Monthly Goal Update: May 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. This is a big reason behind me making these posts/videos.

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. Let’s get into it!

 

2017 Goals

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

This is my priority goal for 2017. If I achieved this and failed the rest, I would be very happy with my year overall, such is the requirement of the task.

My progress in May has been short of what I expected 4 weeks ago. Having completed Module 1, I thought I would tear through the writing and recording or Module 2. Instead, I ended the month still writing the final few slides/notes, and only now am I in a position to record the lessons.

So what happened?

The short answer…. I allowed myself to get distracted.

I had a couple of weekends away with friends (which were pre-planned). We had a great time but I find it takes me a couple of days to get back into the swing of things when I return home. I think it’s all that over eating, drinking and self-loathing!

I also spent a considerable amount of time researching investment avenues for my disposable income. My investment priority has always been to fill my ISA. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been able to fill it comfortably with a good chunk of money left over, so I’ve been looking in where to invest it.

Although I did need to do this at some stage, I certainly didn’t have to do it now. I was only too happy to leave the writing element of the course (which I struggle with) to research new investment opportunities. In any case, I feel much clearer on what I want to do with my money, but the course development suffered as a result.

So, I’m currently recording Module 2 and I plan on finishing it and offering it out to my Founding Members by the end of June.

 

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

My goal here is to work towards building a new school for kids in Cameroon with the Charity ‘Building Schools For Africa’. I need £20,000 to fund the entire project.

I plan on raising the funds myself by putting a percentage of my earnings towards it each month, and by giving 10% of my course profits towards the fund.

I’ve set up the fund in a separate saving account, and I’ve set up a new promotion page which highlights what the project’s about on my new WordPress Blog HERE.

Here’s the progress so far:

Jan = £1,069 (5.3%)
Feb = £1,304 (6.5%)
Mar = £1,438 (7.2%)
Apr = £1,788 (8.9%)
May = £1,913 (9.6%)

In 2017, my contributions have averaged £169 per month. At this rate, I’ll get to the total in 107 months or 8.9 years! So, I have some work to do. I don’t have a deadline, but I’d like to hit it by the end of 2020.

Obviously, my course release will help speed up this process, so I just need to get back to work and release the damn thing.

 

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

This goal is one of the most exciting for me to review each month. Since moving to Cambridge, Lou and I are very fortunate to live mortgage free. This has had a significant impact on our monthly expenses. Although we’re unclear how much it costs to live down here precisely (as it’s only been 6 months), we think it’s going to be roughly the same as Herefordshire minus the mortgage (£365 less for both Lou and me).

Our basic living costs – Food, transport, house bills, insurance are somewhere in the region of £400 to £450 per month. I spend more money than that each month, but all of that can be stripped back, tweaked or changed as they’re less important to my overall lifestyle.

My first objective is to prove that I can cover all of my living costs with passive investments only in 2017. This includes Dividend and Peer to Peer lending income only. I’ve over-estimated that amount to be £500 per month to make sure I cover everything.

I don’t use any of the income. I reinvest all dividends, P2P income, and capital gains profits right back into more buying more assets.

My longer term goal is to cover my entire lifestyle expenses with dividends and P2P income, which is currently around the £1,250 per month mark. Anyone that’s followed me for a long time will appreciate that this total has shot up since my early years of £832 a month expenses back in Herefordshire (with a mortgage). The increase is due to my increased wage in publishing books and the subsequently increased amount I receive in guilt free spending (10% of earnings).

April was the lowest month of the year and my forecast suggests that it’ll stay that way for the rest of 2017. Let’s take a closer look:

Jan = £350.26
Feb = £517.28
Mar = £390.55
Apr = £311.93
May = £689.73

(TOTAL: £2,259.75/ AVE: £451.95)

Dividends were at an all time high for me at £472.13 and were 33% higher than they were in May last year. P2P lending made up the rest. This increased my Passive Income average from £392.51 to £451.95 per month.

