Ah, the new year. A perfect time to set goals and work to adopt new habits.
Heeding my own advice, this year I'm setting goals based on effort not outcome. (After nearly fifty years on this planet, I've come to recognize that while outcomes are influenced by effort, there are other factors involved. But I am wholly in control of my effort.)
That said, here are my goals for 2018:
- I will run at least one mile every day. I like to exercise. Unfortunately, I make tons of excuses to avoid exercise. But running a mile per day is easy. It's something that takes less than ten minutes. I can do it every day — even when I'm sick. Might get tough when traveling, but I think I can make it work. (As I mentioned the other day, a handful of us money bloggers are planning to run a half-marathon here in Portland at the end of March.)
- I will eat at least three servings of plants every day. One serving might be an apple or a cup of fruit cocktail or some asparagus with dinner. Starches like rice and potatoes do not count toward this goal. (Normally, I'm lucky to eat three servings of plants per week, so this is a big goal.)
- I will drink fewer than 500 servings of alcohol. Here's a frank admission: I'm worried that I drink too much. No surprise to long-time readers, who have seen the development of my love for beer and wine. And whisky. I think going “cold turkey” is setting myself up for failure, so I'm proposing this more modest goal. It still represents a sharp curtailment in how much I drink. (To get me started right, I'm pledging to drink no beer until my birthday at the end of March.)
- I will publish 500 articles at Get Rich Slowly. Initially, I intended to publish 1000 articles at GRS, but my direction has shifted over the past couple of months. I thought the site was going to become a curation engine with original content a secondary concern. Now I see that my original path with GRS (from 2006 to 2009) is still sound. I'm going to highlight lots of curated stuff, but original material will take center stage. [Ha. Maybe I can allow myself one serving of alcohol per published article.]
- I will read one book for pleasure each week. I used to read a lot. In my late twenties, my goal was to read one book per day. That seems insane now. After starting Get Rich Slowly in 2006, I entered a long period where I rarely read fiction. I went through phases where I read a lot of non-fiction — especially personal finance and economics material — but for some reason I abandoned novels. Last year, I started reading fiction again. In 2018, I want to take that from a hobby to habit.
These goals are all intensely personal. Some might seem silly and simple to you. Others might seem crazy. It doesn't matter. They're all relevant to me, and will help me become a better person.
But none of those are financial goals. What about those? After missing on all of my money goals last year, I'm reluctant to make plans for 2018. That said, I do intend to pursue a couple of aims:
- Kim and I are both cutting back hard on recurring monthly expenses. I've experienced a bit of lifestyle inflation over the past few years, subscribing to newspapers and magazines, signing up for streaming music and video services. I'm actively working to get rid of anything I don't actively use and get value from.
- As I've mentioned, my cash reserves are empty. I've used them all to repair the house and to buy back this website. I feel pinched. I don't want to access my investments to get cash, so I need to get money in other ways. So, I'm going to do two things: sell our RV and work to build GRS into a profitable website once more.
In essence, I'm following my own advice. I'm boosting my cash flow by cutting costs and increasing income. Yes, I could simply live on my savings, but I don't want to do that. I want that to be a cushion.
What about you? What are your financial goals for 2018? Are you working to get out of debt? Saving for a house? Do you want to start your own business? Become financially independent? Are you hoping you can follow a budget for the entire year? Tell us what your money goals — and other aims — in the comments below!