It’s the time of year for looking back and – more importantly – ahead. With New Year’s Day just a few days ago, it’s hard to believe that another zodiac has gone around so quickly.
This post will provide an overview of my 2018 goals, while additional posts in the near future will go into more detail about each specific area.
I admit. I’m late to the 2018 goals game. I just finished writing 8 year-end reviews for 2017 at work for my “real” job, and I’m in the middle of writing goals/expectations for 9 team members for 2018. I didn’t want to get home and do the same thing all over again.
But then I started reading a number of great posts over the last week. I’m impressed. And feeling a bit guilty. Call it peer pressure, common sense, or the right thing to do – I know how effective it can be to establish goals. But poorly defined goals can also lead to ineffective actions and results.
Many articles, stories, and posts will cover resolutions and goals during this time of year. You can utilize a number of different approaches for your own goals. There is the S.M.A.R.T. acronym that is mentioned in many places (if you don’t know what it means, google it).
We also have Brian Griffin’s Wish It. Want It. Do It. from the TV cartoon show Family Guy. Note: this book is meant as a JOKE. Reading the reviews on Amazon, it appears some people actually paid for the book thinking it was a serious self-help resource (but maybe it is for some).
In all seriousness, I consider this to be the most important consideration of any goal:
You need to be able count, quantify, or measure something in order to effectively gauge progress.
You should then be able to tie pragmatic, tangible steps in order to reach the goal. The trap, however, is getting caught-up in too much detail and being paralyzed with inaction. So instead of action plans and other detailed steps, I’m focusing on behaviors and themes. We’ll then figure out the action steps as they come. I prefer an agile approach vs. a waterfall methodology anyway.
With this in mind, let’s take a further look.
Overview of Goals
With balance and dividends being an important theme of this site, I considered what type of dividends are important to me. We have the dividends that we are most familiar with in the form of payments from companies we own in our portfolios.
But there are also other benefits outside of finance or investing in additional areas of our lives. Quality time spent on relationships can provide dividends in the forms of positive and/or beneficial experiences, outcomes, or opportunities. Time and effort spent investing in a hobby or activity can provide enjoyment, satisfaction, or fulfillment.
Each of us has something important in our lives. These are the three areas I plan to focus on in 2018:
- Family & Friends
- Personal Fitness & Health
- Personal Finance
In the next few posts, we’ll provide a more in-depth 2017 recap as well as 2018 plans. For now, here are some highlights and what I plan to potentially measure.
(1) Family & Friends
Since we got married in 2010, Mrs. BD and I have working to improve our communication. She keeps me in check as I try to not fixate on a certain task or activity without losing sight of the larger picture.
She makes me smile by making fun of me. I’m a terrible liar. For example, when I leave the room for certain digestive-related matters, I come back and she laughs at me. But sometimes, I don’t make it out in time, so I’d say we’re even.
*Key items to potentially be measured: number of quality hours spent with significant other, time spent talking to family members and friends, etc.
(2) Personal Fitness & Health
Besides getting back in the best shape I’ve been in for almost 15 years, I feel much better and more effective in other areas of my life. I want to reach new levels in 2018.
*Key items to potentially be measured: number of workouts, calories, splat points, other time/distance factors, etc.
(3) Personal Finance
The most obvious topic related directly to this site, we’ll continue to focus on reaching financial goals to secure other meaningful and even more important things from life. This is already the most frequent topic on Balanced Dividends, so enough said for now.
*Key items to potentially be measured: passive income, net worth, savings ratio, etc.
Wrapping It up
I’ll be focusing on the following themes as well in 2018 across the three goal areas we outlined:
- Mindset: thinking twice; speaking, writing, or acting once.
- Progress: where you are today and where you’re going tomorrow is from small steps taken in the past and those yet to be taken in the future.
- Behavior: using consistency to change behavior; we usually have the knowledge, but it’s applying the knowledge into action.
- Prioritization: putting others you care about first – ahead of yourself. Plan ahead, make them smile and be yourself.
- Execution: taking action; not waiting.
Overall, regardless of whether or not you have goals it’s key to ask: what are the areas of my life that I want to improve or change?
Looking Back and – More Importantly – Ahead
I’m looking forward to a challenging and rewarding year ahead. I’m excited to do the work, put in the time, and make progress at getting better. I’m reminded daily there are no shortcuts, but it does seem to be easier when we’re learning.
It’s never-ending as we continue to find our balance. And the dividends will likely keep coming.
Readers, what are your plans and goals for 2018? What areas are you focusing on this year that are the same or different from past years?