2016 Goal Review – How did I do last year?

Did I earn the cheque in 2016?

Back in December 2014, I wrote a cheque to myself for £100,000 (see picture above). At the time of writing the cheque, I was earning less than £30,000 a year. The thought of earning this sum of money in 12 months was pretty unbelievable to me but I wanted to use it as an experiment to see if I could broaden my horizons and achieve something I considered unrealistic at that point in my life. 

I didn’t achieve that sum of money in 2015, but 7 months after writing it, I handed in my notice at work (after nearly 8 years) and started my own publishing business. I didn’t achieve the goal, but I extended my belief to what I was capable of. 

2016 turned out to be a similar year for me. I didn’t achieve most of what I set out to do at the start of the year, but when I consider where I am right now, I have to concede that I am somewhat satisfied. Let me explain….

….I failed the vast majority of what I intended to do, but for me Goal Setting isn’t just about achieving the goal. Setting goals involves some form of guess work. You can line certain activities up – eg. like adding 1kg a week to a particular lift, resulting in a 52kg increase over a year – but you can’t foresee an injury or a plateau. 

During this guess work, you can over or under commit to a target, but I don’t think it’s that important. Goals don’t have to be set in stone. If done right, they’re tweaked and changed throughout a year to become a more realistic challenge for you, or adjusted to suit your new priorities.

I decided to move home in July 2016. I had not foreseen this happening at the start of the year, and its impact was massive. I’ve never sold a house before, so Lou and I had to educate ourselves on the process and make our house look pretty. This involved a great deal of time, effort and money. The result…

…We’re now officially Financially Independent!

Despite my list of failed goals, I achieved something I’ve been working towards for 4 years. So I can’t complain. I now have the opportunity to work on my goals for 2017, without the worry of bringing in enough money to live on. I also learned a great deal about myself by these failures. 

You don’t have to achieve your goal to learn something!

I find setting goals easy and rather enjoyable. I get to dream about the improbable and make plans for enriching my life over the next 12 months. I get a buzz at the end of every year as I eagerly anticipate the clean slate of a new year, and look back on what I accomplished. 

Reviewing goals on the other hand is different animal altogether.

I would argue that it’s both harder and more rewarding to review goals than it is to set them. 

Setting Goals is one thing but how you work towards them and what you end up achieving is REALLY what it’s all about. 

I’m yet to find a more successful approach to improving any area of my life than tracking performance. Despite the difficulty, it’s just too useful to ignore!

In this post I’ll share my progress towards my 2016 goals. I’ll review what worked, what didn’t, summarise any learning outcomes, and hopefully set myself up for improved performance in 2017. 

So without further ado, here are my 2016 goals, with a summary of my performance. 

Priority Goals

1. I will easily earn at least £100,000 in income by 31 December 2016. (£8,333 per month) 
FAIL I earned £64,518.07 in 2016 (AVE: £5,376.51 pm). 

RESULT: I feel mixed about my performance here. On one hand, wow. I earned more than twice as much as I did in 2015. If you had told me in 2014 that I would be earning £65k in 2016, I wouldn’t believe you. 
On the other hand, I know that this goal was in my grasp this year, and I allowed it to drift away from me. First of all, when I hired a friend to help me run my business, I knew my income would take a hit, but I didn’t anticipate the level that it did. I decided to end my working relationship with my friend and get back on the business in July/August. To give you an idea of the impact, my income was on £37k at the start of September, so I’m pleased I managed to get it back on track in the proceeding 4 months. 
This goal is within my grasp for 2017, so I plan on keeping it in place for 2017.
NB: It doesn’t count in my eyes, but if I were to include the money I received from the house sale, I would have earned more than £100,000 in 2016. 

LEARNING: I’m capable of this goal. It’s not a pipe-dream, it’s an inevitable reality. In the next 3 years I will earn more than £100,000. I just know it! I will achieve this by working on fewer projects, and dedicating myself to each task.  

NEXT STEPS: Completing my online course is my priority, as it will give people access to my knowledge for a fraction of the price of coaching, whilst providing me with a new passive income on the side. My teaching style will be presented to more people, and I’m more likely to experience an influx of coaching requests. 
It will also help me coach people in a new area of making money – creating courses. I can share how I made my course and help other people make their own course. 
I’ll maintain my kindle business the best I can during this phase. If I can keep it in the ball park of £4,000 – £8,000 per month it’s going to give me a shot at the £100k

2. I will easily create and launch 3 x online courses that help people by 31 December 2016. 
FAIL – I didn’t release any online courses in 2016! 🙁

RESULT: This the most bitter pill for me to swallow looking back at my goal list. I set a couple of deadlines and failed them both. WHY?

LEARNING: I’ve taken a lot of learning from this failure. I’ve learned that I have an obsession with learning! When I starting working on a topic, I would spend time researching it in greater detail to ensure I was providing the highest quality I could. This often led me to doing further reading, taking courses, speaking to others, or in some cases, practicing what I’d learned before being comfortable in showing others my results. I repeated this cycle multiple times and got nowhere. My knowledge has never been better, but that doesn’t help any potential publishers!
An underlying theme for me in 2016 was – KEEP IT SIMPLE. I tend to naturally over-complicate everything. This year, I want to release just the one course. Take the pressure off. I also plan on releasing it at a cut price with it being incomplete. I can get some customer feedback, and allow people access to lifetime membership at a fraction of the cost = win/win. 
Procrastination, fear, obsession, perfectionism and self-doubt all played their part, but I determined to complete this goal, even if no-one buys it. I need to do it to prove to myself that I can. 

