Since 2019 I have been setting up goals and resolutions for myself at the beginning of the year. I would then provide an update every quarter to see how I was doing with my goals. I am the type of person that likes to aim for the stars. Therefore, rather than setting goals that I can easily accomplish, I decided to set some very ambitious goals for myself.
In 2021, I worked from home for the entire year and rarely step out of the house. Sometimes it was hard to stay motivated given all the bad things that happened in the world. If I didn’t have these goals and resolutions, it would have been easy to let the year slide and not accomplish much, if anything at all.
So I’m very glad to have set these goals and resolutions. They’ve kept me motivated and accountable. I am planning to set some ambitious goals again for 2022.
2021 Goals and Resolutions
For those new to the goals & resolutions post, I have tracked my goals in a spreadsheet and grouped them into four categories. I would update my progress regularly. Each month, I would check what I have accomplished. If I happened to achieve a goal, I would colour the box green and have a small celebration.
In addition, to keep me motivated, I gave myself letter grades based on my progress and result for each goal.
Let’s take a look at how I did for 2021.
- Dividend Income over $32,000 -> $30,912.20, B+. Well, we didn’t accomplish this dividend income goal and were short by about $1,100. As we start to face the law of the big numbers, it is becoming more and more difficult to increase our dividend income by purely adding new cash to our portfolio. We need to rely more and more on organic dividend growth and dividend growth via dividend reveinstment plans (DRIP). Unfortunately, none of the Canadian banks increased their dividend payouts in 2020 (they announced increase but won’t pay until 2021), which hurt our organic dividend growth a bit. Having said that, I’m still very happy with our progress. Earning $30,912.20 in 2021 while doing absolutely nothing is pretty fantastic! At a working hourly wage, assuming 52 work weeks and 40 hours per week, our dividend income is equivalent of $14.86 per hour. This hourly wage is slowly becoming quite sizable.
- FI ratio >=60% -> 43.02%, C. We missed this financial goal by a mile! The 0/2 record kind of hurts. Since 2012, we have had an annual spending of less than $60,000, with an average of around $50,000. But this year we blew it at ended up at over $70,000! That’s significantly higher than usual. We thought we would be able to maintain an annual spending around $52,000 but we ended up spending a lot more in 2021. Let’s face it, 2021 was a difficult year for many of us. The pandemic added a lot of mental strains. We ordered takeouts more throughout 2021 so that increased our Play spending. Inflation was higher than usual in 2021, resulting an increase in food prices. Despite doing most of grocery shopping at Costco, where food inflation was kept lower than other Canadian grocery stores, we still spent more on food in 2021 than any other years. I think part of this was due to having two growing kids and them eating more and more. But what put us over the top was the extra unplanned spending. We spent around $1,000 when our cat Perlemus got sick during the summer. Unfortunately, her mobility deteriorated quickly in December and forced us to have to put her down. In addition, we spent over $15,000 on house maintenance throughout 2021. After a big spending year, we will certainly be looking to reduce our annual spending in 2022.
- Publish a blog post every Monday -> Done! If I didn’t have this goal for myself, I would have totally slacked off and keep up with the weekly publishing schedule. I find publishing a blog article every Monday worked very well for me. This has kept me motivated to write ahead of time and plan out my posting schedule. In fact, this goal has worked so well I have been staying my post schedule two months ahead!!! Given all the interactions I have made with my blog readers, I’d assume that readers are glad I have kept up with this blog for so many years.
- Speak at Canadian Financial Summit -> Done. I was one of the speakers at this year’s Canadian Financial Summit. It was a lot of fun brainstorming an idea with Kyle then recording our session.
- One Facebook Live Session -> Done! I recorded a Facebook Live session back in Q2. I also did an Instagram Live with Jessica Moorhouse and Liquid from Freedom 35 Blog in late September. I’m toying with the idea of doing some Youtube videos this year. We’ll see if that happens.
- Work out at least twice a week -> Done! I was most proud of this goal of mine. On average I worked out 4 times a week in 2021, usually doing kettlebell complexes for 30 to 45 minutes. My body is more toned and I have noticed changes when I see myself in the mirror. Overall I feel stronger than before the pandemic.
- Complete all 5 levels of Duolingo Danish Course -> Done! After about 1.5 years of daily studying, I finally finished the Duolingo Danish Course! I am very proud of myself for finishing this personal goal. After finishing the Duolingo Danish course in Q3, I haven’t been practicing Danish on a daily basis and I have noticed that I am starting to forget some stuff. I need to keep up with my Danish practice somehow…
- Read 12 books -> Done. I finished this goal in Q3 but I continued to read books. I ended up reading 17 books in total for 2021. Here are books I read in Q4:
- Likeness: Fathers, Sons, a Portrait. I came across this book at the library as it was on the recommended reading list. The book is a multi-generational story told through the vehicle of a painting, a portrait of Macfarlane by the well-known Canadian artist, John Hartman. The painting has ended up unexpectedly, temporarily, and enormously in Macfarlane’s living room. For me, I thought the writing style was very unique and I enjoyed reading the book.
- The Money Master. Because I was giving away the book as part of the Reader survey contest, I figured I needed to read Sandy’s book. Sandy covered a lot of important personal finance topics and a lot of mindset related topics as well. The Money Master is a great book for anyone starting their FIRE journey.
- Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. I came across this book thanks Purple. Years ago, I probably would have never picked up and read a book about writing. Given I have to write articles regularly for this blog, I wanted to improve my writing to serve my readers better. I really enjoyed reading Writing Tools and definitely learned a few tools to hopefully improve my writing.
- The Deadline Effect: How to Work Like It’s the Last Minute―Before the Last Minute. This was a very interesting study on how having an actual deadline actually make people perform better.
- Safe Haven: Investing for Financial Storms. This book was awesome and was certainly one of the most math heavy books I’ve read in a little while. The author got into a lot of mathematical analysis on how to evaluate risk and how to safe guard yourself from financial storms. I highly recommend reading this book.
- Meditate for 5 minutes each day -> Done. Wow, I can’t beleive I managed to meditate every day for the entire year. Let me repeat that. Every. Day. For. The. Entire. Year! By meditating 5 minutes each day, I got the chance to calm my mind and reflect on my life. The experience has been very awesome for me. I plan to continue this practice in 2022.
- One kids-free staycation with Mrs. T- > Done! Mrs. T and I had a quick one night stayaction in Vancouver back in Q2. It was great to spend some kids-free time together. We needed that.
Summary – 2021 Goals and Resolutions Wrap Up
Overall, I think 2021 was a very successful one, despite not accomplishing any of my financial goals. Although we spent a lot more money than anticipated in 2021, we also invested quite a bit of money. This will result in more dividend income and hopefully expedite our financial independence journey.
What I am especially proud of was meditating every day for a year, working out 4 times a week on average, and finishing the Danish Duolingo course. With 2021 behind us, it is time to focus on 2022.
Dear readers, how was your year 2021? Did you accomplish all of the goals and resolutions?