As I write this monthly goal check-in we are officially 32 days into 2016. Most people started the year off strong with their New Years resolutions for 2016. Well, at least the 45% of people who actually set New Years 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 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 11 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 goals. 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 over estimate what we can accomplish in a day or week, but you would be surprised at what is possible over the course of a month.
We have 366 days in 2016. That is 366 opportunities to make forward progress in our goals. Some days are going to be better than others, its the nature of the game. The key is to keep it fun and remember life is just one big game. With 32 days behind us, that is 8.7% complete, that leaves us with 91.3% 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.
My Personal Accountability & Check-in
Before the end of the year I set my own list of goals with a very simple tracking system. Since then I have made a few modifications to it that more easily convey the progress I have made by adding a count and status bar. 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, 6.4%] – I averaged 3-4 workouts a month in January. This is exactly what I planned. I did however make a small modification to the original goal. When I first put this goal together I was only thinking CrossFit, but then my wife got me into Hot Yoga. So, the 250 will be a combination of CrossFit workouts and Hot Yoga sessions. During January I did 13 CrossFit workouts and 3 Hot Yoga sessions.
This leaves 234 workouts remaining for the year. In order to achieve the 250 goal, I will need to average 21 workouts for the remaining months. The plan for February is to get 13 CrossFit workouts in and 8 Hot Yoga sessions.
Goal #2 [250 Days Eating Primal or More, 10.4%] – The first 3-days of Primal were rough, I am not going to lie. My body had become addicted to simple carbs and sugar. The headaches sucked. But since then I feel leaner and more energetic. I should also point out that I have made one modification to ensure compliance and that is, I do allow myself cream in my coffee every morning.
I am very pleased with 26 strict and compliant days. The other 5 days, although not counted as compliant, were only partial deviations. There were 5 days that I allowed some non-compliant food in for dinner. This system seemed to work very well and if I had to guess I would say I am probably down about 10 pounds for the month. I won’t actually be stepping on the scale until 4-30-16 when challenge I am in has final weigh in. It’s about process right now.
Goal #3 [Earn $270K in Gross Income or More, 23%] – This goal took a big jump as my year end bonus just hit my account this morning. It is nice to start off the year so strong. We need to average $18,900/month in order to achieve this goal by year end.
Goal #4 [Publish 52 new Blog Posts or More, 15.4%] – The eighth blog post for 2016 was published this morning. As long as we publish 1 per week we are fine. As of now I am slightly ahead of schedule.
Goal #5 [Pay Down Mortgage Principle by $25,000 or More, 12%] – January marked the first 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, 20%] – As of today I have contributed $5,000 to my 401K and HSA.
Goal #7 [Vacation 21 days or More with My Wife, Friends, and Family, 0%] – I have not taken any vacation yet. But that will change this month as we have a trip planned to Northern California at the end of the month.
Goal #8 [Save 50% or More of After Tax Income, 88%] – This will be something that moves around each month. I just finished putting together my January 2016 financial report that has us forecasted to hit our 50% goal, but this is the reading for January.
Goal #9 [Write 12 Posts on Other Blogs, 0%] – I have actually submitted one but won’t count it until it gets published later this month.
Goal #10 [250 Entries or More in Wife Gratitude Journal, 6.8%] – Solid progress, but I would like to get in the habit of doing this daily.
Goal #11 [Increase Net Worth by $112,000 to $430,000 by 12/31/16 or More, 30.4%] – As of today (with my bonus hitting) we have increased our net worth by $34,000 so far in 2016, which puts us at 30.4% complete.
Goal #12 [Earn $12,000 in the Blog, 8.3%] – This is a lifetime income goal. I have not updated the numbers for January yet, but so far through December of 2015 the blog has earned just shy of $1,500. I admit this is a bit of a gimme so far. But my goals, my rules :)
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.
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
What a fantastic start! 2016 will be (again) your year.
I especially like the format with the boxes.
For over a year now I eat Paleo. It is still hard. All the cooking in the evening, and not falling back to bread. Bread is such an easy meal…
EurFI – 2016 is off to a very good start. It will be critical to stay focused and committed to keep the momentum going to make it another banner year as you call it.
The tracking system I created this year is the best yet. It is so simple, yet so elegant as well. It is easy to keep updated and know exactly where I am. It has also gamified the goal process. I am constantly thinking about how I can get more X’s on my tracking sheet. I think there must be some release of dopamine every time I physically put an X in a box.