Here’s my Passive Income history to date:

 

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

I finally made the move from Blogger to WordPress in April. In May, I tried to improve the appearence of the site and added a mailing list to get things up and running.

So, what do you think?

My new Blog is now live, and I’m relatively happy with it for the timebeing. Now I need to add more posts, crete value for the reader and hope my subscribers increase over the months.

I had 7 subscribers join the list in May. 493 to go! 🙂

 

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

In an attempt to invest more into myself, I’ve been diving into books over the last 12 months. I set myself the goal of reading 1.3 books a month and I achieved the goal in April.

The full list is below and I’ve bolded the ones I read in April:

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
13. ‘Ego is the Enemy’ by Ryan Holiday
14. ‘#AskGaryVee’ by Gar Vaynerchuk
15. ‘Essentialism’ by Greg McKeown
16. ‘The Power of Vulnerability’ by Brene Brown
17. ‘The 10X Rule’ by Grant Cardone
18. ‘Tools of Titans’ by Tim Ferriss
19. ‘Buddhism for Busy People’ by David Michie
20. ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ by Brene Brown
21. ‘The Complete Guide to Property Investment’ by Rob Dix
22. ‘Waking Up’ by Sam Harris
23. ‘Unshakeable’ by Tony Robbins
24. ‘The Naked Trader’ by Robbie Burns

Buddhism for Busy People: Finding Happiness in an Uncertain World’ by David Michie – AMAZON LINK – Solid book overall. I really enjoyed the first half, and found myself switching off towards the end.

I noticed this book was on offer, so I thought I would give it a listen. I have an interest in becoming happier and more relaxed in life. Large proportions of the Buddhist religion appeal to me, and unsurprisingly, these parts were the most enjoyable within the book.

It follows David’s journey from the common trappings of an overworked, unsatisfied businessman to the core teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. Enter meditation, compassion, and happiness.

I thoroughly enjoyed David’s take on the Buddhist world, especially what makes us happy and how to start meditating. I was turned off by him explaining the finer points of the religion such as reincarnation and such like.

Overall, some great points to take away. A nice easy read.

 

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are’ by Brene Brown – AMAZON LINK – Great book, recommended!

The subtitle summarises much of what this book is about. Brene Brown has such a loveable honest writing style. It’s hard not to like her. She openly admits her shortcomings and does so with comedic effect.

Brene is a researcher and this book presents her findings of what ultimately makes someone ‘Wholehearted’ or in other words happy/fulfilled.

These include Authenticity, Self-Compassion, Resilience, Gratitude, Intuition, Creativity, Play, Rest, Calmness, Meaningful work, Laughter/Song/Dance.

Brene shares how to achieve more of the above by ‘Letting Go’ of certain elements in our life such as comparison, self-doubt, scarcity and perfectionism to name a few.

The topic of this book suits me down to the ground, and her delivery was excellent. This is the 2nd book I’ve read from Brene and I have to admit to being a big fan of her work.

 

The Complete Guide to Property Investment: How to survive & thrive in the new world of buy-to-let’ by Rob Dix – AMAZON LINK – Well documented book on the topic. I would recommend the paperback/eBook edition over the audio.

As I highlighted earlier, I’m exploring new investment options as a way to diversify my income and allocate my excess capital. Property Investment has once again reared its head.

I think Rob did a great job of breaking down this multi-faceted subject really well. He made the complicated easy to understand and presented numerous examples of how to invest in property based on your personal circumstances.

I have however decided not to invest in property for the foreseeable future once again. This decision was not due to Rob’s delivery. To give you the short answer, I decided that there was too much to learn from scratch and my returns would not outweigh investing in stocks and shares where I feel I’m not starting from scratch. I don’t like how you’re much more tied to property than you are with shares, and the income/tax situation is far less appealing.

If you were interested in learning more about it, I would happily recommend the book to help sway you either way. He has a website dedicated to providing further information on the topic too.

