It’s the end of 2018, December 31st.
A time for reflection, celebration, and assessment.
Early in January 2018, I laid out a number of goals, actions, hopes and dreams that I wanted to accomplish during the year of 2018.
It was a clean slate, the only direction to go was up and accomplish what I wanted to accomplish.
Now, I want to look back on the year and take a look at the goals I set back in January.
In this post, I’ll be reflecting on 2018; looking back on some of the wins and losses of the year.
While this post focuses on what I’ve accomplished, I hope that you can draw inspiration and original thought for the next time you set goals and dream.
Always Searching for Balance in 2018
Looking back on the year, it seems I was constantly looking for balance. I tried to do a lot of different things, and accomplished a ton.
At a high level, my goals were to grow this blog, stay consistent with exercise, put money away for retirement, and expand my horizons with learning and travel.
For the most part, I was very successful in reaching my goals each month, and my levels of stress, energy and happiness were fairly high throughout the majority of the year.
At the same time, there were 3-4 times where I seriously burnt out and needed to take multiple day breaks.
Goals, and more specifically, actions, are very helpful for success. If I don’t know where I’m going, and I don’t know how to get there, then how I reach my destination?
“A great attitude becomes a great day, which becomes a great month, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life.” ~ Mandy Hale
Reviewing 2018’s Goals
In 2017, I set out to do a number of things: read 75 books, post 175 times on The Mastermind Within, buy a rental property, and save money. I wanted to gain experience through learning, doing, and pushing my boundaries, and while I wasn’t successful in all of my pursuits, I was able to grow and become better each and every month.
For 2018, I’m looking to build on my success in 2017, and continue to push myself to achieve great things. 2017 was building the base and laying the foundation, and 2018 will be lifting off towards new heights.
My Blogging Goals
I really enjoy blogging. I love writing, influencing others with my words, providing great value to my readers, working on my communication skills, interacting with other bloggers, and learning how to market online.
My goal for blogging is to continue to grow my blog in accordance with The Mastermind Within Mission Statement:
The Mastermind Within hopes to build a collaborative community where ideas can flow openly, and readers can build knowledge and experience amazing personal growth.
This blog is my main side hustle and something I love to do each and every day. While I have 2-3 other side projects going on in my life, I want to prioritize the growth of this blog because I know I’ll be able to reach many people with my words.
My Personal Goals
My personal goals follow from my favorite quote:
“Your level of success is rarely exceeded by your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” – The Miracle Morning.
Last year, I wanted to push the envelope and learn a lot. I wanted to read 75 books in 2017. I read 29 books in the first 6 months, and fell off in the second half of the year. I learned a ton, but reading that much is too much.
My personal goals include learning and growing through reading and coursework, staying in shape through different workouts and sports, and continuing to gain exposure in the world through travel.
With these goals in mind, I created a list of actions which would help me reach these goals. I can’t control the results, but I can control what I do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Reviewing the Actions of 2018 to Achieve my Goals
Actions are the key to success. Simple daily and weekly disciplines added up over time will produce extreme results. That’s what I focused on in 2018.
The following were the actions which I believed would bring me success:
- Write 3 Posts a Week
- Write 10 Quora Answers a Week
- Pin 10 Pins a Week
- Write 10 Guest Posts
- Perform 5 Podcast Interviews
- Read 2 Books a Month
- Lift Weights 3 Times a Week
- Practice Yoga 2 Times a Week
- Max Out Retirement Accounts
- Spend at Least One Weekend a Month Outside of My House
Let’s see how I did!
To go more in-depth on a particular month, here is a list of each of the monthly check-ins:
- January Goals Check-in
- February Goals Check-in
- March Goals Check-in
- April Goals Check-in
- May Goals Check-in
- June Goals Check-in
- July Goals Check-in
- August Goals Check-in
- September Goals Check-in
- October Goals Check-in
- November Goals Check-in
Write 3 Posts a Week
This is probably my best accomplishment from the whole year: I posted 3 times a week for every week except one. I missed one week in late September, but in August, I accidentally posted 4 times one week. I’ll call it a wash 🙂
Consistency is the key to good blogging. Posting 3 times a week consistently forced me to build a great content base, keep focusing on practicing writing, and lead to me adding over 150 pieces of content to this website this year.
