I’ve made a habit of setting new goals and reviewing old goals. This usually occurs during the last two weeks of December. Last year, I shared how to create SMART Goals when created my goals for 2018. I won’t recap how to create smart goals on this post, but I will review my 2018 goals. I will also share my goals for 2019.
First, let’s start by diving into last years goals and see how I did.
Reviewing 2018 goals
I set five goals for 2018 which are outlined below.
- travel more
- Improve overall health
- Max out 401k & Save $50k in brokerage
- Give back more
- Grow the blog 10x
I set the goal to travel more. More specifically, I wanted to take a trip every other month. Or said differently, I wanted to travel 6 times. Well, I set this goal before 2018 started. This goal was set before I accepted a new job that started in February. Taking time off at a new job is hard. Combined this with my boss taking medical leave to fight cancer less than two weeks after starting the job made taking time off near impossible. I wasn’t able to take an international trip but still managed to squeeze in some fun.
Camp FI – I attended CampFI Mid-Atlantic and had a great time. Highly recommend checking one out if you have not been. I would like to attend in 2019 but most camps are already full. This was a great time with like-minded people seeking financial independence. There were great speakers and fun activities.
Colorado climbing trip – I was able to escape work for a couple of days during the summer. I use this opportunity to escape to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. During my trip, I climbed Mount. Quandary which is one of the tallest mountains in Colorado. One of my goals is to climb all the 14ers. Also got to see Miss Mazuma
FinCon – I attended my second FinCon this year, which was awesome (Orlando as a location? not as much). This is a conference where money and media meet. The conference has become one of the highlights of my year. You could argue it is the Super Bowl for bloggers and writers. This is also a great time to catch up with friends from the finance and real estate world.
Beach retreat – I had a ton of vacation days to burn towards the end of the year. So, I hopped into the car and drove to the OBX for a beach getaway in November (brrrrr). It rained the entire time but I was able to catch up on sleep, reading, and writing.
Hiking trips – I took a few weekends or overnight trips to hike. This is honestly one of the best and most cost-efficient getaways out there. The outdoors are my zen place and help me recharge. Without these trips, I would’ve completely burned out this year.
Raleigh reunion/caps tradition – I took a road trip to Raleigh to visit a buddy from college. I am a diehard Washington Capitals fan. My friend is a Hurricanes fan. Most every year we visit each other to see the Caps and Canes take the ice. This was a great time that was filled with hockey, drinking, and tons of good food.
Conclusion: I achieved this goal but failed to make an international trip.
Improve my overall health
This goal was listed second but is by far the most important. Going into 2018 my health was the worst it has ever been. I stupidly sacrificed my health while hustling, building my mini real estate empire and chasing financial freedom. 100 hour weeks became the norm. Sleep became evasive and working out fell by the wayside. I also developed severe back pain in 2017.
My sleeping patterns have greatly improved over the last year. I am working out again and fairly regularly. I also got to go for a bike ride or two with Dave from Accidental FIRE. My overall fitness and health have improved though my weight is not where it should be.
Conclusion: I achieved this goal and my health/fitness is much better than this time last year. However, I still have plenty of room for improvement.
Max out 401k & save $50k in brokerage accounts
Well, this was my second most lofty goal (keep reading for the loftiest) for 2018. I wanted to max out my 401k and save $50k in a brokerage account. Also, I did not share this last year, but I wanted to keep maxing out my Roth IRA. All of this saving would propel me closer to achieving financial independence.
I would like to take a moment to before sharing my results on this goal to mention a couple of things. These numbers are BIG and may seem unrealistic or unobtainable to some.
Early in my journey, I could not even imagine saving/investing this month in a year. I started saving small amounts like $10 or $20 any chance I could. Over time, I was able to increase my income from switching jobs and having multiple side hustles. The increased income played a large role in my ability to save. I am a big proponent of focusing on increasing your earnings; I call this offensively building wealth.
