Now that I’ve finished my many 2013 wrap-up posts, it’s time to work on creating some powerful goals for 2014. Today’s post will focus on shopping and wardrobe goals, while another post later this week will center on more general life goals.
Since the tagline for this blog is “Trade your full closet for a full life,” I want to make sure to devote adequate time and attention to the second part of that equation this year. I hope that many of you will join me in setting goals related to your shopping, your wardrobe, and your life at large and that some of you will opt to share them in the comments section of this post.
Why Set Goals?
Before I delve into my specific shopping and wardrobe goals for the year, I’d like to spend some time on the importance of setting goals. Many people start the year by making what is known as New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, 40-45% of Americans do this each year and two-thirds of these people make three or more resolutions. The top resolutions center on losing weight, exercising more, stopping smoking or drinking, and reducing debt.
Sadly, over 30% of resolution makers have already thrown in the towel by February 1st and more than 50% have fallen off the wagon by July 1st. On average, only about 20% of the people who make New Year’s Resolutions actually keep them!
With such bleak statistics, you may think, “Why bother?” when it comes to setting goals for yourself. However, it’s important to note that a lot of the people who make New Year’s Resolutions fail because they set unrealistic or unclear goals. In many cases, they even neglect to write down their goals or share them with other people.
Benefits of Written Goals
Writing down your goals and declaring them to others forces you to clarify them and makes them more real and tangible. Here are a few benefits of written goals:
- Clear and focused direction
- Sense of purpose
- Momentum! – moving steadily toward achieving the results you want
- Maximized use of time – getting where you want to go faster!
- Increased self-esteem and confidence
- Less stress and anxiety and more happiness and fulfillment in life
I think we can all agree that these benefits are worth pursuing!
Get S.M.A.R.T. for Effective Goal-Setting
An effective way to set goals is by using the S.M.A.R.T. principle. S.M.A.R.T. is a mnemonic device in which each letter stands for an important facet of this goal-setting technique. I will briefly outline the S.M.A.R.T. principle below, but you can learn more about it here and here.
- S = Specific: Goals should be simply written and clearly define what you are going to do.
- M = Measurable: Set concrete criteria to give you tangible evidence for when you’ve accomplished your goal.
- A = Achievable: You see a realistic path to your goal and realistic odds that you’ll get there.
- R = Relevant: Make sure the goal matters for your life and that it really is your goal.
- T = Time-bound: Set a specific time limit in which to reach your goal.
To illustrate the power of this principle, here are a few examples of common vague resolutions versus S.M.A.R.T. goals:
- Resolution: “Reduce my debt.”
- SMART Goal: “Eliminate 50% of my credit card debt by December 31, 2014.”
- Resolution: “Pare down my wardrobe.”
- SMART Goal: “Eliminate 100 closet items that no longer serve me by the end of 2014.”
- Resolution: “Stop buying so many clothes!”
- SMART Goal: “Buy a maximum of 3 new items of clothing per month this year.”
It’s clear to see that the SMART goals are more powerful. So when setting goals for yourself in any area of your life, including your shopping and wardrobe, do your best to make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
If you’re not able to make all of your goals SMART, that’s okay. Just write them down as clearly as you can to make them more real and tangible to you for the time-being. When you review your goals later down the line (I recommend that you review your goals on a monthly – or even weekly – basis to keep them fresh in your mind), you can revise them and incorporate more of the SMART criteria as things become clearer for you.
Recapping my 2013 Goals
Hopefully I’ve convinced you of the power of goal-setting and you’re ready to get started with setting some wardrobe and shopping goals for 2014. Before I share my goals for this year, I’d like to do a brief recap of how I did with my 2013 goals. I only set three SMART goals related to my wardrobe and shopping last year, but I also laid out a few basic intentions that I wanted to accomplish but wasn’t able to frame in the SMART criteria. These intentions are ongoing and will continue to be part of my focus for this year.
Here are the three goals I set regarding my wardrobe and shopping last year, as well as a progress report for each:
1. Stick to my monthly shopping budget of $250, for a total of $3000 for the year.
Although I originally believed I had exceeded my 2013 budget by $9.59, a late-credited return actually put my total for the year at $2965.76. So I actually made it, although I did cut things rather close at the end!
2. By the end of 2013, I will reduce my wardrobe to 250 total items, including clothing, shoes, purses, and scarves (down from the 384 pieces I counted in January 2013).
As noted in my January 2014 closet inventory, I started this year with a grand total of 233 core wardrobe items (clothes, shoes, purses, and scarves), so I met my goal of fewer than 250 items!