NEXT STEPS: This is my number 1 priority for 2017. I’ve also hired a coach who I’ll visit on a weekly basis to help me get out of my own head, and help me compete this task. 

3. I will easily help 5 x people quit their day jobs by 31 December 2016. (The people I help will decide whether my contribution was significant enough – request feedback in writing)
FAIL – No-one quit their job because of me (that they told me about anyway)

RESULT: This isn’t a great start is it! As far as I’m aware, no-one quit their day job directly off the back of my coaching. This is a difficult failure for me as I feel so strongly about achieving it. It also led to me doubting my ability as a coach. 

LEARNING: When my kindle earnings were at an all time low for my business (whilst working in a partnership) I started to doubt myself. Did I get lucky with Kindle? Am I really able to help others? Thankfully within 30 days I proved to myself that I did have something to offer. My kindle earnings shot right back to where they were at the start of the year, and the following month I had my best ever royalty payment. 
If I review the actions of helping others and not on the outcome, I have to say, I’m not surprised. I didn’t publish my online course, which could have helped potentially thousands of people do what I do. I didn’t market my coaching strongly to reach more clients – so what was I to expect?? Miracles??
I know that my system works because I’m doing it. If people just did what I did, why can’t they earn £1,000 – £10,000 a month?? 
I know that I can coach as it used to be a big part of my last job, and I was told by my team and my manager that I was very good at it. So what’s missing? My actions!

NEXT STEPS: Commit to releasing the course in an unfinished, and imperfect state – just to get it out there. Get more people using my method and seek feedback on how I can improve my teaching. If I take action and commit to learning, I cannot fail. People will succeed like I’ve done and quit their jobs. 
I won’t be using this as a goal next year. It’s out of my hands, and I’d prefer to focus on the course and let this goal take care of itself. 

4. I will easily purchase my first buy-to-let property by 31 December 2016. I will easily make my first investment into property by 31st December 2016. 
VOID – I changed my mind on this goal. 

RESULT: I was approached by a couple of people I trust and they talked my through the downside of their experience in Property Investing. There are plenty of upsides, but the big downside for me was time invested. I was then pointed towards Saving Stream* as a suitable alternative. After researching the company, speaking to others, and experimenting myself, I’ve now invested a chunk of money into funding property developers in this P2P site for a 12% ROI. So far, I’ve been very happy with this decision and I would happily recommend it to others (once they’ve filled their Stocks and Shares ISA)
*Affiliate Link

LEARNING: It’s OK to change your mind. I wanted to expand my income portfolio by getting into property. I still might at some stage, but for now, I prefer the passive nature and returns of Saving Stream. 

NEXT STEPS: Scrap goal for now. Continue to fund Saving Stream, and review alternative passive income sources. 

5. I will easily invest in over £1,500 worth of courses, books and education for myself. 
ACHIEVED – £1,525.45. 

RESULT: I only just surpassed this goal. Looking back, I think it was a little weird to set a spending goal like this but its purpose was to encourage me to invest money into my development, and I achieved that outcome. 

LEARNING: I’ve definitely learned a lot about myself, and I’ve recently taken this spending up a notch in the last couple of months by hiring a coach in Cambridge, and signing up to Audible. 

NEXT STEPS: I’ll continue to invest in my development, more than ever this year, but I won’t be tracking it. That will free my time up to focus on my priorities. 

Financial Goals

6. I will easily earn at least £10,000 in one month by 31 December 2016. 
FAIL – £9,265.38 best month

RESULT: Ah, so close! 93% of the way there, but still not enough. This is another goal I look back on and despite not hitting it, I still feel satisfied. 

LEARNING: Earning £9,265 in one month has helped break through the ceiling of what I thought was possible. If I’m going to be successful in earning £100,000 in 2017, I’ll need to earn close to this figure every month (£8,333). 
I know how to do this in my own publishing business, despite not having done it, by scaling what I’m doing. Hiring more writers and producing more high quality books. But, it doesn’t interest me as much as helping other people quit their jobs does. For me, it doesn’t really make a difference to earn £6,000 or £10,000 a month publishing books. But by developing a course, and perhaps taking a hit on my income – I’ll learn far more, and become far more. 
I’m more interested in the LONG GAME. Making a course and impacting thousands of people. 

NEXT STEPS: Release my online course. Upgrade my Blog and become more active on it to attract more people, who I can potentially help. 

7. My Investment portfolio (shares, bonds, & funds) will easily be worth over £50,000 by 31 December 2016. 
ACHIEVED – £81,266.38.  

RESULT: I comfortably achieved this goal back in July. My house move and Kindle earnings have moved this number on higher than I originally expected. I still have more surplus cash to put into this portfolio, and I plan on spreading it out further.  

LEARNING: Not too much here in honesty. Perhaps make it a little higher than I expect for 2017. 

NEXT STEPS: Keep on keeping on. 

8. I will easily receive over £3,000 in dividend income by 31 December 2016. 
FAILED – £2,267.02

RESULT: I’m not too disappointed by this result. It’s not what I wanted, but I earned far more than I expected by trading stocks. My biggest dividend month was £432.32 in July, which was a nice milestone for me. I wonder what it’ll be this year…. 
My trading profit for 2016 was at an all time high of £4,153. My investing strategy now involves buying and selling a share every 4-8 weeks. I’ve been able to buy multiple additional stocks off the back of my trading profits, which has helped to grow my portfolio nicely. 

LEARNING: I’ve learned to look at the daily stock prices less, and cash in on big capital gains (over 40%). I don’t always cash in on profits, it just depends on the individual stock. But I have bought, sold, and repurchased the same stock this year, whilst cashing in on trading profits and dividends. 

