One of the benefits of running a site like Financial Slacker is being able to publicly set goals for yourself and then holding yourself accountable for achieving those goals. While the overall mission of Financial Slacker is to help our readers make better financial decisions, throughout the year, I will periodically set specific goals for myself or the site.
So as I review the past year, I went through all the posted articles looking for goals that I had set for myself. I then evaluated where I am on achieving those goals and had to decide on an appropriate course of action for each.
My intention here is not to beat myself up for failing to meet a goal or follow through with something. Instead, I see this as an opportunity to look back at what I was thinking about and planning during different periods of time.
Here are seven articles where I set out a specific goal or objective.
Posted on December 30, 2015, this was the fifth article that appeared on Financial Slacker. You could tell that even back then, I wanted this site to be more than just personal financial advice.
Unfortunately, as for achieving this goal, I haven’t even come close. In fact, rather than lose weight, I’ve actually gained a few pounds over the past year.
One thing I discovered is that when I worked a regular job, I spent much more time being active. Whether I was moving from office to office to meeting room, walking through an airport, or just working out at the gym, I was burning way more calories than sitting in front of a laptop writing finance blog articles.
But because this is an important goal for my health, I am reviving it again for 2017. Although this time, I am making it a little more reasonable.
My goal is to lose 80 pounds in 12 months. And I’ll provide periodic updates throughout the year.
I wrote this article back in June but it reflects an ongoing theme that has run throughout the year. And that is, as Financial Slacker is my first foray into online publishing, I’m constantly looking at ways to improve it. And while I realize that many of the changes, tweaks, and modifications that I make are probably not evident to most of the readers, they help me in my thinking about what it is I’m trying to accomplish with this site.
In this article, I discussed my goal to expand the site’s content to include both pure financial articles as well as other posts that reflected my other interests. This was the direction that I wanted to go and actually had already been going and it was overwhelmingly supported by the majority of readers. In fact, just as when I’m visiting other sites, I enjoy reading more about the author and their life, the readers of Financial Slacker expressed the same sentiment.
Since then, I’ve spent time thinking through how to best accomplish this. And recently, I’ve settled on a site structure that seems to do a good job. When you first visit the site, you’ll find featured articles that address specific financial questions or scenarios. The intent of these features is to provide in-depth, well-researched articles that can be used as a resource to help you make better financial decisions.
In addition, as you continue to scroll down, you’ll find recent blog posts. These tend to be shorter, more conversational pieces that discuss a current event, an article I may have read that captured my attention, or just something I wanted to share.
This is one of those areas that may continue to evolve over time, but I do feel like I accomplished the goal I set for myself 6 months ago when I originally wrote the article.
This article was intended to be the first in a series of articles to discuss my investing philosophy. I haven’t yet posted any follow up articles in the series as after I wrote this first article, I decided to move forward with the series as an ebook.
I’ve been working on the ebook (slowly) and will release it (hopefully) sometime in the near future.
In the July Update, I discussed how Financial Slacker had just completed a great month, but I was a little frustrated with myself as I didn’t have that consistency in any area that I expected of myself.
I never intended for the article to be a bashing of myself, but it seemed many readers saw it that way. In fact, reader reaction was so unexpected that I wrote a follow up article.
These unexpected reactions to articles is one of the best things about writing on this site. It’s usually difficult for me to gauge the reaction an article will receive. And when there is a strong reaction, I can’t help but feel energized.
As far as goals, I didn’t specify much in the way of goals as it was more of a desire to increase both consistency and activity.
This goal was over almost before it started. If you’ll recall, Ms. Financial Slacker signed up the two of us to run a half marathon in January, 2017. But shortly after I started training, I injured myself.
When you’re overweight, over the age of 40, and not in great shape, you need to be careful and methodical about how you train. Adding too much distance too fast doesn’t work. And that’s exactly what happened.
I sustained a foot injury which has caused other bio-mechanical issues. And until I have surgery to repair the injury, it’s going to be difficult to do much running.
So I’ll be passing on the January half marathon. Maybe next year.
This article outlined what I wanted to accomplish over the following 100 days from August 20th through November 28th.
In the article, I discussed the following goals:
Post 4 articles per week – 100 days is slightly more than 14 weeks. During this time, I posted 48 articles, or 3.4 per week. Pretty close.
Respond to comments within 24 hours – This is a little tricky to track without going back and looking closely at the time and date for every comment (which I’m not going to do). I will say that I consider responding to comments to be of utmost importance. And as such, I respond to every comment on the site. Just maybe not always within 24 hours.
Visit and actively participate on 10 sites per week – I don’t track my participation on other sites. But I know I didn’t meet the active participation component of this goal. While I tend to regularly visit and read articles especially from those sites that I subscribe to, I don’t always actively participate.
Take off Saturday or Sunday – I found this goal to actually be harder than it sounds. While I can step away from writing articles, responding to comments, and visiting other sites, I have difficulty turning off completely. Just because I’m not writing doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about what to write.
It’s About Making Better Financial Decisions
There you go. Seven articles written over the past 12 months outlining specific goals or actions that I wanted to take. In some cases, I feel good having achieved what I aimed for. With others, my thinking or situation has evolved. And others just need to be revived and started on again.
But as I look back at these goals, especially those from the first 100 days post, I realize that these are more of a carry-over from my days working a corporate job.
My mission with this site is not to publish as much as possible. My mission is to provide online content that helps readers make better financial decisions.
Thanks for following along as I look back at 2016. Now it’s time to start focusing on 2017.