While I believe all 150 are worth reading, earlier this month, I picked out 25 of the best posts from 2018 for you to read.
I did it!
Write 10 Quora Answers a Week
In 2017, I built up a following on Quora, and found it to be a decent driver of engagement and traffic towards this blog.
I only reached this goal once (in January), and now, don’t like going on Quora because of how many ads there are.
Maybe I’ll get back on there some day. I have over 1,000,000 views and 1,000 followers, but I just can’t stand how the platform is set up.
Pin 10 Pins a Week
Pinterest is a huge platform for marketing, and is used by millions of people. There are bloggers who only used Pinterest for traffic and are able to make thousands of dollars a month!
I decided to get on Pinterest, and soon felt overwhelmed. I did sign up for Tailwind, and have since been pinning 10 pins a day.
While the results from Pinterest are still just okay, it is certainly better than it was before I started.
Write 10 Guest Posts
Guest posts are some of the best ways to get exposure online. I guest posted a number of times in 2017, and was looking to do the same in 2018. Guest posting is fun as well – since I put myself into a different mindset while writing for another person’s audience.
I had 15 guest posts go live in 2018. Here are all of the links:
- How I used House Hacking to Grow My Net Worth by $100,000, on Mustard Seed Money
- How the Pursuit of Financial Independence Got Me a Girlfriend, on Budgets are Sexy
- Financial Literacy Month Interview, on Debt Discipline
- Personal Finance Interview, on Financial Health and Wealth
- Success Follows Personal Development, on Keep Thrifty
- Momentum Series Interview, on Making Momentum
- Band of Bloggers Interview, on Method to Your Money
- House Hacking: A Lucrative Passive Income Stream for Young Professionals, on Physician on FIRE
- An Open Letter to Financially Driven Single Individuals Seeking Love, on Fiery Millennials
- Taking Chances with Asymmetric Payoffs, on Max Your Freedom
- Life is Not a Clickable Link, on Abandoned Cubicle
- The Paradox of Side Hustling, on ESI Money
- Money Match-Up: Is Increasing Income or Saving More Money Better? on Rockstar Finance
- A Six Figure Salary is Possible, but Will Take A While, on Simplistic Steph
- Living a Better Life Interview, on Life for the Better
Perform 5 Podcast Interviews
I had a lot of fun getting on a few podcasts in 2017, and wanted to have a few more of these experiences in 2018.
Here are all of the interviews I did in 2018:
- Interview, on Chain of Wealth
- Finding Love When Pursuing Financial Independence, on Marriage, Kids and Money
- Interview, on Do You Even Blog
- Interview, on Countdown to FI
- Interview, on Financial Independence Europe Podcast
Read 2 Books a Month
In 2018, I was focused more on producing, rather than consuming. A balance is necessary, and I didn’t quite get there.
I started over 30 books, and only finished a handful of them. The ones I did finish were fantastic though, so that’s good I guess…
Lift Weights 3 Times a Week
I cancelled my gym membership in March.
Now, I’m doing body weight exercises and yoga to work on my strength.
Practice Yoga 2 Times a Week
During the first 6 months of 2018, I didn’t succeed with this one. In July, I did do a 30 day pass for $30 at the local studio, but after the month ended, I didn’t keep going.
Finally, in November, I rejoined the yoga studio and have been going 2-3 times a week. I’m looking forward to going 3 times a week in 2019 as I become more flexible and mindful.
Max Out Retirement Accounts
In the first week of 2018, I maxed out my Roth IRA, and with my last paycheck of 2018, I maxed out my 401(k)!
