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It’s New Year’s Resolutions time! Whatcha got this year?

by J. Money on Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Resolutions!Y’all do okay w/ last year’s? You gonna pick the same ones cuz you forgot all year long? Haha… I’m gonna go back and search through my old posts now for mine (one of the pros of blogging is that it’s all recorded!).

Okay here we are…. it looks like I just had ONE for 2011, which is good cuz it was the only one I worked towards! Haha… To work for myself for 12 straight months WITHOUT looking for a job :) And guess what? I DID IT!! I can’t freakin’ believe it… it wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m DAMN glad I went for it. The last thing I wanted to do was jump back into what was comfortable again and never give myself a decent chance. And as of now, I have no plans on joining the real world again! :)

I do, however, have two NEW resolutions for this year. Which kinda go against each other in the normal sense of things, but if I don’t go for them I’m gonna run myself ragged:

  1. I want to work 50% less.
  2. I want to make 50% more!

Perfect world, right? :) But $hit – you gotta set the goals right if you’re ever gonna push yourself to greatness! And with my new baby on its way in 2012, I’ll need both of these areas improved in order for us to be 1,000% prepared. Here are my quick thoughts on ‘em:

Working 50% less

It sounds pretty audacious w/out any background here, but the scary truth of the matter is I work anywhere from 10 to 16 hours EVERY single day. Even weekends sometimes. So if we choose, let’s say, 14 as a good average (most days I work 14ish), then that means I’ll be cutting down my working schedule to only 7 a day. Which is like a normal 9-5, right? :) There’s no way I’ll be able to do this right out the gate, but my plan is to slowly cut out the stuff that’s NOT important to me throughout the months (kinda like we should all be doing with our expenses!) and pour more concentrated effort into the few things that ARE. Of course, the hard part here will be determining what exactly that is, and *how* to unload the nonsense, but I have a good 6 months to go until Baby J comes out and I think I can at least get my time down by 60 or 70% by then for sure. I’m gonna do my best!!

TRACKING: Every time I sit down to work, I’m gonna mark it in my notebook so I can track it 100% and watch my progress, or not. It’ll be annoying, but def. do-able.

Making 50% more

Yeah, gonna be a lot harder on 50% less time! Haha… but I won’t be able to hit that until later in the year anyways, so that means I need to quickly be trading out the time that DOESN’T translate into money down the road to things that do. I can never quit doing emails or comments or tweets, etc since it all comes w/ the territory of blogging and maintaining friendships/partnerships/etc, but I CAN make sure not to START any new ventures that don’t have a chance of making any money anytime soon… so pretty much no more throwing things up in hopes it’ll make me rich one day! (*ahem* GiveawaysAreSexy.com) In theory I should be making some money off that site since it eats up quite some time, but it’s kinda hard to do when you keep giving things away ;) Lesson learned! (It is still pretty fun though…)

TRACKING: I don’t have all the numbers in just yet, but it looks like I’ll have made $110,000 this year (gross), so to know if I’m doing well or not will be easy – I’ll need to hit $165,000 next year, which comes out to roughly $14k/mo – wow… never broke it down like that before. Gotta try though!

Now the beauty of all this is that if I can pull it off, my WHOLE WORLD will open up to be able to do WHATEVER I WANT going forward! Having more money AND more time is the whole structure of freedom, baby! And the more flexible I can make my new schedule, the more options I’ll have to swap things in and out as necessary too. It really does change the whole outlook. Just because I CAN work my ass off and make tons of money (in theory), doesn’t mean I should. Just like spending all my money just cuz I have it saved up, ya know?

I did my best to fit in every ounce of work I could this year – which was great cuz I NEEDED to know I could work for myself full-time like that! – but now that we know I can do it, I gotta make sure I don’t turn into one of “those” kinds of people. Where all you do is work work work and it consumes you and takes over your entire life. I love what I do, but what’s the point if you never have any time to enjoy anything else?

