non-financial goals

Our 2016 Non-Financial Goals

I’ve mentioned that I love New Year’s resolutions and I’ve shared our financial goals for 2016. I don’t like to make typical, vague goals or tie myself in to doing something I can’t achieve. With that in mind, here are my 2016 non-financial goals:

  • Self-employment goals: This is a goal with Mr. T since one of his main goals is to work for himself. We plan to do one thing a month toward self-employment. I’ll post about these monthly steps in our monthly plan updates. I’m not talking about big business plans here. Two of the things we have planned are to set up a basic Etsy shop of Mr. T’s photography and pitch an art piece to a local gallery.
  • Learn Cambodian: This is a lifelong goal of mine. This year, I plan to spend 40 hours studying the Cambodian language. I found a reputable Skype teacher that’s in Phnom Penh, so I plan to pay her rate of $10/hour for at least 20 of those hours with the idea that I would spend an hour in preparation for each lesson.
  • Declutter: In 2016, we plan to replace the carpet in our home. Because that involves moving everything, I plan to physically touch every single item in my home in 2016 and decide what value it adds to my life. I have read several books and articles in preparation for this event, and I am okay with the fact that the result will not be magazine-worthy, but having less would be good for us. I will post our updates on this as well.
  • Service: On top of charitable donations, I would like to be more proactive about donating time. I will try to be more aware of such opportunities this year. An actionable goal in this category is to make 12 meals this year for people that could use them (due to illness, stress, loss, etc.). I have had people make me meals at times where it made all the difference and that is something simple I can do.
  • Family History: I would like to spend 10 hours researching my family history during the first half of 2016. I want to focus on the line that comes from Yorkshire, England so that I can do some hands-on research when I am there next June. Genealogy is fun and exciting and feels good (and lets me vicariously live in the UK through my ancestors!). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) has a great, free website if you’re looking to try it out.
  • Health goals: We eat healthy, so I don’t see any big changes coming there this year. As for exercise, I need to figure out what works for me. I would like to focus on just walking more. I have a FitBit-type thing and need to use it to increase my step count. I love Zumba and did it pretty consistently for a long period of time last year, but found that it didn’t make me feel good. My hips hurt a lot and I didn’t feel energized. So I’m simplifying. More walking. Some basic stretches and strength exercises. Actionable goals for this include: getting into the habit of wearing my fitness tracker (and keeping it charged!), finding walking buddies, and increasing my daily step count.
  • Add at least 7 things to my Fill-the-Bucket List – 2 of which are not travel-related (I imagine traveling the UK and Paris for 3 weeks this summer will add at least 5 items to my “fill-the-bucket” list!). In 2015, I was able to take ice skating lessons because work paid for me to take a class. I also hiked on a glacier this year and swam with a sea turtle in Hawaii.

2016 will undoubtedly be a year full of unpredictable things. But I’m excited to continue to progress personally and see what opportunities I didn’t see coming that I can add to my Fill-the-Bucket List!

2016 goals


The Fill-the-Bucket List


What I Learned at the Holiday Bazaar


  1. A wonderful and inspiring lists of goals. I would like to work on my Spanish (my great-grandmother was from Spain), but can never stay consistent with it.

    I think that you should add something blog-related to your list. How about being featured on Rockstar Finance?

    • MaggieBanks

      I would LOVE to be featured on Rockstar Finance. It was sort of an unwritten goal for me in 2015 and it never happened, which I’m fine with. But I started obsessing over it and trying to write posts just to be featured there and then being disappointed when I wasn’t. This blog is my little corner of thoughts. If it gets featured, I’ll be THRILLED, but I’m just here to enjoy it. Thanks for the thoughts. 🙂

  2. Awesome goals. My main ones are continue to work out (try to go 4x a week up from probably 3x in 2015), read more, do some Spanish lessons on duolingo, continue to travel a bunch, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

    • MaggieBanks

      Sounds awesome. I wish good Cambodian resources were available like that! I’ve tried all of the ones that are and they can only get me so far. It time to actually pay to get farther! 🙂

  3. I love how you approach your goals so pragmatically, and in a big picture way. Changing the carpet? Perfect opportunity to declutter! Going to the UK? Bone up on family history before the trip to give it extra meaning. Such a great way to go through life! Hope you achieve all of your non-financial goals this year and add lots of wonderful experiences — both expected and unexpected! — to the bucket. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      What a great perspective. Yeah, I AM doing everything the right way! 🙂 Just kidding! Thanks for the flattery and head-inflation! But I do love the direction my life is headed this year. I’m excited to see where I am in a year!

