This was the introductory paragraph I wrote for my 2019 Goals post back in January. And now that we’re half of the way through 2019, it’s been really interesting to see how I’ve progressed toward some of these goals, as well as how some priorities have changed. What a difference a (half of a) year makes… Am I right?!?! If you’ll come with me on this journey, I’ll let you in on exactly how I’ve done, where I’m at, and where I’m heading.
(My updates will be in blue italics – original text remains in normal font)
Why am I branding 2019 as the Year of Change?
Well, because of a few things. Some big announcements and some smaller ones – some of each are below with some others coming very very soon…
I’ll make sure to update you all before anyone else, ok? Alright, sweet.
I’m going to keep my goals in a similar format this year as 2018’s, but I’m adding one major new category (fitness) that I’m honestly disappointed I didn’t include last year. And as you may infer – with the YOC comes a (you guessed it…) change in many of my goals for this year.
For starters, let me give you a general goal…
A ‘theme for the year’, you could say. Last year I employed what I like to call ‘The Shotgun Method’ to employment. My firing pin hit that shell and sent hundreds of stray pellets in all different directions. Translation: In 2018, I spent a ton of time working on projects that, “Could lead to big-time financial results…!! If ___”. Well, sometimes “if” happened and more often, it didn’t. And while I met amazing people and learned incredibly valuable things, the mountain of bills still gotta get paid.
Stated simply – In 2019, I’ll be working for compensation
Think: less ‘shotgun method’ more ‘sniper fire’.
You’ll get to see how this overall theme manifests itself in the business/blog goals below. But don’t worry – there’s plenty more content down there! Aside from the obvious benefit I receive from outlining, publishing, and tracking my annual goals, I’m hoping that these can help you in some aspect of your life as well. If you get some inspiration or have a comment about one of my goals – please feel free to let us know in the comments below!
Frankly, I’m proud of how this approach has helped so far this year. I’m doing a lot less random stuff which has led to more profitability, more free time, and a more enjoyable life. I’m nowhere near as stressed as I had been, and I’m finding much more time to enjoy my girls and focus on our business. More about all of this below… But so far – the theme is working!
Without further adieu:
My 2019 Goals, Dreams, and Aspirations for “The Year of Change”
1- At a minimum: Take a monthly date with my wife
We literally went to the ballet yesterday… So we’re on the right track here (yes that was also with our daughter and my parents, but my wife and I did sit within hand-holding distance – i.e. the benchmark requirement for “date” status). We saw The Nutcracker, for those curious individuals out there (I see you, SC).
But getting back to the point, after the craziness that ended 2018 for our business and family (including a debilitating pregnancy – at least when it comes to leaving the house), our dating life took a hit. But as I tell our daughter, “If mommy and daddy never went on dates – you wouldn’t be here…”
And in the times that my wife and I have been able to steal away for an hour or more, it gives us the valuable chance to reconnect, relax, and simply enjoy each other’s company – which, frankly, enriches my soul. This goal is listed first for a reason, and I can’t wait to see what awesome experiences we can have together.
Admittedly, I’ve abandoned this spreadsheet and any formal tracking – and we’re just enjoying the moments. We spend many hours each day working, living, and parenting together, which – on its face – seems great, but those aren’t quite intentional hours. What I have come to love, though, are the nights we get the girls to bed and have an hour together, a day trip together on a Friday (our off day), and just getting to spend some stress-free time together during our days. A couple of years ago, we didn’t have those moments. And now – I’m cherishing them.
2- Prioritize focused family time
I’m constantly working on 3 things at once, fielding calls and holding meetings at all hours of the day, and constantly stressed out at the fact that my todo list grows throughout the day, rather than shrinks… All this to say: it’s difficult for me to turn my mind off.
So, does that fact become my default reality for 2019?
Can I make changes moving forward?
Uh – 100%, yes I can!! (This is 2019, haven’t you heard? The “Year of Change”)
While this goal isn’t necessarily ‘measurable’ I’m going for more of a ‘know it when I see it’ as far as achievement. To spend more focused time with my family, I’ve set the following rules for myself:
No screens at the table (mealtime)
No phone/computer between 4:30-7:00
While there are other things I have done as well, eliminating the buzzing distraction that steals my attention has helped tremendously, and I can’t wait to see the effects in 2019!
So far, I’m loving the improvement in this category. Now, I’d be lying to say that there are no distractions or encroachments into our precious family time, but the focused attempt to limit those distractions have been crucial. More great conversations, laughter, and awesome memories – and I’m stoked for the rest of these this year!
