2017 Non-Financial Life Goals

2017 Non-Financial Life Goals

Life isn’t all about money, and we have to make sure we’re moving forward in all aspects of our lives. (Have I mentioned I love a New Year, a fresh start, and making new goals?)

First a recap of 2016:

  • Self-Employment – Do one thing toward self-employment monthly. Verdict: FAIL. We discovered that it was too hard to focus on doing everything all at once. It was stressful trying to figure out one single thing to do each month. Instead, we decided to focus more on the life we’re currently living and get that the way we want it before causing more stress. Also, I’ve been getting more involved at my actual employment which means I’ve been spending more hours there. I have also put some systems in place to ramp up my freelance work, so I’m excited to see that grow.
  • Declutter – Touch every single thing in the house. Verdict: WIN! At the beginning of the year, we tackled this with gusto! We touched every single thing in the house including our books, our bathrooms, our clothes, and learned many lessons along the way. As promised, the result is not magazine-worthy, but it is certainly life-changing and things are calmer, more organized, and more streamlined. I actually like cleaning the house because I know what it can look like!
  • Learn Khmer – Spend 40 hours studying the Cambodian language. Mr. T speaks Cambodian and I have been trying to learn it since we got married over ten years ago. Verdict: Partial Win – In October, I started my lessons via Skype with a female entrepreneur in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. So far, I’ve studied about 20 total hours. I’m about halfway through the study book with her already!
  • Service – Make 12 meals for friends that could use it. Verdict: 8/12 – This has been successful in making me think about other people more and noticing who could use a meal. I hope to continue that habit, but I didn’t hit 12 meals.
  • Family History – Spend 1o hours studying family history to find out as much about my Yorkshire ancestors before heading to York. Verdict: WIN! I spent way more hours than ten, but was ready to know what parish records I wanted to see in person. I was able to go find some original records for those ancestors in Yorkshire during the trip and it was awesome!
  • Exercise – Track steps and do more walking and basic exercises. Verdict: Win – It turns out I’m pretty terrible at keeping my activity tracker charged and in my pocket. For the first half of the year, I went mall walking 4 days/week. For the second half of the year, I consistently went to water aerobics and Piyo.
  • Add 7 Things to My Fill-the-Bucket List –  I added several in my last update. I can also now add: “Recorded a song” (and it’s a good one if you haven’t gone to hear it yet!) Verdict: Win!

2017 Goals:

  • Research – As you know (unless you’ve been ignoring me), I launched a large-scale survey. We’re up to over 300 responses already. I really want to spend this year getting this up to over 1000 responses (multiple thousand would be ideal!). I have some plans surrounding the study that I’ll start working on in 2018 if I can get enough responses before then. (Also, if you haven’t taken it yet, please take 5-10 minutes to do so and then share it with your friends!)
  • Health – This includes consistent exercise, but it also includes figuring out all my issues. I’ve been struggling with anemia and some gastrointestinal issues. I think they’re related. It’s time to figure it out once and for all and work on feeling good more of the time (whatever management plan this means. Figuring that out will be part of the goal).
  • Learn Khmer – My weekly lessons will continue into the New Year. I’m hoping to finish working through the current book before year end. Lessons won’t end when the book ends, but that’s a good actionable goal that means by the end of the year, I have a good, foundation knowledge of beginning spoken Cambodian. Then I can start learning the written language and improve my listening comprehension.
  • Document Memories – As parents, we’re pretty darn good at making memories with our children and taking pictures of those events, but terrible at putting them in usable formats. We used to make annual books of our memories and pictures, but we’re quite behind (I just finished 2012) This is also where I admit Lui’s baby book is still sealed (and he’s nearly 3) and I’m behind on the girls’ as well. So, in this year, I would like to get all 3 of the kids’ books up to date and make annual books for 2013-2015 (I’ll try to catch up completely in 2018).
  • Add 5 More Things to My Fill-the-Bucket List – Each year is full of opportunity and unexpected events. It’s always worth celebrating these and I’m excited to see what I can add in 2017!

What’s on your list of non-financial goals for the year? Thoughts/suggestions on mine? Add your thoughts in the comments!



2017 Financial Goals


How Much We Spent and Saved in 2016


  1. TheMoneyMine

    “Documenting memories” is an ambitious goal! I know what you mean when you say it’s easy to make memories, but putting them together in an album (even digital) is tough. We usually end up with more photos than necessary for an album and the mandatory selection of 50 photos out of 500 … just doesn’t happen. Congrats for having such a plan, albums are great memories!
    Happy New Year btw, I wish you great success with all these goals!

    • MaggieBanks

      That’s my most ambitious goal! But I think it will be worth it in the long-run. The kids love the books we’ve already made and quote them a ton.

