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January 11, 2018

Andy's Goals for 2018

With the all-important year-end financial summary out of the way, it's time for a post on my resolutions, or goals for the new year. Before I get into those, I need to review my goals from last year. Let's see how I did and what I have in store for the upcoming year.

2017 Goals
Get My Business Going - Success
I did get my business going, but not in the way I expected. I put my original business idea on the back-burner for now, but I pivoted into a different venture which I'm pretty excited about. My first product is ready and I'm on the verge of a small-scale launch.

Blog Consistently - Partial Success
Early in the year I was failing at this pretty spectacularly, with posts maybe once a month. In my defense, we were super busy at home and I was doing construction part-time. However, since October I've been sticking to my goal and posting once a week.

Stick to Retirement Budget - Fail
If you read our last post, you know we went way over budget last year. Fortunately, it looks like we will easily do better this year. Fingers crossed.

Travel Hack - Success
We didn't really start on this until the second half of the year, but it went quite well. I did some research and figured out the basic ideas behind successful travel hacking and got off to a good start. We earned 78,000 United Miles and 54,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points worth a (theoretical) total of about $2,300 dollars in the last five months of the year. Not too shabby.

Get in Shape - Fail
This didn't go as badly as it could have, but I didn't get near my goal. According to my scale, I now weigh 239 pounds with 20% body fat. I don't have a good excuse other than laziness and being busy.

Join a Community Organization - Success
I didn't technically join a community organization, but I did get involved in the community and spend time with people outside my family. The first thing we did was Adopt-A-Street in our community. Actually, we adopted a pedestrian/bike path and we are responsible for picking up litter at least once a month. It's a simple way to help our community and keep our outdoor spaces a little nicer. Our more social involvement has been with our neighbors. We are lucky to have very friendly neighbors who hang out with some frequency, and we have become regulars in those gatherings. This has basically accomplished the goal behind this goal, so I'm calling it a success.

Learn to Weld - Fail
This goal simply didn't happen. I was too busy, as was the person I wanted to teach me.

Camping - Partial Success
We didn't quite make it out every quarter, but we went on two camping trips last year, one of which was 10 days. We had a great time on our trips, and with fewer weddings messing up our schedule this year, we should be able to camp more.

Read More Books - Partial Success
My beloved spice drawer.
I didn't read the six books I wanted to, but I did get through two and a half, which is a big improvement from my previous pace. I did especially well toward the end of the year, and I need to keep that momentum going.

Guitar - Fail
I didn't even touch the guitar. Epic fail.

Organize our Spices - Success
With the help of Pinterest and Ikea, I created a spice drawer, which I didn't realize was a thing. Let me tell you, it's not just a thing, its a great thing (assuming you have plenty of drawer space). I no longer have to dig through a jumble of spices to find what I'm looking for. It's great.

Final Score:  6.5/11
I accomplished more than half my goals, which is way better than most people do, so I don't feel too bad, but I think I can do better this year.

2018 Goals
Most of my goals for the year are the same as last year, so I'll keep these short since you've seen them before.

Take Care of Business
Launch the business, make some money, and have fun.

Blog Consistently
Keep the momentum going and build this blog.

Stick to Budget
We have a couple big expenses we are expecting this year, but otherwise we should do better on the budget.

Travel Hack
I'm shooting for 200,000 points this year. Let's see how it goes.

Get in Shape
Same goal as last year (12% body fat). No excuses this year.

Learn to Weld
I've got to make this happen. No excuses on this one either.

Go Camping
Same goal as last year--go camping at least once per quarter.

Read More Books
Same goal as last year--read six books.

Play Guitar
I'm going to scale this one back and try to practice once a week.

New for 2018
There aren't a lot of new goals this year, but I haven't really given it too much thought, so I might add a couple in the near future. Here's what I have for now:

Be a Better Dad and Husband
This is far and away the most important goal. I need to remember building a business, writing blog posts, managing bills and finances, doing yard work, and all the other things I do are nowhere near as important as my family, and I need to allocate my time accordingly. It will be hard to measure this goal, but I will know if I've succeeded or failed.

Be a Financial Wizard
This covers a lot. Basically, I want to optimize our finances as much as possible without doing any "creative" accounting. That doesn't mean trying to beat the stock market, just maximize returns while minimizing risk. It also means minimizing both our current and future tax burden. That will take a little extra work with the new tax law taking effect, but it's worth the effort.
Vina Robles is less than four miles from our house.
Photo courtesy of Nederlander Concerts.

Switch to Vanguard
This is related the the previous item, but more specific. It might take a couple years to make the transition, but I'm going to start the process now. I'll elaborate on why we're doing this in a future post.

See Live Music
We have a wonderful concert venue very nearby and we've never been there. That changes this year. I want to go to at least three concerts this year. Many of the shows are pretty expensive, but I've learned you can usually get tickets the day of the concert at a huge discount, so it shouldn't break our budget.

Even if I don't think of anything else, these should keep me pretty busy.
What are your goals for 2018? Let us know in the comments.

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