3- Adventure together
We took Clara on a few plane trips last year, we’ve stayed nights in hotels (crazy radical, I know), and we’ve literally left our house with a backpack full of snacks, water, sunscreen, and a little cash and didn’t come back for hours (no cars, just our feet).
The one constant with all of those…? We had a blast! … Together!!!
I want to duplicate, replicate, and find more adventures we can take together because everyone has fun, we learn things, and we grow together as a family.
No recording of this one, but I’m constantly pitching adventure ideas to the Mrs. Dr. and when she’s not pregnant, she does the same 😉
Got one of these planned for tomorrow and another we had last weekend. We’ve been adventuring together a bunch this year and the welcome change is that Monica’s all-in with us. Loving it!
4- Pray together daily
We accomplish this activity during evening meal time and before bed. The thing that gets me the most is that now Clara will interrupt me (stay with me here, hardliners…) and say something like, “Daddy. Can we pray to make sure Momma and Poppa get home safe?”
Melts my heart and is good for the soul…? Yeah – sign me up for more of that.
Proud of what we’ve done here but I can definitely improve. I’m on it in the second half.
Personal Development Goals
5- Read 1 book per quarter
I failed with this last year (only 2 books read is embarrassing), but this year I’m going with short stories and/or children’s books… jkjk…
I’m already into my first book for the year and I WILL ACCOMPLISH THIS GOAL. Many reports and posts to follow.
I am happy to report that I’m well on my way toward crushing this goal. So far, I’ve re-read a few of my favorites with our Team:
And I’ve even added a new GREAT book to our library:
Principles: Life and Work – I’m halfway through this book and aside from when I need to (to change a diaper, answer a phone call, go to work, workout, …, or feed our baby, I’m struggling to put this down. Can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a great look into the mindset and history of one of the most successful people of our modern business world. Love this book.
6- Continue networking both online and in real life
Aside from the ability to read so many great blogs, interacting with the ‘blogging community’ has been such a rewarding activity for me. I’ve collaborated on projects, we’ve helped to grow each other’s blogs, and (dare I say) I’ve made a few really good online friends… Yeah – crazy, I know. I place great value in many of the connections I’ve made as a result of starting this site.
Taking things back to real life, I have been calling on our network more these days to help advance our business and to set up a few of the big changes we have coming in early 2019 (I’m teasing this quite a bit here, so apologies – but if you’re interested, the announcement is forthcoming).
The point here is to establish and nurture relationships with good people who see the world in a similar way that we do. While our beliefs may differ on many societal or political issues, I am inherently drawn in by people with drive and a hunger to make a dent in the world. In 2019, I want to meet more of those people.
You know, I’ve admittedly not been as active in my online outreach these days. With me quitting Twitter and otherwise working to unplug and de-stress in 2019, I haven’t been interacting in online groups and communities nearly as often as I had been (if at all…). However, we’ve been working as business owners to connect with other entrepreneurs in our community, conducting outreach events, and focusing on other professional endeavors.
For example, I was recently asked to join the board of a local college program that produces new grads in the dental field. As joining a board has been one of my ultimate career goals, I was extremely humbled and proud to accept this new responsibility.
I’ve taken my life more into real life these days, and I’m really enjoying the increase in happiness.
7- 50 Daily push-ups
This is something I’ve done daily for the past 3-4 months and I think I’m actually seeing some results here… I’ll typically do this post-shower and pre-shave to get that pump going before standing in front of the mirror for 3 or so minutes. (I’m only partially joking here).
I’ve considered upping this to 100 daily pushups, but I’m thinking that a baseline of 18,250 push-ups for the year (50 daily) is a good place to start. Plus, I have a history of overcommitting and then becoming stressed out at the self-imposed criteria I “have to” hold myself to.
Not this year – I’m good with 50.
182 days so far this year without an excuse, missed day, or a pushup number under 50. So far this year, I’ve done pushups in a hospital room (after Stella was born), in a hotel, at work, outside, and basically, anywhere I’ve been. That’s 9,100 pushups so far this year – at a minimum and not counting workouts, and I’m really loving the results.
I originally had to break these into 2 sets, but I’m now repping out 50 before my shower every day. These provide a little win for the day and set a baseline for strength maintenance for my upper body and core. I’m considering a change in 2020, but for now, we’ll stick with the 50 daily pushups.
