Monthly Goal Update: December 2017

I committed to tracking the progress of my goals on a monthly basis throughout 2017. 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. So, now that 2017 is behind us, did it work?

I had 9 Goals for 2017. They were spread across different areas of my life. Let’s take a closer look at each one and see how I got on.



2017 Goals

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

At the start of the year, I decided to create an online course to show others how I publish books on Amazon. Here’s why…..

I don’t write the books myself, I hire ghostwriters and pay them for their content. When I started this side hustle back in 2014, it was supposed to provide me with an extra £250-£500 a month but to my great surprise, I ended up earning over 10 times that amount within 12 months, and quit my full-time job after 7 months.

Within the last two years (2016 and 2017), the business has brought in more than £100,000, which vastly exceeded my expectations. One of the best parts of the business is that once you’ve set it up, you can work part-time hours to keep things ticking along. I would estimate that I’ve spent approximately 4 hours a week cultivating this business in the last 2 years. I worked very hard for 6 months to get it to a certain point, but very little since.

Taking my business from £50,000pa to £100,000pa or £250,000pa would be nice (of course!), but what I’ve found is that earning £5,000 a month is pretty damn good. I don’t think earning an additional £5-£15k month would add extra happiness to my life, but I know what would…

What I do is fairly straightforward. There’s a lot of little things to do but none of it is technically difficult. Anyone could model what I do and take it onto a new level (ie. work more than 4 hours a week once it’s set up, write their own work etc.). An extra £500-£1,000 per month is life-changing for many people, and I want to be able to help change people’s lives, like publishing has changed mine. This is why I decided to dedicate 2017 to creating a course. To show people how I did it.

Easy right?!

Well, it turns out that creating a course from scratch is a lot harder than you might expect. At least for me anyway.

I VASTLY underestimated the volume of work and the difficulty in creating a course. And as such, I made every excuse under the sun to do something else with my time – Research, Investing, Matched Betting, spending time with Lou, with friends, Youtube, read, MMA, BJJ….. you name it. This is the first time I’ve put my name on a product and I struggled with it.

I could easily just jack the course creation in and move onto something easier, but I couldn’t. I kept feeling a pull to go back and finish it. It felt like I had unfinished business to do and I was overlooking something important.

Once I completed a lesson, it felt fantastic! Like I had truly achieved something. The hard part was starting all over again on a new lesson. If I could just find a way to get my ass down every day and slog through the difficult writing stage, I would be ok. Thankfully, I eventually got around to letting the fear go (and all of the other bullshit excuses). There was no magic formula for achieving this. I just made myself sit down and write, whether I feel like it or not. And it worked!

Unfortunately, I haven’t completed the course but I’ve learned a huge amount about myself and the creative process in general. I’ve technically failed the goal, but I feel like I’ve won (insert cheese on toast emoji here).

At the end of 2017, I’m around the halfway mark of the lesson creation. I have just over 20 students working on the material, we have a private facebook group, and overall the feedback is very positive. I go into 2018 with the same goal – Complete ISP by the end of 2018 – but with renewed energy, experience, knowledge and commitment. I’m much better equipped than I was this time last year. I’m sure I’m still going to encounter that inner battle, as well as some unexpected new issues, but I’ve never felt so confident and determined to complete something.

If you’re interested in publishing books once the course is complete this year, you can join my waiting list HERE. I’ll be offering a discount to everyone that signs up during my first official launch for a limited time.


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 – COMPLETE

My goal here was 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 a promotion page which highlights what the project’s about on my Blog HERE.


At the end of 2017, the fund sits at £3,000 (15% of total). 

I have a lot more work to do but I’m pleased with the first 12 months overall, especially considering that I haven’t launched the course yet. I don’t have a deadline for the £20k, but I’d like to hit it by the end of 2020. Once ISP goes live, I’m hoping the monthly contributions will grow and bring that total time down.


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

The income included in this figure is for dividends and P2P income only. I don’t spend any of it currently. I reinvest it all to buy more assets and to help raise the overall figure each year.

