It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year… For Goal Planning

The last two weeks of every December, I take time to reflect on the the year that just past and the year that is ahead. I use this time to evaluate how I did in meeting this year’s goals, where things went wrong, and what I did right. I also use this time to set my sights on what I want to achieve over the next twelve months. You cannot expect to get to where you want to be with out a plan and a defined goal.

Knowing your ‘Why’?

It’s not enough to just have a goal. You should have a ‘why’ or reason for wanting to achieve your goals. Everyone would say saving $ 1 million would be great, but why? Just because it sounds like a cool number? Or because you think it will be enough to retire on? Depending on your spending habits it might or might not be enough.

Or do you have a clear vision for wanting to save $1 million? Some sort of logic like, using the 4% rule I can safely drawn down $40,000 from my portfolio every year which is more than enough to cover all of my family’s expenses.

Knowing your ‘why’ will give you a clear vision on if a goal is important to you or not. Your ‘why’ will also provide insight on if you need to adjust your goal(s) upwards or downwards. Not all goals are monetary. Goals can be relationship or lifestyle oriented. Goals can focus on personal development or be career oriented. Fitness, travel and reading are other great areas to focus on in goal setting.

Planning Your Goals

I encourage you to take an hour to sit down and write a handful of goals you would like to achieve next year. Next to each goal you should also right the reasons you want to achieve this goal. For example, your goal could be to volunteer at a local non-profit twice a month. Your reasons could be you want to help people, give back to your community and meet like minded individuals (networking).

You should keep your goals somewhere where you will see them often. Make sure to check in periodically and see if you are on pace or need to pick up the slack. You should share your goals with someone. Informing a person(s) about your goal will act as a form of accountability.

Reviewing My 2016 Goals

Buy another investment property: Unfortunately, I did not accomplish this goal. I submitted offers on 9 homes and lost on each bidding war. Though discouraging, I will not give up on my efforts to acquire more income producing properties. This will be a goal for 2017.

Max out my 401K: VICTORY! For the first time in my life, I max out my 401k. This was a great way to automate my savings and pick up on free money via my employers matching contributions.

Max out my Roth/IRA: VICTORY! This was a habit I established right after graduating college and will continue to do so. The Roth IRA is a great way for young people to establish an emergency fund while investing.

My goals for 2017

Or at least a few of them…

Read More: In 2015 I read over 30 books. Last year I did not place a priority on reading since I focused on growing my business. Next year I will read 12 books from various genres.

My why – Reading is a great way to decompress, learn and grow. This is an activity I enjoy and its great escaping to another world or borrowing someone else’s mind.

Run More: I was a runner/triathlete in college and my early adult life. Over the past few years, I have lost the ability to run any meaningful distance and gained several pounds. Towards the end of 2016, I started working out again and lost modest weight. In 2017, I would like to regain the ability to run 5 miles+ without hating my life.

My why – The human metabolism typically slows down the older we get and I would like to control my weight. I would also like to improve my overall health and activity level; I have yet to meet a doctor that recommends sitting at a desk all day. Running/exercise helps me cope with stress and clears my mind. Some of my most creative thoughts and ideas have come during a long run. Additionally, I would like to improve my overall fitness to pursue some of my future goals like climbing more complex mountains and completing an Iron Man.

Investment Property: This will be an annual goal for the next 4 or 5 years.

My why – Rental properties provide a great source of (mostly) passive income. The increased cash flow will allow me to quit my day job once I have a few more properties. The extra income will give me the flexibility to travel, spend time family and volunteer more.

Travel More: I want to take one international trip and a couple trips around the U.S. Travel is a wonderful thing. The world is to big to stay in one place.

My why – Traveling allows me to relax and opens my eyes to the world around me. I feel refreshed after a long trip. There are many places I would like to see and cultures I would like to experience.

Volunteer More: As previously stated above

Max 401k/IRA: This is a FIRE blog and I hope this item does not need an explanation.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

What are your goals for 2017? Do you know your ‘why’ or plan to write out your goals? Written goals are more likely to be achieved than unwritten goals. Having a plan will help you achieve your goals in life.

How do you approach goal setting? Merry Christmas and Happy New Years! May 2017 be better than the year before.


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