Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Goals progress update for March

Here is my monthly progress update where I provide a review on how I'm getting on with my goals for 2016. This post is reporting on my progress as things stood at the end of March this year.

1. Experience the joy, satisfaction and contentment of living with my partner (TheBF) for the first time
  • Accepting suitable offers for the sale of my house and TheBF's house, with both proceeding to sale completion - Following on from the disappointment of losing the buyer for my house in February, I quickly got it back on the market. It's quite hard work having people coming round to view the house as I always feel I need to run round beforehand tidying and cleaning! Within a few days of my house being back up for sale I had 3 appointments to view booked in, and in just over a week of relisting the house I'd accepted a new offer. Things have moved swiftly since then, the survey has already been carried out by my buyer's mortgage company and the sale is now progressing nicely. TheBF's sale is also proceeding to plan, the mortgage has been approved for his buyers and the survey is booked to take place in April

  • Finding a new house to buy with TheBF which meets all our purchase criteria
    - In early March we were house hunting in earnest. Initially we focussed our efforts on viewings in a neighbouring town about a 40 minute drive from where I currently live. As we reached the point where we were ready to put an offer on a house, I realised that my heart was really yearning to stay in my hometown and I had a bit of a "wobble" moment. It seemed no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get excited about moving somewhere that far away (even though I know for many people this is not far at all), and there were a few teary moments (on my part!) as TheBF and I had a heart-to-heart. Luckily for me I have the best boyfriend ever, I am so thankful to have such an understanding and caring partner, and we swiftly refocussed our efforts closer to home.

    So I'm delighted to share the news that we have now found our dream home in my hometown! We entered negotiations with the vendor and agreed a purchase price, so all that is left now is for the purchase process to go ahead alongside the sale of our 2 houses. I think it will probably be a couple of months before we actually complete and make the move - but this goal is WELL on the way for 2016 and I couldn't be happier

2. Gain the freedom to choose what I use my time for, removing the necessity of doing work that does not inspire me simply because it pays the bills

  • Pursuing financial independence - On target...
    • Create a 2016 financial plan/budget [by February 29th 2016]   {PREVIOUSLY DONE}
    • Create a "FI before 50 Roadmap" containing steps I need to take to become Financially Independent before the age of 50 [by March 31st 2016]   {PREVIOUSLY DONE}
      - Both of the above plans can be found here
    • Follow the 2016 financial plan/budget - Mostly achieved for March. Detailed Income, Expenses & Savings breakdowns will follow in upcoming posts - only the headline figures are noted here.

      Income wise, it was a really strong month, helped by the welcome news from my accountants that I had not yet claimed back my expenses for home-based office work, I was really pleased about that. My target monthly income is £3,332 which I achieved and actually managed a little bit extra (£256.30 more than target).

      My overall target for monthly savings is £3,000, breaking down into targets of £1,000 for the Freedom Kitty (I achieved £949.69) and £2,000 for the Personal Pension (I achieved £3,000). This means I've exceeded my overall savings target by £949.69, but the split of how I achieved this was slightly unbalanced compared to my plans. It's important for me to save into my Freedom Kitty because this is what's going to enable me to stop working earlier than my pension retirement age of 57 - it needs to be big enough to support me for 7 years

  • Researching alternative options for spending my time which could eventually help to replace my current mode of work
    • Create and maintain a blog site to track my goals and interact with the online community
      • Research suitable blog site & how to use it, and set-up blog {PREVIOUSLY DONE}
      • Deliver at least 1 post per week on average - Achieved for March! I published 5 posts which means I'm still on target for achieving an average of 1 per week since I started the blog
  • Research new alternative sources of repeat income
    • Generate at least £1 this year from a new source of regular income - I didn't receive any new income in March. I did however spend time investigating how kindle publishing works as well as reading about matched betting on Richard's blog (Live Happy Save More).

3. Become a better person by the end of the year, than I was at the start of it.
Can be measured in terms of knowledge & skills gained, health & fitness improved, relationships circle expanded & strengthened, internal beliefs challenged & reviewed, positive habits created

  • Completing a personal development challenge with my sister (100 day challenge or something similar) - Following on from last month's update, my sister and I have now set a date to work together through the daily practices in The Magic* by Rhonda Byrne. We start on April 1st and will finish on April 28th. During March we set-up a board using Trello ready for us to track our daily progress and share thoughts. Trello is a great tool to easily do this and best of all it's free!

  • Reading at least 6 new books - With a little bit of extra reading time required on the last day of March I managed to finish my first new book of the year The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich* by Timothy Ferriss. I really enjoyed this book and it was a real eye-opener for me - it is possible to break away from a 9-5 office job and earn a good income with less time and effort required. I can see though that to achieve this I need to put in effort up-front to get set-up with a product and business process that will allow me to earn from it with very little effort on my part. I'm hoping to be able to put some, if not all of my learnings from this book into practice. I'll assess my effectiveness in doing this, based on whether I'm writing my blog from a beach in the Caribbean or from my office at home this time next year ha ha!

    In terms of my reading goal for the year, I'm a little behind where I need to be, but I know with the Magic Challenge that I'll be finishing my second book in April so I should be back on track by then.

  • Losing 10lbs in weight by the end of July and maintaining the weight loss through till the end of the year through good diet and exercise

    Unfortunately I made no progress with my weight loss in March - not helped by the fact that the Easter Bunny brought a fair bit of chocolate! I review my goals every day and the fact that I've not found motivation to get going with this goal has been bothering me a lot. So I spent some time in March investigating options which might help me such as Weight Watchers (which I've used successfully before), Slimming World and calorie counting style diets. I've pretty much concluded that a menu plan of my own choosing will be the best option for me, because I can make it flexible, plus I really don't want to have to spend money on a diet group. So I'm working on a personalised plan to get me going and I've also started indoor running for 20 minutes on most weekdays. Let's see if I have more to report in April!

