non-financial goals

An Update on 2016 Goals

Usually people catch up with a mid-year review in June or July… you know, mid-year!? But here we are, mid-August, and I think it’s time for a check-in. School started Monday for the kiddos, so it feels like a good time to re-evaluate and figure out what needs to happen in the next 4 months.

As I’ve mentioned in the past two plan updates, the financial goals may come up a bit shy. I talk extensively about that monthly, so today’s focus is on the non-financial goals I set in January:

  • 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. At this point, I don’t think this is a step backwards. I’m valued at work, I have time and geographic flexibility and I can fit it around my family. We still have tons of entrepreneurial plans but life is good right now and we don’t want to force ourselves out of our comfort zones just yet.
  • 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: FAIL though, in my defense, I never planned to do this until school started. Starting next month, I will be taking Skype classes with an entrepreneur in Phnom Penh and will spend time studying for those lessons. There’s still definite hope for this one before the end of the year.
  • Service – Make 12 meals for friends that could use it. Verdict: 5/12 – I still have 7 more meals to make before the end of the year, but that shouldn’t be too hard. I’ve really enjoyed this challenge because it makes me pay attention more to friends and when they could use a homemade meal to help make their lives easier. Being more aware has been great.
  • 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: Partial Win – It turns out I’m pretty terrible at keeping my activity tracker charged and in my pocket. But I got a buddy to go mall-walking with me and I did that consistently, 4-days a week, up until our trip to the UK in June. On the trip, we walked and hiked everywhere. Since then, I’ve been getting my iron levels back up and out of anemic levels and doing absolutely nothing active. The Olympics motivated me to check out a Jillian Michaels DVD at the library. I did 20 minutes of it last week until Lui decided to sit on me. Then he and I just sat there and watched the rest of the video. Time to reassess what the plan is now that summer is over and keep this in the WIN category for the rest of the year.
  • Add 7 Things to My Fill-the-Bucket List – As predicted, our big trip added several things to my list:
    • I saw the Queen! – I was in the front row for Trooping the Colour and the whole Royal Family drove 10 yards from me. The Queen waved right at us!
    • I saw the second-ever production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London. This was a magical experience. For real.
    • I happened upon the 45th Anniversary of the original Hard Rock Cafe and got to eat using the original menu (with original prices! Whole meal and dessert was less then ten pounds!)
    • I got to see the Cardiff Castle set up for a joust. The grounds were covered with joust horses, medieval tents, and people dressed up accordingly. They were practicing for the event and from a tower view, I was transported to medieval days for a bit. It was awesome.
    • I got into the Tower of London after hours. It was fun seeing a lit-up big screen up in one of the old towers late at night (since people live in the tower) as well as being one of a small group of only 20 in the tower at a time. It was much different than the crowded daytime tours.
    • I was in Paris during the Euro 2016 Cup. It was crazy being part of the night-time crowd watching the games next to the Eiffel Tower. It was exciting to be a part of it all!
  • I did promise that at least 3 of the items on the fill-the-bucket list would be non-travel related, so here’s the progress there so far:
    • I rented a car (okay, so it’s travel related, but it was a solo trip I took for work). Maybe that’s not a big deal to you, but I hate driving. At 30, I had never rented my own car (you’ll recall I got married at 20, so I always made Mr. T drive it). I was nervous, but everything went great and it was a definite moment of: “I’m cooler than I thought I was. I can do anything!” (feel free to mock my fears!)
    • I earned passive income! I don’t anticipate making a whole bunch of money on this blog. In fact, I didn’t make one cent the entire first year of blogging. But, I have to say, making that first $2.55 from my Bookscouter link back in March was really magical. It was like a pat on the back for all the work I’ve put in to this blog. (I only made 15 cents on that link this month, but it’s the thought of making money while I sleep that is magical!)
  • So, I still have to add at least one more to this list before the end of the year, but that shouldn’t be a problem. There are opportunities everywhere!

How are you doing on your goals for the year?


Don’t Make Dumb Money Mistakes!


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  1. I LOVE this list! I love the idea of 12 meals. I might need to steal that one. I have a lot of friends who have big things going on in their lives and a meal can be such a blessing. It’s great to look outside of our personal crazy life and be mindful of what others are going through. This was just the encouragement I needed to get off my butt. Thanks!

