Monthly Goal Update: June 2017

We’re half way through 2017. I enjoy reviewing these milestones to see how I’m progressing against my annual goals. I particularly like the half way point due to the ease of making a comparison. For the most part, I need to be half way through each goal. So, am I?

Let’s take a closer look!

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.

June was a huge month for me, I finally released the first 2 Modules of ‘Innovative Self Publishing’ to the Founding Members. I’ve started to receive payments for membership and I’m so pleased it’s finally coming together.

For those of you that are unaware, I’ve been writing up notes on how to create a publishing course as far back as Sep/Oct 2015. I set a goal of completing the course in 2016, which didn’t materialise, and now I’ve finally got it out there. It feels amazing!

I still have another 7 Modules to create, and dozens of lessons, so there’s plenty of work to be done leading up to official launch to the public, but I finally have a customer base to serve and attend to. I feel more driven and motivated to create this course now, more than ever. I’m excited (and nervous) to find out what paying customers think of the product, but I’m determined to do whatever it takes to improve it to a standard that exceeds their expectations.

So what happens now?

One of the Founding Members was concerned that they weren’t going to be able to work through Module 3 for another 2 months or so when I complete it, and that’s a legitimate concern based on my progress over the last 2 months. So, I’ve decided to release the remaining lessons one-by-one rather than in a Module chunk to allow them to make progress (and maintain momentum) on a more regular basis.

This decision is more motivating for me too. I like the prospect of delivering new content every few days, rather than once every 30-60 days. I get to see my progress live on a more regular basis, which I think will spur me on to work harder to get it done.

I also think it will benefit my relationship with the Founding Members. I’ll be sending out emails to confirm the completion of each lesson, which forces regular communication. I’m hoping this will keep Self Publishing at the top of their minds, and open up the communication lines for them to feedback on how it’s going so far.

Half Way Assessment

I’ve currently completed 2/9 Modules. You don’t have to be a genius to realise that I’m not half way through this. If I had been working solely on this project with determination and focus I would be concerned about the timeframe. However, I know that I’ve not been ‘in the zone’ on this project. I’ve questioned whether I wanted to even do it more times than I can remember, but now that I’ve reached the milestone of launching it (even in its incomplete state) I feel more motivated than ever to see it through.

I remain confident that the course will complete by 2017. I plan on backing those words up by releasing Module 3 out in quick time. This particular Module as some ‘meaty’ lessons so I think it’s likely to take longer than most of the others. It could be my longest recording module, but I have the goal of completing it in July. So, let’s see how I get on!

 

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 in Cameroon for the Charity ‘Building Schools For Africa’. I need £20,000 to fund the 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 it.

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 my 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%)
June = £2,013.00 (10%)

In 2017, my contributions have averaged £189 per month. At this rate, I’ll get to the total in 95 months or 7.9 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.

Now that my course is live and I’ve started to receive payments for it, I should see an increase in the contributions for this July. I’m unlikely to see any significant increases until the course is complete and I’m accepting payments for £399+VAT.

Half Way Assessment

July should see me complete this goal, as it’s based on raising money for the fund via my course profits, not reaching the £20,000 total. My course release should help speed up this process, so I just need to get back to work and release the damn thing.

I think the next sensible goal for this project should be aiming for £5,000 by the end of the year. At present, based on current contributions, I should end the year with just over £3,000 in the fund. I think that the increased contributions from the courses full price, and additional contributions from others, I might be able to get close to that mark. It’s a big ask I know, but what’s life about if not to ask a lot of yourself!

 

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, we’re 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 been less than a year), we think it’s going to be roughly the same as Herefordshire minus the mortgage (£365 less for both of us).

Our basic living costs (food, transport, house bills and 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. For me, Passive Income includes Dividends and Peer to Peer lending income only. I’ve over-estimated that amount by setting the goal at £500 per month to make sure I cover everything.

I don’t use any of the income I receive each month. 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.

Let’s take a look at how I got on this month:

Jan = £350.26
Feb = £517.28
Mar = £390.55
Apr = £311.93
May = £689.73
Jun = £902.81

(TOT: £3,162.56/ AVE: £527.09)

 

This a PB month for me across the board. Dividends were at an all time high of £665.94. My previous best was last month with £472.1, so that’s a nice increase there. A had a decent month on trading stocks too, with a welcomed total profit of £911.57.

In June 2016 I received £313.23 in dividends, so I’ve had a substantial YOY increase too.

My Passive Income monthly average has now increased to £527.09 which puts me ahead of the target for the first month this year.

Half Way Assessment

The last month of the half way period put be ahead of the annual goal for the first time. The question is, can I maintain it?

My forward dividends and forecast P2P lending income would suggest that I can, but you can’t ever know for sure what’s going to happen until you see the income in your account.

My game plan isn’t goig to change for the rest of 2017. I plan on contributing at least 67% of my wage to income producing assets, and I believe the continued effort should provide me with a substantial buffer to surpass the goal.