8- Never miss a Monday workout
The self-imposed never miss a Monday workout is something I’ve held myself to for the past few years. It is honestly a life-changer and I’ve chronicled many of the reasons why in the link above, but stated simply – you set yourself up for a great week by crushing your Monday.
I’ve had vacations, sicknesses, holidays, launched businesses, childbirth (not me – my wife) where I did push-ups and leg raises on the hospital floor, and time changes all try to hold me back from missing a Monday, but I have succeeded, I am succeeding, and I will succeed in the future. (Pro tip – make sure your spouse/sig-other is on board for maximum effectiveness… Have I mentioned that I married a saint??)
Like the one above, I’ve hit each and every target. It hasn’t been easy and I’d be lying to say they’re all “killer workouts”, but every Monday (for the last 2 years or so), I’ve done something. And that’s what it’s all about. Your workouts don’t have to be the absolute best planned and executed things in the world… Just get up, move, and do something (even if it’s only for 10 minutes). Lakes are filled one drop at a time, just like the healthiest you is constructed one day at a time. Start on Monday…
9- Get after it at least 3 times each week
Sure, my goal is 5 knock-down drag-out workouts each week, but if I can only get one great one on Monday and 2 other good ones throughout the week, I’ll still chalk that up as a victory. Life brings with it ebbs and flows and while some weeks will be better than others (in many respects), as long as I’m working out 3 times a week (minimum) – I’m still improving. And that’s what matters.
The consistent theme I’m noticing here is that I’ve successfully prioritized my fitness so far this year. While I’m missing the home gym in my garage (so far…), I’ve successfully cobbled together runs, bike rides, random gym visits at Mighty Micks, and other calisthenic workouts. It’s been a great first half and now it’s time to bring it home. Here are a few of my best resources if you’re looking to kick up your fitness this year:
While we’ve grown our business revenue significantly in the first 1.5 years, there is still plenty of room to improve moving forward. We have implemented many new programs and tactics in our office to try and get more customers in the door and to “wow” them once they’re here.
Many of our marketing efforts started taking hold in Q4 of 2018, and I’m excited to build on that momentum moving into this year.
So far, we’re up 17.5% compared with where we were at this time last year. Admittedly, we’ve spent a bit more this year, but the growth that we’ve seen so far is simply impressive. This has been a result of many factors working in unison, but I’ll say here that we’re incredibly blessed and fortunate to have the best staff in the business. That’s where it all comes from. Everything else is secondary…
11- Continue to find new ways to help in our community
We were having a harmless conversation with one of our (awesome) patients back in October. It turns out that this patient runs a charitable organization in our community that holds multiple events throughout the year. For our office, we started with helping to sponsor their food drive leading up to Thanksgiving.
And in the debrief following that event, the patient (organizer) asked us if we’d be willing to host a giving tree in our office leading up to the Christmas season. Essentially, we’d have a Christmas tree with tags listing a local child’s name and 4-6 items they have requested as Christmas presents. We were stoked to be able to do this!
Well, we loved the idea but were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to get many of our other patients to take tags, so we started with just a handful. The day that I posted an announcement on our Facebook page and we had our tree set up in the office, not only had all the tags been spoken for, but we had patients who hadn’t visited in months, non-patients, and people from all over reaching out to take tags. We had to go back to the patient (organizer) to request additional tags a handful of times… And let me tell you, it felt amazing to be able to help in our community with that event.
We will continue doing that each year and also look for more ways to help in our local area. It’s one of the great perks of small business ownership.
12- Establish our 401k and start saving for retirement (again)
So… I have a secret for you…
While we’ve been finding, preparing for, purchasing, and growing our business – we haven’t contributed toward retirement outside of what I’m required to do with my government job. It’s been the greatest, yet purposely self-inflicted financial regret of my last 2-ish years. That all ends in spring, 2019 when I’m aiming to have our company 401k established so that our whole Team can begin contributing toward our collective (and independent) futures.
Soo…. I have another secret for you. We just ran our first payroll that includes deductions to our business’ 401k plan (it’s actually a simple IRA for now, but… semantics)! While we’re not quite maxing out our contributions (yet), we’re making huge strides toward a wealthier future us. And let me tell you – that feels pretty damn good.
Freelancing / Side-hustle Goals
13- Earn $20,000 from outside of my traditional job(s)
Yeah, you read that right – $20k.
