Monthly Goal Update: October 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.


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.

The course is now live for my founding members, and they’re steadily working through the content. I’ve created a dedicated Facebook page for members to communicate, share best practices and help support each other etc. It’s still in its infancy, but I’ve been happy with its development so far.

The first half of October went well for this goal. I managed to work through a difficult lesson and made significant progress on another. I encountered a problem that knocked me off my progress this month….

….My eyes went weird

I’ve previously mentioned having issues with my eyes, and after I updated my prescription it cleared things up almost instantly. I thought that was it. However, my extended use of the laptop and late night reading has started to take its toll on the health of my eyes.

I experienced discomfort when staring at a laptop, phone or tv screen. There seemed to be a pressure build up behind my right eye, and it was quite concerning. I went to the doctors, who referred me to the opticians. The opticians conducted a health test and MRI on my eyes, and the following day I went back to test my sight once again. Thankfully, despite my concerns, they gave my eyes a clean bill of health and attributed the issues to overuse.

They suggested complete rest, and upon recovery, a more disciplined approach to blue light exposure. Here’s what they recommended:

  • I get blue filter lenses to minimise exposure
  • I follow the 20-20-20 rule (Every 20 mins, take 20 secs rest from the screen and stare at something 20 feet away, whilst blinking multiple times)
  • Use dry eye relief drops 3 times a day – I quizzed him on this. I didn’t want to become reliant on something artificial like manual eye drops. He said my work was unnatural, and my eyes weren’t developed to cope with the demands I was placing on them. Therefore, eye drops would make up for the deficit….. fair point!

During this period I took an extended break from all screens, and from evening reading. I was so bored it was embarrassing. I ended up filling my time in the garden with Lou’s aunts. I have to say, working outdoors each day was very refreshing and liberating. I really enjoyed it. There’s something very satisfying about manual labour, especially when you can look back on the work you did during a day or a week.

It took me some time to get back on track with my work after recovering from my layoff. I had so much to catch up with, I almost couldn’t face it. Thankfully now I’m back on top of things. Well, mostly…

October turned out to be slow month with regards to progress on my course due to my eye issues. I found it very frustrating to have my efforts quashed, especially as my motivation to create lessons has been quite high recently. I’m just grateful that my eyes are ok and I can finally return to work.


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 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%)
Jun = £2,013.00 (10%)
Jul = £2,273.00 (11.4%)
Aug = £2,373.00 (11.9%)
Sep = £2,500.00 (12.5%)
Oct = £2,650.00 (13.3%)


I contributed another £150 towards the school fund this month. In 2017, my contributions have averaged £176 per month. At this rate, I’ll get to the total in just over 8 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. In the meantime, I’m working towards an end of year figure of £3,000.

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

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 to benefit from compound interest over time, and I’m finally starting to see how powerful it is!

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 = £903.75
Jul = £828.61
Aug = £650.98
Sep = £567.79
Oct = £788.30

(Total = £5,999.18 / Average = £599.92)



October was a great month overall. I predicted a payment that would take me over the £6,000 threshold at the start of the month, but I just missed the target. I can’t complain though, I extended my monthly average and I’m only 82p off my target.

This goal has been one of the most pleasing for me in 2017. It’s been a long-term goal of mine to earn enough investment income to surpass my living expenses and at the time of writing, I’ve now officially achieved that goal. I’m forecast to earn just over £7,000 for 2017, which I’ll be delighted with. There’s still time to add companies and loans to my investment portfolio which will extend this total further, but you never know what’s going to happen in the investment world so I don’t get too carried away with advanced predictions.


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

This goal has largely been on the backburner this year whilst I’ve been working on my course.

I only published one blog post in October, which was my September monthly goal update. My subscriber count increased marginally to 41.

Last month I detailed my plans for the blog once I’ve finished Innovative Self Publishing. I don’t plan on increasing my efforts on the blog until my course content is more established, so the likelihood is this goal won’t be achieved, which I’m happy to trade.


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

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 September:

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


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


The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom’ by Don Miguel Ruiz – AMAZON LINK

I’ve been recommended to read this book by a couple of people, so I added it to my wishlist last year. It’s a short read, but very powerful. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book.

Don Miguel offers a path to the good life by following four agreements:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best

Don Miguel believes we must break the old agreements that we have – that are predominantly fear based – and reclaim our power, joy and fulfilment by adhering to the agreements.

The guidelines are simple to understand in theory, but quite another challenge to live by consistently. If you manage to live by these rules, I have no doubt you’ll be an exceptional human being.

If you have any interest in personal development or living a more fulfilled life, I would recommend checking this out.

