Monthly Goal Update: March 2017

I’ve committed to tracking the progress of my goals on a monthly basis. These posts have been inconsistent in previous years, so I plan on recording 12 of these for 2017. 

I record these videos to keep myself accountable and show others how I’ve gone from A to B. I hope in time, I can help to inspire people to become accountable for their goals too.

Dr. Gail Matthews conducted a study that found you’re 39.5% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. She also found that if you send progress reports to others – friends, mentors, coaches, accountability partners etc. you were 76.7% more likely to achieve those goals. 

Writing them down significantly weighs the odds of success in your favour, but providing regular updates almost doubles the chances of success. 

I have 9 Goals for 2017. They’re spread across different areas of my life. Each month I record an update video charting my progress. 

1. I will easily create and launch an online course by 31st December 2017.

This is my priority goal for the year. If I fail all others and achieve this, I’ll be delighted!

I’ve reduced the time I’m spending on everything else in my life, and putting a lot of effort into getting this course done. It’s currently my full time job. 

I’ve finished the slides for all of the lessons in Module 1. I’m now working through the recording, which has been an eye opener for me. Despite the initial challenges, I’ve now found my feet and I’ve nearly finished. Once I’ve recorded all the lessons, I’ll move to the video editing, lesson pages on the website, membership set up, and then test it. 

Everything’s taken longer than I anticipated, so I’m not sure how long it’ll be until I get to Module 2, but it feels close. Once I’ve completed Module 2, I’ll release the course to my Founding members. I can’t tell you excited I am by this! I’m hoping that I won’t be too far away to the Module 1 and 2 release by the next update. 

2. I will easily set up a charitable fund, promote it on my Blog, and donate 10% of my course profits to ‘Building Schools For Africa’ by 31st December 2017.

I’ve started the fund. Although my course isn’t ready yet, I’m putting money into the fund each month. I’ve dedicated a page to it on this Blog, and we’re on our way to the £20,000 total. Here’s the progress so far this year:

Jan = £1,069 (5.3%)
Feb = £1,304 (6.5%)

Mar = £1,438 (7.2%)

If I carry on at this pace, it’s going to take years to get to the total, but the time isn’t important. If it takes 2 years or 6 years it doesn’t matter so long as I get there. The course release will clearly help me with this, which give me another incentive to put more effort into its release. 

3. My Investment portfolio will easily pay me £6,000 (£500 per month) in income in 2017.

I want to earn enough passive income from investments (that require no work), that cover my living expenses. Now that we’re mortgage free, Lou and I need approx £400 per month to cover all of our basic living expenses (Insurance, Tax, Broadband, Electric etc.). This income does not include money I make from Kindle. It’s solely from dividends, P2P and Investment income. 

I would like to earn over £500 per month by the end of the year to more than cover the basic living expenses. 

This income does not include money I make from Kindle. 

Jan = £350.26
Feb = £517.28
Mar = £390.55 

(TOTAL: £1,258.09 / AVE: £419.36)

I’m slightly behind my 2017 goal, but ahead of our basic living expenses. April is likely to be similar to March, but the amount should go up by a good chunk in May. 

I don’t use any of this income currently. It goes right back into buying more assets, and I continue to put more money into these investments each month to encourage further growth. 

In 2016, my average expenses were £1,250 a month. I purposely didn’t try to hold back on my spending. I enjoyed the money I’d earned. I would like to bring my passive income up to this level once I’ve hit the Financial Independence level. 

I plan on living on my kindle income (and other ventures) for as long as possible to allow my passive income stream to grow to this level. Once I’m there, I might start taking some of the money out, but I don’t think I’ll be taking everything out. So, If I bring in £1,250 per month in the next 2-3 years, I might use half of it for spending money, and the rest will go back into investing. 

Summary – Although I’m behind on target, it’s forecast as a lower paying month, so I still remain confident that I can achieve this goal by December. 

4. I will easily create and launch my new Blog with 500 email subscribers by 31st December 2017.

I’m eager to get cracking with this one, but I’m purposely holding myself back until I complete my course. I’ve bought the URL and I hope to get it up and running later this year. 

5. I will easily read or listen to 16 books by 31st December 2017.

I went a bit nuts in March and ended up reading/listening to 6 books. That brings my total to 12 for the year, so I might hit 16 this month, or at least in May. 

