At the beginning of this year my wife and I made 18 goals for 2018. These aren’t resolutions, these are goals. These are actionable items related to all aspects of our lives. It is incredibly important to us to always be working towards something. Getting out of debt was the first big goal we had and we haven’t looked back since as we work towards bigger and better things.
Monthly Personal Challenges
Typically, I do a personal challenge each month but to be honest I’m not going to get into that much in this post. My goal is to focus on improving the blog traffic but I don’t think that is as helpful or relevant for you right now. Therefore, I wanted to do a post about our goals and be transparent about our progress.
I frequently talk about finding accountability partners and public proclamation as a way to help ensure you reach your goals. Therefore, it is only fair I do the same.
I will say that my 2 goals for the blog this month is to get started on Pinterest and use my e-mail list better so I can increase traffic. You will see this factored in to the goals below so I can expand a bit more there if you are interested.
18 Goals For 2018
My wife, Erin, frequently listens to the Gretchen Rubin podcast Happier which we fully recommend. At the end of 2017 she suggested people write an ‘18 for 2018’ list. We loved the idea and made one for ourselves. At the time, we came up with 17 goals and left a blank which we filled in a few months later.
While these goals might seem to only be about us, I want you to think about your goals previously set and review them yourselves. Also, it still isn’t too late to do an 18 for 2018 or even establish 9 goals for the rest of the year.
So, without any more hesitation, here are our goals as well as our progress.
1. Take steps to have a garage sale
We have frequently talked about having a garage sale for multiple reasons. Basically, we wanted to get rid of stuff and make some money. Of course, this takes a lot of work.
Now, I’m not sure why we didn’t just make the goal ‘have a garage sale’. I think we just felt very overwhelmed at the time and thought sorting everything was the bigger goal.
To achieve the goal though we asked and had family look after the kids (thanks!) while we went through everything. What a relief it was to do that!
A couple months later we had the garage sale and sold a decent amount of stuff. We made just under $100. What did we do with it? We spent it on an expensive dinner out that was underwhelming at best.
Just kidding! We put it in a Roth IRA. Yippee! Way more boring, but you’ll understand it more when you get to goal 5.
You can see below that sorting through everything is a messy process!
2. Make $750 on eBay
At the end of 2017 we started to sell stuff on eBay. This included items we had around the house as well as other items passed down from family. We set a goal to sell $100 worth of stuff in December and hit $96. So close!
Well, we wanted to do a similar goal for 2018 and didn’t know what number to set it at. For some reason we established it at $750 which seemed easy, yet challenging at the same time. It would involve more long-term success to achieve that goal.
We haven’t been focusing too hard on eBay lately but still have about 20 items listed with lots more in the storage shed that we could add.
Additionally, we have gotten into retail arbitrage where you buy stuff at a huge discount and sell it for market value online. We have had OK success with it but don’t quite see how people are able to make over 6 figures a year doing it. Admittedly, we haven’t put that much effort into it though.
We did buy some toys at Toy’s R Us when they closed and have sold some of them. Also, at the used book sale we go to every year we bought some books that we have resold for about $100 profit. We still have lots to sell though.
So, where does this money go? Well, we spent it on a new flat screen TV that we didn’t need!
Just kidding! You should have known better to believe me. It went in our Roth IRA working towards goal 5!
Status: Complete! We have made $824.65 profit!
3. Potty train our oldest son
Our oldest son is 2 years old and we wanted to potty train him before he goes to pre-school. It is funny looking at this goal since it is something we are right in the middle of. Erin has done an amazing job with him and things overall seem to be going well.
We have a long way to go but I am impressed with what I have seen so far despite some minor setbacks.
Status: In progress and looking good!
4. Erin achieve goal weight
Erin gave birth to our second child last September. With that she has wanted to lose the baby weight gained during pregnancy.
I have no clue how much she has lost and will only say that she looks amazing. It isn’t easy and weight loss is very similar to money as many of you know.
I think she is doing great and I need to make sure I do a better job of supporting her along the way.
Status: In progress and fabulous!
5. Save $25,000
OK, I have mentioned this goal twice already and it gives you a sense for how we like to build on our goals. Since Erin quite her job a year ago the biggest hit we have taken is financially, which is OK considering the benefit. We make less than we ever did when getting out of debt but still enough to support the family.
Savings though have been cut significantly so it has been important to drive that amount up. The side hustles we have been working on are to contribute to this specifically.
What are we saving for? Well, we want to buy $25K worth of lottery tickets for the next big Powerball!
Just kidding, we are pushing it in to retirement accounts. This is important to us since we paid off debt for almost 3 years and contributed very little to our retirement during that time which is OK. We then bought a house and put down 10% on it. During that time, we only put aside 15% of our earning towards retirement. Ideally, we would be saving 50% a year.
We have been working hard to get as much into retirement as possible while we are younger. That way it can build and compound longer. Our current savings rate is between 30%-35% but that is on one salary + side hustles so I hope we can get that up.