I’m currently forecast to hit the £6,000 total in October.

 

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 appearance of the site and added a mailing list to get things up and running.

I’ve spent very little time doing anything to my Blog in June, outside of the May Monthly update. As a result, I only had subscribers in June, bringing my total to 9. So, just the 491 to go then!

Half Way Assessment

If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t back myself to reach the 500 subscribers by the end of the year based on the first 6 months. The only way that’s going to change is by posting more regularly and providing an incentive to join such as Free worksheets, reports and such like.

I know this goal is still in my control, and for now, I’m content to see it fall short of my original expectations at the start of 2017. My priority is the course, and until it’s complete, I don’t see that changing.

 

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.

I achieved this goal in April, much to my surprise. Here’s the full list of books I’ve read so far this year. I’ve bolded the books I read in June:

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
25. ‘The Naked Traders Guide To Spread Betting’ by Robbie Burns
26. ‘Trade Like A Shark’ by Robbie Burns
27. ‘10% Happier’ by Dan Harris
28. ‘I Can’t Make This Up’ by Kevin Hart

 

The Naked Trader’s Guide to Spread Betting: A guide to making money from shares in up or down markets’ by Robbie Burns – AMAZON LINK – Decent book overall. A good overview on how to start Spread Betting from scratch.

I enjoyed Robbie’s writing style and content in ‘The Naked Trader’, and as I’ve been reviewing ways to invest additional capital, I thought it was worthwhile considering Spread betting. He dedicates a chapter to it in ‘The Naked Trader’, and it sounded interesting.

Robbie did a great job on introducing the topic within this book. His relaxed, but informative style makes for easy reading on a subject I knew very little about.

Having read the guide, I think just like Property Investment, I’ll give it a pass for now. I’m not saying never, as I might give it a go at some stage, but generally, I think it takes too much discipline and focus, and the potential downsides are huge if you don’t give it the attention it deserves.

I’d like to think I have a disciplined work ethic overall, but I have too many other things going on that could distract me from it. I’m convinced that you can make a decent tax-free profit from it, but it requires you to be focussing on share prices during the day, and that’s not how I want to spend my time.

It’s a powerful strategy in a down market, which might come in handy in the upcoming months, but for now, I’ll stick to leaving it alone. A decent book though!

 

Trade Like a Shark: The Naked Trader on how to eat and not get eaten in the stock market’ by Robbie Burns – AMAZON LINK – Useful information, but doesn’t expand much on what’s covered in ‘The Naked Trader’.

Is it Robbie Burn’s month?

Not exactly, although I know it might appear that way. ‘The Naked Trader’, which I read in May, was an excellent read and I thought it was worth checking out what Robbie thinks is the most important factor in Investing – Psychology. And in particular, handling emotions.

The book covers some useful information, and does expand on the information provided within ‘The Naked Trader’, but I didn’t walk away with a lot of new information despite the time I invested in reading it.

If you haven’t read ‘The Naked Trader’ and you’re interested in investing, I would recommend it. If you’ve read ‘The Naked Trader’, I wouldn’t recommend against it, but I would readjust your expectations. You won’t learn a lot of new information, but the knowledge you picked up in the original version will be expanded upon, which might help you digest it.

 

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story’ by Dan Harris – AMAZON LINK – An excellent story of how a career driven individual, who hates woo-hoo spirituality, came to try and love meditation. Fantastic read!

Dan Harris is a news correspondent in the US. The ultra-competitive world of TV, journalism within a war zone and partaking in Class A drugs, led Dan to have a panic attack live on air. Dan sought help and stumbled upon meditation, which transformed his life.

Dan is a skeptic and is the type of guy that would have laughed about the prospect of meditation prior to his on-air panic episode. I particularly like how honest and humble he is throughout the book.

The book is informative and entertaining, and I would highly recommend it to anyone that suffers from anxiety or panic attacks, as well as anyone that is somewhat skeptical about meditation as a beneficial practice.

I practice meditation, so I was coming from it at a slightly different angle, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s one of those books that I know I’ll return to multiple times.

 

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons’ by Kevin Hart and Neil Strauss – AMAZON LINK – An entertaining and thought-provoking look at the life of Kevin Hart

I listened to the audiobook version, which is narrated by Kevin Hart. He improvises throughout the book, which makes for a more entertaining listen. It also felt more real, coming directly from the man himself. I’m not sure how much writing Neil Strauss did, but I could sense his influence. It’s raw, honest, informative, emotional and fun. Neil’s writing style is very seductive. I’m not sure what it is, but he’s very good at creating intrigue and curiosity.

Kevin Hart is one of the highest paid comedians in the US, and is renowned for his positivity and unstoppable work ethic. Two particular traits that I aspire to myself. He’s not that mainstream in the UK, but I’ve particularly enjoyed the interviews he’s done in the UK.