November 2017 marked the 1 year anniversary of living in Cambridgeshire for Lou and me. Last month I shared my monthly basic living costs as I had 12 months worth of expenses. I spent £398 per month on food, transport, house bills, mobile phone and insurance (we don’t have a mortgage).

I set £500 per month as a goal to see if I could cover the basic living costs, which we predicted would be around this mark.

I want to be able to cover all of my expenses with passive income, but the rest of my spending is on either “wants” and “likes”, which I can adjust or live without if needed. I spent £13,559 on everything for my first 12 months in Cambridge (£1,130 per month).

Here’s the monthly reakdown for 2017:

Jan = £350.26
Feb = £517.28
Mar = £390.55
Apr = £311.93
May = £689.73
Jun = £903.75
Jul = £828.61
Aug = £650.98
Sep = £567.79
Oct = £788.30
Nov = £664.24
Dec = £527.56

Total = £7,190.98 / AVE = £599.25

I achieved the goal in November and passed the £7,000 milestone by the end of the year. I almost overachieved this goal by 20%, so I’m very happy with how this turned out.


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

This goal was part achieved and part failed, but mainly failed. I transferred my Blog from the old Blogger platform to WordPress and set up an email list, but I didn’t do the work required to attract more readers onto my email list to hit the 500 mark. This goal was largely put on the backburner for 2017 whilst I worked on my course.

I have some exciting ideas for FFB40, especially once the publishing course is complete. In 2018, I plan on dedicating one day a week to creating content for it. This will include monthly updates, youtube videos and an investing course for beginners.

At the end of 2017, I had a new blog and 53 subscribers. If you enjoy my updates and you’d like to stay informed on my Blog content in 2018, you can subscribe to my email list HERE.


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

In an attempt to invest more into myself, I set myself the goal of reading just over a book and a half a month for 2017.

I achieved this goal in April, much to my surprise and went on to read/listen to 46 books in 2017. Here’s the full list:

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
29. ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson
30. ‘Happy’ by Derren Brown
31. ‘The Fighter’s Mind’ by Sam Sheridan
32. ‘The Art of Learning’ by Josh Waitzkin
33. ‘The Moral Landscape’ by Sam Harris
34. ‘The Complete Book of Five Rings’ by Miyamoto Musashi
35. ‘Everything That Remains’ by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
36. ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz
37. ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R. Covey
38. ‘The Little Book That Still Beats The Market’ by Joel Greenblatt
39. ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ by David Schwartz
40. ‘MBA in Action’ by John Horsler
41. ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield
42. ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari
43. ‘Parsnips, Buttered’ by Joe Lycett
44. ‘Money’ by Rob Moore
45. ‘Turning Pro’ by Steven Pressfield
46. ‘Lying’ Sam Harris

I read five books this month. Here are my brief thoughts on each:


‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari – AMAZON LINK

Yuval attempts to write a summary of mankind’s existence and does an outstanding job. He details what life was like for Sapiens at the beginning and all the way up to modern life.

It’s remarkable how much has happened to humans since our time on Earth. We’re both brilliant and destructive.

I think it’s important for us to be aware of what life was like and where we’ve come from to better understand what we truly are now. Sapiens is fascinating, thought-provoking and intensely entertaining.

9/10 – A must read


Parsnips, Buttered: How to win at modern life, one email at a time‘ by Joe Lycett – AMAZON LINK

If you’ve watched 8 out of 10 Cats or Taskmaster you’ll be aware of Joe Lycett and his brand of comedy. He specialises in sharing his hilarious email chains to all sorts of people under his various pseudonyms.

Lou and I had two visits to Herefordshire in December, which totalled over 14 hours of driving. I downloaded this book in an attempt to make the journey’s a bit more uplifting…. and it worked.

We both enjoyed Joe’s brand of humour. He’s silly, brave, relentless and quick-witted.

7/10 – Perfect for commuting / escapism


Money: Know More, Make More, Give Moreby Rob Moore – AMAZON LINK

Probably the best book I’ve read about money!

I’m fascinated by the topic of money. I know it’s not the most important thing in life, that sits with health and relationships, but it has the power to influence every other thing in our lives including those two areas. Money is ultimately a tool. It can be used for good and bad and that’s down to the person using it.