  4. These are amazing goals, Maggie! I am very most intrigued on researching your family history & lineage. Apparently, my ethnic heritage is a true mish-mosh (I’m talking French, German, Polish, etc.). I think it’s about time to truly dig into that and get the true break down! I think adding 7 items to your fill-the-bucket list is going to be incredibly feasible (especially considering all of your goals would be items I would add to that list)! Decluttering – my fiancé & I are going for our second round this weekend (our first was when we moved from our rental home to an apartment). I just finished the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up book and I’m going to put some of those pointers into place – yes, I am so guilty of stocking up on travel bottles from hotels…..whoops.

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes, I read that book to prepare as well. I’m starting with clothes tomorrow and books this weekend! I’m a general mish-mosh as well… but mostly Scandinavia and the UK. Might as well do some digging into heritage when I’m in the area, I figure! It’s super fun to find out interesting things about ancestors.

      • A couple Christmases ago, my great aunt gifted my mom the original documents from my great-great grandparents when they came to Ellis Island. It was INCREDIBLE, especially how strong the genes are in our family! This will be a very fun goal to tackle!

        • MaggieBanks

          THAT’S AMAZING! I struggle when people get rid of everything. I am definitely going through and getting rid of a ton of stuff this year, but I am not throwing away the letter to Santa written in 1899 or my Grandfather’s uniform or my Grandmother’s jewelry box (she made by gluing beads and her brother’s war medals onto a simple wooden box). Those things stay because those are worth more than the space they require.

  5. These are great goals, Maggie! I love the idea to “physically touch every single item in my home in 2016 and decide what value it adds to my life.” This definitely needs to be on my to-do list in the coming months. I suspect the majority of items will not be particularly value-adding.

    Maybe I missed it previously, but what motivated your selection of Cambodian?

    • Oh, duh, I just remembered reading about your time there in your fill-in-the-bucket post!

      • MaggieBanks

        Matt – yup. My husband speaks Cambodian and we took our oldest daughter over there when she was just a baby. We haven’t been back since, but are planning a trip in the next few years with everyone. I’ve been trying to learn it since I got married! Grammatically it’s very simple, but it has 27 vowels! And finding resources for it is very difficult! But Cambodia is a wonderful place and we love it there. Some day I hope to be able to actually speak (with my husband interpreting) to the friends we have there.

  6. Decluttering – I’m afraid that is on my wife’s list for me to focus on when I early retire in April. This might be the spring cleaning of all spring cleanings. I like organizing but I don’t like getting rid of things.

    • MaggieBanks

      We have a bit of a problem getting rid of things as well. It will be a good exercise for us. I think I’m finally ready to get rid of a ton of it! But we’ll see how much between the two of us we talk ourselves into keeping. Hopefully we’re not enablers to eachother. 🙂

  7. Tawcan

    These are great goals, I love the idea of donating your time. That’s something we’re looking into as well. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks Tawcan! I’m hoping to figure out a meaningful way to do that (dinners is just one actionable goal I can check off in relation to that).

  8. Oh my gosh, I actually swam with a sea turtle this year in Hawaii as well, and it was amazing!!!!

    These are great goals. 🙂 Very specific and attainable (with work, of course). I’m interested to hear more about the FitBit stuff if you choose to write about it — it’s something that I’m sort of intrigued by, but have never tried, mostly because I truly enjoy walking and am a little afraid it would turn into a chore or obligation. But I bet it could also turn out to be fun and motivating!

    • MaggieBanks

      I have had one for a long time through my company, but I get really motivated for a week or so and then I stop. I mainly don’t wear it if I know I’m not going to be walking a lot… which defeats the purpose. I need to just wear it everyday and try to add more walking every day to my schedule. We’ll see how that goes.

  9. J

    Great goals, Maggie. 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading your stories this year. My main goal this year is to travel more. I’m planning to go to Japan late this year with a friend and just thinking about it already makes me feel happy. Haha! I also want to learn a new language and recently signed up to a Mandarin class. I thought about signing up for Spanish lessons again but I decided for Mandarin instead because I think it will be a good business skill to have these days. I thought I’ll give it a go and if in the end I don’t find it interesting, I’ll try something else. Good luck with your goals! And happy weekend!

    • MaggieBanks

      OOooo! Mandarin sounds awesome! I stink at languages and am frustrated it’s taken me ten years to know very little Cambodian. But I’m really hoping to change that this year.

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