Most years I make goals but I do them silently. This year I am publishing my goals because I’ve found in the past that you have more accountability when others know what you’re up to.
For example, I told all my friends in 2013 that I was planning to cycle 50 miles by training for 7 weeks. Knowing that my friends would be asking me about my progress, I accomplished the task in 6 weeks. In 2014, I repeated this task with my youngest son (Ryan) and we did it much faster than I did in 2013 (we trimmed 45 minutes off my 2013 time).
I also used this technique when we built our business. We would set goals in January and tied year-end team bonuses to those goals. Each month we would meet to discuss the progress and ideas to help us stay on track to those goals. It worked really well.
My mission for 2015 is to become more balanced. After much self-reflection, I’ve come to believe that being balanced is a function of 3 areas of my life:
For a goal to be meaningful, it must meet this criteria:
- It must have a time frame (by the end of year, etc.)
- It must be attainable (if your goal is to become incredibly handsome and even your Mom thinks you’re dog ugly, this might be an unattainable goal)
- It must be measurable (do something [x] number of times)
- Learn to draw better – By end of year, produce 5 drawings I am proud of.
- Learn Photoshop better – By end of year, produce 5 photo-edited pictures I would happily hang in our home.
- Stay in Shape – By end of year, workout at least 100 times.
- Become a better friend – By the end of year, communicate regularly with at least 8 friends (outside of my family).
- Learn to cook – By end of year, be able to cook at least 10 meals that I would confidently serve to others.
OK, I hear you saying “how self-centered” to start with SELF first. I firmly believe that you can’t help others until you help yourself, so that is why I list it first. So shut up :).
LEARN TO DRAW AND PHOTOSHOP BETTER
I’ve always loved to draw but quite frankly, I’m not very good. Like anything else, I think I can learn some techniques to help. Ditto with Photoshop, it would be cool to experiment more with black and white photo editing.
STAY IN SHAPE
I’ve never had issues staying in shape, I normally work out 3-5 times a week (whether it be weight training, cycling, hiking or golfing) but it is good to keep that in the forefront of my goals. In the past year, I’ve cycled over 2,000 miles!
BECOME A BETTER FRIEND
It’s so easy to lose touch with friends. Sure, Facebook is fine for keeping track of what your acquaintances are up to but how many of those relationships are you really growing? I plan to make a dedicated effort to communicate more frequently with my top 8 friends.
LEARN TO COOK
My wife is an incredible cook and so are both my sons. I admit it, I’m a bit of a slacker. But no more, I am going to learn to cook and I might even invite you over for a meal.
- Continue our Travels – By end of year, vacation at least 60 days
- Be More Fiscally Responsible – By end of year, reduce our retirement draw to a safe withdrawal rate (4%-5%) or less
- Solidify Our Home – By end of year, sell our condo and start the construction of our new home
CONTINUE OUR TRAVELS
We will continue to take short trips in the USA this year. Traveling internationally will be more challenging now that we have our dog (Katie) back. There are lots of great places to visit in the states, so we plan to visit some more areas (like North Carolina, Savannah, St. Simons Islands, Tybee Island, etc.)
BE MORE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE
In our first 2 years of retirement, we were learning the ropes and getting our sea legs. Any competent financial adviser will tell you that if you withdraw 4% or less from your retirement funds per year, you can live on that amount for the rest of your life. In fact, there is a great article on that here.
Luckily, the stock market has gone gang busters since we retired in 2009 and our net worth is higher now than the day we retired. But I know that this will not be the case forever, so it is important to reduce our draw to the safe withdrawal rate of 4% – 5% per year.
In Business 101, you learn that increased profitability is affected in 2 ways: By earning more or spending less. We can use that same principle here to reduce our yearly draw. We can make money outside of the retirement draw and/or we can reduce our expenses.
In 2015, I will be launching at least 2 mobile apps and they should be producing income that should affect the bottom line. We are also reducing our monthly spending. Since October, we’ve reduced our spending by 40% over that same time period in 2013. Wow, that will affect the bottom line! How did we do it? We simply made a budget and tracked it weekly. Each week, my wife and I review our progress and make changes according to how we are doing. Simple move, big results!
SOLIDIFY OUR HOME
The value of our condo has increased by about 38% since we purchased it in 2011 so we feel this is a good time to sell it and roll that money into a house. We purchased a lot (only a block from the ocean) and plan to build on it as soon as the condo sells. We are looking forward to being in a home once again too.
- Give Back by Volunteering – By end of year, volunteer at least 30 days
- Give Back Financially – By end of year, anonymously donate to 4 needy families.
GIVE BACK BY VOLUNTEERING
I was first exposed to Habitat for Humanity in Denver, when one of my sons and I volunteered. I’ve connected with the Walton County Habitat for Humanity and have already started volunteering. What a great organization, it is great to see the impact the volunteers are making. I look forward to volunteering here and other places in 2015.
GIVE BACK FINANCIALLY
I would prefer to donate to families we learn about than to blindly donate to an organization. I am sure that most charitable organizations do a great job of getting the funds to people in need but I do know that a good portion of the funds go to service the positions held by members of the organization (salaries, expenses, etc.).
In my opinion, finding needy families and giving directly to them anonymously is a better alternative. We can find families through volunteering, churches, and through hearing of them from friends and family.
Tracking Your Goals
As someone who appreciates software, I am tracking my goal progress using software. The software I use is called GoalsOnTrack. The thing I like about it is that it allows me to put my goals in, track tasks associated with the goals and gives me a visual indicator as I complete the goal. If you are interested in learning more about it, visit http://www.GoalsOnTrack.
Let Me Hear from You!
Leave a comment with what your 2015 goals are, I would love to hear from you!
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