If I were to write a book about money, I’d be hard-pressed to write a more comprehensive and informative version. I love the way Rob has divided the book into various important aspects. He talks about its history, the values, beliefs and psychology around it, before moving on how to master it.

Rob is a self-made multi-millionaire, with an exacerbating number of business and income ventures. He inspires me to create and produce more. I have already re-read multiple sections and I’ll be reading more of his work.

One of the best books I read this year!

10/10 – Exceptional information. Read it, implement it and share it!


Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield – AMAZON LINK

Last month I reviewed one of my favourite books of the year from the same author ‘The War of Art‘. This book is the follow up for that. The author describes the process of “Turning Pro” in the previous book and expands on the concept in this one.

I found the ‘The War of Art’ to be a life-changing book for me, so I was keen to see how he expanded it. There were multiple powerful descriptions and explanations but there was also some repetition, which was to be somewhat expected.

If you’ve read and enjoyed ‘The War of Art’, I have no doubt you’ll take more from ‘Turning Pro’. Just don’t expect so many revelations (like most sequels). You could read it as a stand alone, but I think you’d be missing a trick by not reading ‘The War of Art’ first.

One of the big takeaways for me was the brief chapter on boredom. Steven explains that repetitive nature of living a life in the shadows (not fulfilling your potential) and giving in to addictions is what makes life so boring for many. No progress is made and you’re stuck in an endless loop.

He believes addictions have two primary qualities:

  1. They embody repetition without progress
  2. They produce incapacity as a payoff

How many things in your life involve constant repetition without progress and produce incapacity as a result?

Alcohol, TV and Social Media come to mind for me.

8/10 – A strong follow up!


Lying by Sam Harris – AMAZON LINK

Sam presents a compelling argument that we can all simplify and improve our lives and our society by telling the truth, at all times. Most of the book is aimed at the little white lies we tell each other to prevent discomfort. He demonstrates the flaws in this social norm which I found hard to counter.

I’m known by my friends, family and ex-colleagues as someone that speaks the truth no matter what. I believe we should consider how we deliver honesty, but we should ultimately speak the truth. Perhaps my inclination towards radical honesty is why I enjoyed reading it so much. He describes the example (or trap depending on how you look at it) some people find themselves in when their partner asks them how they look (I know this happens to both sexes). I’ve previously been criticised for speaking honestly about not liking or caring for a particular outfit, so I found it refreshing and entertaining to read an eloquent and logical argument to support such an approach. He even discusses lying about Santa Claus to your children and other such myths.

It’s a short book, which most people can read in a sitting or two. I don’t often say this, but I wish he went into more detail and presented more examples.

8/10 – A great read. Highly recommended. I wish it were a little longer. 


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

Lou and I have committed to having a date night at least once a month in 2017. We felt it was important to commit at least one evening to each other without the distractions of work, TV or evening cooking.

As I mentioned in previous updates, Lou and I decided to adapt this goal into something we felt we would get more value from. For us, that involved using the money to book mini-breaks instead of single date nights.

As a result, we decided to abandon this goal in September and we’ve now set a new goal based on this decision for 2018.

Here are the restaurants/pubs we’ve attended in the Cambridge area for those of you that are local to the 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
6. Jul – The Crown and Punchbowl Pudding Night
7. Jul – Date Night at home
8. Aug – Date Night at home


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

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 hoped by putting myself out there I’d meet like-minded people.

I didn’t complete the goal in the timeframe, but here are some of the clubs 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 – Joined in June and recently cancelled
  7. Brazilian Jui Jitsu Club – Recently joined and thoroughly enjoying it


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

Much like the Blog goal, Youtube took a backseat in 2017. I continued to record monthly update videos but outside of that, I did very little.

In 2017 I uploaded 20 videos and had 423 subscribers.

Last month, I decided to start over with a new Youtube channel in an attempt to benefit from Google Adsense revenue. If I’m going to continue recording videos I might as well get paid for doing so, even if it’s going to be a small amount. My new channel – which you can FIND HERE – only has a couple of subscribers, so if you previously subscribed to my “Huw Davies” channel, you’ll need to update your subscription to receive my monthly updates.

