Welcome to the monthly goal update series. At the end of each month I’ll write a wrap-up post on how I am tracking with my goals. I know the only person interested in this much detail about my life is my grandmother, however science says that you are more likely to achieve something if you have to share your progress publically, and who am I to question science?
April in a nutshell
Looking back at my April calendar and there are only two days in the month that don’t have something on – and they are both Monday’s so I was in the office, just didn’t have any after work activities.
The rest of the month was filled with side hustling, friends birthdays, lunch with the fam and of course Easter Camping. While it was very busy and my best month yet in 2017 for side hustle income, it still felt nice and balanced as I got time to relax and disconnect for a couple of days not once, but twice in April, aren’t public holidays the best!
The goal review
To check out what my original goals were go here.
1. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night
Still going well on this one, there have been a couple of slightly late nights – again due to watching a video or reading an article. I don’t see these as terrible because they are usually educational – not cat videos for me – however I know that late at night is not the best time for screen time so I will continue to focus on reading an actual book, or listening to a relaxing podcast/music next month.
2. Do more physical activity
Netball is back on. We didn’t get anywhere near as much rain in April so Netball hasn’t been cancelled once. That is 2 hours each week of an activity I enjoy and I’m glowing afterwards.
Camping also gives plenty of time for physical activity; setting up the tent, collecting firewood, exploring our surroundings. There wasn’t a day that I was off work that I didn’t meet or exceed my 10,000/day step goal. This leads me to believe I’m not inherently lazy, I just need to
find the time prioritise exercise on days when I am in the office, and come up with some creative ways to fit more movement into my day.
Soccer season also started and I played one game in April. I was surprised it wasn’t as tough as I was expecting, though I know I can definitely improve on my fitness over the season.
3. Find a way to ‘give’ each month
My favourite times of year seem to be the holidays; whether religious, secular or just plain made up, I enjoy any excuse to let people know how much they mean to me and ensure there is food and conversation a plenty. Whether or not you agree with the sentiment of the day or not, set holidays are the perfect times to get people together as they usually have time off work, or are feeling a little more relaxed and ready to take a break. Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, Long Weekends, Birthdays (should totally be a holiday!) and anything else you can thing of, any excuse will do me.
I seem to have gone off on a mini tangent there however my point is I want everyone to be able to enjoy these times of year as much as I do. I don’t encourage people who are paying down debt, or saving hard for their house deposit, or even those who have other priorities to buy into the commercial side of each of these events, however I am more than happy to use them as a catalyst to spread a small amount of cheer. I know many families who would love to be able to give their kids all the bells and whistles and sometimes it isn’t possible so for April I decided to give in the form of small Easter packs offered to families in my local community who may not have the resources to feel comfortable buying holiday tokens. I purchased a few gift bags and filled them with Easter bunnies and eggs and offered them on my local Buy Nothing page.
While some may argue that this encourages the commercial side of holidays further and will never get people to move away from feeling like they need these things when they don’t. To these people I say eat some chocolate and chill – it isn’t the worst thing in the world to spread a little happiness.
4. Increase my savings rate by 1% each month
With a saving rate of 51% in March the for goal for April was 52%.
As mentioned above this was my best month yet in 2017 for my side hustle income. It was also a month filled with social engagements and activities. With an increase in income I could have easily splashed out and let lifestyle inflation creep in, however I have a plan and as soon as the extra money came in it was put out of sight. This helped me to stay on track and hit my 52% savings goal with ease.
It looks like I have hit my ‘easy’ savings amount. I haven’t yet felt that the savings rate has been hard to hit. Having the goal of increasing my savings by 1% each month has meant that I have been able to save a fair bit more than I would have without it, however the money has been there so I haven’t had to sacrifice anything. I think from now on each 1% increase might take a little more effort and conscious decisions may have to be made in order to hit the target in the future.
I noticed this because as I transferred the extra money out at the end of the month I noticed my final leftover balance was a lot lover than normal. This tells me I could have been saving this much earlier and just wasn’t so it is good to know this is a good baseline to come back to if needed.
I do admit though that I have been feeling a little stressed with the $ amount visible in my bank account at the end of the month. This is more a psychological thing as I’m used to having a higher balance visible in case of ’emergency.’ If I think about it logically though, it is a silly feeling as I have my emergency savings sitting waiting for me if the worst was to happen, I just can’t see them all the time so there is no temptation to spend on non-emergencies. This proves once again that money isn’t always logical and it can be a very emotional thing too.
5. Learn as much as I can about blogging and update this blog at least once per week
Blogging and interacting online took a bit of a backseat in April and I was much less active than I have been previously. This was due to a combination of more work in my day job meaning less downtime to write posts and read and share other content, as well as extra side hustling and also camping which is always a technology free (or very limited) time for me. I did miss one week of posting as I forgot to schedule that weeks post before I went off camping and then once I was gone I didn’t have access to my laptop so it wasn’t possible. I could have probably whipped something up quickly on my phone, however I didn’t feel it was worth trying to pull something together last minute, it wouldn’t have been the best content I could produce.
I did schedule 30 days of gratitude posts for Facebook and Twitter, however these got minimal interaction so I may need to review what I did there and how I can improve on this for next time. It was mostly a chance for me to learn a new design skill and to practise scheduling posts, so I’m not upset I only got a few replies, that means it can only get better from here.
Got some tips for other ways I can improve my blog and offer you more relevant content? Let me know in the comments below or contact me here.
That’s a wrap!
How I’m keeping on track with my goals – and you can too!
Just do something. That has become my mantra each day. When I’m feeling terrible or tired from a long day at work, I remind myself that making a small contribution to my goals will make a bigger difference over time.
Have a support system
Sharing my goals with family and friends (and everyone on the internet!) has kept me going in the moments when I’ve wanted to give up. I’ve got an especially awesome personal cheerleader in Mr. Balance, who will happily go on walks to help me reach my step goal, or have dinner at home to keep the savings rate high.
Accept there will be hurdles and failures
Sometimes life gets in the way and doesn’t work out exactly as we’ve planned, be grateful for the learning experience. Each hurdle you come across will help shape the way you work moving forward.
Review and adjust
I regularly evaluate if each goal is working, making sure they are still achievable and relevant. As well as writing these monthly updates, each Sunday I asses the week that was, focusing on the goals I didn’t achieve and the reasons why. This helps me highlight and plan a strategy to reduce any foreseen hurdles in the week ahead.
Celebrate the small wins
With life moving by so quickly, sometimes we can forget to take stock of what we’ve achieved. Each week in my review, I congratulate myself on what I have achieved so far. Even on an average week I acknowledge that each small step towards my ultimate goal is worth celebrating (with a pat on the back, not a bottle of champers ;)).
Did you set goals for 2017? How are you tracking? What have been your major hurdles and how did you get back on track?