8/10 – Recommended


7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R. Covey – AMAZON LINK

A classic self help book that lives up to its reputation. It was first published in 1990, but its message still holds true (as do all of the great books over time). If you have any interest in improving yourself and your relationship with others, be it with your family, friends or colleagues, the content in this book will 100% deliver that for you if you implement it. The book is pitched as a business book, for leadership. Don’t let that put you off if you aren’t in a management position. The best leaders are great humans, and this book is centred on improving yourself, before helping others.

I’ve now read a number of quality self help books and this has to rank up there as one of the best. His section on the Emotional Bank account, and how to improve relationships was excellent. Habit 5: “seek first to understand, then to be understood” would transform the world if we all implemented it.

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


The Little Book That Still Beats the Market‘ by Joel Greenblatt – AMAZON LINK

An entertaining, simple to understand and informative book on stock investing. Joel wrote the book in an attempt to explain how to value stocks to his son. As a result, he’s created a wonderfully simple formula for valuing companies that almost anyone could use to try and beat the market.

I really enjoyed the author’s writing style. I wish I could write like that. He makes a lot of sense, backs it up and has fun on the way. I agree with Joel in that you should keep to a formula like his or negate stock selection altogether and stick to index investing. Investing in a disciplined, non-emotional way is the only way to do it…. successfully.

The message from the book is pretty simple, buy companies that have a high return on equity (highly profitable) and a high dividend yield (income to the investor). Profitability has always made sense to me. Prior to reading this book, I’d say it was one of my most important markers, and after reading it, it’s cemented my view.

His formula for selecting stocks is easy to follow, but it is based on US companies. The author has set up a free website that ranks US companies based on his metrics. Those of us in the UK might not use this list due to the tax implications, but it’s not too difficult to use his formula and adapt it to UK companies.

The downsides to the book were minimal but still worth mentioning. First of all, he does little to highlight the dangers of company debt. There are companies with a high-profit margin but are riddled with debt. Debt, alongside profit, are two of the most important metrics I look for in a company. I think some people in the UK, without the use of his list, could invest their money into some risky stocks without looking into what a company owes.

I would say, to a lesser extent, that it was a little expensive for what it was. I could only get it in hardback in the UK and it only took a couple of days to read leisurely. With that said, the value in the book more than outweighs the cost of it.

I would encourage anyone new to investing to read it!


7/10 – Recommended for people new to investing


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

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
6. Jul – The Crown and Punchbowl Pudding Night
7. Jul – Date Night at home
8. Aug – Date Night at home


Lou and I have let this goal drift away for another month. Lou is trying to expand her Ebay business, which is based around upcycling. She’s been putting a lot of time, money and effort into making it work, and date nights have been seen as more of a hindrance than a luxury.

I haven’t forced the issue either. If we go on a date night, then great. But if we don’t, then I save a few quid and I have an evening to do something else.

As I mentioned in last months update, I think we’re going to transition this goal into stopping away from home at B&B’s rather than date nights moving forward.


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 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 – Joined in June and recently cancelled
  7. Brazilian Jui Jitsu Club – Recently joined and thoroughly enjoying it

Nothing new to add to this goal for October.


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 October I released 1 video and gained 9 subscribers, bringing my totals to 18 videos in 10 months and 413 subscribers.



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

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’m pleased with. These sessions are just part of my weekends now.

I did 3 review sessions in October, which takes me to 35 for the year.

I’m still getting a lot from these weekly review sessions so I have no reason to stop here. 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 October for you?

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


  • dividendgeek

    Reply Reply 12th November 2017

    Your goals are ambitious yet achievable. I love that you set such high standards and achieve them. I wish you the best mate!

    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 12th November 2017

      Thank you Dividend Geek. I appreciate that!

  • Organised Redhead

    Reply Reply 14th December 2017

    Hi Huw!

    So glad that you enjoyed the 7 Habits! It was the very first personal development book I read and it has definitely shaped my life. I also love Covey’s First Things First. The habit you called out was my favourite of the 7, and boy there are times I wished people lived by it!


    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 15th December 2017

      Your positive feedback was a significant reason for buying it in the first place. Thank you again for the excellent recommendation!

      Totally agree with “First Things First”! 🙂

  • Chris Haill

    Reply Reply 4th April 2018

    Great post Huw, love the ambition and how you’re tracking everything. Weekly reviews definitely have completely changed how I work, couldn’t value it highly enough.

    Quick question – do you have a post/ more details on how you setup your passive income stuff? Which dividend companies/ amount of p2p capital you lend to achieve the £500 level?

    Keep up the good work!


    • Huw Davies

      Reply Reply 4th April 2018

      Thanks for the comment Chris!

      Unfortunately, I don’t have a post on my specific breakdown of investments. I’ve invested in just over 30 UK companies for dividends via an ISA for the past 5 years or so. Once I met the £20k annual allocation for my stocks & Shares ISA, I put the rest in P2P and my SIPP.

      If you fill your ISA for 5+ years you should be doing pretty well for yourself.

      Best wishes

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