Tag Archive | goals

Back to basics

Right! Let’s not think of what might happen in five years let’s think of right now. 

Actually thinking of now, in terms of health, will help with being active and being able to travel in five years time. 

I’m talking about the ongoing struggle journey to be fit and healthy. 

I have been walking quite regularly but I feel a need to get back to basics on my healthy living quest:

  1. Drink more water. At least 1 litre a day. 
  2. Sleep better. 
  3. Eat more fruit and veg. 
  4. Do regular weight bearing and stretching exercises. 

I’m cheering me on. I can do it for myself. I can do it for my body. I can do it for my fifties. 

Starting with water. I will fill the litre bottle and put it on my desk at work. 


A year away from home

If we do get the year away we have to think about our house. 

Do we leave our offspring in it? (Can’t see them going anywhere in five years, more’s the pity.)

Implications: they are lazy shits and will not care for things. So they would have to pay for a cleaner, mum being absent. But at least they’re here to “look after” the house and pool. And we don’t have to worry about our possessions. I would make them pay all the utilities which will be a shock to their system, but will be a life lesson to them, and save us money. 

Do we rent out the house?

Implications: we need to declutter our stuff and put things into storage. Huge effort! I could stop buying clothes and shoes and wear them out over the next four and a half years (which I’m doing anyway) but the furniture still needs to go somewhere. And so will our offspring. Lol. We also need to fix up bathrooms, kitchen and extensive yards. But we would earn a huge amount and it would finish off our mortgage, pay the rates and them some. 

Do we get house sitters?

Implications: we don’t need to declutter so much as furniture remains where it is. I could take the same approach and stop buying clothes and shoes and wear them out, opening up wardrobe space. Our offspring will need to move out. We will still need to fix up bathrooms, kitchen and our extensive yards. We’d earn some money. Enough to finish off the mortgage. 

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, not having applied yet, but what do you think? Which one should I choose?

In five years …

Ever thought what you’d like to be doing in five years time?

I have just over two lots of five year blocks until I retire. Put like that, it isn’t very far. 

So I’ve been thinking about retirement options. And what I need to do by then. And what I want to do by then. 

I have three main goals:

  1. Financial = pay off the mortgage by 57.
  2. Home = fix up the house and garden. 
  3. Travel = have regular holidays and biennial overseas trips. 

With out high mortgage repayments and lots of travelling, we don’t have much money for the second goal and we don’t have time, energy or skill. (During holiday breaks we are travelling.)

I’ve done some thinking and contemplation and realise I don’t want to go further in my career. Bureaucracy bores and frustrates me. I do confess my work takes much of my energy and life force, leaving little time or energy on work days for anything but collapsing in a heap. I can’t see myself doing this until pensionable age of 67. 

Even 62 sounds a little undoable. 

Then it struck me. 

We have a scheme called Deferred Salary Scheme. For four years you get 80% of your salary. The remaining 20% is put in a bank account. So it is really forced saving. You can’t access the funds in that account until the fifth year, when you get the whole year off on 80% of your salary! But the other bit is the leave is press proved and with right of return to your position. You can elect to have the funds in a lump sum or in fortnightly payments just like your income. 

As an added bonus, we still accrue long service leave. So in the intervening four years, we can still take extra holidays, as we are doing for our planned 2017 trip to France. Mr S has months and months of LSL on full pay owing to him. Me not as much as I changed employers and took time for the children. 

My plan is to have both Mr S and me apply for the Deferred Salary Scheme at the end of this year for next year. (You can only commence at the start of a calendar/school year.) 

If approved, in the year I turn 55 we will buy a combi van and be grey nomads for most of the year. There’s so much of this country I want to see. And I want to do it while we are still able. 

Some people I have shared my thoughts with have said we won’t want to go back to work. 

Maybe. But maybe it will be the same as every other first week back: I know I have to do it or have no income. And I remind myself of all the wonderful things I get from the money I earn, not least the ability to travel and own a lovely house. 

Besides having a year to travel around, the 80% model will help us get use to living on less income. When we do retire, our income will drop massively. 

If we manage and love the year off so much, maybe we will apply again! 

The year that’s been and the year to come

Let’s get the epic fail out of the way first:

I declared 2014 The Year of the Garden. No. Nothing was done. Well the triffids are gone from around the pool, so that’s a good thing, but nothing much else has happened.

And my ongoing journey to be healthy in eating, exercise, weight control and sleep is still a work in progress. In fact, I could have cut out the last 12 months and would still be where I was: needing more sleep, needing to drink more water, needing more exercise and needing to eat healthier.

What’s been good?

Financially it has been an OK year. We’ve only paid off $13,000 from our mortgage. But Mr S bought a brand new car, using redraw on our mortgage. (This was something I didn’t support but he will be getting some inheritance next year which will pay back the mortgage.) We’ve paid for the airfare to NZ for another January trip and to the UK (three weeks in London) and we’ve paid for the accommodation in London and most of the accommodation in NZ.

