It’s the end of 2018, and during this festive week of partying, I thought I’d take a few moments to reflect on 2018 and look to see if I had achieved the goals I had set for myself this time last year.
Goal setting is a double-edge sword. There is a sweet spot between making realistic ones and damn right impossible ones! Make them too hard, and this can lead to more stress and anxiety for not being able to achieve them.
And as you will know, The Female Money Doctor aims to be a stress-free zone.
I don’t like the idea of “new year’s resolutions”. It is so easy to vow to do something, and then not follow through on it because there isn’t a plan in place to do so. Motivation will only take us so far.
Instead, I prefer to think of goal setting and lifestyle changes. This involves putting a regular plan in place to make small, incremental changes, NOT large heroic ones (because this is a sure-fire way to lose and give up).
A year end is a perfect time to start thinking about what we would like out of life, and yes, we CAN design how we want our lives to look. We are not powerless to change.
The Wheel Of Life
If you were on my email list last year you would have had access to my “wheel of life” which was essentially a 7-sliced pie-chart with over-arching headings – Business, Family, Money, Career, Friends, Partner, Health and Self.
The themes can be whatever you choose, and they are meant to represent the areas of your life that you want to work on. This could include having more fun, improving your home, or spending more quality time with your kids.
The idea is that you then colour in the pie-chart with a “rating” of how you think you’re doing. A fully coloured segment means that you think you’re doing well in this particular area of your life.
You then end up with something that looks like this:
So now you get an idea of where the most effort needs to go, and where you just need to maintain what you’re doing. At the start of 2018 I felt pretty great about my relationship, money and career, but felt lacking in areas such as my health and my family.
Did I achieve my goals?
Now you have seen my “wheel” and the areas that I needed to look at, I’ll go through the specific goals I set in each area. I used the SMART system of goal setting – Specific. Meaningful. Action Orientated. Realistic. Timely.
In each area of my life, I set myself a few goals and wrote them down. If I’m honest, I didn’t really look at the spreadsheet again all year, but I did write a lot of them into my diary. I love using bullet journalling and weekly goal planning. I find it hard to set daily challenges for myself, as I often find with my work that it’s difficult to predict what I might be able to achieve in a day. So I find weekly goal setting that works towards my main yearly goals much more effective.
This is easy enough to do – pick a day a week to look at what you have planned, and then fit your tasks around it. Non-negotiable things for me are family/work commitments (such as exams for example), writing weekly blog posts and sending out weekly newsletters. Everything else fits in with this.
I’ll go through each area now and look at how well I did throughout the year! Do this exercise at home with your own goals – you may surprise yourself!
So I had two things I wanted to do this year. I wanted to have a friendship group with women who also worked in online business and organise meet-ups face to face throughout the year. I managed a few meet ups but I found that it was very difficult for everyone to co-ordinate their diaries. I decided to focus on online meet ups instead and have found several facebook groups to be part of. I’m not discounting getting involved in a proper networking/business friendship group, but 2018 wasn’t really the year I had the time to do this.
The other thing I wanted to do was see my friends on a regular basis, and while meeting up with them is tricky – (5 doctors with busy schedules!), we have had some lovely meals and days out together. I have also made some amazing friends in my new home town of Milton Keynes, and I have volunteered to organise socials for my fellow GP training colleagues. It’s a work in progress, but I’m determined to keep it up!
Goal for 2019: keep up with interaction in my facebook groups and continue to make plans with new and old friends, aiming for at least 1 per month.
We got engaged this year, so I’m fairly certain things are going well! We definitely have at least one date night per month, and I avoid working at weekends as much as possible. It is very important to me to maintain our relationship, as he provides me with a stability and a security that I don’t get anywhere else.
Goal for 2019: plan our wedding! We have the money already in place for it, and with the tips from my friends post, we’ll be sure to be keeping it in budget and on point!
This has been a hard one for me given how busy I am pretty much all the time. I’m not exactly close with my mum and dad, so it can feel challenging at times too when I see them. My dad has been ill with a brain tumour and of course this has put us all on edge. Thankfully he is doing much better and the chemotherapy he has been receiving has done a fantastic job at improving his symptoms.
My sister had a baby this year, so I became an aunty for the first time. This has kept us all going through the dark times and has given a chance to see each other more often.
Throughout 2018 I wanted to call my family on a weekly basis to catch up and make sure all is well. I haven’t achieved this at all. I am in regular contact with them via whatsapp and I do facetime them from time to time. We also just had a nice Christmas together and have lots of things planned over the next few months, so this will be an opportunity for us to connect more. I’m not going to let it stress me out though.
I have been welcomed with open arms into Tom’s family, and this has been such an amazing experience over our relationship together. I really enjoy spending time with them, and I feel like I have a second set of parents! 2019 is definitely going to involve them more as I plan a wedding with Tom, so there will definitely be some fun times ahead!