3. End the year with no “wardrobe benchwarmers” and wear at least 25% of my wardrobe pieces 8 or more times during the year.
Sadly, I didn’t quite make it with this goal. As I wrote in this post, I ended 2013 with 28 wardrobe benchwarmers (items that were not worn or worn only once). While this number is infinitely better than the 146 benchwarmers I had for 2012, it still fell short of my goal.
On the wardrobe “all-star” front, I also fell a bit short of my 25% goal. In actuality, I wore 37 of my garments and shoes at least eight times last year, which amounted to approximately 20% of my wardrobe.
Important to Note…
Although I was not successful in achieving all of my 2013 wardrobe goals, I feel confident that my progress was far better than it would have been had I set no goals at all for myself. The fact that I set the three goals above definitely propelled me forward and pushed me to make powerful changes related to my shopping practices and wardrobe habits.
My Shopping and Wardrobe Goals for 2014
So now it’s time for me to set some goals for my shopping habits and wardrobe for this year. Here goes… I have done my best to write each goal using the SMART criteria. Unless otherwise stated, the time-bound portion of each goal is “by the end of 2014.”
1. Spend a maximum of $3000 on clothing and clothing-related items (shoes, accessories, tailoring) during 2014.
I’ve decided to keep my budget at the same level for another year, as I am still in the process of building a workable wardrobe for myself after many years of unconscious and haphazard shopping. I may opt to lower my budget number in 2015, as I should be in a much better place with my wardrobe by that time (provided I stick to my other goals below!).
I have made one change to my budget this year, though, in that I’ve allocated more money to spend on clothing and related expenses during the last two months of the year. Traditionally, I do more shopping in November and December, so I’ve planned accordingly this year. I don’t need many warm weather items, so I lowered my monthly budget for May through October. This allows me to spend more of my budget during both November and December. Hopefully this will help me not to cut things so close to the edge this year, while allowing me to shop more during the end of the year sales periods.
2. Buy a maximum of 38 wardrobe items (garments, shoes, and handbags) during 2014.
As I mentioned in my last post, I added 76 new items to my wardrobe during 2013. Since this number was far too high, I decided to cut it in half this year. This will help me to aim more for quality in what I buy and to be more thoughtful about my purchases.
I have created a new shopping priorities list based upon defined wardrobe needs and I will do my best to only buy items that are on my list this year. Please note that I am only including “standard” clothing items within this item limit (workout clothes, lounge wear, pajamas, and undergarments do not count toward the limit but are included in my shopping budget). In addition, gifts that I receive from others do not apply toward the limit (but are very rare).
- Addendum to this rule (April 2014): Since I’ve struggled with buying too much, too fast, I’m going to impose a monthly item limit on my shopping for the rest of the year. I’m going to allow myself to buy 2 items per month for April through November and 4 items in December (for a total of 20 additional items this year). When added to the items I’ve already purchased (less the pieces that were returned for a refund), my item limit for the year will remain at 38.
3. Everything I buy will fit my current body, lifestyle, and personal sense of style.
This goal was difficult to phrase in SMART criteria, but was important for me to include. In the past, I bought a lot of items that were more for an imagined or wished for life than for the life I was actually leading. I also listened too much to fashion “experts” in terms of what I should be wearing and thus bought a number of pieces that simply sat in my closet collecting dust.
This year I will endeavor to hone my personal style and only buy items that I feel great in and love to wear. Everything I buy should fit my current body (which doesn’t vary by much) and be both physically and emotionally comfortable for me to wear.
4. Items I buy will either fit me perfectly “off the rack” or will only need very basic alterations done to make them work for me.
As I detailed in “The Dark Side of Alterations,” I continued to pursue a lot of ill-advised tailoring endeavors during 2013. This led to a lot of wasted money spent on garments which should have been left in the store (or in the case of items I tried to “save,” should have hit my donation bag). I want to make sure I don’t repeat such mistakes this year, so I will try harder to find garments which fit me “off the rack.”
Should I need to have alterations done to my clothes, I will limit them to the standard, straight-forward modifications that have traditionally been successful, including:
- Pants hems
- Taking in sides of jackets and tops
- Taking in waistlines of pants
- Lengthening sleeves (letting down hems)
- Adding hooks to wrap-style tops and dresses
5. Return any new items that have not been worn or used within 30 days of purchase.
I’ve held this rule as a guideline in the past, but I’m going to be stricter about it this year. I want to only buy new items that will be worn pretty much right away rather than trying to anticipate future needs or plan for “just in case” scenarios. Thus, if I haven’t worn a new piece within a month of purchase, I probably don’t really need it and it can go back to the store.
