I set myself some targets back in April. I also set a timescale for them, which was an early date of December 2017 and a late date of March 2018.
I'm thinking that was a smart move. At the end of December, everyone is seeing what resolutions they didn't achieve, but I've got a get out of jail card - my March 2018 date.
But I'm not completely off the hook, December did get a mention, and that's right now, so how am I getting on?
Before checking my progress, the question of why I'm doing this enters my head. Why am I setting targets? I'm of two minds:
One of the benefits of retiring early and leaving the corporate world is to escape from chasing a bunch of targets, plus the luxury to do things as you want, when you want. Surely targets runs contrary to this.
But on the other hand, there are things that I want to do and writing them down as targets should help ensure that I get to them.
Or perhaps a balance can be struck between the two. The structure and routine that comes with targets is one of the secrets to what has been a good start to my early retirement. But I don't need to have my foot hard down on the gas pedal chasing them, and if they slide a little, then that's not big thing.
Well, I've rambled on with the introduction, so I'd best now peel back the covers and see how I'm getting on.
The targets are shown in black, and I've shown my progress update in colour (green font and 😀 where I've either achieved the target or am on track, red font and 😭 for where I'm missing, and blue and 🤔 for somewhere in between) - if the font colours don't show on your device, hopefully the happy, sad and frowny faces do.
1. Get our monthly costs below £3,700 ($4,567). It's getting closer as the costs have been lower over the past few months, but I'm still not down to the target. It's not a disaster though, as this year was more about finding out how much it costs to live, and we have enough money to cover our spending. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that when we relocate to our forever home the costs on holidays, international running events, groceries and going out will reduce (because we currently live in an expensive place). I'm going to judge this as a blue colour score🤔
2. Ensure "spare" cash is invested so that it is earning an income. I've done this at last. We are now fully invested, although whether they turn out to be good investments is another matter! I bought some Vanguard index funds in November even though the stock market valuations seem scary right now. However, we'll just hold them through any downturns so they should do OK in the long term😀. The next step is to make some changes to our investments, but that can be a story for another post.
3. Learn how to swim properly so that I can swim 2km without stopping (freestyle, with face in the water and proper breathing). I've given up on this. I had a gym membership just to use their swimming pool. When the membership expired, I knew I didn't like swimming enough to renew it. Perhaps I'll try again sometime, but I'm not holding my breath (sad face for giving up and also for the attempted "holding my breath" joke)😭
4. Get my 10km run time below 40 minutes. I'm only targeting this in January to March 2018🤔. I just ran a personal best time for a half marathon so I think I have a chance of making this target.
5. Get 100 subscribers to my blog site www.iretiredyoung.net Good news, I made this one a while back and kept rolling on! If you are one of those who have subscribed, thank you, I really do appreciate it😀. If you haven't yet subscribed, why not do it now and make my day.
6. Get my blog site www.iretiredyoung.net to appear in the first 10 pages in a Google search. I recently did four Google searches (when can I retire/how to retire early/how much do I need to retire/can I retire now) and I appeared on page 9 of the search for how to retire early. I wasn't in the first 10 pages for the others. But if I add the word blog on the end of the search, I appear on page 2 three times and on page 3 once. That's not bad. On the basis that I started from nowhere, and have almost no idea of what I'm doing, I'm giving this a green and happy face😀
7. Publish 3 good GoPro videos. I've done none, so this is easy to colour in red😭. I wish our travels were starting before next summer as that would give me something good to film. This will be one for next year.
8. Learn French so that I can have basic conversations in shops, restaurants etc without feeling so dreadfully embarrassed. Similar to my swimming, I made a reasonable effort at the start, but then stopped. I need to figure out how to get to this because I keep avoiding it😭
9. Decide where we will be living from June 2018, and know a bit more about what we will be doing from that date. We've decided what we're doing...a round the world trip starting in July 2018. Click here to read about our outline plan😀
Out of 9 targets, I have 4 green for achieved, 2 are blue so not achieved but not a complete miss either, and 3 red which shows I'm missing these (and I've given up completely on one of them). I'm mostly OK with that, it's not exactly a life or death situation.
The one that annoys me is the learning French target - I'm so useless at it, and I'm sure that subconsciously that's why I avoid it. I want to be able to get by using French for when we get our apartment in the French Alps a little under a year from now. Maybe I need to enroll in some proper classes, instead of my current efforts to learn at home.
Writing this helps remind me that I have some things to do. I'm also going to get in tune with the rest of the world and align my targets to a January to December timeframe, so look out for this post in January.
And for today, just one target. To wish you all a Happy New Year, full of peace, love and happiness.