Hello everyone and welcome to Leaving Work Behind in 2015!
I took a couple of weeks off to enjoy Christmas and New Year festivities, but I’m now back to business and looking forward to 2015.
I’m not one to make New Years resolutions, and didn’t actually have any kind of goals for 2015 in mind when the clock struck 12am on 1st January, but since then I have spent some time listing the things I would like to achieve this year.
In this post I’m going to reveal those goals to you, explain the thinking behind them, and also ask you to reveal your goals in the comments section so you can be held accountable to them!
Some Preliminary Words About Goal Setting
I was initially reticent to set goals for 2015, because I’m no longer enamored with the ‘traditional’ notion of goal setting.
I was reminded of the ‘traditional’ approach to goal setting a few weeks ago when my brother told me that he was feeling pretty exhausted and stressed out from stretching to achieve a career goal he had set himself. It certainly wasn’t essential that he achieved this goal – it wasn’t anything close to a matter of life and death – but he was working his ass off to get it done nonetheless.
My reflection on this was “each to their own,” but I knew that I didn’t want to set those kinds of goals for myself. I didn’t want to set goals that forced me into doing things I simply didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to force myself into completing goals in an unreasonably short timeframe.
So for 2015 I decided to wander from the ‘traditional’ path of goal setting and adopt a simple psychological mindset: that the goals I set are for reminding oneself of the intended outcomes of one’s efforts and are not to be used as torture devices.
To put it another way, I wanted to set goals so I could see a path to improving myself and my situation in 2015. I want to be able to look back on the year and see the ways in which I have improved myself and my circumstances. But I don’t want to set goals in stone, so that if I find them too difficult, I feel obliged to continue my efforts to complete them regardless.
This post will stand as a testament to my original intentions for 2015, but it is not the finished article. Goals may be added, changed and taken away as the year progresses, and I’m totally comfortable with that. Because in my opinion, to determine what you must achieve at the very start of the year, in an unchangeable fashion, is utter madness.
My Goals for 2015
The following isn’t just a list of business goals; far from it in fact. There’s all sorts mixed in here.
Why? Well, my approach to business is very different to what it once was. I am hardly driven by money or what most consider as “success” (i.e. working far too hard in an effort to make more money), and I think that my goals reflect my healthier outlook.
In fact, I had to think consciously about what business goals I was going to set; the goals that immediately popped into my mind had nothing to do with advancing my business. But business advancement is definitely something I would like to see happen in 2015, so I put my thinking cap on and set some goals!
Become Fluent in French
I started learning French a few weeks ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Language learning is something I’ve attempted with limited success in the past, I’ve certainly never got as far as I have with French this time around. I’m using Anki (spaced repetition software) to learn vocabulary and grammar rules, and I’m also trying to read Harry Potter in French!
I’ve always loved the idea of being able to speak another language fluently, and I’m confident that I can achieve that with French this year. In terms of quantifying my goals, I want to do the following by the end of the year:
- Read the entire first Harry Potter book in French
- Add 10,000 words to my Anki French vocabulary deck
- Visit France at least once and converse with locals in French
- Pass the B2 level (upper intermediate) French exam
I’m sure my goals will change on this front, and I don’t know if the second and fourth are realistic, but there’s only one way to find out!
Read 52 Books
I love books, but I’ve often not read as much as I should. But now I have plenty more time in the day (due to only working around three hours per day), I certainly have more time to read.
What I love about this goal is that I will be able to plainly see what I’ve gained from achieving it by the end of the year. I’m going to write up a list of all the books I read, and I can come back to that list at any time and see what enjoyment and education I have gleaned from those books.
I may find out that the time invested in the books simply wasn’t worth it, but I very much doubt that will be the case. On the contrary, I suspect that if I reach this goal, I will be encouraged by the process to read even more books in 2016.
My business goals all relate to increasing income (which rather makes sense) and are as follows:
- Increase Paid to Blog Jobs membership from 109 (current) to 200. I’ve got lots of ideas as to how I’ll achieve this and will reveal more soon!
- Increase Bluehost commissions to 30 per month. The number is currently more like 5-10, so I’ve got a lot of work to do on this front.
- Increase writing income to $4,000 per month. I currently make around $3,000 (net) from my writing business, and my efforts in 2015 will be centered on diversifying my client base and building up my income to $4,000.
The above goals will serve to increase my monthly profits from around $7,000 to $11,000+, which will be just fine by me. I certainly don’t need any more money than I currently earn, but having more money in the bank certainly isn’t a bad thing!
The most important thing is I don’t want to happen is to be dragged into doing things that I simply don’t enjoy. Right now I’m very happy only working 3 or so hours per day doing things that I like, and that’s how I want it to stay in 2015.
Get Better at Climbing
I was introduced to indoor climbing by my girlfriend a while back, and I’m really starting to get into it. It is both a great physical and mental challenge – obviously it requires muscle, but it also requires you to think critically about how to get up the wall.
Now I feel I’ve got past the “just try to climb something” stage, I want to set a couple of goals. Those goals are to:
Basically, I want to learn to climb more complicated/challenging routes, and of course have fun doing so in the process!
Increase My Recipe Repertoire
I love cooking, and now I have more spare time, I have no excuses not to cook plenty. And that’s why I’ve set myself a goal of learning and perfecting 52 recipes this year. Yum.
Become an Awesome Baker
I’ve really gotten into baking recently; more specifically, baking bread. I already make a mean sandwich loaf, but I want to expand my repertoire in 2015. Here’s what I want to perfect:
- sandwich loaf (better tasting and longer lasting)
- cinnamon and raisin bagels
If I can have those four things nailed down by the end of the year, I’ll be pretty happy.
Learn and Perfect a Grade 4 Piano Piece
Longtime LWB readers might remember that I once started a piano blog, back when I started learning. While I did take my first piano examination in 2014 (Grade 2 alongside 5-10 year olds ;-)), after moving to Birmingham in early summer I almost stopped playing entirely.
I have however started again, and I intend to make 2015 a good year for improving as a piano player. My goal is to be able to competently play a Grade 4 piano piece by the end of the year. Something like this:
What About You?
So those are my goals for 2015 revealed – now I want to know what yours are!
Reveal your goals in the comments section below, and I expect you to come back through the year and leave updates as to how you are getting on with your goals. I will be reading and responding to all comments made through 2015.
Let’s achieve some awesome things together!
Photo Credit: Christmas Stock Images