So the new plan will go into affect 3 days from now. And both can be easily tracked too, which is important for me. I need solid black and white goals in order for me to actually accomplish them. The more vague they are, the more likely I won’t do them :) Here’s to a successful 2012!

What are your goal(s) for the new year? Did you knock out the ones from last year?


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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jack foley December 28, 2011 at 5:42 am

Well done man,

Have you read the 4 hour work week. This book may help you but you are doing fantastic. Ad some leverage into your life and your life will really take off..

Jack

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2 J. Money December 28, 2011 at 9:45 am

Yeah dude! Loved that book… one of the first I read when I started wanting to change up my lifestyle :) Not sure I can follow through with all the advice there, but there were def. some nuggets that have stuck over the past year or two with me. Always a work in progress, right?

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3 Edward Antrobus December 28, 2011 at 10:49 am

Loose 15lbs.
Fully fund emergency fund.
Launch SEAM Publishing
Actually start my career (this one’s been on the list for 3 years now)

Well, last year, the resolutions were to loose 30lbs and start my career, so I guess I got one half done!

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4 LB December 28, 2011 at 11:36 am

Nice goals! I want that kind of money, can I be your assistant? lol
I already started my goals, because I had finished all from last year early. Well, except go to school. Totally bailed on that one, but hey with surgery and the fact I was sleeping an average of 2 hours a night for about 8 months, I was just happy to function at times.

Goals for 2012:
1)Go back to school
2)Save money for school
3)Fully contribute to retirement
4)Travel (seeing my relatives does NOT count)
5)Run a small race maybe a 5k or something like that.

I am sure I will add more as the year progresses. Here’s to a great 2012!

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5 AverageJoe December 28, 2011 at 11:49 am

Congrats on working for yourself for 12 months! I’m gonna share your 50 percent income goal (I could also volunteer to share your 50 percent more income…but something tells me your generosity doesn’t extend that far).

I also need to round out my workouts. I haven’t formulated the SMART goal yet, but my “gun show” is more like a “water pistol” display.

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6 Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life December 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I highly recommend Get-It-Done Guy’s time tracking system; it’s a simple Excel grid, and you set up 15-minute alerts on your computer (I used Outlook) and then check off what you’re working on when the alert goes off, so the tracking itself doesn’t break your concentration or take a long time. I used it for a month at work and it was very helpful to get a view at a glance of how I work.

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7 SmartAssetTeam December 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm

What amazing ambition! I am inspired to do something very similar, I think I just want to keep better track of things this year. As a blogger, it can be hard to know exactly how much time I spend working, I can tend to work in spontaneous bursts, so it gets hard to count up all the hours. But you have encouraged me to keep track. I can’t set goals for working more/less till I know how much I really do! And that goes for spending too. I need to wrestle my budget into submission this year! Wish me luck.

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8 Greg Miliates December 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Work less, make more–I’m on board!

I’ve made resolutions in the past, and I’ve found that they typically fail because of 3 things:
–>lack of motivation
–>lack of focus
–>lack of structure

The trick is to focus on only ONE new change, and to make sure it’s a change that you’re excited about and completely preoccupied with. Let yourself obsess about it. Think about all the benefits, and get excited about the rewards of achieving your goal.

Now that you’ve lit the fire, you can work out how to ensure success. Start with small, easy steps toward your goal. Tasks that are ridiculously easy. Do them and reward yourself for taking those actions. You can add more structure by holding yourself publicly accountable (via Facebook, Twitter, or sites like Stickk.com). Build in “triggers” that remind you to do your new habit. Structure your day to make it impossible to NOT move forward toward your goal.

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9 Squeezer December 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I’m trying to figure out what my goals are for this year. I could say that I’m going to pass both classes this spring, but I know I probably will anyway, because I’ve made all A’s and only 1 B in my classes so far. I’m not sure how much debt I’ll be able to elimiate. I say I will be doing good to reduce it by a few thousand, so that is not much of a goal.

