Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

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FAQ

Tink in Toronto is doing 29 things including…

organize my finances

20 cheers

 

Tink has written 2 entries about this goal

Have arranged to switch phone companies...

...which takes care of one of my 8 initial mini-goals for this uber-goal.

Can take care of 2 more by visiting my bank branch, which in turn can be combined with other errands planned for tomorrow afternoon.

Yay me!



Symptom of avoidance, resistance, maybe even shame

One of my goals for the past week or so has been to “add an entry for each of my 43 things” (because only those things with at least one entry can be commented on by others, and although I learn lots from just browsing around among other people’s entries and comments, I learn from comments on my own, as well).

Gradually, over the course of several days (keeping in mind two other major goals – “Find a balance between the things I want to do and the things I need to do” and “Spend less time fooling around on the net and more time actually working”), I added missing entries until 36 of my 40 current things were no longer “orphaned.”

Mostly I worked in numerical order, just finding the next entry-less item on my 43T list, adding an entry to that item, finding the next “orphan” item, and so on.

But there were 4 items that I “couldn’t think what to say about,” so I chose to skip them and come back to them, perhaps after my subconscious had had a chance to work out what message I want to leave myself and others about each.

Today, when I sat down determined to finish the job so that I can mark goal #40 “complete,” I noticed a rather telling pattern: 3 of the 4 orphans have to do with money. (The 4th is the “Find a balance…” goal. It’s related as well, because straightening out my finances involves doing lots of things that I need to do, yet too often put off in favour of things I’d much rather do – at least until there’s no avoiding the money-related need-to-do items any longer.)

So what’s going on? Not only do I have trouble making progress on these goals: I even have trouble writing about them.

(I do give myself a pat on the back for at least posting them publicly here as goals. As Dr. Phil is wont to say, “You cannot change what you do not acknowledge.”)

I realize that I’m not alone in having a hard time admitting that my control over my finances is less than perfect. Many people in our culture would rather discuss sex problems than money problems. Most likely this reticence is rooted in feelings of shame and inadequacy.

I’m a smart person. I’ve actually accomplished a fair bit in my life, including doing well in a career I love, building and sustaining treasured friendships, helping lots of others learn success skills they need, and making tremendous strides in certain areas of my own personal development.

Nor do I lack the necessary tools or skills when it comes to handling finances. I was trained as a bookkeeper in my early 20s, and did that very job successfully for two years. I’m comfortable with the technology – online banking, Quicken, etc. I know very well how to set up a filing system, a tickler system, and so on. (Goodness knows I’ve had lots of practice: I’ve set up enough of them in my time. I just haven’t maintained any of them beyond the initial flush of delighted pride.)

Self-discipline in some matters? Check. For two decades, I ran a reasonably successful business, while completing a number of part-time university and/or community college courses (with a GPA high enough to earn several scholarships and bursaries), performing in various volunteer capacities, and regularly presenting seminars to public- and private-sector groups. I do my current demanding job well enough to have earned both a merit raise and a substantial performance bonus after less than a year in the position.

Yet I’ve sabotaged myself financially over and over and over, frequently coming close to the brink of disaster, and never in my adult life having adequate savings or investments to support me in a semi-comfortable retirement (much less a “Freedom 55” plan – it’ll be “Freedom 95,” if I live that long).

I’ve worked on trying to correct this maladaptive pattern – both with a counsellor and on my own (through various self-help books and courses) – for nigh-on 30 years. I’ve made stuttering steps toward improvement, but clear breakthroughs and/or sustainable success continue to elude me.

I do believe that accomplishing some of my other goals – those related to organizing and decluttering my space (especially “hire a professional organizer,” which is currently very much in the works, and “[o]rganize my home office,” which is under way and on which I anticipate making significant headway, if not actually completing it, in the next 9 days) – will help me in my ongoing work toward the money-related goals.

Once I can move more freely in my home environment, I expect to have increased time and energy available for the finances projects. At least partly, getting a handle on this area depends on setting up an environment that’s conducive to success – e.g., a place to keep bills when they arrive (rather than scattering them all over), a simple tickler system (or automatic payments, finally a genuine possiblity now that I’m on salary) for ensuring that I don’t overlook any, etc.

That said, there are at least a few steps that I can take toward organizing my finances even before my environment is set up to support this goal more effectively:

  1. Pay my current bills. If I can’t find the current bill, call the company in question and find out my balance.
  2. Set up automatic payments wherever possible – e.g., for my hydro, telephone, and ISP accounts.
  3. Open an ING savings account and set up an automatic transfer into it.
  4. Shift my personal chequing account to a no-fee supplier (preferably President’s Choice).
  5. Close my now-obsolete business bank account, thereby saving the monthly maintenance fee charged by the bank even in the absence of activity.
  6. Change my business phone line back to a personal phone line, and switch suppliers while I’m at it to take advantage of the bundling discount (I already have cable TV and high-speed Internet through this supplier; adding a home phone service boosts my discount on all 3 services to 10%).
  7. Arrange to see my credit report, to determine what, if anything, I can do improve it.
  8. Do some journaling work to examine incorrect beliefs or thought patterns that may be contributing to my having had ongoing difficulties in this area.


Tink has gotten 20 cheers on this goal.

 

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