We’ve had some great trips: two weeks in NZ in January, twelve days down the snow; a week up the coast to Queensland and back home down through New England. I did a five day school trip to the northwest of the state. And I did a long weekend to Alice Springs.

I do like getting out and about. More of it, I say.

I saw some great shows and read some quite a few books. Not as many books as I would like but as many as I could. Again, more of it I say.

My top three books of the year: Flanagan’s Narrow Road to the Deep North and Denfeld’s The Enchanted will live with me for a long time. Both so moving. I strongly recommend them.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton qwas original and ironically clever while still being a rollicking tale. Loved it.

Hope 2015 brings much reading, theatre, standup comedy, travel.

I spent much of the year, as I have spent previous years, wondering what I should do with my career. I applied for a couple of other jobs without any desire to have them, or any real reason as to why I was applying for them. Needless to say, without the desire, the hunger to get them, I didn’t get them. And, except for my competitive nature hating having someone else beat me, I was actually OK with not getting them. I didn’t really want them.

This year a friend, who knows I was having a dilemma (what to do with myself, move upwards, sideways, into the bureaucracy) posed a question: what do I want my legacy to be? Great question.

Also, I am spoiled. I don’t have to drive far to work, have lovely kids, have most of my own knights in place and like how things are progressing. So why would I move? To compensate for the lost time and cost of travelling I would need to earn a lot more money. I don’t think I want the challenge of new challenges at this point of my life. Every work place has points of difficulties, so while my current place has some, a move may bring the same or different challenges, and not necessarily an easier time.

I think I’ve come to a point in my career and life that I don’t need to keep striving, to keep applying for the next position. I will relax and enjoy doing what I do, and let some time for me outside of work. (Actually, if I had enough savings and investment to live off, I’d quit. I feel the need to potter, to do nothing much. But as I need to earn an income, I will continue to work.)

So next year, what do I want?

1. Travel. Two overseas trips (does NZ count as overseas?) are already planned, booked and largely paid for. I have some local trips in mind.

2. I want my garden done. And a gardener to maintain it.

3. My mortgage under $400,000 by the end of the year, but this is dependent on the inheritance coming through.

4. Continuing my journey to be healthier and more organised.

5. Shhh. *whispering* I want to get my tax done.


New Year’s Resolution: Be a better, more gorgeous, healthier, organised, wealthier, thinner person

Oh yes, and happier, kinder, less whingy, more erudite, calmer person.

Basically I want to make everyone who comes in contact with me say, “Fuck, she’s got her shit together.” Or at the very least, “She’s bloody gorgeous.”

My goals are:

  • Continue to get fit with regular walking, weights and Pilates. OK, December was a bit of a loss with the weights thang but will start again. Tomorrow, maybe?
  • Continue to limit sugary, fatty foods.
  • Continue working on protecting my back with a monthly massage and doing daily stretches. Dang! Haven’t been doing those either and my hip is giving me gyp.
  • Haphazardly and randomly decluttering things.
  • Read down my house.
  • Do my garden.
  • Sleep well. I have worked on this with great focus and improved. For a bit. But easily slipped into bad habits again. Now I am back to being a night owl with insomnia. I am not Margaret Thatcher (heaven forbid) and can’t get by on a few hours a night. So sleep is the thing. Possibly linked to watching less crap on the tele. Why do I think, “Oh, I’ll just watch this informercial again”? Turn the bloody thing off.
  • Get my tax done. I am not setting any other goals until I achieve this. OK, except for all of these here.
  • Get my mortgage down to under half a mil. That’s a reduction of just over $40,000 off the principal.
  • Cleanse my face every night.
  • Remind myself of the Four Agreements.
  • Buy a robotic vacuum cleaner. (I wish I wasn’t a woman of conscience ’cause the thought of a live-in maid of dubious visa credentials is so tempting. I’d give her weekends off and treat her well. A western capitalist pig with a conscience.)
  • Drink less.
  • Have sandal-worthy feet.
  • Go to Bali. Not the bogan, trashy area. A lovely, non-touristy, but-designed-for-tourists-who-don’t-do-crowds area. Sister, are you reading this?
  • Have more picnics.
  • Beat my husband and sons at Miss Fisher Cluedo. Or at least play board games more often than once a year.
  • Make use of my pool.
  • Yep, think that about covers it. No. One more.

  • Eat more fish. Well, try to. Maybe.
  • 20140103-075242.jpg

    So ends the Year to be Lean

    Oh yes, we know my Wardrobe Diet and decluttering has resulted in a leaner wardrobe and clothes residing where they should be, ie not under my bed.

    And fewer plastic containers fall on our head when we open that particular kitchen cupboard.

    But just had to drop in the gloat, I mean brag, I mean share, my waist has hit the healthy measurement according to the Australian Heart Foundation.

    Yay me! My waist is now 80cm.

    The Australian Heart Foundation says a waist of over 80cm may indicate a risk factor for heart disease. OK, on its own it is not enough data but I have been trying to get below this since I started. Look way back in October 2012.

    Started at 87cm. Sat at 83 for months, then just couldn’t shake 81cm. But my 1970s eating plan seems to have done the trick!