Here’s the full list of what I’ve read this month:

1. ‘Screw it, let’s do it’ by Richard Branson
2. ‘Influence’ by Robert Cialdini
3. ‘The Checklist Manifesto’ by Atul Gawande 
4. ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday
5. ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg
6. ‘Tao Te Ching’ by Lao Tsu
7. ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ by Viktor E. Frankl
8. ‘Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman’ by Richard Feynman
9. ‘Siddhartha’ by Hermann Hesse
10. ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius
11. ‘Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life’ by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn
12. ‘The Truth’ by Neil Strauss

After I read ‘Minimalism’, Lou and I decided to go through the book together as an experiment. We’ve not done this before. We both got a lot from it, and plan on working through another book together when she returns from Sweden. 

I plan on reducing the total target of books in future and focussing on making summary notes for the books I read instead to maximise what I take from each one.  

6. Lou and I will easily have at least one ‘date night’ a month for the whole of 2017. (12 ‘date nights’ in total) 

We’re working our way around the Cambridge area trying out new pubs and restaurants. Unsurprisingly, Lou and I are enjoying this goal.

Here’s where we’ve been for our dates so far this year:

1. Jan – The Golden Ball
2. Feb – MillWorks
3. Mar – The Crown and Punchbowl

Lou and I made sure we squeezed a date in before she went back home for 3 weeks, so we’re 4 for 4 currently. So far, so good. 

7. I will easily attend 3 x different clubs/classes in Cambridge area by 31st March 2017.

I set this goal, with a limited timeframe, to make me get out there and meet people. I have limited friends in the area, and I hope by putting myself out there I’ll meet like-minded people. 

I’ve now finished my Improv lessons in Cambridge, which have been brilliant. I want to continue practicing this art. I’ll be signing up to the Improver’s course, which is due in Sept. In the meantime, I want to sign up to another 2 x clubs for the summer.  

I was going to sign up for Intro to Stand Up and Intro to Acting, but when it came to booking the courses, I was informed that both have been cancelled. Gutted!

Back to the drawing board on this one. I’ve not met the deadline for the end of March, but the date isn’t that relevant. The process of joining clubs and meeting people is what I’m really focussed on. This time next month, I should be able to confirm what I’m trying next. 

8. I will easily record 52 new Youtube videos and have 2,000 Youtube subscribers by 31st December 2017. 

Due to my course commitment, I’ve decided to put my Youtube efforts on the back-burner for now. That means I’m putting this goal into jeopardy, which I’m comfortable with. 

I feel like every video I film and edit, could be spent on the course instead. I’m just not comfortable with that right now. I’m going to keep up with the minimum of filming the monthly goal updates, and I’ll see how I get on from there. 

Jan – 5 videos / 281 subscribers (36 gained in Jan)
Feb – 4 videos / 298 subscribers (17 in Feb)

Mar – 1 video / 325 subscribers (23 in Mar)

9. I will easily complete 26 x bi-weekly reviews to track my progress in 2017. Jan – 2

I set myself 26 instead of 52 to allow myself chance to make up for missed sessions. If I have early starts on Saturday or I stop away for the weekend I tend to forget about them. Giving myself a week to ‘catch-up’ so-to-speak is helping to keep me motivated. 

So far, I’ve completed a review every week, apart from 2 weekends, so this goal is looking very good right now.  

Jan – 5
Feb – 3

Mar – 4 
(12 total)

I hope you had a good March. Please let me know in the comments below how you got on. Before I go. I have a question….


I’ve decided to put myself forward to contribute 30-60 mins a week, in the evenings to help   people interested in Personal Finance, Budgeting, Investing, Entrepreneurship, or just a plain, old, kick up the arse! 🙂

I’m contributing money each month to a good cause, but there’s a strong argument that offering time is far more valuable. 

If you’d be interested in working with me on any topic that I cover on the blog, please leave a comment below on what you’d like help with and why. I’m not sure how many people will be interested in this, but I’ll get back to you in any case. 


  • OAP

    Reply Reply 8th April 2017

    Hi Huw, I have been following your blog for some time now and have told lots of people about what you are doing / have done. I am currently building a pot of cash with a view to investing it. I would really benefit from your experience and knowledge in this area. I don't feel as though I am far away from getting going….I just need help being out on the right track.