This means I put $24,000 towards my retirement in 2018, and met my goal!
Spend at Least One Weekend Outside of My House a Month
I visited a number of places this year, hung out with old friends, family, and made new friends.
In 2018, I visited Los Angeles, Orlando, and various locations in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.
Each trip had a different feel, but all of them lead me to the thought that I need to disconnect more from my screens and continue to force myself to get out into the world.
Reviewing My Hopes from Taking These Actions
At the beginning of the year, in addition to these actions (where I’d say I did pretty well overall), I had a number of hopes I wanted to see.
These hopes were results that might come from my actions. I can’t control the results, but these hopes were some things that would have been pretty cool to accomplish:
- Reach 25,000 Page Views a Month on The Mastermind Within
- Earn $200 a Month in Blog Revenue
- Grow to 2000 Email Subscribers
- Ability to Squat and Deadlift 275 lbs for 10 reps
- Increase My Total Income Over 2017
Reach 25,000 Page Views a Month on The Mastermind Within
Through the end of November 2018, my highest month on record is 12,000 page views, with this December going to shatter that one with over 16,000 page views.
This is still 9,000 page views short, but I know that with time I will get there!
Earn $200 a Month in Blog Revenue
In 2018, I earned $2,520 in blog revenue, or just over $200 a month in blog revenue! It started off slow, but eventually, I secured the right partnerships and got to this level.
I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in 2019, and hope that this could reach $500 or $1,000 a month at some point.
Grow to 2000 Email Subscribers
Right now, The Mastermind Within email list is over 800 people. This has been consistently growing, and would be much higher, but each month, I go and remove people who do not open and read my emails.
I really appreciate you reading my posts, and want to keep delivering fantastic and relevant content to you.
If you don’t value my content, then I can’t force you to do anything and as a result, I don’t want to waste either of our times with an email.
Ability to squat and deadlift 275 lbs for 10 reps
I can do 45 body weight squats in a minute! Does that count?
Increase My Total Income Over 2017
I earned just over $107,000 in 2017. In 2018, I received a raise at work, had some great success side hustling, and am back to house hacking.
In 2018, I’m going to come in at somewhere around $120,000, and will be detailing more on this when the final number comes.
That’s crazy to think of how much money that is, and it’s come from different income streams which is super powerful and exciting.
Reflecting on My Dreams from the Start of 2018
Finally, something I talked about at the beginning of 2018 was the dreams I had around this blog and my life. These were wild and way out there, but were worth mentioning.
I didn’t hit any of these, but it was still fun to dream about 🙂
- Replace The Mastermind Within Freebie Tools (Debt Destruction Tool and Income Statement Tool) with Web Applications
- Install a Forum on The Mastermind Within to Continue to Build the Community on the Site
- Dunk a Basketball
Concluding Thoughts on a Great Year
2018 was a year of growth. I didn’t achieve all of the results I wanted to achieve, but I learned a lot about myself, learned a lot about others, accomplished a lot, and continued to form an outstanding financial, mental, and spiritual base for my future.
A break-up, changes in my plans, alternative thoughts, starting 2 podcasts, vacations, struggles with balance, a raise, and much more – it was a quite the year.
When I look back on 2018, I’m going to think of how much I hustled, and how all of this work is leading to something bigger than myself.
My greatest goal in life is to help you and other like-minded individuals focused on success. I’m hoping to influence you to reach a little higher and do a little more with your life.
I want to lead my example, and I hope that by sharing my goals, hopes, actions and dreams, this will inspire you to go for your goals and achieve things beyond your wildest dreams.
No one is stopping you from living out your life the way you want to live it.
2019 will be a fantastic year, and I’m looking forward to hearing about everything you accomplish.
I’ve already detailed my goals for 2019 earlier this month, and will be focusing on continued efforts on building up my financial, spiritual and emotional bases for the future.
Hope you have a safe and fun New Year, and looking forward to making 2019 a great year! 🙂
Thank you for reading!
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