NEXT STEPS: I plan on increasing both my dividend income and trading profit in 2017. More of the same please!

Business Goals

9. I will easily create a business website that offers information, courses and coaching on Kindle Publishing by 31 December 2016. 
FAILED – I’ve bought a website and set up the basic pages, but it isn’t complete. 

RESULT: I have a URL – The Ebook Investor but it’s not complete right now. My course was going to be running off the back of it, and until that’s completed I don’t plan on pushing it just yet. 

LEARNING: This is an important goal for me. I’ve done it a disservice by focussing on other tasks, and delaying the course launch. I will focus on fewer tasks to ensure this site is up and running at the end of 2017. 

NEXT STEPS: Complete the course, and basic set up for this site. Make it a priority. 

10. I will easily hire at least one person to help me run my Kindle Publishing business by 31 December 2016. 
ACHIEVED – Well, Yes and no 

RESULT: I hired a friend to run the publishing business, but I ended the partnership. 

LEARNING: I learned a lot about myself and my business from going through this process. Our friendship has survived thankfully, which was part of the reason behind my decision. My friend was shocked by the decision, but I had to take action and I went with my intuition. I had spent a lot of time and energy into making this work, but unfortunately I hadn’t put enough energy into creating the right systems for my friend to smoothly take over the running of the business. I take FULL responsibility for it not working out! 
It’s one thing to show someone how to create a book business from scratch, but it’s an entirely different beast showing someone how to run a fully operational publishing business when you don’t understand the industry. 

NEXT STEPS: I’ve learned that this is a one man job at my current level and I’m more comfortable with keeping an eye on it myself whilst I expand in different areas. 

Physical Goals

11. I will easily take photos of my body at the end of every month in 2016 to track the progress of my physique. 
FAILED – 4 out of 12 months

RESULT: Not great. A big fail really. The idea behind this goal was to keep a visual note of my physique. The scales don’t allow for muscle gain. So, I thought by tracking my weight, waist measurement, and by taking photos, I’d cover the basics of my bodies development over time…… then I got injured. 
The injury has been far worse than I had originally intended. It’s an insignificant intercostal muscle strain. The problem is in it’s insignificance. I have re-tweaked it dozens of times by doing innocuous actions like picking something off the floor or twisting. 
The injury led to a lack of training, and a lack of care for my physique. I thought “what’s the point of taking a photo of my physique when I can’t train“. After a few months, I gave up on it. 

LEARNINGI started the year well, but I got out of the habit of it. I didn’t set myself up to succeed as well as I could have and after several months, the goal lost it’s meaning. 
I started by taking multiple angles of my body with a DSLR camera. I had it set on a timer and then ran into position. Although this might not sound like a big deal, I know looking back that I set myself too many rules in order to complete the basic task. I was taking pictures in my garage to maintain consistency. So, I had to remember to take my camera outside after a workout to take the photo. I regularly forgot to do this, and after a couple of months – especially when I was unable to train due to my injury – I lost all interest in the goal. 

NEXT STEPS: I’ve reduced the ‘rules’ for this goal. I now take photo’s on my phone, in my bathroom, by taking my top off. It takes seconds to do, it might not be as detailed, but by simplifying the goal I’m able to keep it more consistent which I believe will yield better results. 

12. I will easily maintain a waist measurement below 84cm each month by 31 December 2016. 
FAILED – I finished the year with my biggest waist of the year – 90cm!

RESULT: My waist measurement fluctuated between 83-90cm throughout the year. I was able to keep my waist measurement between 84-86cm for the vast majority of the year, which wasn’t low enough for my goal. My year was hindered by a rib injury, however I didn’t take the necessary adjustments to my diet to ensure my body fat around my waist didn’t increase. 
After the house move in November and the temptation around Christmas, I let go of measuring and was shocked to see my waist balloon to 90cm at the end of the year. 
I’m now back to recording my macros, which SURPRISE, SURPRISE is already bringing my waist back down to normal levels. 

LEARNING: I lost the habit of tracking my waist on a monthly basis. When I don’t measure something, I don’t manage it, and it usually gets worse! 

NEXT STEPS: Measuring takes minutes, so I just need to do it no matter what. I don’t need to make it much easier, but I think by tracking it once a week, I’ll keep an eye on when it starts to rise or get enthused by seeing it come down to my target level. 

13. I will easily Bench Press 120kg, Shoulder Press 85kg, and perform a pull up with 50kg attached by 31 December 2016.
FAILED – On all counts

RESULT: My injury prevented me from training consistently all year. I wasn’t going to be able to increase my numbers without consistent training. After a couple of months of not training to my usual capacity, I knew this goal was in jeopardy. I’ve ended the year weaker than how I started it. 

LEARNING: I learned to take my injury more seriously, and focus on rehab. Ignore manly temptations to pick things up, and ask for Lou on certain tasks rather than trying to do heavy lifting myself. 

NEXT STEPS: Take a step back from this goal. My sole focus is getting my rib back to irritation/pain free, and start training lightly. That is all. 

14. I will easily complete 2 x physical events by 31 December 2016.

RESULT: My rib prevented me from putting together a consistent training plan, so this goal suffered as well as a result. 

LEARNING: Same as above. 

NEXT STEP: Same as above. 

Mind Goals

15. I will easily complete a 30, 50 and 100 day consecutive morning ritual challenges by 31 December 2016. 
Yes and No – Completed 83 in a row

RESULT: I completed 83 in a row, and never got back to it on that level. 

