Now that I’ve reviewed my performance in 2016, I can turn my attention to setting goals for 2017. I learned a lot about myself last year, perhaps more than in previous years, so let's see how I get on with putting that into practice for the year ahead. I started these goals in Mid-December and I’ve been tweaking and refining them up until now. I think by taking my time on selecting which goals to pursue and adjusting what I'm asking of myself I'm increasing the likelihood of achieving them, but we'll have to see.... For now, I'm happy with my list and what I’m about to commit to. I only have 9 goals this year, which is a significant decrease on last year (25). I’ve only selected the key goals that with their attainment will have the biggest impact on my life. I have other benchmarks, but I'll achieve those goals by taking care of these ones. I want to simplify things for 2017. The list below will detail what my goal is, the purpose behind it, and what steps I’ll be taking to get started. I will complete monthly goal updates on Youtube and this Blog updating you on my progress towards each one. I believe that by facing my commitments and reviewing them each month, I’ll dramatically improve the chances of achieving them. My videos fizzled out half way through the year in 2016, so I'm particularly keen to do 12 goal updates this year. I want to complete all 9 goals, but my minimum requirement is 6 out of 9. Wish me luck! 2017 Goals
1. I will easily create and launch an online course by 31st December 2017. PURPOSE: This is a priority goal for me this year. If I achieve this goal and fail the rest, I’d still be pretty satisfied. I let you and myself down on this goal last year by not following through on the commitment. I won't let that happen again. There are a few reasons to why I want to make this my priority goal this year:
I want to earn money away from Amazon, and be less reliant on them. This will create a semi-passive income stream that Amazon won't control.
I want to coach and help more people publish books. The course will offer a lower entry cost to my coaching, allowing me to reach more people without actually being there.
I want to learn new ways to make money so I can help other people do the same. Once I release the course, I'll be equipped with knowledge to help others create books, websites and courses. This is a great 'toolkit' to anyone looking to make money online.
I want to overcome the challenge of completing this task. Writing out the content for the course is the hardest part for me, much like writing a book. I struggle with writing, and always have. I want to overcome this challenge to prove that I can do it.
I want to create content under my name, rather than a pen name. I'd like the course to be one of the many things I produce under my name. I've declined multiple interviews and podcast appearances for my outsourced books, which is such a shame. I'd like to market myself, and build a brand around me, not someone else.
NEXT STEPS: Write out a mock 'business plan' for my coach. Create a detailed and specific action plan on what tasks I need to complete and by when. Work with my coach to refine my actions and make any necessary adjustments. Commit to a completion date. Take massive action every day towards meeting the launch date. Ignore or delay all other distractions until I've committed to my daily work on the course. Launch the course on the specified date, even if it's incomplete. Launch it at a discounted rate to encourage people to try it. Seek feedback from customers on how I can improve it. 2. I will easily set up a charitable fund, promote it on my Blog, and donate 10% of my course profits to ‘Schools For Africa’ by 31st December 2017. PURPOSE: I want my contribution to make a bigger impact this year. I'm very fortunate to be in a position where I can help people who aren't as lucky as I am. I have the opportunity to help children in Cameroon learn in a safer and more stimulating environment. I want to set a new bar of what’s possible with consistent action in regards to contribution. I need £20,000 to fund the project. It might take me 2, 3 or even 5 years to fund a new school, but I'm not concerned by the timescale. I now have a focus for my contribution. So rather than making charitable contributions to multiple charities for £20 here or £50 there, I'm choosing to make a massive impact over a longer duration. I want to have a life changing outcome as a result of my contribution. I want to inspire other people to look into doing something along these lines. If I can put this idea into other peoples heads, and give them the opportunity to make a life changing impact, then I would have succeeded. Those people will also go on to inspire more people, and so it goes on. Turning contribution into a tangible goal is very exciting for me. Now I just need to go and earn that money..... ohh, and create that course! NEXT STEPS: I will create a page on my blog providing information about the charity. I will create a fun thermometer style icon to display the fund total, and update it each month. Whatever I make with my online course, I'll put 10% of the proceeds towards my chosen charity 'Schools For Africa'. I'll further fund the project by putting my own contributions towards the school too. Once my course goes live, assess it's earning potential and predict how long it'll take to fund the school. Set a goal to beat that date and announce it on the Blog. 3. My Investment portfolio will easily pay me £6,000 (£500 per month) in income in 2017. PURPOSE: Now that Lou and I are mortgage free our basic living expenses have dropped considerably. Although we don't know the exact figure just yet, we believe it's below this figure. Our previous basic living cost was around £750. Our Mortgage was £368 pm each, so if our new basic living cost is roughly the same... £500 per month will comfortably cover us. I want to continue growing my investment portfolio to a level that supports our ideal living cost without worrying about how much things cost. I also want to bring in enough passive income via investments to support my family and charities. The first step is to cover our basic living costs with passive income from investments (not including Amazon, affiliate marketing etc.)
