Can you believe that another month has already come and gone? It seems like yesterday that I was pressing submit on the first check-in for the year. Isn’t it crazy how we perceive time to move faster as we age every year?
I have always wondered why that is. A part of me believes that our ability to constantly stay plugged in because of technology that makes time feel like it’s moving at a faster pace. But recently Adam Chudy introduced me to the Farnam Street Blog where I read the following insightful quote:
Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthy and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next – and disappear. That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.
This reminded me of intermittent experiences that actually felt like a pause in the space time continuum if you will. I am sure everyone reading this blog has experienced the perceived acceleration of time passing, but can you think back to a period over the past 12-months where you were actually able to expand time? It was likely something that was out of your comfort zone. Out of your normal routine. It might have been a vacation. A new activity. A conversation with a complete stranger.
The point is to remember to live life with intention and not on auto pilot. It is easy to get caught in the monotony of routine. It is comfortable there, but it is also where your life seems to race away. Remember that perception and therefore the ability for each of us to expand and contract time is in our hands. I challenge you to do something new and exciting, something that gets you out of your comfort zone, and experience a slower pace of time.
Where are we?
As I write this monthly goal check-in we are officially 60 days into 2016 (or 16.7% complete). Most people started the year off strong with their New Year’s resolutions for 2016. Well, at least the 45% of people who actually set New Year’s resolutions (US based statistics). The low participation rate isn’t even the worst news, of those 45%, 1 in 3 have already given up by the end of January. This means that 70% of Americans have already failed either by default or giving up.
I don’t want you or I to be a part of that 70% group. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably still on track and fired up to reach your goals, I know I am!
If you’ve hit a bit of a speed bump from coming out of the gate too hard, use this post as a reminder that there is still 10 months left in the year. Don’t give up! Remember that when the going gets tough, the tough keep going.
This is also the perfect time for me to encourage you to check-in on the progress you have already made in your own goals this year. If you set measurable goals, this should be rather easy. And if you set up the right tracking system, it shouldn’t take long to evaluate where you are.
We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a day or a week, but you would be surprised at what is possible over the course of a month and a single year.
We have 366 days in 2016. That is 366 opportunities to make forward progress on our goals. Some days are going to be better than others, it’s the nature of the game. The key is to keep it fun and remember life is just one big game. With 60 days behind us, that is 16.7% complete, which leaves us with 83.3% of runway left to make our goals a reality.
When you have a bad day, don’t give up, get up and shake it off as you continue moving forward. Remember tomorrow is another day and another opportunity.
Lastly, it is also a perfect opportunity to review the goals on your list to ensure they are still important to you. Sometimes we put goals on our list that seemed really important at the time, but lose that importance over time. I am not saying you should quit on a goal just because you are not seeing the progress you want to see, but to make sure you are going after things that matter to you. It’s okay to realize that you put down the wrong goals.
Is it time for a pivot? A tweak? Or maybe it’s time to strike one of those goals off your list.
My Personal Accountability & Check-in
You might have surmised that the inclusion of that last section above was about a change to my own goals. Yes there is one goal on my list that has become less important and is of less interest to me. While at the same time I find myself with a late add-on.
Below is where I stand with the 12 goals I set for 2016.
My initial assessment when looking at this, is that I have made some really solid progress. But let’s briefly take a look at each one:
Goal #1 [250 CrossFit/Hot Yoga Workouts or More, 12.4%] – In last month’s review I had mentioned my intention to increase the number of workouts to 21 during the month of February. However, that didn’t happen I maintained about the same number of workouts as in January (well 1 less). The short month and the vacation we took towards the end of the month made this a challenge. Therefore I am slightly behind pace on this goal.
With 31 workouts completed this leaves 219 workouts remaining for the year. In order to achieve the 250 goal, I will need to average 22 workouts for the remaining months. The plan for March is to get 23 workouts in.