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 8th April 2017

    Hi OAP,

    I'd be happy to help. I don't offer financial advice (as a non-professional), but I'll happily share my methods and discuss your ideas to help you select the right direction for you.

    If you use my contact form on the right hand side it'll send me an email with your email address. I'll then reply to you direct. Could you let me know your availability? I'm free this evening if that works?


  • Eva Blue

    Reply Reply 8th April 2017

    Well done Huw! 😉

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 8th April 2017

    Thank you Eva! 🙂

  • FerdiS DivGro

    Reply Reply 9th April 2017

    Great goals and it looks like you're having fun creating that online course! Looking forward to hearing more about it!

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 10th April 2017

    Thank you Ferdi S! Yes, the course has been fun and challenging. It's been a great learning experience for me. I'm looking forward to getting it out there now.

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 10th April 2017

    Great update Huw.

    Even though you're a bit behind on your goal, that passive income is pretty good going. Ultimately, one of my aims is for dividend income to cover most of my basic bills.

    What I've found really impressive though are all those books you've read! I've yet to read a non-fiction book this year…

  • MrsChai

    Reply Reply 12th April 2017

    Congrats on your progress with your goals. Am inspired by your passive income, its looking good. I also like the fact you included date nights and classes. I think it is important to bring close ones along for the ride and also to meet like minded (& even non like minded) people. I listen to a lot of FI podcasts and am pretty envious of the huge FI community they have in North America. The aspect I like the most is that they all take different paths ie start a business, make more money, real estate, aggressive saving, frugality and seem very supportive of each other. Good luck with your journey. I will keep dipping in to see how you are getting on!

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 12th April 2017

    Thanks Weenie!

    I'm really happy with the Passive Income progress this year. It's really been the purpose behind this blog, and looking at the rest of 2017, I should be able to confirm that I'm Financially Independent. I'll be incredibly proud and satisfied when I finally prove that I'm there.

    I love reading, and audible has made a big difference. I listen to books during my physio, walking, or during menial tasks, and I'm able to work through them quicker than I ever have before. For me, it's more important that I take the learning from each one, and learn to maximise that, than to go through a high number and fail to take learning from them.

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 12th April 2017

    Thank you Mrs Chai.

    I'm not sure where you're based, but the UK has a great scene behind Financial Independence too. In my experience, it also cast's a wide net of people interested in what you mentioned above.

    I appreciate the well wishes, and in turn, I wish you all the best too!


  • Exit Engineer

    Reply Reply 12th April 2017

    Hi Huw,
    As always, I love seeing these progress updates on your goals. I'll get round to making some goals soon…
    You're smashing your book goal! Good effort. I'm a big fan of the Minimalists, Ryan and Joshua, they have given some great Ted Talks too (
    The improv and stand up courses sound really interesting, I expect full performances at the next FI/RE Escape retreat haha.
    With reference to your date nights with Lou, myself and my partner are 'Alphabet Dating'. We take it in turns to organise a (usually bit strange) date to fit with the letter of the alphabet we're up to. Some highlights include a 'Golden ticket' trip to the cadbury factory and a day out on the seaside 'Arcades' in Scarborough with a bag of 2p coins. Highly recommended.
    – EE

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 12th April 2017

    Hi EE,

    Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate that!

    Yes, I was very impressed with Josh and Ryan. I ended up watching their documentary, and listening to several episodes of their podcast too. Thanks for the youtube video link, I'll check that out.

    I'm gutted that they aren't doing the stand up course any more. I've always found it fascinating. Not that I'm funny, but the challenge of standing up and trying to make people laugh. Full Improv and Stand up performance will be scheduled for the next FE! 🙂

    I love the idea of Alphabet dating. I'm drawn to quirky things that give some structure/play to the ordinary. Thanks for the tip.

    I hope all is well with you.

    Best wishes

  • MrsChai

    Reply Reply 13th April 2017

    I am based in London so interested to hear there is a FI community in UK. I think FI is such an awesome goal.

  • MrsChai

    Reply Reply 13th April 2017

    EE – Alphabet dating idea is brilliant! I listen to the The minimalists' podcasts which are always inspirational and motivating.

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