This make had me laughing out loud (proper LOLing) on a few occasions. I laughed my ass off when he describes the time he rubbed compost into his nether-regions as a teen to accelerate hair growth. As a stand up, he’s had time to fine-tune his storytelling so we benefit from well-told tales.

He tough upbringing has also made him into a hard worker. Despite playing the fool, Kevin clearly knows what he’s doing in life and there are multiple life lessons to take away from this entertaining read.

For me, there’s very little to rival a book that offers learning and laughter, which is precisely what ‘I Can’t Make This Up’ delivers. (As does ‘10% Happier’)

The only downside that I experienced was a few moments of ‘oh, not this again’, when he ad-libbed certain links between chapters in his dumb character portrayal. It was fun initially, but I grew tired of it towards the end. These sections are minimal, and don’t detract from the overall story.

Highly recommended!

 

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

 

We didn’t venture out in June. This was an active decision made last week. We were initially planning on going out for one evening, but we decided to refrain and go for two in July because there’s a special Pudding Night at one of the restaurants we like in the first week of July.

Another reason was partly down to my workload last week. The course release required more of my attention due to committing to a completion date. It just made sense to delay it by a week for both of us.

 

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 didn’t complete the goal in the timeframe, as I’ve previously discussed, but I’ve continued to put myself out there and join clubs in an attempt to meet people in the area. Here are some of the thing’s I’ve tried:

  1. Improve Beginners Course – Completed and loved!
  2. Acrobatics and Juggling Course – The course cancelled due to low sign ups
  3. Gym – I joined and have since cancelled a gym membership
  4. ‘Run your Own Business’ course – Joined and pulled out of course. It wasn’t what I had hoped for.
  5. ‘Graphic Design for Beginners’ course – I pulled out of the course due to eye health issues. Gutted!
  6. Mixed Martial Arts Club – Recently joined and I’m already obsessed!

 

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. So, I thought ‘sod it’ let’s go for it and see how I get on.  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!

I successfully completed 2 weeks of classes, which involved BJJ, MMA, Muay Thai, and Wrestling, and I absolutely love it already. I like to learn and because I’ve never done anything like this before, I’m learning every single session.

What attracted me initially to MMA was the physical challenge. I don’t want to beat people up or hurt them. I just want to test myself in one of the most primal ways, whilst learning the technical aspect of the sport. I have no desire to compete in a cage, but I plan on learning as much as I can across all of the disciplines – If my body allows it!

I’ve picked up another rib injury, which has nothing to do with my initial rib injury. A guy landed on my rib cage and I’ve bruised some ribs. I’m on the path to recovery, which might be another week, but I’m missing the regular practice already. My original injury has continued to hold up just fine.

Another key reason for joining a club like this was to meet like-minded people. I’m aware that most people wouldn’t want to put themselves in a situation like this, and I want to be around people that are willing to do that. So far, they guys I’ve met have been nothing but tough, humble, respectful and fun to be around. It’s early days at the club, so I wouldn’t say I have friends, but I can imagine that I will over the coming months.

I actually had a strange moment where I felt bonded to one guy – it was probably just me too, but let me explain! We had a sparring session and we were both giving it some effort. At the end of the round, we were both spent, trying desperately to catch our breath. We both hugging and acknowledged each other’s efforts at the end of the round knowing both of us had given t a good go. I can see how regular sparring in this manner can bring people together. I imagine (having no experience) that it’s somewhat similar (to a lesser extent) to the armed forces, where you’ve got each other’s back and are working together in some of the hardest environments. It can’t help but build character and friendship.

 

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 June I released 1 videos and gained 10 subscribers, bringing my totals to 14 videos in 6 months and 371 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 increase 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 3 sessions in June, which puts me within 2 months of the annual target. 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.

I got out of the habit for a few weeks in May and I noticed the impact it had on work during the week. In June, I’ve managed to get back on track and my performance has gone with it. As a consequence, I managed to keep my promise of delivering Module 2 by the end of June and I’m buzzing from it. I’m noticing first hand what momentum can accomplish.

I’ve taken the time the write this post a little earlier than normal to allow for more ‘Course only’ time next week. All because I feel more motivated to succeed. It’s not ground-breaking stuff I grant you, but sometimes you need to experience the peaks and troughs to really understand what works for you and what doesn’t.

The 3 sessions in June takes me to 20 for the year. I was hoping initially hoping to achieve this goal in July, but it looks like it might be in August now.

 

How was June for you?

And how are you getting on with your 2017 Goals now that you’re halfway through the year?

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

2 Comments

  • Maya

    Reply Reply 23rd July 2017

    Quite interesting – your bonding experience. Recently had a chat with my friend and we agreed that we formed closest friendships in jobs that required physical work or constant co-operation (in situations like facing customers all the time etc). Not sure if connected but definitely sound similar:)

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 25th July 2017

      Thanks for sharing Maya. We humans are funny little things aren’t we!

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