The year 2013 has been the craziest year I’ve ever had. Last year at this time, my wife and I were preparing to move halfway across the country, a decision that we never thought we would ever make. But we had a strong feeling that we should move closer to her family, maybe not for forever, but at least for a while. I left an internship and full-time offer at a company where I had been wildly successful, and we settled down in Northwest Arkansas AKA Wal-Mart Country AKA The Evil Empire (depending on how you feel about it).
For the most part, it’s been a rough year. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching, hand-wringing and side hustle research. Oh, and I finally beat Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which could arguably be the hardest thing I’ve done all year. But now that I look back on 2013, I’m grateful for the ride. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to struggle in ways I’ve never struggled before. I wouldn’t have this blog. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be a contributor for one of the top 25 online newspapers in the country, which fills me with glee every time I see them publish my stuff. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet all my new personal finance blogger friends (although I haven’t met any of you in person, and I’ve talked with just one of you over the phone. FinCon next year?). I definitely wouldn’t see the opportunities for self-employment and long-term success that I see now.
It reminds me of a quote from the Sound of Music: “When God closes a door, he opens a window.”
But now it’s on to 2014. I have the advantage now because I already have a little traction, so here are the things I’m looking forward to accomplishing next year:
- Become debt-free. Yes! Well, this one’s actually one of those shoot for the moon and hope to land among the stars type of thing, but I’m sure it can be done, so it’s #1 on my list. We have just over $20k to go, which I’m sure is more money than we earned all this year, but here’s to prosperity and optimism!
- Get rocked by baby expenses. As far as we know, we’re not pregnant. But we’d sure like to be! Hopefully things will work out and we’ll get to welcome a mini-me into the world before the end of 2014.
- Attend FinCon 2014. For all you non-bloggers out there, that’s short for financial bloggers conference. This year it was in St. Louis, which is only a five-hour drive away, but we were super low on funds. So I’m excited to go this year and actually meet some of these fine people and also sharpen the saw a little on my blogging skillz.
- Max out my Roth IRA. This one’s definitely a pie in the sky one too, especially considering I haven’t put any substantial amount of money into it for a couple of years. But I can dream!
- Be completely self-employed on or before December 31, 2014. This one’s the most exciting out of all of them! Holly over at Club Thrifty has inspired me and I’ve been starting to do some freelance writing and ghostwriting. I have about $500/mo. in income from that right now and so I’m looking to increase that business pretty quick. If you know of any opportunities, let me know! I write mostly about personal finance, but I’ve also written about nutrition, exercise, faith and other topics.
- Ride my bike more. By ride my bike more, I mean ride my bike. I haven’t touched the thing since we’ve moved, mostly because the town where we live has a lot of winding roads with hills and no sidewalks. So I’ll come up with something.
- Break into the positive on our net worth. Obviously, if we can pay off all our debt, this is definitely going to happen. And I honestly don’t see us having any problems doing it. I just want to include it because it’s always on my mind.
- Write a book. This is something I want to do, but I’m not yet sure how I’m going to approach it. Personally, I think a lot of e-books are tacky. I definitely want to do it to provide value, not just to make a few bucks. But I’m nowhere near ready to write a full-blown real life book. So we’ll see how this turns out.
- Visit my family twice. Currently, we have two trips planned for next year. One to Pennsylvania over spring break to visit our best friends. We’re hoping to get to go back to NYC while we’re there. The second is to Hawaii with my wife’s family over the week of Thanksgiving. We’re planning on going out to Utah for Christmas, but we’d also like to get out there again at some point, maybe during the summer.
- Set better goals. Ha. I’m not referring to these ones, just in general. I get so scatterbrained with all the stuff I have to do all the time that I often don’t take the time to plan and set goals. Here’s to getting better at that for next year!
- Get Naked with Consumerism Commentary. Oh boy, I’m sure you’re just as excited as I am 🙂 Basically, it’s an opportunity to put our finances out there and to get some advice from some pretty solid financial advisors as well as other people to give us some tips on how to keep livin’ the dream!
So, how do you like my goals? Too intense for you? Or am I a goal-setting amateur? What are your 2014 goals?