New Year resolutions generally have a stigma attached to them. People choose lofty goals, but ones that they aren’t willing to attain. Each year I hope to get incrementally better. This year is the first year that I will have written out goals for the year and I choose to call them goals rather than resolutions as I am not looking for drastic changes, but rather improvements.
While the primary purpose of my blog is regarding personal finance and our journey toward financial independence I want to make sure not to neglect other areas of my life either. I’ve chosen four areas that I want to improve on this year: financial, mental, physical, spiritual.
2018 was the first full year of tracking our income and expenses. I am pretty sure it was our second highest year in terms of expenses (2017 I am pretty sure was higher since we were paying for housing in three locations). We spent a grand total of $82,461. I look at many other FIRE bloggers and I feel like such a spendthrift.
For 2019 my goal is to reduce our spending to $72,000 for the year. This will allow an average of $6,000 a month. However, we have two major fixed expenses, our mortgage at $3,129 and our car payment at $387. This leaves us with $2,484 to cover all our bills (utilities, food, entertainment, insurance, health care, etc.).
The focus for this year will be on our food expenses which averaged $710 a month last year. We also plan to max out all our tax advantaged accounts which means saving at least $57,000.
I expect our travel expenses to be reduced quite a bit this year as well since we’ll have more credit card rewards bonuses than we did last year.
Some of these tie in to the blog, which is essentially a mental activity. In this area I have multiple smaller goals since I’ve been lacking in this area in the past and I need those emotional wins to get rolling (think debt snowball style).
Read two books a month. I had this goal in 2018 (but didn’t document it) and utterly failed (I think I read 8 books last year, and 5 of them were ones I had read before). Therefore I’m trying again and actually devoting time to it. One book each month will be a fictional book, and the other will be non-fiction (most likely law, business, or finance related). This month I am starting off “Searching for Bobby Fischer” Fred Waitzkin.
Reading five blog posts a day for the entire year. This one is much harder and I am already behind. I need some accountability on this. I think my system for achieving this will be a daily tweet of at least 5 blog posts I read so I can track this.
Post two articles a week. I’m already a little behind on this since I only got one posted last week (and it was still in December). This is the first full week, so if I can get one more post in this week, I’ll be on track (plus maybe an extra one to make up for last week).
I was in the best shape of my life in 2013 after I had shocking revelation in 2012 that I was overweight. I didn’t have any health issues, but Lady Kit took a picture of me from the side while we were on vacation and it looked like I was smuggling a basketball underneath my shirt. After that trip I lost about 60-70 pounds in about 6 months (I actually had coworker ask me if I was okay, or tell me they were praying for me). In the last two years I have put much of that back on as I have not prioritized working out, and have slipped back into some bad eating habits.
This year I have a few fitness and strength related goals to be completed by the end of the year:
- Drop down to 155 lbs
- Complete 100 push-ups in a row
- Complete 25 pull-ups in a row
- Complete a sub 1:45 half-marathon
I grew up with basically zero spiritual influence in my life. This combined with my engineering education experience leaves me with a natural skepticism to all faiths, but I wonder how everything can exist without some higher power. So this year I want to expand my spiritual education. I plan to focus on the old testament of the bible. I don’t plan to include further posts about this on my blog other than maybe something to acknowledge that I have completed reading the old testament.