Sunday, February 01, 2009

Public Self-Shaming

So yesterday I posted my monthly review, tracking progress made towards my 2009 goals in January. For those of you who looked at it, you will note it as a scathing and humiliating glimpse into my own lack of ambition.

This whole exercise has been very revealing. For example, I realized that I'm more likely to achieve tangible, one-time goals, than to maintain ongoing "habits".

Also, in tracking my expenses and looking at the breakdown after a month, there were some really unexpected surprises. To give you an idea, here is a list of my expenses from most expensive item to least in January:

Car Insurance
Traffic Tickets
Eating Out
Phone Bill

Traffic tickets were third on the list. I spent more on traffic tickets than on food this month. Coffee, which I tend to think of as my 'wasteful', indulgent habit... turned out to be the least of my worries.

Another surprise was the huge 'cash' category. This represents cash I withdrew and didn't track, making my 5th greatest expense a total mystery.

I know this is all a little dry, but I feel like January was a month for evaluation. While I didn't accomplish much, I did get a good analysis of the status quo. Hopefully this will make a good "before" picture at the end of the year.

Shame is a huge motivator for me; probably more so than personal ambition.* So I'm going to continue to post my monthly reviews here, whatever progress is (or is not) made.

*As an example of how this works, I posted the review yesterday, spent the rest of the evening mapping out jogging routes and creating a budget for the year; and today had a healthy breakfast and lunch, biked 2 miles, and walked/jogged 3.2 miles (5k) this afternoon. Never underestimate the power of humiliation.

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