Congrats on 1 year of Paleo yourself. I don’t think I will ever go 100% Paleo, because I love so many different kinds of food (the good and the bad). But it is an easy way of eating, and is much harder to over eat veggies and protein (compared to carbs like pasta and bread).
Yes, after a while my portion size decreased. I started with eggs as breakfast (today I rarely eat eggs) and in the beginning I ate 3 of them. After a while I was down to 2.
But the season (winter/summer) also plays a role. I definitely eat more during winter.
You have some amazing goals for 2016 and you look to be well on track of most of these goals! Way to go.
I like the organised approach that you take to document your goal progress.
When do you find the time do all of this and reading that many blogs?
How do I find the time? Well the first secret is I don’t have any kids, which I know you do. So, that is part of it. I also make sure I am up at 5am almost 7 days a week, this gives me about 3 hours every morning before work or before my wife gets up to work on my evil plan to take over the world…LOL
I also try to create systems that make me more efficient. Batching is one such system.
Kudos to you then!
What is batching?
Hey Amber Tree – Batching is is grouping similar tasks together and carving out blocks of time to only work on those similar tasks.
Definitely admire the level of detail, and rings true that you can quantify what you don’t measure. I think this breakdown is good in that it has breakdown and goal percentage. I have found for myself, I have chunked it down to one week at a time as long as I complete what I have set for my self this week, and continue to commit to that my hope is that the year will gradually fall into place one brick at a time. Keep up the strong work!
Hey JC – glad you have found a system that works for you, I think that is key for everyone. My system has been refined over time…but I think this will be the format for the next couple years…I have kind of fallen in love with it (as weird as that sounds).
Very admirable. This is well organized. Have you read the power of habit? I highly recommend that book. I used to have a similar system as your checkbox system, but for new habits only:).
Great job and look forward to seeing more progress!
Hi Tracy – I actually have read that book.
The tracking system seems to be working really well for me. I am a bit addicted to filling in the X’s :)
See you around.
Oh my goodness, such detailed tracking! Personally I find I struggle with #4 too. Writing at least one blog post a week is my minimum and its tough to get more than that.
I don’t know how those blogs that write 2-3 posts per week do it.
Hey Thomas – The tracking is detailed but make no mistake it is also very easy to do.
For the first year I was writing 2 posts a week, but switched it up to one per week in light of everything I got going on in life right now.
I actually find it a little harder to write because I am doing it less often. At some point I may go back to 2 posts a week, but it would not be until summer at the earliest.
It all depends on the status of the backlog. I am currently good through April, but would want at least 6-12 months of content built up to switch back to 2 posts a week.
Love it Dom! You’re kicking ass and taking names… well, your wife is pulling her fair share too. ;)
Keep up the momentum. It’s great to watch you excel online and at work. Cheers!
Michael – it is great to have you as a mastermind partner to share all this stuff with.
Onward & Upward my friend!
I love the transparency and honesty in your goal setting, I think you’re doing great!
I’ve been looking to do something like this, even if I don’t get that warm fuzzy from checking the box every day.
In regards to some of your goals, do you set up actual negative or positive consequences when reaching a milestone, or is a check in the box enough?
Right now the “X” is enough of a positive reward. The negative consequence is that I have to tell the GYFG community if I fail.
Geez, way to start the year off strong. It doesn’t look like you’re going to have to stretch too far on your money related goals. That leaves more time to focus on health, blog, and vacation!
It has been one hell of a start. Probably the strongest start ever, but it is from momentum that has been building for years now.
I am not sure my brain will let up any fcus on the money goals, as I am wired to crush goals. But pint taken, that I have no excuse for not focusing on the health, blog, and vacation goals.
Actually as I write this comment I am only 2 days away from a nice 4-day vacation with my wife.
nice job on all your goals. It looks like you set the bar quite low ;)
I saw you mention you will make your way to northern Cal. If you are anywhere near SF let me know maybe we can grab a beer if you have an hour or two of free time.
Under promise and over deliver right???
Wow! You have so many goals and they are so well defined. This is inspirational. Keep up the awesome work!
Man, nice progress in January although as we both know you found there were too many goals ;) haha!
The one that most strikes me is Goal #2 [250 Days Eating Primal or More]
If you haven’t already written a post about this any chance if you could deep dive further? Sure everyone will have different diets although your perspective would be awesome :)