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10 bogofdebt December 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Hmm…goals..I didn’t have concrete ones last year but this year I am trying to get a handle on my finances. I would really like to pay of at least 5 outstanding debts that I have (and already have a pretty good start on one).

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11 J. Money December 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Great goals everyone! Let’s hold each other accountable for them, okay? (OKAY??) :)

@Edward Antrobus – Haha, not too bad considering one of them is a HUGE one! :) Though I will be upset with you if you don’t at least TRY and start that career you really want… even reading about it or interning for free would be *something* ;)
@LB – You can do it, friend!! Make sure to have benchmarks for some of those though (Like “saving money for school”) so you can track whether you’ve accomplished it or not :) I know you have it in you though!
@AverageJoe – Hah! Are you talking about your muscles or actual guns? Cuz if it’s the latter I totally wanna check it out once you’re showcasing them! :)
@Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life – Interesting… I might try it out for a day or two and see? I’m actually pretty GOOD about doing my work, it’s just a matter of standing away from it and looking at the “bigger picture” rather than all the details sometimes… something I spreadsheet probably won’t help with ;) Will def. click over and look through it though, thx!
@SmartAssetTeam – YUP! Exactly. Tracking of everything is HUGE no matter what avenue you’re trying to improve :) In fact, just today I thought I had worked 7 hours already, but when I checked my notes it had only been 4! Haha… which is great in that I REALLY kicked ass today, but even better that I’m not even halfway done yet – which means a lot more ass kicking to be done!
@Greg Miliates – I like it! And so true too :) Though I find I go nutso when focusing all my effots on just 1 goal, even if it is better (and on the other hand I know others who are AWESOME at sticking to 1!). I will say though that when I keep it to under 3 goals total, it’s always easier for me to stay on track. Anything more than that distracts me and I lose motivation REAL fast… you know what helps w/ my current goals though? The fact I have a new human to take care of in 6 months!! Haha… no room to mess around anymore! :) Thanks for stopping by my friend, hope to learn more about you and your projects as time goes on.
@Squeezer – That’s a goal! Just SET IT and get to working on it :) Maybe shoot for knocking off $4,000 this year? That comes out to $333 a month. If you concentrate on that number each month you will totally rock it out! Just like your classes :) Well done on that, btw, that’s awesome.
@bogofdebt – Perfect! 5 is a nice concrete number, I like it. Super easy to track and to keep up the motivation. Every time you knock one out, remember to give yourself a treat! (Just not a crazy one so you don’t gain that nasty debt back, haha…) You can do it!

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12 Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life December 28, 2011 at 10:42 pm

@ J. Money
The time-tracking sheet is intended to show you the larger patterns in how you work–like, whether you tend to move frequently between different types of work or do one kind of work for hours at a time (which is how I work, so I have to make myself take breaks so my brain doesn’t get fried). And you can see at a glance how long you spent on each of your different projects (or checking e-mail, or whatever). I also used it to mark how often I was interrupted because I have a particular coworker that interrupts me all the time–I got interrupted maybe 3 times total during the week he was on vacation, and then 3-4 times a day when he got back! Like I said, I just tracked my work for a month and that was enough to give me a lot of insights. It’s worth trying, anyway :)

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13 Stephanie December 29, 2011 at 12:19 am

Wow, so I guess I should have gone back further after accidentally deleting your blog from my feed… I totally missed the post about the baby! Congrats!!!!!!

I just got done making the 2012 budget spreadsheet, and my main goal is to stick to a 33% increase in IRA contributions (that’s a 33% increase from the previous contribution amount, not from my overall income), and hopefully save at least $5k for a downpayment on a new (to me at least!) car.