    • MaggieBanks

      I’m glad you like the idea! I have a hard time figuring out how to serve those around me, so this was a good, actionable, trackable idea. I’ve really enjoyed having this goal so far.

  2. You have done mighty fine this year! Tip-top!

    Each month that goes past for me is another month checked off on the countdown to 2018. Not that I am counting…..seriously, the timing came into full view when Mrs PIE workplace had a round of layoffs which she survived. That would have messed up our plans and so we are thankful for being employed and still can finish the course

    Our important goals continue to revolve around doing the experiences with the kids. The post is a reminder of more trips we will be able to take back to the UK with the kids to see grandparents and cousins, aunts, uncles and for us to explore more of Europe with them. There is much to see and do in this fine land of the US but it is a piece of a much bigger world that is within our grasp.

    • MaggieBanks

      If we were closer, I would definitely be counting down! And we have long term international travel goals with our kids… if only we had family there to stay with! 🙂

  3. Thanks for the update! Even more impressive than your progress towards the goals is to have detailed goals like that in place at the beginning of the year. I wish I had done that! 🙂
    One goal I have every year is (of course) the return target for the year: 7%
    But we didn’t really do much for it, the market did it for us. Does that still count?

    • MaggieBanks

      The new year is fast approaching… also, you don’t need to wait for a new year to start setting goals! We have one market-based financial goal and it may be the only financial goal we actually hit this year!

  4. Matt @ Optimize Your Life

    This is a great list! I have never been good at keeping a long list of goals and continuously checking in on them, so I definitely respect your ability to do so. The family history research idea is really cool!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks, Matt. It was really fun to go to Yorkshire and find names in the records that are related to me!

  5. I am so bad at setting goals. Blogging helped me set goals. I met them. And now I’m back floating around. I should force myself to post once a month about this, huh? 🙂 I love that you’re making meals for your friends. That’s so kind of you. Meal trains are my favorite thing to help set up for sick coworkers! Your fill-the-bucket list is incredible, as well. Cheers to an amazing 2016. I can’t wait to see where the next four months take you!

    • MaggieBanks

      Me too! 🙂 It will be crazy to see what happens in the next four months and the next four years! Isn’t life an adventure?!

  6. The Green Swan

    Overall that’s some pretty good progress on your goals. I like how you set some challenging ones too!

    I’m sure that was so fascinating seeing the original records from your ancestors in York. What a great trip that was for you folks.

    Thanks for the “mid year” update 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      I’m feeling pretty good on progress and I’m excited to start Cambodian lessons!

  7. You’ve made some good progress on goals and at least you know where you stand on the others. And you know – you got to see the Queen! So exciting! We’ve never been overseas (it’s on the agenda though!) ) So your updates were so fun to read!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks so much, Vicki. And yes, it does seem that seeing the Queen makes up for everything else. 🙂

  8. I SOOO GET THE CAR RENTAL THING! Kindred moment here 🙂 I took a trip down to Oregon a couple of months ago and was too nervous to rent to get out of Portland. I had my brother come with me and drive. I guess I’m still not an adult yet… but you’re inspiring me!

    • MaggieBanks

      Janeen, I’m so glad I’m not alone! I totally was like “I’m so amazing! I can do anything!” But it was still totally scary.

  9. Well, I am inching closer to finishing my graduate degree (6 months left), I actually read three books this summer, and my kids got their first taste of a beach at Lake Erie. I’m inching towards my Roth goal too (halfway there) and I am going to pick up more hours starting in September, so I should get there a little faster.

  10. Way to go on the goals, and for doing a mid-year follow up to see how you stand! I don’t typically set goals, minus the ones for the blog, well not consciously anyway, but if i did I think a mid-year recap is the way to go.

    I find I’m too ambitious when in a goal setting mindframe and like with learning the dobro, yeah i put some time into it early on, demystified it, and got enjoyment out of playing it, but now am back in the “not practicing much” mode. Ah, such is life. I really got a lot of enjoyment out of picking up the banjo last weekend while I was sitting watching the kids play and just worked through all the tunes I could remember offhand.

    it was really fun and I can’t wait to have more time for that.

    Fill the Bucket list adds so far this year are – ran a half marathon, woohoo! Scheduled to do a Sprint triathlon, and another half marathon (here’s hoping for under 2 hrs), and yeah that’s about it so far… Hahahaha Pretty mundane year. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Running list items? Good for you! (As you know, I don’t like running. I get so angry!)

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