Making Plans and Achieving Goals

New Year’s Resolution Update

New Year’s Resolution Update

We are now half way through the year so it is time for another New Year’s Resolution Update.  My original goals are here and my first quarter progress is here.  As always there have been some wins and loses but I’m learning and still pushing the ball forward.  Without further introduction let us begin.

Red is off track or given up

Green is on track or achieved

Goal 1: Spend Less Than One Hour On My Phone

FAIL!   I was doing really great on this one and even had a couple weeks where my time was under an hour per day.  I was tracking my time with the BreakFree App and was checking it every night.  Now I’m back around 2 hours+ per day!  So what happened?

  1. Biggest problem was goal #4 which is increasing blog traffic.  I had no clue how much time I would spend reading, responding, commenting, tweeting, etc once I started marketing myself.
  2. Quit caring because I’m nowhere close to my goal.  I started back surfing the internet mindlessly and vegging out watching streams of pointless youtube videos.
  3. The goal simply was not one of my big priorities

Where to go from here?  I’m going to change my goal a little bit.  My new goal is to average less than 90 minutes per day on my phone and average less than 10 minutes per day on youtube.  I wish there was a way to track time spent producing vs consuming.

Goal 2: Loose Then Maintain Weight Between 170-175 Without Tracking

So far this year I’m down from 192-193 to 181-182 while actually gaining a little strength.  That is roughly 10 pounds down with 10 pounds to go.  I know most people will say that is painfully slow progress but I’m quite happy with it.  The biggest thing with this goal is the “maintain without tracking” portion.  I could easily force myself down to 170 but the second I quit tracking everything the weight comes right back.  How have I been doing it so far:

  1. I got my mind right
  2. More cardio.  I started doing two fairly intense track workouts a week and started tracking my steps and walking more at work.
  3. Eat less.  This might sound extreme but I will occasionally do a 24 hour fast.  I will write a longer post in the future about this but needless to say not eating for short periods of time is great for fat loss and about a dozen other things.

My goal is that by the end of the third quarter I will be down to 170lbs.  In the fourth and final quarter, I will just be experimenting to find the easiest way in which to live my life while being able to maintain my new weight.

Goal 3: Increase Net Worth By 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%

I must say that I am ecstatic with our progress on this one.  In fact, we have totally crushed the one-year goal already so I keep moving the finish line.  I didn’t know what things were going to look like with a baby in the picture.  But, this has been our best year ever and we are only six months in.  We have had some very fortunate and unexpected things happen.

  1. Stock market continues to be one fire
  2. Both got raises
  3. Real Estate keeps soaring up
  4. Actually got a tax return (Thanks Brooke!)
  5. Realized that if you are lucky enough to have a healthy kid they aren’t that expensive (except daycare)

But we also had some very deliberate things happen

  1. Pushed ourselves to invest more each month
  2. Cut spending (Shopping at Aldi, no gym membership, cut cell phone bill in half, less eating out, no big vacations)
  3. Took max advantage of tax savings accounts for daycare and medical

We could never plan for growth like we have had this year but it has given us a great push towards early retirement.

Goal 4: Increase Blog Traffic to 1,000, 10,000 Views Per Month

So I originally set a goal of getting 1,000 page views per month.  At the time that seemed like a lot because I was basically at zero after blogging for a few months.  Little did I know 1,000 really isn’t that many and comes pretty easy once you actually start promoting your blog.

I was turned off at first by the idea of having to promote my blog.  I kind of just wanted to write content.  However, since I started commenting on other blogs, doing guest posts and interacting on twitter I have really enjoyed getting to know the other bloggers.  It is a really amazing community of people.

For the coming quarter, I will get my butt over to Rockstar Finance  and sign up on the forum and start spending some time there.  I’m debating on getting on Instagram and Quora too.  I have heard mixed reviews from other bloggers.

Goal 5: Develop a Night Time Routine

I have a wonderful morning routine that involves reading, writing, planning and working out.  It has been a cornerstone of my life for 3+ years now.  This year I wanted to develop a similar style routine for the evening before bed.  I experimented with a variety of different things.

