Tuesday, 24 January 2017

How did I get on with my 2016 goals?

Looking back on 2016 and my aspirations to provide a monthly update on how I got on with my goals, things didn't quite go to plan! I knew it had been a while since I last posted but I didn't realise that my last goals update was for March. So here's an end of year review of how I got on with my goals for 2016.

1. Experience the joy, satisfaction and contentment of living with my partner (TheBF) for the first time
  • Accepting suitable offers for the sale of my house and TheBF's house, with both proceeding to sale completion

  • Finding a new house to buy with TheBF which meets all our purchase criteria
We successfully sold our houses and moved into our lovely home together in May 2016

2. Gain the freedom to choose what I use my time for, removing the necessity of doing work that does not inspire me simply because it pays the bills

  • Pursuing financial independence
    • Create a 2016 financial plan/budget [by February 29th 2016]
    • Create a "FI before 50 Roadmap" containing steps I need to take to become Financially Independent before the age of 50 [by March 31st 2016]
    • Follow the 2016 financial plan/budget
The plans were created in the first quarter of 2016, after which I followed and achieved the savings targets specified in the 2016 financial plan

  • Researching alternative options for spending my time which could eventually help to replace my current mode of work
    • Create and maintain a blog site to track my goals and interact with the online community
      • Research suitable blog site & how to use it, and set-up blog - DONE
      • Deliver at least 1 post per week on average
Sadly when I began a new full time work contract in June 2016 the regularity of my blog posts suffered. Most of my free time was spent pursuing side income generating activities such as book publishing

  • Research new alternative sources of repeat income
    • Generate at least £1 this year from a new source of regular income
I discovered Kindle publishing and successfully published my first ebook in July 2016. I generated considerably more than my £1 goal (which was set to effectively inspire me to research and find ways in which it might be possible to earn additional income). By the end of the year I'd made £162.35 profit from a combination of publishing and matched betting

3. Become a better person by the end of the year, than I was at the start of it.
Can be measured in terms of knowledge & skills gained, health & fitness improved, relationships circle expanded & strengthened, internal beliefs challenged & reviewed, positive habits created

  • Completing a personal development challenge with my sister (100 day challenge or something similar)
RESULT: DONE (We completed The Magic one month challenge)

  • Reading at least 6 new books
In the end I didn't quite manage to read the 6 books I was hoping for - I completed 5.5*:

Given that in 2015 I didn't even read one book this was a good achievement for me nevertheless

  • Losing 10lbs in weight by the end of July and maintaining the weight loss through till the end of the year through good diet and exercise
I ended the year at about 1lb below my start weight for the year! This is one of the hardest goals for me to achieve. It feels like my whole life I've been struggling with trying to attain my ideal weight (which for me is just to be a healthy weight). Sometimes I lack willpower and I genuinely think that some people are more biased to be overweight than others. That's not intended to be an excuse, but being overweight is something which runs in my Mum's side of the family.
This is a goal which I fully intend to carry forward into 2017 to see if I can attack it once and for all. On the bright side, at least I can say that I didn't gain more weight in 2016.

  • Going on at least 12 planned "date nights" with TheBF in 2016
In fact we went on more than 12 dates, although not all of them were specifically arranged by me in the end, I think this still counts as a pass.

  • Going on a family holiday to France where I can spend quality time with TheBF, my parents, my sister, brother-in-law and niece

  • Researching and booking a mini-cruise with family
Due to all the time and effort required for selling and moving houses during the year, this goal did not feel attainable in the end. However I'm hoping to research a cruise holiday in 2017 with my parents and TheBF

  • Introducing a routine of regular meditation
    • By the end of the year, I will be meditating a minimum of 3 times per week
RESULT: I'm going to say DONE
This goal was a difficult one to assess the success of because some weeks I meditated every day, and other weeks I didn't manage 3 times. The main point however is that I did start meditating in 2016 and continue to do this consistently every week. 
As well as meditating, I have introduced several other short activities which I endeavour to complete daily:
Exercising (20 mins)
Yoga (about 15 mins)
Meditation (10 mins)
Gratitude (3 mins)
Affirmations (3 mins)
Visualisation (3 mins)
Reading (15 mins)
Goal Reviewing (3 mins)
Journalling (3 mins)
My goal for 2016 ended up turning into achieving 60% of this daily routine each week

* affiliate links, if you purchase through these links the cost to you will be the normal Amazon price but I will earn a small commission for directing you to the product

4: Use my unique personal skills and abilities to help others achieve happiness.