My goal for 2019: continue to see my family on as regular a basis as possible – every few months most likely. Keep in touch on the phone as much as possible otherwise. I am not putting pressure on myself this year to be perfect in this area. It definitely causes me stress and anxiety when I can’t follow through on it and this goes against how I want to live my life. I will not be trying to call every week, but I will keep them up to date with things that happen in my life.
I wanted to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, take a daily multivitamin, exercise regularly and organise a GP/dentist in my area.
I read a book called Why We Sleep*, and this has really opened my eyes about the importance of sleep for health. I definitely advise anyone to read this, and now I really try hard to be in bed early.
I downloaded MyFitnessPal onto my phone from the app store and I track my exercise throughout the day, aiming for 10,000 steps a day. I am by no means perfect with this, but I am working on it by building my activity up gradually. I find it very useful to track my eating and exercise as this makes me realise how little good stuff I eat at times during a busy day!
I nailed the GP and dentist and have had my first check ups with both!
Goal for 2019: continue to track my exercise and eating using the app on my phone, set a reminder to take the multivitamin, and aim for 10,000 steps per day with strength training exercises. I will be getting married in 18 months (roughly), so this is a fab incentive to keep going! I want to make healthy lifestyle changes, not crash diet at the last minute.
My blog has now been going for over 1 year, and my aims for 2018 included: have 1000 people on my email subscriber list, launch my first ever online training course, and earn £500-£1000 per month through my blog.
Errrr, this hasn’t exactly gone to plan.
The subscriber list yes, the first online course yes, but the monthly income. Nope. Not even close!
I think this is simply down to overestimating what was achievable for me in my first year of blogging. I have a full time job as a doctor, and having a side hustle in addition to this is hard work! I absolutely love it though, so I will continue to work on my blog and my online business to continue to bring you money hints, tips and tricks!
I won a runner-up award at the UK money blogging awards for best new blog and I am over the moon with this! I also got to go to America for FinCon, and met so many great bloggers. I am sure these connections will continue to grow as I move forward in my business.
To top all this off, I took my online community through a £1000 emergency fund challenge, and as a group, we have paid over £70,000 towards debt. Bring on 2019 for more amazing stuff like this!
Goal for 2019: have 5,000 people on my subscriber list, release two more online courses, focus on improving traffic to my blog. I won’t put pressure on myself to bring in a specific monthly income amount, but I will put in place the techniques I am learning and trust that this will come with time.
I had planned to take my first exam in October, but decided that I didn’t fancy revising over the summer, so pushed it back to January 2019. I’m just continuing to work towards this, and I need to be mindful that I don’t allow other things to take precedent until this is passed! I don’t have a long time to go until the end of my training, and my head is already thinking forward to 2020…. so all in all I’m happy with how things went this year!
Goals for 2019: Keep on keeping on – pass my exams this year first time and meet all my work-place based requirements. Sometimes there isn’t anything that needs changing!
As you would expect for the female money doctor, I had several money-goals I wanted to achieve. I had thought to plan ahead and save for a possible wedding (turns out I was right to do this!), have a gift fund in place for birthdays and Christmas (tick), pay for my exam (tick), pay off my HMRC tax bill (tick), replenish my £1000 emergency fund (tick), and start building a 3-6 month f*** off fund (watch this space).
I learnt a hard lesson this year in flat selling (it’s not necessarily straight forward), so it slowed down my savings ability. I have set up a new savings plan with my bank, so I am definitely getting going with the f*** off fund for 2019! Recently I also had a revelation in my net worth calculation and have gone into the positive for the first time since I have been tracking it.
It is not an easy or fast process to reverse years of poor money management, so I am being patient with myself and trusting the process.
Goals for 2019: Continue to build my emergency fund, build up a fund for my second exam, and continue to pay down my final debt. I will track my net worth monthly and continue with my investing plans using index trackers.
Overall, how do I think I did?
Well to be honest, I think 2018 has been a pretty awesome year. I have a new nephew, my dad is doing well, I have got engaged AND my net worth is positive. Some areas of my life are ticking along nicely, and I really don’t feel the need to change many things right now.
Sometimes this is ok. We don’t always have to be setting new intentions!
I could always do more towards my health, and I will use technology for this to keep myself on track. Having a wedding coming up is pretty motivational, but I don’t want to “crash diet” or go crazy with trying to exercise all the time. Nothing is worth stressing about this much! I also want to be more organised, so January will involve decluttering and selling, donating and binning things I don’t want anymore.
I want to continue to motivate and helps others and work on my blog because I love it and I love how you’re supporting me with it. So thank you for sticking with me, and here’s to an amazing 2019 for us both.
Work on making long term lifestyle changes, NOT quick fixes. This will make the change for life, and not just for January.
Until next time,
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