LEARNING: The ‘everyday’ element was the hardest part. Especially when I was stopping away from home, or doing something early the next day. I think subconsciously when I forgot to do the morning routine on day 84, I lost the will to start over. This year, I plan on completing a set number instead, but this time I’ll allow for a more manageable target like half the year (3 x week). This will enable me to make a headstart on the target, and catch up if needed. 

NEXT STEPS: I’m going to persevere with a morning routine goal, as it benefits me in multiple ways. I’ll lower the target to entice me more and we’ll see how it goes.  

16. I will easily read or listen to 16 books by 31 December 2016. 
FAILED – 11 books in total

RESULT: I read 11 books in 2016 – Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth, The ONE Thing, Why Fonts Matter, C90, Poor Charlie’s Almanack, How To Be A Productivity Ninja (re-read), Becoming a Supple Leopard, Sam Walton Made in America, Running Lean, What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School and The Millionaire Fastlane. I’ve also started but not finished Thinking, Fast & Slow. 
This is another example of a goal I failed but benefitted from nevertheless. 

LEARNING: When my morning routine’s fell off, so did my reading. By making my morning routines easier, I’ll read more over time. I started an Audible membership in December, and I’m already hooked. I’m whizzing through books, and exposing myself to information in a new format. 
Among my chosen books – Poor Charlie’s Almanack, Becoming a Supple Leopard and Thinking, Fast & Slow were a lot of pages!! The number of books is not as important as the consistency to the commitment of reading itself. 

NEXT STEP: Continue with the same goal for 2017. I believe I can achieve this one. 

17. I will easily complete 6 x comfort zone challenges by 31 December 2016. (The thought of completing each one should make me feel anxious)

RESULT: I did 2 significant ones that I can think of. Blood doning twice.
During my second blood donation, I opted to test myself for Platelet donations – As I had clearly conquered the blood donation world after just the single session. The nurse thought I was an idiot, but that usually encourages me more than anything. After the donation I passed out, and was brought back around by 4 nurses fanning me with clipboards. Oh dear! The head nurse told me I didn’t qualify for Platelet Donations due to my reaction and I was also not to donate any more bloody for at least 2 years! Nice one Huw!

LEARNING: Don’t run before you can walk!

NEXT STEPS Make this goal easier by reducing the number to 2 to improve the chance of success. 

18. I will easily attend at least 1 x Personal Development conference by 31 December 2016. 

RESULT: I didn’t attend a seminar. This goal also lost it’s meaning through the year. I liked the idea of doing it, but the reality of it was different. First of all, I couldn’t decide on which seminar to attend. Then there was the cost. 
I ended up using my Personal Development money to enhance my learning in 2 x publishing courses, coaching, and a mindfulness course. When I look back, I’m not unhappy about that decision. 

LEARNING: REALLY consider what goals I want to do and why. If I’m a little unsure about doing it, don’t commit to it. Save my commitment and energy for the things I feel strongly about. 

NEXT STEPS: Ditch this goal for now. I have more than enough to occupy my mind at the moment. 

Relationship Goals

19. I will happily have at least one ‘date night’ a month for the whole of 2016. (12 ‘date’ nights) 

RESULT: We started the year well, but fizzled out in August when the house move was at the forefront of our minds. Some of you might be thinking – “Bad one to fail Huwy!” – but I promise you, this one means more to me than it does to Lou. If it were her decision I think we might have gone out once or twice tops. 
We’ve already been out for our first date night in Cambridge and we intend on keeping that going for another 12 months as we learn about the area. Any recommendations?

LEARNING: Moving house takes your focus away from spending money on eating out and dressing up. try to go out twice in a couple of months to get a lead on the goal. We always enjoy it when we’re out. Despite us both preferring to have a quiet night in!

NEXT STEPS: Keep the same goal, and beat 7!

20. I will happily have at least one ‘guy only night’ a month for the whole of 2016. (12 ‘Guy Only’ nights) 

RESULT: OK, this is awkward!
It isn’t as bad as it seems. You see, now that I work from home, I don’t have much time for a social life during the day. This goal helped to push me to get out and spend time with the lads. I had plenty of Lou time every week, as I lived with her, so this goal needed more effort. 
It was an important goal for me, as I like to be social, and the results clearly showed that. I got into the habit of watching a UFC fight night every month, as well spending time with other mates on the one off’s. 
Now that I live in Cambridge, I’m going to have to tweak this one as I have no friends to hang out with. But I’ve got some ideas!

LEARNING: These evenings are important to me. I must make time to set these up again in Cambridge. 

NEXT STEPS: First I need to spend time with people who like the same things I do. Naturally I will find people I share things in common with, and then I can start suggesting Man Nights. 
Continue long distance relationships with friends from Herefordshire. 

Contribution Goals

21. I will happily contribute at least £500 towards charity for by 31 December 2016. (£42 per month)

RESULT: I comfortably achieved this goal. I set aside money every month and it added up to a decent amount at the end of the year. 

LEARNING: I feel strongly about contributing. I want to improve the amount I contribute, which I’m sure will happen naturally as my income increases. 
I would like to work towards a bigger goal in this area, and have some sort of target to aim for. 

NEXT STEPS: I’ve made contact with a UK charity and they’re happy for me to endorse their charity on my site. The charity is ‘Schools For Africa’. I plan on redeveloping a school in Cameroon, which cost’s £20,000. I plan on giving 10% of my course’s income towards this charity (once completed), and I’ll contribute my own money as I have been towards achieving this single goal. 
It’s likely to take me more than a year to achieve, but I’m not concerned about the timeframe. My goal will be to set up the fund and highlight the charity on my Blog. 

