This past year was a mess. That is putting it mildly. We achieved some great things but so much of my life was on hold. No childcare, moving house twice, high achieving kids requiring a lot of my time to get them to and from events etc.
I had no time for myself or for my $2 to $1,000,000 project. With 4 kids here and doing most things on my own, I can barely think.
On top of that, there have been some big changes and issues with some cultural matters. I’ve written before about how we manage our cultural obligations (including sending money back to Vanuatu, planning to support the parents there in retirement etc).
This means it is time to review my goals and cultural obligations.
How to Review Goals
If the goals you set aren’t working for you, it’s ok to change them. It’s also ok to take a break if you need to so you can reset and decide if those goals will truly get you the outcome you want.
My $2 to $1,000,000 goal is mainly a hobby and bit of fun for me. As such, I do it when I can but haven’t focused on it as much as I would have liked.
Some opportunities were suggested that would have worked great with that goal. However, it’s been months and those things still have not happened, so I am moving in another direction with it to ensure I can keep doubling my money.
Making these decisions wasn’t easy. Here is how I reviewed my goals.
1. Look at the Past, Compare the Good and the Bad
Maybe you set a goal and it isn’t moving ahead as fast as you thought or it’s not providing the result you wanted. Look at what has been happening with it, both the good and the bad.
Have you dedicated proper time and resources to the goal to ensure it happens? Was it a realistic goal to begin with? Did you have a proper plan?
What success have you seen on the journey with this goal?
Thoroughly review what you have done and can do to achieve this goal. Be honest with yourself. We often overestimate what we can do in some stages of life and at times we need to adjust our own expectations.
For me, with a baby, a toddler, two teens, doing it pretty much on my own, dealing with other issues in the background plus needing to move house twice this year and having severe health issues due to a traumatic birth means realistically, I couldn’t do my goals.
I achieved numerous other things but in this stage of life, with no childcare or help, I need to be realistic and accept I cannot do the things I wanted to, yet.
2. What End Result do I Want?
While we do need to be resilient and persist so we can grow, it’s also ok to ask yourself if this goal will get the end result you want? When life changes, sometimes goals we set are no longer relevant.
If a goal won’t get you the life and end result you want anymore, and you are being honest with yourself that it truly won’t, it’s ok to change tactics.
How is This Impacting my Family?
Family is my everything so this is something I ask with every decision I make. If my goals detract from my family, cause stress or anything along those lines, it is not worth it to me.
Due to all the other issues this year, my goals needed to take a backseat while I supported my family. Now, moving into 2023 and beyond, I can focus more on myself.
3. How is This Impacting my Mental Health?
If you set goals then beat yourself up because you didn’t achieve them or you feel awful because you can’t achieve what you set out to do, it might be time to re-evaluate your goals and choices.
At times my mental health has suffered because the goals I set were too extreme. This impacts my family as well so is something I need to constantly check.
4. Make Changes
If a goal will still provide an end result that you want but it isn’t working for other reasons, work out what changes you can make so you still achieve it. Sometimes a few tweaks is all that is needed to make it easier or better.
How to Change Cultural Obligations
Let me start by saying, it wasn’t me that lead the decisions on this. Being Caucasian means I haven’t grown up with these expectations placed on me. We tried to make them work but due to various lies and other issues, we are stepping back.
Put Your Oxygen Mask on First
You cannot help others if you are struggling or barely breathing. As with emergencies on a plane where you fit the mask on yourself first and then help others, the same can be applied to cultural obligations.
A lot of pressure was put on us to provide financially, for the parents to retire, for us to buy a new car for the family there (we did pay to repair theirs and then a family member messed around with it and completely destroyed the engine).
We keep getting asked to buy a boat and so many other things.
Yet, in the past few years we had to repatriate, set up our home, get residency, a commercial diving course, move states etc. All up, it’s been about $100,000 to get set up here with all of that. On top of regular living expenses.
We did send money back, paid for house repairs, car repairs, new phones, education and more. But we have goals here that aren’t happening because of the pressure and expectations from Vanuatu.
It is ok to put yourself first.
How much more could you do and how much better off would everyone be if you got your own life sorted first? One thing I noticed, with the financial expectations from family is how they expected us to improve their life before even being set up here.
Getting a house here, a second car, childcare and other things mean we can then develop more in Vanuatu. So we have started to say no and set proper boundaries.
Let Them Know
This was hard. Letting them know we won’t buy them a boat, a car, pay for retirement right now or anything else as we have other things we are focusing on was tough.
Not everyone handled it well and there were some things said and done that showed true colours. That also helped solidify our decision though.
Decide how you will let family know things are changing. You don’t need to go into a lot of detail. Set a time to call or if you are going to see them in person, it might be better to do it then.
Outline the changes. Make it clear these boundaries are firm. Then stick to it.
Family will push back and try to guilt you into doing what they want. Stand firm on your boundaries. If you let them keep pushing you around, you will never achieve your financial goals.
As hard as it can be, if they behave this way, you might need to step back for a while. Don’t let them suck you into drama.
Be clear on the life you want, the plan you have for your finances and stick to it.