individual goals.     

Financial 

I have 4 financial goals for the year 2009. These are goals that my wife is fully aware of, and the children are aware of most of them.

I just want to talk about one of the goals here. My wife and I started a business in late 2008 selling an educational product. I have long been looking for something like this to help me support and monitor my younger children’s studies. And this product has exceeded all my expectations. My wife and I figure that there must be many other parents with the same problem, hence the business.

Our goal in respect of this is to:  

To achieve an income equivalent to my 2008 income, before I “retired”, by the 31 December 2009.        

This is the “stretchest” goal that I have made for the year.        

My Blog     

My 2009 goals for the blog are far less ambitious than last year’s.

 Just to participate in at least one Carnival a week and sensibly comment in as many blogs as I can.  And to set a measurable target, it would be nice to get into Fire Finance’s list of top 100 personal finance blogs.       

I don’t quite understand FF’s requirements that have to be met to be considered, and I have to catch up on this sometime soon. 

I have done my plans towards achieving my goals and will review the plans and my progress weekly. Unlike in 2008, I am sure I have no “wishes” disguised as goals.  I hope this year I meet Mike’s exacting requirements for goals as opposed to wishes.

God Willing, 2009 will be my family’s and my best year ever!!!!             

How did my children fare in their 2008 goals?

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

One of my bigger regrets in life is that I did not spend as much time as I should have with my two elder girls when they were growing up. I was then too engrossed in climbing up my career ladder.  I have long determined that I should and shall not repeat this mistake with my younger three kids, Abang (our only boy, now 15), Nana (14) and Ain(9).  

And one of the things I do with my three kids is joining them in setting their yearly goals. We have been doing this since December 2005. The exercise does meet some of the rules for SMART goals some of the time and all the rules some of the time. Each of them has a goal book, so that the goals set can be tracked by year. (I suppose these books would have some nostalgic value when they are much older.) 

As usual, in early December 08, we sat and reviewed the goals set for the year. 

Abang did not set any goals for himself for 2008. He got away by promising that he would set them by himself. In addition he claimed he had misplaced his goal book. Though he “escaped” in 2008, he has set himself some really worthy goals for 2009, maybe a little too many. 

Nana had set some goals covering her studies, health, religion, finance and social. And the same for Ain.

On the financial (savings) goals set by Ain and Nana, they both scored an A+. I had initially thought that the goals were too difficult to achieve, and had agreed to contribute agreed sums of money should they achieve the savings goal. Not only did they meet the goal, but surpassed it very comfortably. 

Note: Ain’s financial goals for 2008 were featured when Lynnae hosted the 2nd Carnival of Financial Goals, way back in January 08.

I am really pleased about the fact that there were no wild splurging when they received their Hari Raya duit. This refers to monetary gifts they receive during Eid from the busload of grand uncles and aunties they have from both their mother’s and my side. (I remember almost throwing a fit when in 2006, Nana wanted to buy a RM175 CD.)  

Their savings (together with my contribution) has just been banked into their savings accounts.  

There were some hiccups on the other goals set. Though we had together reviewed the goals during each of their school term holidays (and there were promises each time to do better and catch up), the progress was, shall we say “improvable”. 

The maintaining of their accounting is also something that needs some improvement. Though they had good written records of the money they received as allowances, spent and saved in their piggy bank, the year end totals did not tally! The book balances were higher than their physical balances! And by amounts that indicated the need for far better money handling skills.  

I have an idea on how to resolve this for 2009.  

I am very happy and proud that my younger kids now seem to accept this yearly goal setting as a habit. There is now some sort of an internal motivation for them to meet their goals. Goals set with some thought. Goals that any parent would consider worthy. 

I’ll talk about their 2009 goals next week. (The two elder girls, Along and Azah, have also done their goals, but I think they would prefer to let it be a private affair.)   

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