So, what have we saved so far? We have saved $14,804.82. Woohoo!
It looks like I will max out my 401K ($18,500) and the rest will go in Roth IRA’s.
This savings thermometer is also available on our Etsy shop.
Status: In progress and ahead of schedule
6. Go on at least 6 dates
I know this sounds easy but it is a big deal with 2 kids under 3. It is just so tough to get time alone as a couple.
How have we done? Well, we’ve gone on 2 dates and one of those was yesterday. This is less than ideal but it is our current reality. We have lots of great family time together but haven’t made a priority for the 2 of us to spend time together.
This has been less of a focus for us so we need to move it to the forefront as our current pace won’t get us there.
Status: In progress but need to pick it up
7. Make French Macaroons
This goal is all Erin. I had no clue what these were but I do now. She loves to bake and had wanted to make macaroons so why not make it a goal.
Well, she has made them a few times and they are not easy. The first time she made them they were amazing! Since then, it has been tough to replicate but still very good. I can see why they cost $3 which is crazy considering their size.
Here is a photo of Erin’s work!
8. Hang pictures
We moved into our house almost 2 years ago. For over a year we had multiple pictures that we needed to hang with lots of bare walls.
At first, I was overwhelmed and didn’t care if they were up since the move was so exhausting. After a while though, it was more annoying to me that they weren’t up so we made it a goal.
It was a lot of work but I hung 11 prints and 2 shelves in one weekend. Boy did that make a difference! The house felt so good and every day I come home the first thing I see is this Ellsworth Kelly print.
Most of our prints are modern art. You know, the kind that everyone says they can do themselves. That is when I say if it is so easy then do it and become a famous artist and makes tons of money. Of course, they never do since it is deceptively difficult. It obviously takes a different skill than what Caravaggio or Vermeer created but still should not be looked down upon.
Just a pet peeve of mine, but every day I see these prints my life is enhanced.
9. Paint cabinet in second bathroom
Another left over item in the house that is still outstanding. We all have them.
In this case, when we moved in to our house the rooms were painted various colors as yellow, peach, pink and lavender. We painted all the rooms ‘ultra pure white’ except the bathrooms. I followed up later and painted the pink walls of the guest bathroom but there is a cabinet that is light green in there.
It doesn’t look so bad, but I ran out of time when doing the walls and haven’t gotten back to it. Therefore, we made it a goal for 2018.
It still hasn’t happened yet but I think I need to put it on the calendar as it will take the whole weekend.
10. Design future house renovation
This is something I am super excited about but not sure how I will find the time.
A big goal we have is to renovate our house in 5-10 years. Yes, I am a long-term thinker. The point of that is to save up money so we can pay cash for it as well as make sure we are doing the right thing.
I have some big visions including putting 2 courtyards in the house to bring more natural light in. One of these courtyards is to have an outdoor shower as part of our guest bathroom in the heart of the house. Obviously, these aren’t must haves, but there is a level of importance and meaning to me to create a truly remarkable living environment.
Being able to design and build/renovate our house is an architectural dream for me. It is a huge opportunity to show my skill while transforming our house into architecture. Something like this may not be a priority for others but it is for us.
In the meantime though, while we plan for the renovation down the road, I would love to design it now. I have found it tough though to do any meaningful work on it while working on the blog, eBay and Etsy.
It is important though so I need to schedule time to do so. Hopefully, I can share my design at the end of the year.
Status: Incomplete ☹
11. Go on at least 3 hikes
Something I love about living in Arizona is the ability to go hiking. It has been tough to do though with kids.
With Erin being pregnant last year and a newborn we hadn’t gone as much as we would like. Therefore, we wanted to make it a priority to get back in the swing of things. We really enjoy getting out in nature, talking about life and our goals, and just being together. It is a great place to dream and get some exercise.
3 hikes may not seem like a lot but it is a challenge to find the time. So far, we have completed 2 hikes so we need to get one more in during the fall to hit our goal.
Status: In progress
12. Get passports for the whole family
While we have no plans to travel internationally anytime soon we would like to be prepared if we do. Both of our passports are expired and our kids don’t have any.
Last year we looked at taking an Alaskan cruise and realized that it helps to have a passport as it enters Canada along the way. Not having a passport, amongst other things such as Erin being pregnant, deterred us from going.
Nevertheless, we will be ready next time.
We plan to start the process soon but have not started yet.
13. Visit all Phoenix Public Libraries
We have discovered that our local library system is a great resource for many reasons. They have lots of activities for kids as well as great architecture. Some of the best library architecture in the country is here in Phoenix.
Sometimes you never know what is in your backyard unless you look. Erin thought it would be fun to see each one so why not make it a goal and it is really her goal. She goes when I am working so I will not be tagging along.
There are 17 local branches of our library system. So far, she has done 8 of the 17 so she is right on track.