  2. Self-employment is definitely a challenge, at least it has been for us in the past (and present, I guess). I wish you the best in your self-employment endeavors even if they are put on the back burner for now! Thanks for sharing!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks! If it works out, awesome… but we’re not going to focus on it!

  3. Why do I forget to “fill” the bucket? It’s like I wrote that list and hit “The End” and that was the. end. This year, I’ll be headed to Europe again. That’s a big one. I’m not sure how this will look on the list, but I’m committed to dancing again. I’d been waiting for some kind of fitness inspiration to strike, and I think that’s it. I’d never thought about adding a certain number of things to the list – since so many of the ones I included on the original were half happenstance and half intentional.

    • MaggieBanks

      That’s how life happens. It’s full of opportunities we choose to accept or reject. When we celebrate the unexpected and the things we intentionally do, we’re setting ourselves up for something better!

  4. I love your service idea from 2016! That’s a super easy way to measurably put other people first, as opposed to my normal goal of “be nice.” I’ll have to share that with my wife!

    • MaggieBanks

      I really enjoyed it. It really helped me pay more attention to the people around me. I hope to continue the habit in 2017.

  5. I love all of these. You accomplished so much in 2016! And I cannot wait for the Fill-the-Bucket updates. I’m so torn on memory books. We have one from our honeymoon and one from the Dominican. But I totally fell behind with Akumal and Costa Rica these past two years. Maybe that will be my spring break project if we don’t travel. So I guess I’m right there with you!

    • MaggieBanks

      With your new announcement… time to start getting ready to document memories! (Just know, it’s easy for the first one, harder for the second, and the third one still remains in plastic in our house…. the book, not the kid to be clear!)

  6. We struggle with memories as well. Thankfully my wife is better at it then I am so we’re only a year behind. Our biggest non financial goal is to put flooring down in the unfinished side of our basement. It’s been my wife’s plan to do so since we bought the home. Time has been the drag not money.

    • MaggieBanks

      Good luck on the floor! We had so many house projects on “the list” but we got through all of those in 2015!

  7. Thanks for sharing your list – I love reading these on people’s blogs every January. Really gets me motivated for the new year! I have dozens of the goals that I organized before we early retired in 2016. Happily, I have made progress on many of them – even as I have added more to the list. I will post on them soon – as we are approaching the one year anniversary of our early retirement on April 1. One new thing that I am doing is working with the local historical society a potential presentation or exhibit next Christmas.

    • MaggieBanks

      Oh man… a presentation at a historical society?! That sounds right up my alley! Can’t wait to read more about that!

  8. I’m jealous of your success with decluttering. We’re trying to make more room in the house before the twins arrive, but it’s taking a while. And, I still struggle with some packrat tendencies disguised as sentimentality.

    Good luck with your 2017 goals. I’m really anxious to hear about the result of your study, so I will do my part by continuing to share it with others 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      We are generally packrats as well to an extent. And we did really well this year. It still feels so good. You can do this! It’s worth it! And if it honestly still gives you joy, keep it. But be honest with yourself. That’s the key.

  9. Those are great goals. My non-financial goals include continuing to try and lift 4x a week, read more, keep my remote work arrangement moving smoothly, and buying a mountain bike (and ride it regularly). Kind of hoping we have a short winter so I can start getting outside more too 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Short winter. uh huh. Keep hoping. 🙂 You could always get studded tires like Mr. T has!

  10. The Green Swan

    I love your non financial goals! As I was reading then I know I could do a lot better in many of those same areas. I definitely want to do a good job recording memories with the kids. My parents didn’t do the best with this but my wife, Lucy’s, parents did good with this and it’s great looking back at it all! Lice does pretty good With the baby book and taking pictures, but it can be pretty overwhelming at times!

    Here’s to a great 2017!

    • MaggieBanks

      Recording memories is tricky. But I always love looking at the books I’ve made already and so do the kids. I think it’s a worthwhile pursuit.

  11. Awesome work on last year’s goals! And great goals for the New Year! Getting those family memories documented is HUGE. And one thing I’ve failed at miserably. I believe my 14 year old has an empty baby book. I have albums filled with pictures at each stage of life (and family vacations), but the baby books were neglected. You’ve inspired me to add this to my list. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Better late than never, I figure! A friend of mine said her five year old asked to see his baby book. She said she was really busy but wanted to do it the next day with him. She then stayed up all night putting it together. 🙂 I’d like to avoid that!

  12. Yusss! I have a financial focus this year for sure. But less strictly finance are: figure out next career move, renovate kitchen, focus on fitness, focus on dog training. Did a ton of decluttering over the holiday break and it feels GREAT.

    • MaggieBanks

      Decluttering is always a breath of fresh air. Ahhh… calm life. 🙂 Good luck on the other goals!

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