Do not let my numbers be off-putting to you. Everyone has a different starting point and ending point. Do not compare your situation to others. Rather, find a way to put yourself in a better position than you were yesterday.
So, how did I do with my savings goals for 2018?
401k -I successfully maxed out my 401k. This means I saved $18,000 in my retirement account plus whatever my employer contributed
Roth IRA – I successfully executed a backdoor Roth IRA conversion and contributed the maximum contribution. So, I saved $5,500 in my Roth.
HSA – As I mentioned earlier, I switched jobs in February. My new job offered a Health Savings Account (HSA for short) which allowed me to save $3,450. This was a combination of my contributions and contributions from my employer. I’ve wanted access to an HSA for years and am glad to finally have one. You should SERIOUSLY consider opening one of these accounts. They are one of the BEST ways to save for retirement (both early and traditional).
Brokerage – My goal of saving/investing $50k in my brokerage account was lofty. Between buying index funds every week and strategically buying dividend stocks, I saved $45,781.22 in my brokerage account. I fell short of my goal by $4,218.78. I would have achieved my goal if rental property #4 didn’t sit vacant for 9 months (thanks DC government). Still, I very happy, fortunate, and blessed to stock so much money away. This is a privilege not everyone is afforded.
Conclusion: I did not achieve this goal but came close. I am happy with my progress and am not losing sleep on this one ‘failure’. I failed upwards and came close.
Give Back More
Volunteering and giving back to my community is something I have always valued. This will always be important to me. During 2018, I found small ways to practice random access of kindness. Likewise, I also found ways to make bigger impacts.
I fed 120 people for Thanksgiving. I don’t say this to boast or brag but merely to provide an example of ways I achieved this goal. In fact, I don’t mean to boast at all. I haven’t mentioned this to anyone in ‘the real world’ and am only sharing this in my ‘safe, private corner of the internet’.
Conclusion: Pass, but I want to do more.
10x Blog Traffic
This was my most lofty goal of the year. Increasing anything 10x takes a lot of work, dedication and a bit of luck. Well, I fell short on this goal slightly. I increased my site’s traffic by 7-8x. I would have likely met this goal if I remained focused and kept writing the second half of the year. However, I also have a life outside of this blog and sometimes cannot commit the time I would like to. This was a very challenging year on a personal and familial level; matters in my life required attention that was not anticipated. May sound like an excuse? It is. Heck, some would say life happens.
Conclusion: FAIL. This goal could have been met but I did not take the necessary actions to get there. I lost focus and have no one to blame but myself.
Setting 2019 goals
- Improve my health, lower my weight, and kick ass – I want to continue improving my health in the new year. I have probably 15-20lbs that I need to get rid of. I also want to improve my functional fitness so that I can enjoy life and tackle some of my bucket list goals like climbing more mountains and hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. The highest form of wealth is health; without it money is pointless
- Change Lives – I want to positively impact those around me. I want to change lives and help people around me. I want people to be their best possible selves and help them get there if I can. I want to use my life energy influence and improve the world and the wonderful people who live here.
- Travel more – This goal is a carryover from last year. Now that I am more established in my current job, I want to take a few more ‘real’ vacations. I want to go international once or twice in 2019. Traveling is something that I am passionate about. I feel that I grow when I travel – especially via solo travel abroad.
- Be present – I am often looking deep into the future and making plans for a better tomorrow. I am taking actions now to set myself up for a better tomorrow. Sometimes, I am not living in the moment. This is something I want to work on. I am fairly self-aware and want to improve on being more present and living in the moment (occasionally – don’t want to lose track of tomorrow).
- Secret goal about starting something new – this may seem like a copout, but I have two endeavors that I really want to chase (or start). I am hoping to start at least one of them in 2019. One endeavor is more of a ‘non-profit’ give back/feel good type of thing. The other is a for-profit enterprise that I am passionate about (hint: it involves real estate – go figure).