People always tell me the years go by faster and faster as you get older. I guess it’s true. 2016 flew by pretty quick. I’ve had some major accomplishments throughout 2016 and a few failures as well. It’s always fun to look back and assess the year and plan for the next one. I usually don’t plan for the next year until the beginning of the new year. However, I decided to do it a week earlier than usual thanks to Dividend Income Builder.
Highs Of The Year
Alright let’s start off with the highs of the year:
1. Started a blog blog: I finally started this blog after contemplating it for months. Sometimes in life it’s just better to jump in and do it. Less talk and more action! It’s certainly been a great journey so far (only about two months). It’s nice connecting with the personal finance community and really learning the ins and outs of blogging first hand. Hopefully by the end of next year I’ll be a much better writer.
2. Started two side hustles: This year I started two side hustles. One of them really took off and it nearly pays my entire rent! It’ll be one of my first blog posts in 2017. The other is much smaller, but still generates enough cash to help pay my internet bill since I started it (I’ll be trying to increase this income next year).
3. Calligraphy: I’m a little weird in that I like writing. I like watching ink flow from a pen. And yes, I’m one of those crazy people that still write in cursive! I love calligraphy because it’s very relaxing and fun to just doddle around once in a while.
I dabbled in Chinese calligraphy in my youth so I guess this is where the desire came from. Only this time I’m trying with the English alphabet. I bought a pilot parallel pen and I’ve been practicing my Gothic script. I have about 85% of the alphabet (both lower and upper case) down, but I’ve still got a long way!
4. Getting healthier: Out of all of my accomplishments, I would say this one should be near the top of the list. I finally faced my fears and started going to the gym regularly. It’s been great. I feel so much healthier and a few people have even commented that I look a little bit leaner.
I also started doing yoga this year. It’s great. All of the breathing exercises are amazing for relaxing and reducing stress. Plus if you’re a single guy you’ll meet more attractive girls in one class than you will in an entire weekend hitting the bars.
Lows Of The Year
1. Not enough travel: I really didn’t do too much travel this year for vacation compared to the prior year (other than visiting family). The only different places I visited were Mexico (Tijuana area), Toronto, Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Orlando. I think the biggest disappointment is that I didn’t do any international travel (guess it’ll have to be done in 2017!)
2.Food costs up: Although I cook a lot during the week, I have been eating out a bit more this year. I’ve developed quite an appetite for schwarma, which isn’t exactly cheap haha. And I also befriended a great owner of a local pho restaurant so I’ve been there multiple times on the same weekend!
3. Savings rate down: I had a down year with my savings rate (although it is still up in absolute dollar terms). The primary culprit is actually travel. I traveled back home (two states away) 8 times this year. The primary reason is I wanted to see my nephew more. He’s only 2, but he grows up pretty fast!
It also didn’t help that my average Thanksgiving and Christmas tickets were up over 25% from the prior year despite the decline in fuel prices (ouch)!
Goals For 2017
I have always been a big fan of writing down your goals. It really helps to mentally keep focused and working towards something. In addition, I love to break down my goals into smaller ones so it becomes much more achievable.
Here are some of my goals for the next year:
1. Keep Blogging
I plan to keep blogging and driving traffic to this site. I only started about two months ago and it’s been an up and down ride, but I’ve learned a lot. My main goal for the next year will be to drive more traffic to the site and post higher quality content. Here are some goals:
- Post 2 times a week (barring vacation time and big holiday weekends).
- Tweet more often–I usually only tweet to promote my posts or other blogs that I read. I think it would help if I tweeted financial advice in addition to the usual items.
- Use other social media–The only social media platform I’ve used for this site is Twitter. I plan to use Pinterest and Facebook to better expand my reach.
- Over the next year, I hope to do 2 -3 guest posts.
2. Continue working out at the gym
Going to the gym has been great. I feel much healthier and my body looks a little slimmer. I’m no Arnold Schwarzenegger (yet), but give me two or three decades!
Here are my gym goals for the year:
- Go to lift at the gym 4 times a week.
- Go to yoga class once a week.
- I hate cardio, but it’s necessary to get rid of unnecessary fat. I am planning on doing at least 45 minutes of cardio a week.
3. Earn More From Side Hustles
One of my goals for 2017 is to make more (and save) to reach financial independence. I’ve already planned a few ways to do it. Not all of them will probably be successful, but it’ll be a great learning process.
My goals is to be able to earn $30,000 (gross) of additional income on an annualized basis by the end of the year.
Here are my side hustle goals for the next year:
- Create 3 – 4 Udemy courses (I already have one planned to launch within the first two weeks of the new year).
- Continue ebook success on Amazon’s KDP (targeting over $10,000 of income in 2016).
- Start 2 – 3 different fiverr gigs.
- Start two other unnamed side hustles.
- Get at least one freelance writing gig. By the way, Financial Samurai/Club Thrifty put out a great piece on how to get a freelance writing gig if anyone is interested.
4. Travel more
To put this simply: I want to travel more in 2017! At this point, I don’t have any plans to go to Europe (although I eventually do). To be honest, a lot of the terrorist attacks there have freaked me out. Whether it is true or not, I don’t feel as safe traveling over there right now.
- In 2017 I want to do one international trip. It will likely be Taiwan (if at all).
- The two trips I know I will be going on for sure are Toronto and Oklahoma City.
- Potential travel locations include: Salt Lake City, New England, somewhere in South Carolina, potentially Savannah, Denver, and maybe even a Vegas trip.
- I want to explore more of Mexico (even though my Spanish is completely remedial!). Travel will probably be around the Baja California state…or maybe a Cancun trip might be in the books.
5. Start A Niche Site
This is another idea I’ve thought about for a while. And you know what? I’ve thought about it for far too long. Talk is cheap. I need more action! I’m going to start a nice site in 2017. I’ve read some great advice on the subject from Passive Income Wise, Red Pill Reviews, and 30 Days To X about the subject. It’s time to start experimenting a little bit.
I’ve already thought and planned out my niche site (after contemplating 3 ideas). When the new year begins, I’ll jump on it right away.
Here are my goals for the niche site:
- Spend 3 – 4 hours a week on a niche site.
- Target time of 50 hours on the site (~20 posts @ 2 hours each + 10 hours for site design and other misc. items).
- Target to break even from the site. My stretch goal would be to make $100 from the site.
Overall, I think 2016 was a fairly good year for me. Someone once told me the best way to know if you’re changing for the better is just to reflect quickly on your life. If you don’t cringe at some of the mistakes you’ve made in the past, then you aren’t trying hard enough! By that standard, I’ve had a great year! Here’s hoping 2017 will be just as great if not better.
Readers, what do you think about my goals? Do any of you have any goals you want to share over the next year? Let me know in the comments! Cheers everyone!