In years past, when it came to setting goals I’ve had some grand ideas about what I wanted to get done during the year.
Prior to actually writing them down for the first time two years ago, most of these ideas were some sort of those “well that would be nice…” or “it’d be cool if I did this…” type goals, where I didn’t really keep track of it, and likely forgot about it once a few months went by.
By taking the action to actually write them down, that was the first time I’d actually been intentional about what I wanted to accomplish during the year, and had a way of keeping track of my progress.
While having firm, established goals is great, where I’ve gotten caught up over the years is that I spend too much time thinking about my goals, instead of actually going out and doing them. I have some great ideas of how I would go about accomplishing these goals, I even take the step of visualizing myself taking the steps and going out to accomplish these. However, often times the execution is lacking. I don’t take the steps to go out and do those things I’ve been thinking about.
Some of this is life getting in the way. Some of it is excuses I make for and tell myself. Other times it’s a lack of confidence that my idea is a good one, or the inability to go forth and decide on a course.
One thing I hate is wasting my (or anyone else’s) time and many times I get this paralyzing fear that I’m making the wrong decision and will inevitably waste my time. This is a huge reason why I’ve failed in accomplishing some of my past goals.
For instance, with real estate, it’s a lot easier to view properties online, instead of committing to seeing a property, making an offer, etc. With side hustles, it’s easy to come up with ideas of what you could do, but tougher to actually go out and starting doing them, especially when you fear you’re wasting your time.
So when it came time to come up with some goals for 2020, I had an overall theme in mind of focusing on doing and being more decisive when it came to making big decisions. I’m hoping this helps with some of the long standing goals I’ve wanted to accomplish!
Be More Decisive with Big Decisions
As I just talked about this a bunch, may as well make this the first goal! Obviously I want to be more decisive around the following goals, but there are also likely going to be some big decisions coming up this year. I don’t want to dwell on these choices and therefore will need to think about the options, come up with a pros/cons list and just simply make a decision.
I really need to trust my gut, be confident in my choice and go with what I feel is right, instead of thinking about it so much that it causes stress and takes up much of my mental bandwidth and energy.
Invest Excess Cash
I’ve been sitting on quite a bit of cash for a while now, and it’s starting to approach levels where I need to take into account the opportunity cost of holding it all in cash. I feel I’ve been justified in keeping this much cash as it allows me to go after a wider variety of potential rental properties (since I would need a 20% down payment more cash opens up more properties).
While I do have a target rental market and even been working with a realtor to identify potential properties, if much progress isn’t made by midway through the year, I want to invest this cash in the market. This doesn’t mean I give up on a rental property, just that I open myself up to more risk that the value could go down if the market turns south, and thus could delay a potential rental property even longer.
Either way, going with my first goal, I want to be more decisive with investing this cash. If I find a property where the numbers work, go after it and make an offer. If not, invest in the market and don’t worry about the timing of it.
65% After-Tax Savings Rate
This was my stretch goal for 2019, which I fell short by a bit (ended up at 61%). With another year, my income is projected to be even higher, and my target budget calls for my spending to be its lowest ever. By doing all this there is a decent shot I can hit 65%, so this is what I’m going after!
Here is my projected budget for 2020, with not too much variance between the prior year (at least in terms of budget, since the actual spending varied by category), but here’s to hoping I can make this possible!
(Groceries are a bit higher, which I’ll explain in a follow up post at some point!)
START a New Side Hustle
This year, I simply want to start a new side hustle. Keep it simple with no money targets or anything like that. I think where I got caught up last year was wanting to start a side hustle that made money right away and because of that I was hesitant to try anything that may not make money during the year (again – the thought of “wasting” my time).
This would suggest I want to start something on the side or online (instead of providing a service that directly trades my time for money) and perhaps build a site or product which could take a while to make money – if ever. I’ve still got years to FI, but it’s never too early to think about what I’d want to do with my time when I’m done with my day job, and getting started now is a great way to have something to switch to that I’m passionate about when the time comes.
If an opportunity arises to make money immediately via a service by doing something I want to do, I’ll surely consider it, but I’m leaning more towards the building something side of things. It’s just a matter of going out and doing it!
Maintain Daily/Weekly Streaks
Right now I’ve got a pretty good system in place to track and ensure I hit some of the daily and weekly mental/physical goals I’ve set. I’m currently tracking to several, all with the intent of building and maintaining streaks. I’m pretty competitive, even with myself, so I constantly want to beat the last highest streak I had, and continue them as long as I can!
Right now I’m tracking against the following to complete daily: 100 push-ups, stretching (which inevitably includes yoga poses), planks (one I do with my partner) and Duolingo lessons (re-learning Spanish!), and the following weekly: Gym/Run 3 times per week and shoulder/arm workout 4 times per week (this is like a mini workout which just targets those areas).
I’ll be tracking this all year long, and though obviously the true goal is to be 100% and have perfect streaks on all of them, I know realistically that may be tough and there could be some slip ups. Therefore I’m shooting for better than a 95% success rate, which means for my weekly goals I accomplish it at least 49 of 52 weeks, and for my daily goals I do them 347 days of 366 (cause it’s a leap year!).
I think this is doable and hoping I can report back on some of these at year end that I hit 100%!
Shorten Commute Time
There’s no real sugarcoating it, right now my commute just plain stinks. 2-3 days a week I have a 1 – 1 ¼ hour driving commute, and the other 2-3 days I have a 45-50 minute metro commute. That means anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 ½ hour commutes each day. The metro commute is slightly better as I don’t have to concentrate as much, but either way that’s just a long time.
I find that most week days I don’t even get home until 7:45 or later as I’ll need to work a little later, or I work out at the gym after work. After eating dinner, cleaning up afterwards and then getting my lunch ready for the next day when I finally sit down to relax it’s sometimes already 9:15 or later. Then I have roughly an hour before it’s time to get ready for bed and repeat that all over again. I have to admit it’s starting to wear on me, and something has got to give.
I don’t expect much progress on this until mid-year as a separate big decision from my partner and I on whether or not we want to stay in the DC area will factor in with what happens on this front. If we choose to stay, it may be time for me to look at companies a little closer to where I live so I can start to have some more free time during the week. Stay tuned!
Read 12 Books
This is another repeat goal from the last two years which I’ve really enjoyed. Although I’d love to read more than 12 books, I find one a month suits me best at this stage given my lack of week day free time (see previous section) and the fact I’m an extremely slow reader.
I’ll try to keep this close to a 50/50 fiction/nonfiction split so I can get a good mix of learning as well as adventure, but we’ll see how it goes!
52 Hikes in the Year
This last goal is a fun one my partner and I wanted to give a shot since we both enjoy hiking and the outdoors so much!
52 hikes for 52 weeks in the year sounded like an ambitious goal especially considering during the winter it’s less than optimal to be outside. This means we’ll need to go on multiple hikes in a weekend and or multiple in a day during the warmer weather to help make up for those missed days.
We’re keeping the parameters loose on this one (ie – we’re counting nature walks as hikes), but we want to do a new hike each time and we also want to make sure each one is at least 2.5 – 3 miles long so that we aren’t just counting a quick walk outside as a hike.
We’ll see how this one goes, but even if we fail it should mean a lot of time spent outdoors which counts as a win for me!
I only ended up going with 8 goals this year instead of the 10 I’ve had in past years. Some of these are big goals that could lead to some major changes, so I didn’t want to put too much on my plate. Nevertheless I’m excited to start tracking these and making progress. I’m confident that 2020 is going to be an amazing year and making headway on these goals should be a big part of that!
What goals do you have for 2020? Are you excited or nervous about any of them? Let me know!