6. Reduce my wardrobe to 200 total items (including clothing, shoes, purses, and scarves) by December 31, 2014.
I feel that my wardrobe is still too large, so I’d like to pare things down further this year. I made a lot of progress with my clothes and shoes last year, but didn’t do much with my purses and scarves. I will continue to track what I do and don’t wear and will gradually weed out the items that aren’t serving me. In terms of my garments, I still have far too many tops, so this will be an area of focus for me this year.
7. End the year having worn everything in my closet at least two or more times – no wardrobe benchwarmers!
Last year was not typical for me in that I spent a large portion of the year being sick and not leaving the house all that often. Hopefully this year will be far more representative of the way things normally go for me and I’ll be wearing my clothes more often (trying to stay optimistic here!). Anything that doesn’t get worn at least twice over the course of the year won’t get to stay in my closet. Ideally, I’ll be wearing my clothes a lot more than two times per year, but that’s the bare minimum for an item to earn its keep!
8. Wear at least a third of my wardrobe pieces 8 or more times during the year. Wear at least half of my wardrobe pieces 5 or more times during the year.
As I reduce the size of my wardrobe, I should be able to wear the pieces that remain a lot more regularly. I hope to be able to exceed this goal, but I have to start somewhere. Last year, I wore 35% of my clothes and shoes at least five times, and 20% of my pieces were worn eight times or more. If I meet the goal above, that would represent a substantial improvement and I would be pleased with that result.
9. Every item in my closet will be at least an “8” on a scale of 1-10 by the end of the year. All items that are less than an “8” will be donated or consigned.
This goal is more subjective than objective, but I feel it’s important for me to “walk my talk.” I frequently write that we should aim for all of our clothes to be “8”s or higher, but I still have some sub-standard pieces hanging out in my closet. Some of these pieces are “placeholders,” key wardrobe players for which replacements need to be purchased. I want to feel great in everything I wear, so I will make those replacement purchases a priority and get all of the less than stellar items out of my closet before the end of the year.
10. Reduce the size of my jewelry collection by at least one-third.
Up until now, I haven’t placed much focus on downsizing my jewelry collection, although I did a fair amount of paring down over the course of 2013. However, I still have far too many jewelry pieces which aren’t being worn and my large jewelry armoire is still stuffed to the gills. It’s high time that I start wearing more of my jewelry overall and get rid of anything that’s no longer my style. I will soon do an inventory of my jewelry box so I have a baseline number. Then I’ll determine how many pieces I need to get rid of in order to pare things down by one third.
Over to You…
Now that I’ve shared my shopping and wardrobe goals for 2014, I’d love to hear yours. I’m sure some of you have goals that are very different from mine. We all benefit from the sharing we do with each other, as we’re often alerted to new “wrinkles” we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Perhaps I’ll even amend some of my goals after reading what some of you share. In any event, it’s very interesting and informative to read about the goals others have created for themselves. I invite you to share your goals in the comments section of this post.
Some Useful Links to Share
I love sharing some of the wonderful articles I’ve read recently with all of you! Here are some of my favorites from the last couple of weeks.
- January Wardrobe Challenge – Setting Style Goals for 2014: While we’re on the topic of goals, I recommend that you check out this fabulous post from “Into Mind.” Included are thirteen questions to ask yourself and three short assignments to do to help you formulate some style goals for the coming year.
- Is Price Shaping You, or Are You Shaping Price?: Robert of “Untitled Minimalism” (who previously wrote a guest post for “Recovering Shopaholic”) shares his insights on impulse shopping, planned shopping, and discount shopping and what the key differentiator should be when making a buying decision.
- Marketing Targets: Kali from “The Nife en L’Air” writes about how marketing works and how understanding our consumer profile can help us to make more informed purchasing decisions. Be sure to read the comments on this post as well, as they add a lot of dimension to what is already a very thought-provoking post.
- Ethical Wardrobe Makeover – Culling Kindly: Emma of “This Kind Choice” continues her wonderful series in which she is conducting an ethical wardrobe makeover on her mother. This post focuses on what to do with the pieces that we decide to purge from our closets. Learn why taking things to the local thrift store may not be the best way to go, and check out Emma’s flow-chart that helps you decide the best options for dealing with your wardrobe cast-offs.