22. I will easily reach out to help at least one person every month, free of charge and without reason (12 in the year) by 31 December 2016. 

RESULT: I achieved this goal half way through the year, and after that I stopped counting. 

LEARNING: This isn’t a goal that I really need to measure moving forward. It comes naturally to me, and although I love helping, I don’t think I need to set time aside to achieve a certain number. If I focus on my course, my charity, and continuing to be open and helpful to people via my Blog/Youtube I will continue to develop in this area. 

NEXT STEPS: Scrap goal, and keep on helping people naturally.  Focus on creating the course to help more people and fund the school. 

Social Media Goals

23. I will easily create a New Blogging platform which will focus on my experience of Personal Development by 31 December 2016. 

RESULT: I’ve created the URL (to be announced soon), but I’m still working on it. It’s basically going to be an upgrade to FFB40. 

LESSON: My blogging has declined over the last 12 months, and I’ve really missed connecting to people. The new and improved platform should help me commit more time and effort to creating content. 
Don’t over think it, and make imperfect action!

NEXT STEPS: Complete the basic set up of the Blog and start creating content for it. 

24. I will easily upload 100 videos to my Youtube channel by 31 December 2016. 

RESULT: Miles off in the end. I’m like a broken record, but it started well, but drifted off. When I got into the habit of filming, it was a breeze. When I got out of the habit, I didn’t want to start again. 
The house move also impacted this one. My goals had shifted so much and I knew a lot of them were not going to be achieved. I think this lead to me not blogging or filming. I didn’t want to do it just for the sake of it. 
When I got down to Cambridge, I was without broadband until yesterday – Hurray! – which put another spanner in the works for creating content. 

LESSON: When I get behind on a goal, I make excuses that it’s no longer important to me. Whether that’s true or not. I want to make more of my Youtube channel, as I’ve barely scratched the surface in this media. This is an area I hope to improve upon this year. 
To save time uploading videos, I’ll upload them overnight. I’ll also try to create more imperfect videos rather than faff around with editing. 
One excuse I used was filming on my laptop. Once I had finished a video, it would take ages for my laptop to save the video on my hard drive, this prevented me from doing other things. I used this as an excuse NOT to film, as I had stuff to do. I’ll overcome this issue by buying a separate camera or use my new phone instead. 
I’ll also reduce the number of videos in half and commit to one a week, which is much more achievable. I’m hoping that by getting ahead early, and havin a more reasonable goal, I can be more consistent, which is crucial to success. 

NEXT STEPS: Buy a video camera to shoot videos and prevent immediate loading time. I’ll upload the video’s overnight and edit less. 

25. I will easily organise 3 FIRE Escape Gatherings for FI/PF Bloggers and readers by 31 December 2016. 1 x done. 1 on the way. 


RESULT: I set up a weekend in March, which was a great success. I was planning on running on in the summer and autumn but guess what…… the house move took my full attention. 

LESSON: These are very valuable. The most recent one was a lot easier to set up when I just selected a date, location and ran with it. I plan on taking the same approach again.

NEXT STEPS: Set up the next FIRE Escape in March

Achieved 7 out of 25 = 28%

One word can summarise that result. Shocking!

I’m slightly embarrassed by my overall performance to my goals. 28% is very poor, and  have a lot to take away from that outcome. In 2017, I plan to change things up, which I’ll share with you very soon on my New Blog. 

My 4 Key Learning Points from 2016:

  • Set fewer goals – It’s great that I want to improve in so many areas, but it’s crap to not achieve most of them. Focus on fewer tasks so I can focus on achieving the big hitting goals! Avoid spinning too many plates. 
  • Make the goals easier – This concept was my default a couple of years back. I experimented with expanding my goals to almost unbelievable levels to see what I could do. I think there’s something to be said for both strategies, but I’d like to revert back to ‘guaranteeing success’ for 2017. 
  • Consistency is everything – If you can do even a half-arsed job consistently you’ll improve over time. I believe you’ll do better being consistently below average than you will by being inconsistently brilliant. I experienced multiple failures this year because I lacked in this area. I hope by committing to less, and making it easier, I’ll become more consistent.  
  • Take Imperfect Action – In line with the point above, by moving forward, even if it’s poor, you’re till moving forward. I recently spoke to a friend who was interested in investing. I told them that by investing in a fund like Vanguard Lifestrategy 80% Equity, they already have a massive leap on most people. Don’t worry about the yield, past performance, future contributions, Brexit….. just start. I must take my own advice when it comes to creating a course and new Blog. 
If I stay true to this 4 learning points in 2017, I have no doubt that I’ll see more success this year.

If you read this whole post – Thank you – You are probably in the minority! 🙂 

The act of writing this out has been huge. The fact that you read it, and possibly got some value or entertainment from it is simply a bonus for me. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think. I’d at least like to personally thank you for taking the time to read my rant. 

If you’re thinking of setting goals for yourself this year, I encourage you first to review your 2016 performance. There is far more value to be had by looking hard at your past performance, than it is to imagine your future. 

So how did 2016 work out for you?


  • Organised Redhead

    Reply Reply 6th January 2017

    Hi Huw!

    Great to see your goals review…and yes I did read the whole of it. I think it's a really valuable exercise to look back like you have at how well you did against your goals, as there are key learnings to be gleaned when setting future goals. When I set my goals for this year I first took the time to read back through all my weekly observations (I don't know if you remember many posts ago you shared the spreadsheet you use for goal tracking and I have been using a close adaption of this ever since!) As part of my review I created an A4 page of the learnings which cropped up the most throughout 2016 and this list is now stuck up on my study wall so I remember them this year.