  • Going on at least 12 planned "date nights" with TheBF in 2016 - we've been pretty busy this past month with the house sale and purchase process, so it's not really been the right time to plan any big dates. However, we have done two very fun date nights which practically organised themselves.

    We went to watch Speedway Racing thanks to receiving complimentary tickets (TheBF belongs to a biker group where the tickets were offered in the forum). INTERESTING FACT: Speedway bikes have no brakes and 500cc engines which can accelerate faster than a Formula 1 car to 60 mph! It was a really good night, particularly when we were given the opportunity to go and watch two of the races from the centre of the track.

    Our second date night was at Festival Hall in London where we saw one of our favourite comedians Dave Gorman. We watch his show on the TV channel "Dave" called Modern Life is Goodish, it's definitely my kind of humour, particularly with his powerpoint slides!

    So I think I'm going to consider these 2 dates as progress toward this goal (even though I didn't specifically arrange them) since they were so good, and at the end of the day, the reason I set this goal was because I thought it would be fun for us to do some new things we hadn't done before - and these were definitely new!

    {DONE AT END OF MARCH: 5 dates}

  • Going on a family holiday to France where I can spend quality time with TheBF, my parents, my sister, brother-in-law and niece - we'll be doing this in August

  • Researching and booking a mini-cruise with family - I've put my research into mini-cruise options on hold while TheBF and I are focussing on our house move. It doesn't feel like the right time to be arranging or booking any trips. I should be able to get back to this later in the year

  • Introducing a routine of regular meditation

* affiliate links, if you purchase through these links the cost to you will be the normal Amazon price but I will earn a small commission for directing you to the product

4: Use my unique personal skills and abilities to help others achieve happiness.

  • Offering tips, support and conversation online through my blog, social media accounts and getting involved in the FI and Personal Development communities - I've signed up to the emails or feeds of the FIRE blogs I've found so far that I like to read. I try to get some reading in every day and I enjoy participating in the conversations in the comments if I find I have something to say

  • Offering tips, support and help offline through any face-to-face opportunities should they arise, (meet-ups, coaching, training, speaking engagements) - In March I attended my first FIRE Escape meet, arranged by Huw at Financially Free by Forty. For anyone who hasn't been to one of these yet, if you're in any way interested in Financial Independence, Retiring Early or just talking about money, ways to increase income and save I would highly recommend it. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly, and it gave me an opportunity to find out how other people approach the same goal as me, we were able to share tips and experiences. There should be two further FIRE Escape weekends later this year and I'm hoping that they'll be on weekends that I'm free as I definitely plan to go along again

  • Supporting my chosen charities through a spread of donations totalling £350 this year - as at the end of March I've donated £95.52 to my chosen charities. I need to be saving £87.50 per quarter to achieve this goal, so I'm ahead of where I need to be, I think I'll easily end up donating more than £350 this year

So it's the end of quarter 1 already, 2016 seems to be flying by. I'm very happy with my goals progress to-date. I think my biggest achievement so far this year has actually been taking the plunge and setting this blog up! I'm looking forward to tracking and achieving more of my goals in the rest of the year and sharing my progress with you.

How has the first quarter of 2016 gone for you? Is it just me, or do you think that this year has gone really quickly so far? I wish you well in your endeavours for the rest of the year, and would love to hear from you if you feel like leaving a comment...


  1. Hi OR

    Great reading about your progress so far - well done, in particular with the house sales/purchase because this is one goal which can be pretty much out of your control and dependent on others for you to achieve. As an aside, my friend too has found her house to buy this month so fingers crossed for her too!

    Excellent progress on your savings/investments and although early days since you have started your blog, it is evident what happens when you set goals, there is a lot more focus and you can achieve a lot more!

    Also good luck with the weight loss challenge and the training routine - the hardest bit is to just get started; once you've started and it becomes part of your routine, it should get easier!

    1. Hey Weenie,

      Thanks for your kind comments, I wish your friend good luck too in her house buying endeavours. It's quite a stressful time waiting for house sales/purchases to go through, so I hope it is straightforward and goes swiftly for her.

      I couldn't agree with you more about the power of setting goals. I've always been pretty careful with my money, but it's not until I sat down and worked out a plan which I felt was realistic for me to get to FI that I felt inspired to really go for it! It helps keep the momentum going at the times when you're faced with tough decisions re spending or saving!

      Thanks for your good luck wishes for my weight loss - it's the one thing in my life I've found the hardest to control and have willpower over. I know that I can do it, because I've successfully lost weight before and kept it off for quite a long time, sadly I just let it slowly creep back on and now I have a big task to get rid of it so that I can enjoy maintaining a healthy weight again. This is one thing which I just need to take each day as it comes and keep persevering at no matter what! You're right about getting into a routine, this is definitely what I need, I think the healthier lifestyle will become second nature then.

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by.


  2. Congratulations on doing really well towards your goals! I'm really addicted to reading progress reports like this, I find them really encouraging!

    Keep up the great work!


    1. Hi M,

      Thanks so much for your lovely feedback - it means a lot to get encouragement like this from others. It's nice to know you enjoy reading these updates - gives me motivation to make sure not only I keep on with achieving the goals, but also documenting my progress on here!