Non-finance resolutions include going to the gym 3 times a week – I stuck to that until mid-October this year, and have been to the gym twice since then…oops! And hopefully fix up our laundry room, which is a complete mess but could easily be completely overhauled for $500 or so… I guess that’s technically a finance-related resolution since it involves money, but it’s money we already have available to us, it’s more a matter of motivating myself to actually get it done! :-P

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14 Beth Anne December 29, 2011 at 3:20 am

Great goals! Congrats on the baby!

I’m really bad at doing new years resolutions. Since I’ve been blogging and reading blogs I’m really thinking about getting on board with this. I’m also thinking about creating my “bucket list” on my blog and seeing if I can get any of it done. Anyway my goals:

1) Get a decent living-wage paying job
2) Start making a dent on paying off debt
3) Start feeling better about my life :)

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15 Liz Martin December 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Hi J$! Happy holidays and CONGRATULATIONS on the baby, how exciting! I saw your guest post on our site today, it’s great! I really enjoyed reading it. Hopefully you can write more for us soon.
-Liz

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16 Hank December 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Congrats on the success and the new goals, man. That’s awesome! A part of me dreads even bothering to make any resolutions though because I personally have such a horrible time sticking with them. I find myself letting them all go before January is even over.

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17 J. Money December 30, 2011 at 1:16 am

@Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life – Yeah, I think you’re right – it’s great for finding out about our patterns :) It’s on my list!
@Stephanie – Thanks! We’re super excited to be parents :) And great goals too, each of them seem SUPER do-able! Keep me updated on them all, okay? Glad you’re back signed up too :)
@Beth Anne – Awwww, all of those would be awesome, but ESP the last one :) I hope so much you can do it! I have faith in you, Ms. Catholic Couponer, haha… GREAT blog name btw, I like it :)
@Liz Martin – Thanks Liz! That means a lot. I’ve been a HUGE fan of Kiplinger since day 1 of getting my finances in order :) To have a small part in your organization is just crazy exciting to me…. glad you enjoyed my mohawk article! haha… it’s def. different ;) Looking forward to connecting more with you and the team.
@Hank – I know what you mean, I used to be the same way too. Then I cut down to like 1 or 2 goals only and it’s sooooo much easier! Esp if it’s one BIG one and then 1 or 2 small-to-medium ones along with it. The more connected they all are (like with my money and time one) the easier I find it is to be accomplished too as it goes together… kinda like going to the gym and eating healthily too. Which both I suck at, haha… if you want me to, I can text you every morning at 5 am to see how your goals are going? ;)

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18 KJJ December 30, 2011 at 9:25 am

2011 Resolution was to be awesome. Nailed it! LOL
2012 Resolution is to max my Roth IRA. And to celebrate all of Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding anniversaries.

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19 J. Money December 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Hahahahha… you win for the dopest answers ;) Here’s to success, baby!

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20 Brian January 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Just finished crunching some numbers and it turns out we paid $20,774.55 towards our debts, which is roughly 45% of our income from the year 2011. This number is rather surprising to me, I initially felt like we hadn’t maid much progress, but who knew!

For 2012, I would like to flip the script a little bit. My goal is to max out the IRA ($5K) and fully fund our emergency fund ($6K) and put an additional $3K into savings. Also we want to pay off an additional $10,500 of debt, leaving us with no debts other than one of the cars (other already paid off).

Besides that, there’s the usual eat better, exercise more, take more time for ourselves, etc, etc. Happy new year everyone, hope it’s a good one.

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21 J. Money January 2, 2012 at 11:37 am

Nice! Isn’t that amazing? That you can think you weren’t doing that well, but when you go back to check everything you surprise yourself with some AWESOMENESS? That’s the power of tracking, baby! Very very important in financial management, at least to me. I had the opposite problem before this blog – I thought I was doing GREAT until I sat down to go over all the numbers… turns out I was leaking like $200-$300 a month. Not the worst in the world, but def. not a smart trajectory!

Keep it up my friend – I have nothing but faith in you :)

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