I know what’s required to create a bigger Youtube following, but I’m not currently prepared to put the work in to achieve that. I feel my time is better placed on completing my course. Once complete, I can move on to enhancing my Blog and Youtube channel. I except the failure of this goal with good grace, and like many of the other goals I’ve set this year and previous years. I still plan on achieving this goal at some point. Just not right now.



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

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 completed this goal in August, which I was pleased with. These sessions are just a part of my weekends now.

I did 2 review sessions in December, which took my total to 37 for the year. It’ll be interesting to see how this number compares to 2018 and all future years. I still get a lot from these weekly review sessions so I have no reason to stop just because I achieved the goal. Giving myself 30-60 mins each week to focus on what worked, what didn’t, what I learned and what I plan on doing the following week, has been a big part of keeping the important things in my life on track.

How was December and 2017 for you?

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


So here we are in 2018. Another year behind us. From a goal perspective, I have to admit that I’m slightly disappointed by only completing 4 of the 9. But from a personal perspective, I’m delighted with what I’ve taken away from 2017. I’ve learned a huge amount about myself and I can’t wait to take things to a new level in 2018.

I was considering whether or not to do these monthly updates. They take time, and I’m unsure what value you get from them, but on reflection over the Christmas break, I’ve decided to continue. I personally get a lot from using them as accountability and if they enable me to do that 5-10% more then it’s worth the effort.

2018 Goal post to follow…..


  • EarlyRetirementGuy

    Reply Reply 7th January 2018

    Is it just me, or do the years seem to fly by quicker and quicker as you get older? It looks like you’ve had a pretty good year despite failing a couple of your more ambitious objectives. I think you could have passed any of them but not ALL of them, spreading too thin and you risk not giving enough attention to the important things.

    Still, you’re living the FI dream many of us are still miles away from and I am extremely envious particularly at this time of year as I free my ass off on the motorbike commute each frosty morning!

    Personally 2017 was a year of real highs and lows. I’ve been everywhere from on top of the world during the marriage/honeymoon to being a complete wreck as HMRC/Taxes maintained their relentless assault. My accountant assures me everything is in hand now and I’ll have it much better organised going forward.

    Here’s to a profitable 2018!

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 8th January 2018

      Hey Guy,

      Yes, the time absolutely flies by doesn’t it. Years come and gone in a flash it seems.

      I still believe it was possible to complete them all. I just wasn’t prepared to take the action necessary to do so. I want to progress and achieve certain things, but not at the cost of my health and relationships. If Elon Musk can run 3 x MEGA companies at the same time, I have no case to say it was impossible. 🙂

      I agree with what you say about spreading myself too thin though. That certainly happened this year once again. I’ve reduced my 2018 goals to ensure I focus on fewer things and complete the course. I’m in a very fortunate position financially, but I have a drive and desire to do much more. I want to continue building my wealth, I want to contribute more to charity, help my friends and family, and change peoples lives. At some point, I might think “sod the lot of you, I’m done!” but I’m not there yet.

      Ha ha! I remember that photo you posted a while back with when you were covered in snow at the end of your motorbike commute. That did make me smile, I have to admit. But you’re the one who’s laughing when the sun’s out, the traffic’s piling up or you’re filling up at the petrol station. 😉

      You’ve had a cracking year by the looks of things. I’m sorry to hear about the lows you mention but I’m sure the HMRC and tax issues you experienced will pay dividends in the future. I’ve also felt down during certain periods of 2017, but I know that will all be eclipsed when I complete ISP. I can’t wait!

      Here’s to a profitable 2018!

  • Money Hungry

    Reply Reply 7th January 2018

    Maybe I need to get some books to listen to while at the gym. I would be knocking out strengthening myself physically and mentally all in one.

    Congrats on your success in 2017! Bring it on 2018!

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 8th January 2018

      I regularly listen to audiobooks whilst in my gym, walking or commuting. I highly recommend giving it a go. It’s so much more valuable than music in my opinion. Brain and muscle gainz all-in-one. Boom!

      Thanks for the kind words. I wish you equal success in 2018!