  1. Meditating
  2. Reviewing the day
  3. Planning the next day
  4. Writing down things I’m grateful for
  5. Reading
  6. Journaling

Basically, nothing really stuck.  It wasn’t that I didn’t see benefit from some of the activities it was just more time out of a packed evening.  When I first set these goals Theresa hadn’t gone back to work.  Now we both work full time and the evenings are quite full.  Get Brooke from daycare, play with her, give her a bath, feed her, put her to bed, clean bottles, clean pump parts, freeze milk, get bottles/baby food ready for tomorrow, pack our lunches, figure out something for dinner, enjoy a couple minutes together, go to bed.

So this one is going to go down as fail for the year and I’m okay with that because it is my goal and my life.  I will continue to keep a book by the bed but it will only be for when I feel like it.

Goal 6: Plan 12 Memorable Dates

This one has been a lot tougher than I expected it to be.  My goal is that once a month we have a baby free day where we do something unique together.  Something planned in advance, babysitter booked, scheduled, tickets bought, reservations made, whatever.  Not just well we got a day off so let’s go eat whatever and watch a movie.  Doesn’t have to be expensive just unique.

We are currently sitting at 5 for the year but our summer weekends are disappearing fast.  I will be giving this goal a little more focus for the next few months instead of treating it as “yeah that would be nice too” kind of goal.

*Side Note – I know everyone says this who has kids, but to all the couples out there without kids, don’t let a weekend pass by without doing something fun together.  Dating is way tougher once the baby shows up.

Goal 7: Read and Implement Two Books On Parenting

To any expecting parents, I recommend reading a couple books on parenting but don’t waste your time reading more than that.  Babies are a trip and they all different and no amount of reading can prepare you.

I thought the best book for just general quick knowledge for babies was Be Prepared.  It didn’t get into much of the science and instead just got straight to the tips and tricks.  The book is aimed at dads but plenty of info for moms too.

Two resources for when the kids get older that I liked were The Whole Brain Child and Scientific Secrets For Raising Kids Who Thrive (audio book).

Goal 8: Learn To Speak Spanish

I am frustratingly bad at learning Spanish.  I struggled in high school and I’m still struggling now.  During my morning commute, I have been listening to the Pimsleur Spanish lessons but have gotten stuck at the end of level 1.  There are 5 levels and I can’t get passed level 1.  The reviews make it sound like level 1 is for babies and you could probably skip a lot of it.  Not true for me.

Most of my problems come from a lack of natural ability, distracted while driving and inconsistency in listening every day.  I do still want to learn a second language because everyone else in the world knows more than one and I want to be sure Brooke learns at least two.

I might try a different strategy going forward and just charge through the lessons.  Currently, I try to get a lesson perfected before moving on but I might do better if I just keep going.  I don’t know.  How did other people learn a second language that started later in life?

Conclusion

So of the 8 goals, 4 of them are complete or perfectly on track, 3 are off track or given up on and 1 is on the warning path.  I know only being on track with half of your goals doesn’t sound great but I am actually pleased with where I’m at.  I have 6 months left to turn some of the red into green.  Remember, happiness comes from progress, not perfection.

How is everyone else doing with their New Year’s Resolution / Goals?  Do you have a specific goal setting formula that you have found repeated success with?

-Grant



16 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolution Update”

  • I laughed at #8! I never read a goal post that included mastering another language haha! I’m bad at Spanish too. I got 3 years of it and I only know 4 words, max. High school was all sorts of useless!

    Congrats on +40% your NW!!! I love tax refunds, gimme my money back taxman!!!

    If you want to break 10,000 views then I don’t think it’s possible to be unplugged so don’t feel bad. My phone is glued to me now and I’m still ok 😉
    Lily @ The Frugal Gene recently posted…The June 2017 Income Report & Budget Breakdown (+Net Worth Update)My Profile

    • Yeah I took Spanish all through out high school and can barely count to 10.

      The NW goal has been a fun surprise for us. I actually contribute a lot of the success to spending so much of my time now around other financial folks. Very motivating see how you save 95% of your income last month. Crazy!

    • Man if you have never tracked your phone usage it will probably be an eye opener. It was for me. I always looked down on people who spent hours watching TV until I realized I was doing the same just on my phone.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Phone’s are becoming harder and harder to disconnect with when we put so much of our convenience on them.