  • Offering tips, support and conversation online through my blog, social media accounts and getting involved in the FI and Personal Development communities
This was another goal which was actually difficult to track whether it was achieved or not, because I hadn't really made it specific enough. Given that I started my blog, wrote about my FI plans, regularly read and commented on personal finance blogs throughout 2016 and I attended the March FIRE escape gathering, I feel that this was achieved.

  • Offering tips, support and help offline through any face-to-face opportunities should they arise, (meet-ups, coaching, training, speaking engagements)
Again another goal which was difficult to say whether it was definitely achieved. As I did attend the FIRE escape gathering and also participated in Facebook Groups for UK finance bloggers and Fincon (which I also purchased a ticket to attend in 2017) I feel that I can mark this one as done

  • Supporting my chosen charities through a spread of donations totalling £350 this year
This was a success for me, I donated to the charities who I have regular giving set up for, as well as sponsoring several of my friends in their charity endeavours.

So all in all I feel very happy with my progress in 2016. It's the first year in a long time that I have set a list of goals for myself, and it's definitely the first year ever where I have consistently tracked my progress toward achieving the goals. This for me is the biggest win of all. It has made such a big difference having goals to work toward (some of which felt unattainable when I set them) and being able to tick many off the list. I am looking forward now to 2017 and achieving my new list of goals. You can find out about my 2017 goals in my next post...coming soon!

How has 2016 for you? If you set yourself goals, did you achieve some or all of them? Have you set any goals for 2017?


  1. Congratulations on achieving so many of your goals - you must be really pleased! :-) The blogging goal (one post a week) is always going to be a tough one, not just due to your work being a priority but also you've mentioned in the past that it takes you a while to compose your posts as you are something of a perfectionist! Also, some weeks, you may have nothing to write about or may not wish to write, hence the reason why I've never imposed a blog goal myself.

    The losing weight one is also a big challenge so I wish you the best of luck with that one for 2017. Trying something different might work, not necessarily a new diet but perhaps a new form of exercise.

    Anyway, looking forward to seeing what goals you set for this year and also, yes, hopefully will get to meet you in person!

    1. Hi Weenie,

      Yes I'm really pleased with the amount of goals I achieved last year - it feels like it was a really good one in terms of accomplishments. When I set the blogging goal I was completely new to blogging and I was also on a break between contracts so had much more time on my hands. This year I won't be setting a goal, and I don't plan to continue with a fixed schedule of types of posts - rather I'll post when I have something interesting to say. I will try to do a couple of posts which give an update on my Freedom Kitty and Retirement Fund progress though, because this was a large part of what I intended to share when I began this site.

      I'm finding with losing weight that getting into a routine and importantly sticking to that routine is key. Each week I can review my progress and see if I need to do a little more exercise or eat a little less than the week before. Let's see how it goes!


  2. Hey OR,

    Great to see you've achieved so many of your (extensive) goals. I can sympathise with your "fails" as someone who both blogs very inconsistently and is still struggling to reduce body fat.

    All the best for 2017!

    1. Hey Freedomsoul,

      Thanks for your comment, and it's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with these things. We're all human at the end of the day, and these things aren't easy!

      Good luck to you in 2017 for your blogging and body fat reduction...


  3. This is awesome! You smashed it by all accounts. Much better than my sorry state of affairs on my goals for 2016 haha.

    I know the last few are hard to nail down what the outcome actually was but I really like that you've included them in the first place, just thinking about those sort of things is a chance to grow as a person and (hopefully) help others out at the same time.

    If everyone did that, the world would certainly be a better place.

    1. Hi TFS,

      I am really pleased with my progress last year I have to say. It genuinely is the first year I felt like I "woke up" from the day to day and consistently pursued the things which I most want out of life. I feel like I've found a goal setting and tracking plan that works for me, and I'm pleased to say I'm still using the method this year. At some point I will definitely write about this year's goals and how I'm getting on with them, probably as well as a bit of info about how I set and track on a regular basis.

      I am finding after some real soul searching this year, that connecting with and helping others (particularly in the area of personal development and financial freedom) is my main desire. I read The One Thing earlier this year, and I feel like finding a way to help others realise that they don't have to spend their whole lives stuck in the rat race, working the 9-5, is what I really want to be doing. So with that being my driving force I'm hoping for even bigger things this year ;-)