So, there’s a lot to unpack here and only so far I can go in the present moment. What I can say is that I’m pulling out all the stops to work on diversifying our income sources in 2019. I am working on adding a “Hire Mike” page to the site in efforts to gain clients in any of the following categories:
Freelance writing, editing, proofreading, etc.
Marketing / Social Media Management
Look for the new page coming soon, but for now, feel free to reach out via email if you are interested in any of these services. I am more than happy to discuss details or how I can help.
Aside from online business, I am also exploring brick and mortar opportunities. More to come on these efforts in just a couple short months…
Do you want excuses or results?? If you’re accepting excuses, we’ve increased our production at the business by 17.5% (as I said above) so far this year. If you take a portion of that increase, my $20k goal should be covered. But if you’re looking at simple dollars and cents that I’ve earned outside of our business or a W-2 from my old job… well, I’ll tell you about those details below.
14- Double blog traffic (pageviews, subscribers, Twitter followers)
Write great stuff, talk intelligently on podcasts, be engaging and entertaining, and get my content in front of as many people as is humanly/husbandly/fatherly/reasonably possible.
Results and Discussion:
Well, there’s not a ton to discuss here. I’ve got 140 subscribers right now, and although our general pageview numbers are up – they’re only slightly up. When it comes to Twitter, a platform I’ve recently ‘quit’ and then have somewhat come back to, I’m up to 1,820 followers. There are things I could do to incentivize email subscribers and skyrocket blog pageviews, but I’ve been focusing the majority of my extra effort on simply writing for fun and then working to grow our business. I’m extremely proud of the amazing team we’re building at our office and at this point, I’m content with how the blog traffic is progressing while on the back burner. One thing at a time, my friends… (well, really 4 things at a time, but right now, crazy growth here isn’t one of them).
15- Earn more than $1,200 for the year via the blog
So, in 2019, I am working on partnerships with brands, apps, and services that I think can help my readers the most. I’ll also be working to partner with other bloggers for collaborations to bring you great content from a variety of perspectives. And I’ve also got a few tricks up my sleeve that I don’t really want to disclose quite yet.
To track this number, I’m keeping a spreadsheet (who’s surprised there??) that I hope will fill up quickly. Stay tuned.
This is one spreadsheet that’s literally paid off. At the halfway mark of 2019, I’ve earned an actual $2,140.13. Yes, that’s in real U.S. Dollars and not in Mexican Pesos…!!! After 3 years of writing just for fun, I can’t tell you how excited I am to have had this level of success with the blog so far this year. Fingers crossed that I’ll continue trading time for money moving forward. Let’s not worry about the thousands of hours I’ve spent working on this site. Sometimes you need to spin your tires before they catch traction.
Altruistic Goals (helping others without any expectation of a return gesture)
Aside from helping different organizations and groups in our community through our business (mentioned above), here’s a little something extra:
16- ‘Clients’ acquired through the blog and in person with both financial and fitness goals
I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with a few folks who wanted to either get out of debt or increase their fitness levels. Most of these ‘clients’ have either been friends or coworkers and while we had meetings and budgets and workout plans were created – I set out helping with the explicit understanding that no money would change hands.
There are plenty of quotes and stories about one who has actually traveled the path and paid off about $8k in debt making $44k annually, but the fitness stories haven’t been written about quite yet. Nonetheless, I’ve saved a few quotes over time (this one was via text):
“This is the best I’ve felt in months. I need to workout and everything fits differently. Biggest arms have been ever (still small). More energy. Just feel good. Better form on squats. Push-ups still tough but better. Lunges are better. Clothes fit way differently and it’s only week 5!”
I mean, if that doesn’t make you feel good – you’re doing life wrong. I love seeing the results and the changed mindsets on the other side of achieving previously unattainable goals. And honestly, it gives me a great deal of joy to help out.
I’m happy to have had a few opportunities to come through in this arena. Not much in the way of specifics I’m willing to discuss at this point, but I’m working to remain open when opportunities arise.
Thanks so much for walking with me on this journey through the first half of 2019. I’ll provide an update at the end of the year to see how we’ve done at that point. Thanks so much and talk soon!
Do you set annual goals? Or even monthly, weekly, … daily?? I’m curious if you do and what your thoughts are. Also, what do you think of my crazy list? 16 is the highest number I’ve gone with, so we’ll see how that goes – but I am excited to get started. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and we’ll keep the discussion going!
Thanks for reading!
If you’re interested in discovering a better version of yourself – whether with fitness, finance, or family – then subscribe below to MikedUp Blog’s FREE newsletter and let’s improve together!