 

Waking Up: Searching for Spirituality Without Religion’ by Sam Harris – AMAZON LINK – Highly recommended!

Sam Harris seems to be as close to the real-life ‘Mr Spock’ as you can get. Prior to listening to the audiobook, I was already a fan, which undoubtedly influenced my overall impression. I admire how rational, eloquent and calm he his. As I mentioned in the Youtube video, I feel more intelligent just by listening to him.

Sam is a neuroscientist and classes himself as a ‘New Atheist’. He follows ‘no religion’ but believes we can learn and benefit from religious practices. Predominantly, living in the present moment and meditation.

Sam shares his experience into the world of mindfulness and meditation, and backs up his views with scientific study. He has a unique perspective on this topic as a scientist, skeptic, and first-hand practitioner.

 

Unshakeable: Your Guide to Financial Freedom’ by Tony Robbins – AMAZON LINK – Excellent resource on Investing, especially for a beginner.

I’ve not read ‘Money: Master the Game’, but Tony explains early on that this book “designed to be a concise companion that contains all of the essential facts and strategies you need to transform your financial life”. I believe this book delivers that.

Despite most of his references come from the US, the core of his message is still transferable to the UK. I think the ‘Unshakeable Playbook’ in Part 2 is excellent! He shares 4 core principles that help every investment decision, and how to navigate crashes and corrections.

Not only is the information highly effective, but I think Tony’s delivery is well placed. It’s easy to read, even if you’re new to finance, and he makes it very obvious what he believes you should do with your money.

 

The Naked Trader: How Anyone Can Make Money Trading Shares’ by Robbie Burns – AMAZON LINK – Excellent resource for Intermediate and beyond investor.

Robbie’s writing style and message are designed to appeal to the novice investor, but I don’t think it’s the best pace to start if you’re new to investing in shares. He classes himself as a mid-term investor, which is someone who might invest in a particular stock for 2 weeks and up to 2 years. He’s not a day trader, and is strongly against it.

I’ve been actively investing for 4 years now, so I would still class myself as novice, approaching intermediate. I took a huge amount from this book. His message is simple, the information is brilliant and it’s made me a better investor. HOWEVER….

This style of investing is way more risky than Tony’s method above, and I would recommend that people learn Tony’s philosophy before they try their hand at mid-term investing, and to do so with a much smaller pool of money.

If you’ve been investing in shares for a few years and you haven’t read Robbie’s work, I would highly recommend checking this out. It’s packed with useful information and there’s a good chance you’ll take some value away from it.

 

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

Lou and I have committed to getting out of the house at least once a month to let someone else cook for us so we can sit back and enjoy each others company without distraction. Poor Lou!

We’ve both enjoyed this goal so far. It’s a pleasure to work towards in fact. Here are the restaurants/pubs we’ve attended in the Cambridge area.

1. Jan – The Golden Ball
2. Feb – MillWorks
3. Mar – The Crown and Punchbowl
4. Apr – St Johns Chop House
5. May – The Tickell Arms

 

The Tickell Arms is a lovely pub in the middle of a nice countryside village. It’s part of the CambsCuisine chain of pubs/restaurants.

The food was solid overall. I wouldn’t say it was any better than the rest, but it certainly held its own, but the service stood out by a long shot. Both Lou and I felt the service was the best we received compared to all of the other pubs in the chain.

Unfortunately, the pub is the furthest away from where we live which is a shame because if it was a little closer, I think we would go there more often.

 

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 the beginner’s Improv course in Cambridge, which was 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 wanted to sign up to another 2 x clubs for the summer.

I signed up to ‘Run Your Own Business’ and I decided to drop out from the course. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, just that the level was more basic than I was anticipating. I was actually one of the most experienced business owners in the group and I thought there might be a few more in there, but it’s made up of people who are interested in running a business rather than doing so.

