For the past two years, I set up goals and resolutions at the beginning of the year and posted them on this blog of mine. I then provided quarterly updates on how I was doing. This was my way to hold myself accountable and to keep myself motivated on accomplishing these goals. Having readers emailing me and encouraging me throughout the year also gave me a ton of motivation. Last year, because of the pandemic, it would have been very easy to give up on most of my goals. However, I found tracking the goals and posting quarterly updates helped me to stay focused on my goals, and finish as many of them as I could.
For 2021, I had a tough time deciding whether I wanted to continue these annual goal setting posts. Ultimately, I decided to continue this goal-setting tradition. You probably have heard many times that you should set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals. SMART goals for short. For me, I find that setting high expectations works well for me. I am more motivated if I set challenging goals for myself. I enjoy shooting for the stars. If I don’t get there, at least I will get to the moon. This may work completely differently for other people.
However, seeing that we aren’t going back to the old normal anytime soon, I also don’t want to set too many challenging goals, especially ones that depend on outside factors and would be beyond my control. For example, in 2020 I set goals to speak at FinCon and The Financial Freedom Summit. I didn’t accomplish these goals because the conferences were cancelled.
Therefore, my approach for 2021 is to have moderate expectations, continue to challenge myself as much as possible, and set my goals accordingly.
And yes, this post is late but I figured, it’s better late than never right?
2021 Goals and Resolutions
One thing that has worked really well for me is setting up a goal tracking spreadsheet. This gave an excellent overview of all the goals and I could check in regularly. Being a spreadsheet nerd, I also created sub-sheets and macros so it would be easy to track my daily or weekly progress. Last year, I started giving myself letter grades for each goal and I found that worked well.
Below is my goal tracking spreadsheet. For 2021, I have kept this spreadsheet very simple. Most of the goals for 2021 are yearly long goals. There are a few goals that I want to accomplish by a specific month.
Since this is a personal finance blog, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I set up some financial goals for myself.
Dividend Income over $32,000
In 2020 we received $26,975.01 in dividend income. My goal for 2021 is to receive over $32,000 in dividend income, which would mean a year-over-year increase of 18.6%. Since I don’t expect any of the Canadian banks and some companies to raise dividends this year, I wanted to set a realistic YoY growth rate. I thought something slightly below 20% is realistic. To hit this goal will require us to continue to invest fresh capital and buy dividend paying stocks. We will also reinvest dividends by enrolling in DRIP whenever we are eligible and reinvest dividend cash pile whenever it’s greater than $1,000 to keep the commission fee less than 1% of the overall transaction cost.
FI ratio >=60%
I used to call this the “dividend income to annual expense” ratio. But FI ratio, or Financial Independence ratio is a much sexier term, so I have decided to switch to using this term instead. In 2020 we had an FI ratio of 55.15%. Our dividend income didn’t grow as much as expected but our spending decreased significantly because of the pandemic. So somehow everything worked out for us. For 2021, my goal is to hit an FI ratio of greater or equal to 60%. With a goal of $32k in dividends, this means our annual spending needs to be below $53,333.33 CAD. Obviously, the annual spending would need to be much less if we end up receiving less than $32k in dividend income.
Publish a blog post every Monday
In 2020 I published at least 6 articles each month (every Monday then an article on Wednesdays here and there). I found publishing 6 high quality articles was extremely time consuming and it was an enormous challenge to keep up with this posting schedule. So this year I wanted to cut myself a little of slack by publishing a blog post every Monday. This means I will publish at least 52 blog posts for 2021.
This goal does not mean I won’t publish articles on other days. I probably will continue to post an article or two on other days.
Speak at Canadian Financial Summit
Last year I was one of the speakers at the Canadian Financial Summit and had a lot of fun. When I looked at the video recording, I noticed that my lighting wasn’t great and the audio was a bit faint. So there are some technical things I could improve on. This year, I would love to speak at the summit again and spread the financial independence retire early (FIRE) message to Canadians.
One Facebook Live Session
Ok, I think this goal is going to be a challenge given that I’m more comfortable behind the camera (I’m a photographer afterall). Anyway, I wanted to have one Facebook Live session where I would appear on video and interact with readers & followers in real time. Who knows, maybe this may lead me to possibly creating more videos in the future?
Work out at least twice a week
When I was going in the office prior to working from home, I would go to the gym at work and work out at least twice each week. When I started working from home, I was doing body weight workouts only. I didn’t enjoy these workouts as much. Then in August I bought three kettlebells and started working out in the garage regularly. I really enjoyed working out and lifting weights. In 2020, I finished two sets of 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge. On the last day of the year, I challenged myself by doing the burpees, squats, sit-ups challenge. It wasn’t easy, but I finished the set a little over 25 minutes.
Since I will be working from home in the foreseeable future, I want to continue my workout routines and continue to stay active.
Complete all 5 levels of Duolingo Danish Course
It would be good to be able to understand what Mrs. T and the kids are talking about when they speak Danish. It would also be good to understand more Danish when we travel to Denmark. I practiced at least 60 minutes of Danish via Duolingo each week in 2020. For this year, I would like to complete all 5 levels of the Duolingo Danish Course. In Duolingo there are 350 crowns to complete the entire course and I have received 207 crowns so far. To receive a crown may require as little as one lesson or as many as ten lessons.
Read 12 books
I usually read books when I am on a plane, travelling for business. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t set foot on a plane, so I have been reading books before bedtime. For this year, I would like to read one book per month, or 12 books in total.
Mediate for 5 minutes each day
I wanted to be more mindful and calmer in 2021. So I set the intension to mediate for five minutes each day. After each meditation, I would mark down the date on my spreadsheet tracker. The goal is to mediate every day for 365 days in a row.
Not knowing if we can travel internationally or out-of-province in 2021, I decided to set up only one fun goal.
One kids-free stayaction with Mrs. T
Let’s face it, being parents isn’t easy and we all need a break here and there. While Mrs. T and I have scheduled date-nights every week after both kids are asleep, it would be nice to have a kids-free stayaction so we can spend time by ourselves the entire weekend. This goal will entirely depend if we can have my parents look after both kids or not (assuming the current stay-at-home, ban on gathering outside of one’s immediate household will get lifted eventually).
Summary – 2021 Goals and Resolutions
Here you have it, my goals and resolutions for 2021. As mentioned, I plan to update my progress every quarter. By tracking my progress, I hope I will keep myself motivated and stay accountable.
Dear readers, did you have any goals and resolutions for 2021?