Growing my portfolio further will also allow for any unexpected declines in the stock market and income, as and when, I start using that money to live on. True passive income, like investing, gives me the option to not work at all. Lou and I can choose to go travelling and I'll still get paid for doing so. This is my ultimate goal. True freedom from ever having to work again. NEXT STEPS: Focus my efforts on launching my online course, whilst maintaining my Kindle business. Invest 2/3 of my disposable income (after living expenses and taxes) into purchasing more investments. I will continue not to use any of my investment income for 2017. Instead, I will put everything I earn back into buying more investments.
My investment strategy worked very well for me last year. I plan on continuing with that method, whilst being open to new opportunities.
4. I will easily create and launch my new Blog with 500 email subscribers by 31st December 2017. PURPOSE: I find Blogging rewarding on many levels. I enjoy the interaction. I find it beneficial for getting out of my own head. It helps me commit to action. Inspire others. Make friends. I like how it acts as a tracker for my life too. It'll be great to look back on what I write and see how far I've developed over the year. I think it’s time to upgrade the quality of the content, and pay for a new site. By investing more money into Blogging, I’ll feel more inclined to invest more time and effort into it. Blogging helps me in multiple ways, and according to the comments and emails I receive, it seems to help you guys as well. I owe it to both you and I to not only continue blogging, but to raise the standard of what I produce. I would like to Blog on a more regular basis, and even turn it into a source of income I could live on. I enjoy blogging far more than I do publishing books. If I could flip my earnings from Kindle to Blogging I would do in a heart beat. In fact, one of the reasons I haven't blogged as much in the last 2 years is due to my efforts earning money in other areas. Now that I'm in a more stable position, I can turn my attention back to this format. The 500 subscribers is an arbitrary marker for me to work towards. Email lists offer an opportunity to connect to your readers in a more personal way. People are more willing to share their thoughts and opinions on an email over a public blog post. This more regular and intimate communication helps to refine the quality of what I produce, which is my overall goal for Financially Free By 40.
NEXT STEPS: I'll continue Blogging on this platform until I find a website theme that I'm happy to use moving forward. I'll then create a new Blog, on a new platform away from Blogger. I've already bought the URL and started building it, but it's on hold for now. My priority is to release my course. If I have time after putting in the work for my course, I'll set up the new Blog and tell you all the details here.
5. I will easily read or listen to 16 books by 31st December 2017. PURPOSE: I am my biggest investment. Nothing will help me more than by educating myself on how to live a better life. By exposing myself to more books, I’ll open myself up to new ideas, expand my learning and grow as a human. Reading brings joy into my life, and who doesn’t want more of that! NEXT STEPS: Read a little bit everyday. Even if it’s one page whilst sat on the toilet. READ! Listen to audiobooks whilst out walking, training, preparing meals, driving or any other activity that doesn’t require my full attention.
6. Lou and I will easily have at least one ‘date night’ a month for the whole of 2017. (12 ‘date nights' in total) PURPOSE: Lou and I spend a lot of time at home together. By taking the time to leave the house and paying for someone else to cook a meal, we get to spend quality time with each other outside of our comfortable environment. This will help to maintain and develop our relationship. If my relationship with Lou is off, so is every other element of my life. My relationship with Lou is vital to my overall happiness. We have a great relationship, and I want to not only keep it that way, but develop it further. This is a simple commitment to make to each other to show we value our relationship. NEXT STEPS: Book a date and location for this week. Aim to set the date and location within the first week of the month to avoid forgetting about it or falling behind. Take the lead and book and plan on behalf of the relationship. If we have to cancel for whatever reason, reschedule a date ASAP.