    A few thoughts on your goals review:
    Goal number 3 – having received coaching from you I have to say it was invaluable to my fledgling publishing business. If I had not have received your coaching I may have even given up by now because I didn't actually know how to make money from it! Although I have not been able to quit my job *yet*, 2016 was the year where I came to the conclusion that I *could* quit my job, because I finally had the tools to do so. I even formulated a 2 year plan to get me to that "quit day" which I'm now about 4 months into. I just don't have enough time to ramp things up quickly enough to do it in a year, but I'll definitely get there, and I'll let you know when I do because you should definitely take credit for getting me to a place where I believed that it would be possible for me.

    Goal 15 – I started doing a morning routine in 2016, but struggled to complete all parts of it consistently every day. In the end I created a little spreadsheet which calculates the percentage complete each day, I've worked out that an average of about 60% complete for a week is a good target for me. If you'd like me to send you the spreadsheet template just let me know.

    Goal 21 – I think the idea of setting up a specific charity target is brilliant. I currently donate to certain charities consistently each year, but I love the idea of focussed donating/fundraising for a specific target. You've given me food for thought here!

    Goals 23&24 – I'm happy to hear we have more blog posts and videos from you to look forward to in 2017, I suspect I speak for many when I say we've missed hearing your updates.

    I'm currently in the process of considering my blogging future too. I haven't posted on Organised Redhead since October and I think this is due to a combination of trying to do too many things at once and also my perfectionist nature which means each blog post takes me many hours before I'm happy to publish it. I have been focussing on income generating activities instead of blogging essentially. I would like to pick it up again, I think I need to just take the plunge and do another post!

    I'll ping you my goals offline via email…if I do that then I know I can be held accountable by at least one person come the end of 2017!


  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 6th January 2017

    Hi OR,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write that comment! I'm just impressed you read the whole thing. 🙂

    It's great to hear you do the same weekly sessions as I do, with your own twist. They're immensely valuable. I also write my learning outcomes, but I've not thought about printing them out and putting them on my desk. I WILL absolutely do that as I love that idea. This is why I love blogging!

    Thank you so much for your kind words with regards to my coaching. I must pay you for that! I said it to you during the session and I'll say it publicly now – You have everything it takes to quit your job and fund your own lifestyle. Your weekly observations are examples of how disciplined you are to Self Development. I'm going to bank that 'Thank You Huw' in now and I look forward to cashing it in soon! 🙂

    Goal 15: It sounds like I have a similar, but slightly different process to recording morning routines. I've essentially set up a spreadsheet with my target number at the top = 183. I then write down the numbers of mornings I do morning rituals each week and count that total down. This goal won't be part of my main list. It's more like a nice to have despite tracking it.

    Goal 21: You're welcome. I wanted to make more of a difference this year. I think having a lofty goal like this will bring more out of me. I'm harnessing my drive for charitable benefit.

    Goals 23 & 24: I'm glad to hear that people like them. It seems like a chore prior to doing them, but I feel a nice sense of satisfaction when they go live. Just like this 2016 Goal Review.

    I can totally relate to the blogging stress of perfectionism. OK, my posts aren't perfect, but it takes me hours to write a simple post.

    Blogging isn't for everyone. What's the purpose of you blogging? Why bother? What's the REAL meaning behind you blogging? If you answer those questions honestly it might help sway you either way.

    Yes please send the goals through, I'd love to take a look if you're happy to share them. I'm happy to send you an email asking for an update too 😉

    Speak soon

  • EarlyRetirementGuy

    Reply Reply 6th January 2017

    3. I will easily help 5 x people quit their day jobs by 31 December 2016

    I made more from side-incomes in 2016 than I did from my post-tax salary.. so while I didn't quit, I certainly could have done! I'd consider that as counting towards 1 of your 5 as a large part of scaling up my various side incomes has been down to your coaching and support.

    I think the length of your post shows the biggest problem: Too many goal in too many different areas. For 2017 I'd simplify and focus.

    Great year though, been a pleasure following you along on the journey and seeing you reach the FI stage. Please do keep blogging!

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 6th January 2017

    Thank you so much Guy. I can't help but feel you're being too generous, but I appreciate it.

    I couldn't agree with you more. I need to focus on as few tasks as possible this year. The Blog and course should be more than enough.

    Yes, finishing the year FI isn't a bad consolation is it. Thanks again for the kind words! Speak to you next week.


  • Emma PwF

    Reply Reply 7th January 2017

    Hey Huw. Just to say I'm hugely impressed with what you HAVE done this year. Did you consider adding up how much time it would have taken you to actually do all the things in your goals plus the things you needed to do (like house preparation that you hadn't planned for. It may be useful to think about how much of your time you did spend achieving some of your goals. I'll sometimes do this when I'm thinking about a monthly resolution/target. I'll first think about the total time to do something (so 60 minutes exercise takes 90 minutes including changing and showering, more if there is travelling). If I do this every other day that is on average 45 minutes per day. If I have a total average of 4 hours of extra stuff I want to fit in, and I can't identify an extra 4 hours that I had available yesterday, something needs to give.

    I have one goal for 2017, it has a number of parts, none of which are essential but each of which can contribute to the bigger aim. I'm interested in whether this is going to increase my drive and focus this year.

    All the best for 2017, I hope you have a great year.

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th January 2017

    Hey Emma!