    So, my advice: cut the unhealthy snacks!

    And happy New Year to all.


    Boxing Day Sales


    I am still on my year of no clothes buying. Officially there are four days left.

    The Boxing Day sales are on; great bargains to be had. There are a few items I want to buy – casual shirts, work shirts, pair of dress shoes and a pair of joggers.

    So my dilemma! Do it wait four more days or do I go to the sales? Do I tell myself that the money I will potentially save is more important? And that 361 days is good enough and the saved money more important that the four days?


    But it’s not the new year?

    It’s not the new year, and I am still officially on the Great Wardrobe Diet challenge, but I made a start on my new goal!!!

    Yes, true. I did over an hour’s worth of gardening.

    Look, I know I promised before and after photos but I was too focused. And by focused, read embarrassed. It’s like, way too dirty.

    Anyway, I pulled out a dead plant, collateral damage when I sprayed a rose vine. Who puts a rose vine next to a pool? This thing WAS a triffid. Literally. Perhaps the result of convergent evolution, or closely related. It would send up long shoots that would go sky high and then reach over metres away from the plant’s body. And it would try to eat wandering human. Instead of capturing its prey by blinding them, the local variety of triffid would hook them.

    You could be sitting on our verandah and feel a tapping on your head. Goddamn the flies are diving bombing! No, it is the triffid coming in for a taste.

    I used Round-up. Nothing. The plant just laughed and flowered. So I went in for nuclear weaponry. Undiluted Round-up. Most of it died. Unfortunately an attractive azalea went too. Poor thing. Minding its own business, bringing joy and beauty. Civilians die in every war. So sad.

    Notice how I said “most of it died”? Well, I cut a fresh shoot today. What is it with this triffid? I am going have to re-read Wyndham to find out what worked.

    I won’t be planting for a while. Everything will die in the summer heat while I am overseas.

    Now, only positive comments please. Here’s part of the bed I weeded.

    Massive, I know. And the remains of the triffid. Can’t get the roots out as they go under the pool fence and under the retaining walls. I will paint it with more Agent Orange just in case. Needs must and all.

    At the end of January I will put in some fresh soil. And a plant. What do you think I should put in? Right next to a pool. Has to be hardy and cope with neglectful love. I am thinking gardenias? They are my favourite plant of all time.

    The Year of the Garden

    So, I’ve listened, reflected, decided.

    2014 will be the Year of the Garden.

    There will be minor goals throughout the year. And I will continue my journey to healthy and organised living and gorgeousness by exercising, decluttering, eating well, sleeping, maybe definitely even doing my tax.

    But my main goal will be getting the garden to look gorgeous.

    This goal is scarier than not shopping! See, not doing something is easy. But getting off my backside, fitting something into my day/week, and doing it repeatedly…. Gardens need consistency. A gardening binge then nothing for months and months just doesn’t cut it. Poor plants. They want some regular loving.

    Unless you are this:

    Or this:

    These are happy that I am doing nothing. Thriving, they are. Turning into mega-flora, even.

    How will I get this under control?

    I will set little tasks every weekend and once during the working week for my sons and me.

    When I have got it to a level that it is not embarrassing I will hire a landscaper. Much like tidying up before a cleaner comes!

    I will also get a gardener to do regular maintenance.

    It’s a big task – my block is a traditional quarter acre. But not being one for self-flagellation, I am focussing on two areas – around the pool and the front yard.

    It will make such a difference to my emotional well-being and lifestyle.

    I am so excited! But nervous. There’s much to be done.

    Stay tuned for photos. Real ones! Of my garden of good and evil. Not stolen borrowed photos from the net.

    Money goals? Or lifestyle goals?


    My year to get leaner worked some magic on my mortgage. My mortgage isn’t lean but it is definitely leaner.

    At the start of the year my mortgage was in the high $500,000, so the interest is huge. The $38,000 off the principal this year is almost matched by the interest I paid. All of that didn’t come from not not buying clothes! I didn’t buy much of anything – no furniture, no household appliances, no jewellery, no knick-knacks, no magazines. I was careful with groceries – menu planning and only buying what we needed.

    For 2014 I am torn between continuing to throw money at my mortgage and getting it below $500,000 or paying the minimum (or just above the minimum) and using the funds to have some work done around the house.

    The logical, money-wise action would be to pay down the mortgage. Money saved on not paying interest is a huge saving, and would allow me to get work done in the future without having debt.

    But having a nice home is important to me. Mr Sans and I are not handy, and don’t enjoy DIY. I also work long hours in a stressful job, so when I have time off, I need to rest and recuperate, or I would not be able to continue.

    So my choice for goals: do I get my mortgage below $500,000 by the end of 2014, and wait a year for the work I want done – house painted, garden landscaped and maintained, and kitchen renovated.

    Or do I do the work now?

    Which way to go?


    Maybe I can do both?

    I will be getting a small pay rise next year, and I could look to cut some expenses, like electricity and gas. Mmmm. Thinking.