2019 Goals

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.

Financial Goals:

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.

Our route to maximizing our tax advantaged accounts

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.

Mental Goals:

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).

Physical Goals:

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

Spiritual Goals:

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.

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