    Need to check your budget? Look at Mint. Need to check investments? Check Personal Capital.

    Want to talk to the world? Open Twitter. Interested in the news today? Read your news feed.

    Phones can be a good if they are saving you time and you can refuse to look at them when you have a conversation going with someone :).

    These are great goals – keep up the hard work on losing weight. You got this! We too enjoy talking to people on twitter and commenting on blogs. To promote? Some, but also to learn about how other people are doing in their world. Each of us have a story and reasons for the commitment and sacrifices, and all of us want to be better.

    I believe putting some goals online and tracking them really helps you stay honest. Looking forward to see how you do in the next update!

    • Hey Chris, thanks so much for stopping by. Phones are definitely a double edged sword. They can do so much for you but all of the power and convenience can take so much time from you too.

      I hate feeling Pavlov’s dogs where every time that thing dings or vibrates I feel this itch to check it. I don’t mind using it a lot for talking to people, navigating, banking, blogging, etc. It is those mind numbing time traps that are so easy to fall into that I hate.

      It has been nice having a little bit of accountability with the blog. I have never had that before so I definitely feel extra motivated to keep myself honest and lead by example.

      • Glad to hear that its helping man! Definitely feel you on the Pavlov’s dog thing with the phone.

        I read an interesting take on this: you can change this mentality by turning off all notifications on your phone (except maybe text messages from family or something), but all other apps. This changes the mindset from your phone telling you when to check, to you checking your phone when you want to.

        Can’t say I ever tried it because as a millennial – my phone helps me do everything lol.
        Chris @ Duke of Dollars recently posted…Join Us – The Great War of Debt Has Began!My Profile

  • “Remember, happiness comes from progress, not perfection.” This is huge. Even if we don’t reach our goals, we are still improving ourselves as we progress.

    For Goal 1, I found that switching to Google Fi helped. I had already cut my phone use by making sure it didn’t come out of my pocket when I was in the presence of other people, so I thought that I was fine. I switched to Google in January and you get refunded if you don’t use all of your data. I expected to use 2GB of data based on my previous usage under my unlimited plan. I have actually used between 0.2 and 0.25 most months. The extra gamification of trying to keep your number low encourages you not to use it. I’m actually more productive and didn’t even mean to make a change in phone usage. (Plus I save a bunch of money!)
    Matt @ Optimize Your Life recently posted…Brace Yourself for the Next RecessionMy Profile

    • I am actually already on Project FI and I love it. Part of why Goal 3 is going so well. I typically use about 0.4 GB per month. I was also expecting to use about 2.0 but when you are paying for it a la carte you restrict yourself. The thing is I’m always on WiFi at work and home so I have no financial incentive to limit myself.

  • Nice work, that’s awesome you’ve been able to increase your net worth 40%!!!

    Also, I’m very impressed with your weight loss. 10 pounds down while still crushing it in the gym is solid progress. I occasionally will do a 24 hour fast as well and have found them to be very beneficial for my waist line!

    Thanks for sharing Grant.
    Erik @ The Mastermind Within recently posted…Erik’s Income Statement and Balance Sheet – 1st Half 2017My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Erik.

      We have had a great 1st half as far as the NW goes. I very nice blend of luck and hard work.

      I’ll be doing a post soon about why I like doing occasional fasting.

  • Woah, 40% increase to your net worth! Congrats! And that many blog views per month, nice! I agree that the PF community is a great community of people. I’ve enjoyed getting to know some of the bloggers and following their posts. By the way, that fasting this is big in silicon valley. Not that I’m there, but I’ve read a lot about it. I need to get back on track with my fitness. It’s a bit embarrassing being so heavy, being a certified personal trainer and all…I’m sitting at 220lbs (up from 175lbs). Not good. I wish I could say it’s all muscle, but not even close!

    • It has been a good year for the NW for sure. I’m hoping to work up enough courage to give some real numbers and not just percentages. We shall see.

      I use to do the daily 16/8 intermittent fasting but found that it didn’t work well with my daily life. Now I just more naturally pick a day once a week or so and not eat until dinner.

      At least you aren’t delusional about your weight. I went full bulk mode and got up around 210 and had myself convinced it was all muscle. Then a picture at the pool on facebook quickly changed my mind.

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