I have progressed slightly in this area, but that’s only been in the last week, which is technically in June, so I’ll save the full update until next month, but I decided to end my gym membership and trade it for a Mixed Martial Arts one instead. I’ve always wanted to do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and wrestling as an avid MMA fan, but I’ve always been into something else. More recently, I promised myself that when my injury improves, I’ll give it a go, but that was 18 months ago and still no improvement. Actually, the Stag Do I recently attended was the tipping point for me. We did Surfing and an Assault Course, and despite fearing for how my rib would hold up, it did just fine. It dawned on me that I might have given my injury too much respect, and it might be worth trying out and seeing how I get on. After one week, with my rib feeling fine, I have to say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made down here in Cambridge. More to follow next month!

 

 

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

I’ve eliminated the regular work I was doing with Youtube to focus more on my Course. This is likely to result in me failing this goal, but I’m prepared for that sacrifice to release my course.

In May I released 1 videos and gained 18 subscribers, bringing my totals to 13 videos in 5 months and 361 subscribers.

It’s looking ever so likely that this goal will drop off for 2017 now. The course is taking so much longer than I anticipated and it requires too much of my time to focus on Youtube development too, but that’s ok.

I’m not going to change the goal or beat myself about it. I’ll slowly chip away at my progress, and work towards the subscriber count and increasing video production numbers and quality over time.

 

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

During these sessions, I focus on my previous week’s performance to my goals. I consider what I’ve learned, celebrate my successes and set up the following week’s activities. The idea of this goal is to keep myself accountable on a weekly basis and to ensure over the course of 7 days, I’m moving in the right direction.

I did 2 sessions in May, which keeps me on track to the goal, but it’s also my lowest number in one month for the year so far. I have to say, I’ve noticed the difference too. I’ve not been on top form for May and I think the lack of these review sessions are part of the reason. When I don’t face up to my lack of action towards particular goals, is so much easier to take my foot off the pedal.

The 2 sessions in May takes me to 17 for the year. I was hoping to achieve this goal in July, but it looks like it might take me a little longer than that now.

 

How was May for you?

Please share your wins, learning outcomes and general thoughts below!

2 Comments

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 21st June 2017

    Hey Huw

    Great to see another update. It’s easy to get distracted after time away but I hope you are back in the swing of things.

    I love your passive income graph and can see why you find this goal exciting – mine looks a little like that, just smaller numbers!

    It’s funny, I bought my BTL after only just a little research (and talking to family) but was more reluctant to plough my money into investments! That said, property investing isn’t for everyone and I think perhaps I’ve been lucky with mine; I get a good yield, good tenants and I have a decent property manager. I don’t worry that my money’s not liquid and is tied up as I don’t envisage selling it any time soon – it’s part of my retirement plan and if circumstances demanded it, it could end up being my home! If I had the capital, I would buy another property. I know landlords use leverage to make their £££s but that’s not something I’ve wanted to do and with changes to tax regulations re BTL, I’m sure there are some landlords regretting taking on more mortgages debt.

    All the best with the rest of your goals, they’re coming along, slowly but surely.

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 22nd June 2017

      Hey Weenie!

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, I feel right back in the swing of things now, and still on schedule to release the first 2 Modules by the end of June.

      Counting the dividends and P2P income is still my favourite thing at the end of each month. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. Like you say, the graphs tend to look the same – ever increasing numbers month after month and year after year. That’s why it excites me so much. It’s so satisfying to see constant improvement.

      If I had a little more capital (£5k or so) 5-6 years ago, I would have jumped into B2L too. Undoubtedly, it’s an excellent source of income long term and creates a lot of wealth for people. I just found that it was asking a lot – high initial capital, time to learn the ‘game’, researching, regular attention, and my money would be somewhat tied up (in comparison to shares). If you’ve already learned the ‘game’, like yourself, it makes perfect sense to continue if you’ve found it valuable.

      Not that I’ve learned everything about investing!!! BUT, it makes more sense for me to harness what I know and invest my money into stocks and shares rather than property….right now anyway.

      Thank you for the well wishes!

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