7. I will easily attend 3 x different clubs/classes in Cambridge area by 31st March 2017. PURPOSE: I haven't made any new friends in Cambridge so far. So, I must take the initiative and make an effort to meet people. One club/class a month is a simple commitment for the next 3 months which is achievable and likely to make an impact. Each club/class allows me the opportunity to socialise with new people and improve the likelihood of making friends. The club/class itself is irrelevant. It’s the taking part that counts. To a lesser extent, I'll get to learn more about my surroundings by travelling to new locations in Cambridgeshire, as well as learn new skills, which I'm always up for. NEXT STEPS: I've already created a shortlist of the activities I want to do. Now it's about deciding which one's to go for and committing to them. Commit to joining 3 x clubs by the end of January. Report which 3 I've decided on in the January Goal Update post/video. 8. I will easily record 52 new Youtube videos and have 2,000 Youtube subscribers by 31st December 2017. PURPOSE: The purpose is similar to Blogging. It's just a different format to communicate with so I won't repeat the same thing. There are some additional reasons to why I want to release more videos this year though:
I don't believe in god or an afterlife, so when I die... I'm gone (in my eyes anyway). Creating videos will help to keep me and my message alive for years to come. Loved ones can look back on the content I produce and hear my voice and see my face for as long as the internet and Youtube are around. I find that thought very comforting.
I prefer speaking to writing. It comes more naturally to me, so it makes sense to continue with video creation and harness a more natural strength.
Some people will only watch my videos and not read my blog. Developing my channel will help service that audience. It helps to get my message out there and help more people.
Speaking into a camera helps to develop my communication skills.
By creating more videos, I'll naturally get better at it doing it. I think by committing to 1 x week, I can improve as a video creator, whilst not over-committing to another task.
2,000 subscribers is an indication that people like what I produce. To achieve that level, I'll have to commit to creating regular content.
If I attract 2,000 subscribers, I'll be able to start making a small income from Youtube.
NEXT STEPS: Record this post, and my 2016 Goal review video in the next 7 days. Record videos on my smart phone and eventually invest in a video camera (which I can also use for my course). Part of the reason I procrastinate over making videos is the loading time on my computer, which prevents me from working on other things. Record on a different device and then load in the evening's after a day's work. Chunk video recordings, by doing multiples in one session. Aim to do more than one video each week to get a lead on the 1 x week schedule. 9. I will easily complete 26 x bi-weekly reviews to track my progress in 2017. PURPOSE: These sessions are worth their weight in gold. Having time each week to reflect on what I’ve done helps me to 'right my wrongs' and make adjustments, it gives me time to savour my successes, and record my learning outcomes through the week. These sessions keep me on track to my goals. When I do them consistently, I always see an increase in output. If I keep to this goal, there's a stronger chance that I'll complete all the rest. I always feel great after a review session, and I never regret doing them. Yet, when I forget or decide against it, I regret my actions. Changing the goal from every week to every other week, allows me the possibility of missing a session, which is handy if I have a commitment on the weekend. By reducing the size of the goal, I believe I’ll end up doing more of them over the year, rather than having zero room for error like last year. NEXT STEPS: Keep doing them on a weekly basis as long as I can. Don't get disheartened if I miss a session. Every one I do is 'cash in the bank' for my development. Every one I miss is a withdrawal.
.... and that's it!
I want to take this opportunity to give you full permission to call me out on anything I’ve written that I haven’t stood by! I'm serious.... If I say I'm going to do something, and I don't.... ask me why. I owe it to you and myself to at least explain what happened. That's enough about me. How about you? What are your goals for 2017? Feel free to share them in the comments section below, or if you’re a little shy you can email them to me direct, so you have someone to keep you accountable. If you’re thinking that I won’t be interested in reading what you’re doing…. you’re wrong! I love to hear about peoples goals and how they pan on achieving them. I feel very honoured when people share their plans with me. I know commiting to action takes effort and courage, so if I can help someone out, I will. In any case, thanks again for joining me and have a wonderful 2017!