    Great tip on time management. Thank you for sharing it. It'll come to no surprise to you that I didn't use a method like you described, nor have I ever before! 🙂

    I'm never surprised when I encounter Hofstadter's law in my life. Whenever I plan on doing a task, it always takes longer than I expected, and that's even when I plan on taking extra time for this very law. I struggle with setting time on creative projects/tasks. When it comes to working out or other logical tasks, I tend to work to schedule.

    Food for thought in any case. Thank you for sharing.

    Best of luck with your goal this year. I do love an experiment!


  • theFIREstarter.co.uk

    Reply Reply 9th January 2017

    Hi Huw, Happy new year!

    Always enjoying your goal setting/review posts, a long but enjoyable read!

    My random thoughts:

    £64K!!! This is awesome – you can no way call this a fail 🙂

    The people quitting jobs thing was a bit silly, as you say you have no control over whether people do that so it can't really be a goal for yourself.

    I also started but haven't finished reading Thinking, Fast and Slow yet. A great book so far! It's so densely packed with info I think it needs to be read "Slow" to give you time to "Think" about it (not sure if that was a pun or not, apologies either way)

    I hope your rib injury gets better soon! Again on point in worrying about any of those physical goals, you aren't going to make much progress on anything if you are injured.

    Kudos on the blood donations. I don't even know what Platelet testing is but it sounds horrendous!
    I very nearly passed out after a "normal" donation this year but just about held on so I think they're OK to carry on letting me donate. I ran 10 miles the day before and forgot to hydrate throughout the day – lesson learnt there!

    Date nights – We failed massively on this one, reckon we had about 4 in total! Having a kid in tow is a pretty reasonable excuse I think though haha. It is hard to make time for each other in many cases though which is quite sad when you think about it 🙁

    Charity goal – That is blood amazing mate. I will happily contribute once you have the details up. Building a school in Cameroon what a great thing to try to achieve and I'm sure you can complete this one in time!

    I think your learning points and key 4 takeaways are spot on. I've done the whole too many goals thing before and you are much better off listing out some really key important ones and then letting the rest of it take care of itself. It's not like you lack motivation to do things just because you didn't write it down as a goal on your blog is it and I am kind of the same. Beating yourself up at the end of the year for only hitting 28% of 25 goals seems harsh especially when a lot of them you made very good progress but didn't quite hit the arbitrary point you decided would be a "pass".

    For theFIREstarter… I've decided to call 2017 "the big chill".

    I won't be setting many goals at all.

    I'm doing the London Marathon again so that is going to take up the next 4 months – I guess that's a goal but it is just something I'm going to do anyway so it's not like I need to write it down.

    Then I'm looking forward to a summer of being off work for 8 weeks and getting some down time with the family.
    Of course I will no doubt pick things up along the way, keep the blog ticking plus my matched betting ticking over but I don't think I'll bother setting any targets for any of it. I'm happy with how things are going along and my level of industriousness without creating a huge list of things on top of it to tick off, which I think will just make me depressed more than happy so I'm going with the flow this year 🙂

    All the best for 2017, I bet it will be a good one for both of us as 2016 has been by the sounds of it 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Reply Reply 9th January 2017

    Hi Huw

    Even though you didn't meet your (very ambitious) goals you have still achieved a helluva lot!

    As well as financial success it seems that you have really learned a lot along the way. I think Charlie Munger said that knowledge compounds just like money, so by building your knowledge day by day im sure you will deliver great results in your endeavours. I for one will be buying your kindle course when you release it.

    My personal goals for this year are to start matched betting, aiming to earn at least £500/month and then use the proceeds to start a kindle publishing side business.

    I'm currently working full time as a chartered civil engineer but would love to follow your lead to become FI.

    Cheers and keep up the good work,


  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 9th January 2017

    Hi TFS!

    Happy New Year to the 3 of you!

    Thanks (as always) for pulling no punches in the feedback. I love to hear what people truly think. The post took me almost 3 hours to write. I poured a lot of effort into capturing how I truly felt, so it's good to get some feedback on it – good or bad.

    Overall, 2016 was a cracking year. My first full year employed by myself. I made progress, learned a lot, and achieved a fair amount too. I was disappointed not to meet so many goals, but it's all learning.

    I think I agree with everything you've said above. The past 2 years I've purposely tried to push the boat out and think big. For 2016, it didn't work. I'm interested to see if my conservative (less ambitious) approach brings more out of me.

    I had my first coaching session today, which was superb. I'm confident I can make some big strides this year, especially now we've moved and have settled in.

    I understand your viewpoint on 2017 goals for yourself. Goals aren't for everyone. Ultimately, if you're happy with your current lifestyle and feel fulfilled, why would you want to change that?! I find your approach honest and refreshing.

    I love my life, but I have a desire to do more. I use goals to help me get to the places I want to get to. Napoleon Hill summarised it well with "A goal is a dreams with a deadline". But, enough about words and writing down what I want to do, I'd prefer to back it up with more action and be judged on that.

    All the best to you in 2017 to mate.

    Thanks again

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 9th January 2017

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate that!

    Charlie (and yourself) are spot on. We're our own best investment, and if we can continue to learn and develop ourselves, we're far more likely to be successful in our chosen fields.

    1 x sale. Yippee! Thank you Ben! 🙂 I just had my first coaching session of the year and the online course featured quite heavily.

    £500pm is an excellent goal for MB. Achievable yet significant. MB is the easiest way to earn money. I'm just not as much of a fan of the 100% active working approach, which is why I love Kindle. Actually, there's a lot to be said for doing a bit of both, and I'm sure you'll do well out of it this year.