Status: In Progress
14. Reach Blog Goals
This goal has multiple items that I hope to achieve. I could probably have done 18 goals for blogging alone but this is where I am at.
a. Monetize Blog
This is a general goal to just get some form of revenue and get the process started. I have not done it as I switched focus a bit once I started my Etsy shop. I am back at it though while that sits and I am focusing on the blog again.
b. Go to FinCon
FinCon is something I have heard about for years and wanted to go to so bad. Last year would have been a good opportunity but with Erin giving birth about 6 weeks before the event we decided it was best I didn’t go.
To be honest, I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time if I went. 6 weeks seemed like a lot of time past the birth, but in hindsight, I made the right call.
Besides the adjustments of having 2 kids instead of one and the needs of a newborn, the postpartum experience is tough. I’m glad that is done and I am excited to say that both Erin and I will be going to FinCon this year.
Does that count as a date?
c. Get on Pinterest
Something I have been dragging my feet on is getting on Pinterest. I just don’t really care or get it but I think I finally understand it. I have been actively working on pins and should have everything up in about a week.
d. Write a Guest Post
In an effort to bring more traffic in I wanted to start doing guest posts. I have a hard-enough time doing these posts though so I set the goal at one.
Well, a month ago I did a guest post over at High Five Dad called How to start an Etsy shop. It is the longest post I have ever written (yup, way longer than this one) and is very comprehensive.
It took a lot of effort but I did it and am really proud of it.
Status: In progress with some items complete
15. Visit 3 new places in Arizona
Like the libraries there were different places in Arizona we had always talked about going but never had. While 3 may not seem like a lot you can start to understand things better when looking at everything we are trying to do.
a. Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Multiple times we have driven by the Boyce Thompson arboretum not thinking much of it. After getting lots of recommendations to go we finally made it happen in March. It was great and we hope to go again when the boys are older.
b. Tucson A&W
This is kind of a funny one but after randomly going to an A&W fast food stop along the Oregon coast we wanted to go again. The root beer was amazing and they served it in a cold mug!
Well, on a daytrip down to Tucson we found an A&W along the way. It sucked. It was the exact opposite of the one along the Oregon coast. We did it though so we can cross it off the list.
No root beer in a cold mug.
c. Deer Valley Rock Art Center
The Deer Valley Rock Art Center is a petroglyph preserve in north Phoenix. The visitor center was designed by noted valley architect Will Bruder so it was important to see not only for the history, but also the building.
It was a great experience and fun to dissect the Architecture. We definitely will take the kids again in the future but I got nervous with all of the signs of rattle snake crossings. They were here first I guess….
16. Erin to read at least 1 fiction book
Reading is something that we have worked to prioritize. While I have been focusing on personal development type books she wanted to read a fiction book.
To achieve this Erin joined a local book club through Facebook. That kept her accountable and she read a fiction book.
I feel bad saying this, well not really, but I’m not sure what she read but I know she liked it.
17. Make all wedding shower recipes
For Erin’s wedding shower she received a gift of recipes from each attendee of the shower. What a fun gift!
Like most things, it got pushed to the side and we never touched it. Erin found it last year and started making some recipes. It looks like there is lots of good stuff in there.
We (well I’ve contributed nothing) haven’t done much but one highlight is the pineapple cake you see below. Yummy!
Status: In progress and looking grim for the year
18. Wild Card Goal – Start 3 more side hustles
If those 17 goals aren’t enough, we left one spot for a future goal. In February, I started to get obsessed over various side hustles since eBay was going well. I was introduced to Amazon FBA and retail arbitrage which caught my attention.
At the same time, I got interested in Etsy and Amazon Merch. Considering we had the blog and eBay already it isn’t the easiest to add more. They are all very different but there is some overlap. During this time the bog slipped but I did get an Etsy shop running and eBay has maintained sales.
We also just sent books off to Amazon to sell as part of their FBA program so we’ll see how that goes.
The only thing I really haven’t done is Amazon Merch which is a way to design shirts that Amazon manufacturers. I have learned that I can also do something similar with Etsy and a Printful integration. With everything going on, the t-shirt designs aren’t really a priority but maybe some month I will dedicate some time and try it out. Never hurts I guess.
The bigger point though was to just try a bunch of different things and see what stuck. Etsy has turned out to be a pleasant surprise whereas Amazon FBA is kind of a pain.
We have learned a lot though and plan to only focus on 2 or 3 as we move forward.
Status: In Progress
Wow, that was exhausting! I can’t believe we have been doing so much! I think that speaks to being aggressive with goals and being willing to try something new.
Maybe some of those should be more about relaxing!
We have other goals too but that is what we recorded at the beginning of the year. I love writing them down because I know a lot of the smaller ones would have been lost otherwise.
I encourage you to do the same too. It doesn’t have to all be about money as you see. Your goals will tell you a lot about what is important to you. In turn, that will help you shape your budget and priorities.
How do you create and track your goals? How have your goals for this year done?