At the beginning of 2020, I set out some ambitious goals and resolutions for myself, hoping I could accomplish all of them. But 2020 was a year like no other. The COVID-19 global pandemic threw a wrench in many of my plans. Because of the pandemic, I started working from home on March 13. Gyms and pools were closed for a long period and I had to find ways to stay active. A few companies that we own in our dividend portfolio ended up cutting or suspending their dividends. This reduced the amount of dividend income we could have received in 2020.
If I didn’t set these goals and resolutions for myself, I think I wouldn’t be able to stay as motivated throughout 2020. For one, I probably wouldn’t have kept up the regular blog posts. I probably wouldn’t have kept up my Danish practice either. So I am thankful that I kept up with most of my goals & resolutions throughout the year.
2020 Goals & Resolutions
Throughout the year, I tracked my goals via a spreadsheet. I grouped them into four categories and I would update my progress regularly. I also marked down when I planned to achieve each goal. Some of these goals were yearly goals, some I planned to achieve by a specific month.
I also gave myself letter grades based on my progress and result for each goal.
- Dividend income over $30,000 -> 89.92% B. I knew this goal was a challenge when I set it at the beginning of 2020. When some companies cut or suspended their dividends in Q2, I knew it was nearly impossible to accomplish this goal. Despite adding over $115k in 2020 to our dividend portfolio, we were $3,000 short of this goal. We would have gotten closer to this goal if we converted all the USD dividends into CAD. Having said that, we are really pleased with our dividend income and feel blessed to have our money working hard so we don’t have to.
- Dividend income/annual expense ratio 55% -> 55.15%. A+. It was very nice to see that our dividend income could cover over 55% of our annual expenses. Because of the pandemic, we spent less than $50k in 2020. This annual spending number was significantly lower than in other years. At the same time, our dividend growth wasn’t as high as we previously anticipated. Despite a shortfall in dividend income, I was very pleased that we could reduce our annual spending to hit a 55.15% FI ratio.
- Publish six high quality articles every month-> A. I was successful in this goal. I also continued to update some old contents and republish them again for SEO reasons.
- Speak at FinCon’20 -> N/A. FinCon’20 was cancelled because of COVID-19. So, I’m marking this goal as not applicable.
- Speak at Financial Freedom Summit-> N/A. Similar to FinCon, they cancelled the summit because of COVID019. Hopefully, the summit will happen in 2021 and I get to speak at the summit.
- Speak at Canadian Financial Summit -> Done I appeared at the Canadian Financial Summit in October. Many readers reached out and said they enjoyed my talk. For the future, I need to make sure I have better lighting so I don’t look so dark in the video.
- Record three podcasts -> A+. Complete. Initially, I thought it would be a challenge to record three podcasts, but I ended up recording five podcasts. The podcasts I recorded in 2020 were:
- Eat better & healthier, avoid snacks at night. Weigh 70 kg by the end of 2019 –>79kg C. I finished the year at 79 kg, or 7 kg (15.4 lbs) heavier than my goal. Since gotten kettlebells in late August, I have worked out four to five times a week. This has resulted in better muscle tone throughout my body than when I started at the beginning of 2020. When I put on my waist-size 30 jeans, they feel looser. I am guessing my body fat percentage has dropped slightly in the fourth quarter of 2020 and I have gained some muscles.
- Go swimming at least once each week. Swim for 100 km in 2019 -> Complete* A+. Since the pool was closed for most of the year, I am marking myself based on my progress in Q1. I swam 33.6 km in 11 weeks or a little over 3 km per week. Although pools opened in mid-October, I decided against going to avoid any chance of contracting COVID-19. Overall, I really enjoyed swimming early in the morning before heading to work. Once the pandemic is over, I do plan to swim again.
- Go to the gym at least twice each week -> Complete. A+. I started lifting weights in our garage after purchasing three kettlebells in late August. I finished two 10,000 kettlebell swing challenges over eight weeks (i.e. working out five times a week during that time). Since the kettlebell swing challenge, I continued to work out four to five times each week, roughly an hour each time. This goal had really helped me to stay active during the pandemic. I ended up hitting the gym 159 times in 2020 which meant I worked out on an average 3.06 times a week.
- Spend 60 minutes each week learning Danish on Duolingo -> Complete. A+. Throughout the year, I consistently spent over 60 minutes learning Danish on Duolingo. At home, whenever Mrs. T and the kids speak Danish, I can pick up more and more phrases. It would be interesting to see how much Danish I can understand the next time we go back to Denmark. I plan to continue my Danish study in 2021.
- Complete Conscious Parenting course -> Complete. I completed the Conscious Parenting course in February. There are excellent and helpful parenting tools in the course. If you are a parent, I recommend taking the course.
- Read 15 books -> 12 books. C. I ended up reading four books in Q4 and finished the year with 12 books. This was a goal that I was not motivated to complete. Given that went on in 2020, can you really blame me? My favourite books were Rejection Proof, On Writing Well, and And Then There Were None. Here are the books I read in 2020:
- How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy
- Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
- Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
- Worth Every Single Penny
- The Warren Buffett Way
- On Writing Well
- And Then There Were None
- Whispers In The Sands
- Financial Freedom
- Millionaire Expat
- Go skiing with kids at least once -> Complete. We took the kids skiing three times in 2020. We all had a lot of fun.
- Visit Banff & Jasper -> Complete. We took a 12 day trip to Banff and Jasper at the end of June and had a great time. Depending on how things hold out, we may go back to Banff & Jasper in 2021.
2020 Goals & Resolutions Wrap Up
Overall, I think I did well on the goals and resolutions I set out for 2020. There were several goals I didn’t accomplish, but they were outside of my control. So I’ll give myself a pass on those goals.
I have to admit, the pandemic made it really difficult to stay motivated on some goals. I was very pleased that I kept up working out and learning Danish throughout the year.
I plan to set up goals and resolutions for 2021. Since we do not know when it is safe to return to the old normal, I need to be mindful when setting up my 2021 goals. At the same time, I want to continue to challenge myself.
Dear readers, how was your 2020? Did you accomplish the goals and resolutions that you set out for yourself at the beginning of the year?