    I only started making significant steps in my finances 3 years ago. With the right approach, most people 'could' make it to FI in 5-10 years. I wish you the best of luck with your journey. Please keep me posted with your progress!!

    Best wishes for 2017

  • jiminyork

    Reply Reply 9th January 2017

    Hi Huw
    A bracingly honest post that made me chuckle a bit (and slightly groan) at some of your trials and tribulations. I did read the whole post – it took a few returns to it! – and I sympathised and empathised a lot with your observations and dilemmas in trying to post-rationalise why you did or didn't achieve on the goals. Hats off to you for even trying to tackle and measure across such a wide spectrum and you've clearly learned something out against each of them.
    I've fallen a bit out of goal setting myself and think I'm achieving less because of it. Increasingly I feel I could do more on expanding my social circle while keeping in touch with family and friends – to me, that should be the important stuff, but it's so easy put them off or take them for granted.
    Anyway, great post, good to see how you're doing and all the best to Lou and yourself for the New Year!

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 10th January 2017

    Hey Jim,

    Ha ha. Glad I was able to entertain you, and thanks for leaving for a comment.

    Yeah, a topsy-turvy year overall, but it wouldn't be fun any other way.

    I love setting goals and my post suggested, I can get carried away at times. With that said, I feel I need to set goals to keep me motivated. I think that if I didn't my returns of happiness, satisfaction and success wouldn't be as great.

    I can relate to your social experience. It's just so easy not to pick up the phone or drop an email, and yet when you do, you wonder what took you so long as you get so much from it.

    We're both doing great thanks, and I hope all is well up north with you two.

    Happy New Year!


  • theFIREstarter.co.uk

    Reply Reply 10th January 2017

    Hope the feedback didn't sound "bad" – that wasn't intended!
    Overall I guess my point was don't be so hard on yourself – you've smashed it by any objective measure (you achieved FI for a start!) – but as you say you are just being honest which is all you can be.

    I have found goal setting very useful in the past and will still set some this year, it is the best way to really get you going on things and developing as a person, no doubt about it. But I just feel like I need a little bit of rest this year haha 🙂

    Cheers again mate and hopefully see you both soon.

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 10th January 2017

    I didn't see it as bad at all, just honest, and I like that! I took zero offense from it and enjoyed hearing your thoughts.

    Best of luck once again on your year-off, and speak soon!


  • Nick Shaw

    Reply Reply 16th January 2017

    Hey Huw,

    a captivating post as always, I fondly remember our skype call a long time ago regarding goals etc! I recently did a review of my year, though I hadn't set very clear goals for myself, it was mostly a reflection on journal entries and accomplishments I wrote down over the year. It felt like it took FOREVER so I can sympathise with the effort it must have taken you to transcribe the above, nevermind think on it in the first place!

    Thank you once again for your raw honesty, I find people take ZERO responsibility these days if it's a possibility but you go in the opposite direction and fall on the sword at the hint of involvement. It's refreshing, an inspiration and a reminder to always hold myself accountable.

    I'll echo some previous commentators by saying congratulations on your year. I don't know anyone else who could achieve less than a third of their goals yet clearly do so well! It's a signal of how high you set the bar and how much work you put in. You already know your goals are directional, I think there's pride to be taken in realising a goal doesn't suit anymore and changing to a direction more in line with your priorities at that time. It takes guts to do that, so kudos.

    About to get stuck into your 2017 post and also hopefully start my 2017 goals process. I imagine I'll follow a similar approach to you and cut down to some clear goals. We should definitely catch up on the goals front some time!

    Happy New Year!


  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 17th January 2017

    Happy New Year Nick!

    Thank you for the kind words. Reviewing a year of actions, wins and losses is an arduous task, but well worth it IMO.

    I appreciate the feedback on taking responsibility. For all my many flaws, this is an area where I take some pride. I think it's important to be accountable, despite the discomfort. When you take responsibility, you take control back.

    It can feel uncomfortable to declare on Youtube or this blog that I'm planning on doing something, and then not. But, what's more important, and interesting, to me is why… If I change my mind due to fear, lazinness, procrastination etc I'm not pleased, but if's because that goal has lost its meaning or if it's taking me away from another goal, it makes sense. It still results in an uncomfortable declaration, but I can at least reassure myself that I did the right thing.

    Best of luck with your goals for 2017! And thank you once again for the kind words!


  • weenie

    Reply Reply 20th January 2017

    Hi Huw

    Belated happy new year but what a year 2016 was for you!

    You set yourself many extremely challenging and ambitious goals – even He-Man wouldn't have achieved them all! 😉 Well done on the ones you did achieve and great effort in attempting the rest – the house move itself, to a brand new location would have flummoxed most people and given them an excuse not to go for any goals whatsoever so I think you've done a tremendous job to even focus on anything else!

    And yes, I did read the whole post – really appreciate the detail you've gone into regarding your goals and what you have learned from attempting/achieving them.

    I look forward to reading more in 2017 and checking out your vlogs.

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 20th January 2017

    Hey Weenie,

    Happy New Year to you too! I hope you enjoyed your extended family holiday.

    Thank you for the kind comments. I love the he-man addition!

    Yes, I'm really pleased with how the year turned out, despite it not going the way I originally planned. But that's ok! So long as I'm happy and fulfilled that's the most important thing.

    It still made for a tough video to record (although one of great value), and I plan on hitting all of my 2017 goals this year. Wish me luck!

    I look forward to seeing how Weenie's World turns out this year too. 2017 is going to be a life changing year for you, no doubt. I see good things happening for sure! 🙂

    All the best!

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