The year just passed was a fantastic year and my first full year of blogging. I found that sharing my 2017 goals and updating them here each month gave me that extra little push I needed to stretch myself on the days I wasn’t feeling up to the challenge. It might seem strange to some that I care so much about what a bunch of strangers on the internet think – I mean you can just lie right?
Of course, I could be making up stories here, but what would that achieve exactly? It would go against my personal value of integrity, as well as be a hard charade to keep up (I’m not all that creative so the truth is easier to tell ;))
And that bunch of strangers? Over the past 12 months, some have turned into good friends and others I’m ever so grateful to learn from. They turned out to be wonderful people who encourage me when I hit targets and console when I don’t quite make the mark. My real life friends do this too, however, I don’t share quite so many details about my finances and life goals with all my friends, especially not in public places, where most of our time is spent.
The internet seems to be the easier option to slowly get to know people and follow their journey, getting a much deeper understanding than you ever would by chatting in a coffee shop.
And so, with 2018 comes some new goals. Some greater stretch targets to see how far I can really take this!
Of course, my goals will fit into one of my 5 pillars of a balanced life. After all, that’s what this blog is about. By creating a lifestyle I really enjoy each and every day I don’t feel like I need to escape and I can be happy with where my life is headed.
Without further ado – here are….
My 2018 goals
Building strong and lasting relationships is such an important pillar to focus on which is why I have put it first. I feel a special kind of energy when I spend quality time with loved ones including family, friends and of course Mr. B.
It can be difficult to keep in touch with friends when your life grows and changes, sometimes heading in different directions. Sadly, I’ve noticed lately a few friends who are ‘too busy’ to hang out. I have decided for 2018 that I will try to keep in touch with old friends only so much as they attempt to keep in touch with me.
I will focus on the small group of friends who regularly check in to see how I’m going, as well as regular family dinner which will always be something I cherish. I will also continue to spend quality time building my relationship with Mr. B through our regular spare time together and specially carved out ‘us’ time.
By the end of 2016, I was able to somewhat naturally settle into saving 48% if my take-home pay. This was achieved by working on my career to a point where I could comfortably save any extra pay rises rather than let lifestyle inflation take over.
In 2017 I managed to increase my savings rate by trying just that little bit harder. I secured a promotion and small pay rise, as well as increasing my earning capacity through a flexible second job. By aiming to make incremental gains of just 1% each month (and some months beating that!) I was able to save an average 54% over the year.
In 2018 my goal is to save at least 60% of my take-home pay!
This actually sounds a little scary to me, but I’m also super excited. I was able to shave off 6% extra to put into savings last year, I’m sure I could find further ways to optimise to hit my new 60% target.
How will I do this? The same two-fold strategy that any personal finance blogger would recommend – decrease outgoings and increase income streams.
To keep in line with my overall aim of balance and happiness, I won’t be cutting all discretionary spending, but rather the aim is to be more mindful of where my money goes. I will focus on only spending on things that add value to my life.
3. Physical Health
My physical health and wellbeing are very important to me as I would like to be able to live a long and happy life – who doesn’t?
For 2018 I will be focussing on the following;
- Hitting 7,000 steps per day minimum
- Continuing to play team sports – likely soccer
- Aiming for a ‘whole foods plant-based‘ diet 80-90% of the time
The biggest change for me this year will be option c) the whole foods-plant based (WFPB) diet. After feeling not so great on and off throughout 2017, seeing a nutritionist who said I needed to improve my gut health, and my doctor telling me again that I need to decrease my cholesterol, I decided to take some action. I have spent time researching different diets and eating lifestyles and have decided that WFBP way of eating is most appealing to me.
This will be a huge change in habit, as well as a mindset which is why I am aiming for most of the time. I don’t want to make things difficult when eating with family and friends (especially if they are cooking). I also don’t want to resent eating out as it is something I still really enjoy and unfortunately many restaurants don’t offer a lot to cater to different dietary needs. I must say they are getting better from when I used to work in the industry, but there is still a lot of room to improve. Instead, I aim to work on what is completely within my control. That should be around 99% of breakfasts, 90% of lunches and probably 85% of dinners.
4. Community & Spirit
When I am gone from this earth nobody will remember how much money I saved, or how many days I did or didn’t exercise. Instead, they will hopefully fondly remember the good times spent together and the difference I made to their lives. I would also like to extend this giving to my wider community who may not personally know me but who can benefit from my generosity of spirit. I 2018 I will continue to give to charity, be active in my community and aim to leave a legacy that will live on long after I’m not around.
5. Mental Health
Mental Health has its own category as it is such an important factor for living a balanced, happy and fulfilling life. Sadly, each year approximately one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness. While I am lucky to not deal with this personally, I have people close to me who suffer when dealing with everyday stressors due to mental health reasons.
I am by no means an expert in mental health or what one needs to keep their happy and healthy. However, for myself I know that my mind is happier and more resilient when I;
- Take time to rest and relax
- Spend time with those I love
- Feel secure about my future
- Look after my body – nutrition and exercise
- Am achieving my goals
So by achieving each of the above goals, number 5, mental health, should hopefully be a smashing success also. I will aim to measure and report on this somewhat my monitoring my times of feeling low on energy, how often I get exasperated and ‘stressed’ and how often I don’t feel I’ve had a restful nights sleep.
While not fitting neatly into 1 of my 5 pillars, this goal spans across a few of them. In 2018 I would like to read at least 15 books.
I used to be an avid reader, and still am however I have been spending far too much time ‘reading’ social media and not deeper content. I want to get back into reading old-fashioned books again. This should help me to;
- relax in the evenings, stopping the blue light from keeping me awake longer
- increase my vocabulary (and hopefully improve my blog posts)
- wade through the plethora of books I own and remove those that no longer serve me
- learn something new!
So there you have it – my goals for 2018. I hope my year is as successful and fulfilling as 2017 was and that you too will achieve the goals you have set for the coming year.
Have you set your goals yet? What is your top priority for 2018?