Goal #2 [250 Days Eating Primal or More, 16.8%] – Although I am right on pace to achieve this goal, it is starting to lose its appeal and importance to me. I am not sure I am giving it up just yet, but it is on the table for consideration. I think at the time it seemed like the perfect complement to Goal #1, but it is really just becoming a bit of a drag, especially since my wife and I are not following the same way of eating. I will make a decision on whether this goal stays or goes by the next check-in.
Goal #3 [Earn $270K in Gross Income or More, 31.5%] – This goal took a big jump as my yearend bonus hit my account. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my better half is still killing it as well on the income front. It is nice to start off the year so strong. With two months down we have already earned $85,000 and will need to average $18,500/month in order to achieve this goal by year end.
I am currently forecasting a significant beat to this goal, with income forecasted at $292,000 for the year. This is mostly due to the face that Mrs. GYFG has come out of the gate so strong already about $8,000 ahead of pace from our original plan for 2016. But I will warn you that when it comes to forecasting income, she tends to be really conservative, in the business world one might say she was “sand bagging.”
Either way I am a big believer in under-promising and over-delivering.
Goal #4 [Publish 52 new Blog Posts or More, 25%] – This goal is ahead of schedule. As tempted as I am to raise the bar here, I don’t want the pressure to put out additional content just for the sake of a goal. My hope is that I put out content that motivates, inspires, informs, and moves you to action. Or at the very least gets the ideas flowing.
Goal #5 [Pay Down Mortgage Principle by $25,000 or More, 24%] – February marked the second month of year two in our accelerated plan to pay down our mortgage. We are now amortizing the mortgage on our primary residence at $2,200/month and $500/month on our investment condo.
Goal #6 [Contribute $24,650 to Pre-Tax Accounts, 28%] – The bonus in February helped this take a big jump. This along with goal #5 above is pretty much on auto pilot. Not much to think about here.
Goal #7 [Vacation 21 days or More with My Wife, Friends, and Family, 9.5%] – We took a trip towards the end of the month to Nick’s Cove in Northern California. It was great because they have no phone service and the internet connection might as well have dial up. It was the first time I set up an auto responder that told people I would not be reachable at all until my return and actually left my laptop at home.
I had been plugged in, working crazy hours, and every weekend since October of 2015. So, the 4 day trip was much needed.
Goal #8 [Save 50% or More of After Tax Income, 100%] – This will be something that moves around each month. I just finished putting together my February 2016 financial report that has us forecasted to hit our 50% goal, but this is the reading for February itself is 74%.
Goal #9 [Write 12 Posts on Other Blogs, 16.7%] – Two guest posts have been submitted and published.
Goal #10 [250 Entries or More in Wife Gratitude Journal, 9.6%] – Progress this month, but behind pace. Hope to spend sometime in the next few weeks writing additional entries.
Goal #11 [Increase Net Worth by $112,000 to $430,000 by 12/31/16 or More, 40.2%] – We have increased our net worth by $45,000 so far in 2016.complete.
Goal #12 [Earn $12,000 in the Blog, 16.7%] – This is a lifetime income goal. We have not hit $2,000 yet, but the way my X’s work they round up or down to the nearest thousand.
Bonus Goal – Due to recent developments I will be going for a promotion to VP in my day job. Lots of work to be done, but if I can deliver I have been promised this title. This will be a pass or fail goal. The potential rewards are high. Based on the compensation range for VP’s in our company this would mean an increase of 6 figures to base compensation, equity, and potential bonus increases as well.
That is where I am at so far in 2016. I am very pleased with the progress I have made and am very much looking forward to updating everyone in another month. In the meantime keep charging forward with your own goals. Don’t give in or surrender. Take it one day at a time. Measure your progress and I promise you will surprise yourself with what you can accomplish in month, quarter, and year.
Sometimes the progress we make doesn’t seem visible or worth the effort. But over time it really starts to add up and compound. Think about it this way…imagine you are trying to improve just 0.3% per day. That is not a visible amount of improvement, but it adds up to almost 1% improvement every 3 days, and by the end of the year you will have improved over 100%.
Onward & Upward!
– Gen Y Finance Guy
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