  • Felice Pazzo

    Reply Reply 8th January 2018

    Happy New Year Huw.
    Just a thought on your online course; assuming you have the high level plan in mind, would it be worthwhile using ghostwriters to do the nitty-gritty there too?
    Classes – best class I attended this year was the PopUp Business School; I can thoroughly recommend it if they have an event near to you ( Did I mention, their funding model means all fees are likely to be waived?
    Any thoughts on a Fire Escape 2018?

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 8th January 2018

      Hi Felice,

      Ghostwriting is a no go for me on this. I just have too much information in my head, on courses, in books and in notes from coaching to let someone else pick it up. I remain unconvinced that anyone can produce the message that I want to produce and delivering that message is very important to me. I appreciate the suggestion though.

      Thank you for the recommendation. I attended a business class in 2017. I’m not sure how similar it is to the one you suggest, but I’ll take a look.

      FIRE Escapes are great and I love putting them together, but I need to reduce the distractions away from the course. It’s still possible, but I won’t be considering it until the course is complete.

      Best wishes for 2018!

  • David @iretiredyoung

    Reply Reply 8th January 2018

    It’s funny. If that were a school report, I guess you’d be in a whole heap of trouble. But I’m suspecting that you’ve enjoyed your year, and that’s got to be what counts.
    All the best for 2018 🙂

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 8th January 2018

      Yes, absolutely. Goals are great tools to help direct you to your future desires, but they’re not the be all and end all. Some of the goals I felt were important to me at the start of 2017, turned out not to be as vital just a few months later.

      I think the learning you take from reviewing performance towards a goal is more important than the end result.

      Thanks for the well wishes! I wish all the best for you too!

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 11th January 2018

    Happy New Year Huw and Lou!

    You set yourself some mammoth goals in 2017, with the online course being a huge one by itself – despite not achieving them, you made great progress. I have every confidence in you that you will complete them.

    You smashed the investment portfolio income one and I’m in awe of your low living expenses. I’m attempting a really frugal month in Jan to see how it goes – so far, I’m not finding it easy, especially as the main effect seems to be that I have money on my mind all the time!

    2017 was in general a good year for me – even the period of unemployment wasn’t bad because it was almost like a precursor of how I would spend my time when I’ve retired and I liked what I saw/experienced!

    I’ve gone for just a few goals again this year, easier to focus.

    I shall check out your goals later….

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 11th January 2018

      HNY Weenie!

      Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate your confidence in me.

      Yes, the investment income went much better than I expected. I thought £6k would be a push for me.

      Generally speaking, it’s healthy to practice frugal living, but it’s only one aspect of keeping on top of your finances. I think generating new streams of income and increasing what you earn overall, can far exceed what you save via frugality. One of the downsides I experienced with frugal living is that it can cultivate a scarcity mindset, which can limit your earning potential.

      I liken it to dieting. It’s good to be conscious of what you eat in order to become healthy and lose weight, but some people don’t even consider exercising. And of course, it can happen the other way too, it’s just that the ceiling is far higher to earning than the ground is for reducing expenses. What I’m trying to say is…. you can afford to live ‘less frugally’ if you make up for it by earning more. And if you’re able to do both, you’ll smash it!

      It’s great to hear that you’ve been able to take the positives from unemployment and went on to have a good year. I’ll take a peek at your blog to see what you’ve been up to now.

      Best wishes for 2018!

      • weenie

        Reply Reply 13th January 2018

        You’re right Huw, there’s only so much that frugal living can achieve. I enjoy my social life and holidays too much to practise frugal living all the time and as mentioned, I’m struggling with just this month!

        Earning more is key – the only extra earnings I’m getting is from matched betting (which is hit and miss at the moment with the no lay accas). I should consider selling stuff on ebay which is something I used to do a lot but not something I particularly enjoy doing, despite the money which can be made.

        My mindset obviously isn’t quite there and I don’t have the inclination to change it right now. Let’s see how I feel by the end of the year!

        • Huw Davies

          Reply Reply 14th January 2018

          Whether you go for frugality, earning more or both….. I wish you all the very best for 2018 Weenie!

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field