Friday, January 15, 2016

2016 Goals: The Year of Growth

2016. The year of growth!

Usually I talk about consistency, patience, focus and hard work. Not this year. This year I want to grow. I want to grow spiritually, my business, my knowledge, my gratitude. I walked into the year with a cold and as a result had a really downer attitude as well (the stock market's going to crash, interest rates will rise, VR will be ho-hum, etc). Let's just say it made for an interesting prediction show on our podcast where I didn't see many bright spots (P.S. We have a new parallax site design, check it out).

But now I'm feeling better and ready to grow! First up, my verse for the year.

My Aunt Valerie and Uncle Bob came to visit Elinor last year (and me too, but mostly Elinor). During their stay we got into a great discussion about the nature of God. Most likely because of that conversation, they shared a verse with me in December which I'd like to adopt for this year:

Psalm 119:68: "You are good and do good; teach me your statutes."

It's a great reminder that God is good and that I also need to grow in my understanding of His desires for me. Which leads me right into my first goal...

Faith Focus

1) Memorize 52 Bible verses
Last year I memorized 52 verses, and I'd like to do that again. The trick is finding the time to do it now that I'm coming into the office more regularly.

Health Focus

2) Weigh 160
I guess this is a negative growth goal... I'd rather set a % body fat goal, but I don't own one of those fancy scales. So, for now I'll stick with weight. I'm currently hovering around 175. So 15 pounds. To accomplish this I have 2 sub goals:

  • Jessi and I are going to complete 1 P90X cycle (it's 90 days). A friend (thanks Lee!) gave us the DVDs and booklet. We're currently getting the needed equipment and will start in February.
  • During that time I also plan to count my calories each day. That way I'm paying attention to what I eat at the same time. This will set me up for my next goal. If it goes well, I'll look to do another cycle during the fall when cookies and desserts start to become regular occurrences.

3) Fast for 1 week (water only)
I'm fascinated by fasting. I know there are health and spiritual benefits to doing it, which I hope to reap, but that's not the main reason if I'm honest. It simply sounds like a fun challenge. I currently skip breakfast every morning and will regularly forget to eat until 3 or 4pm. So I think I can do this. Of course, when I do eat, I tend to consume more than I should (especially in social settings).

According to the very limited research I've done, I'll want to get my body into Ketosis before starting the fast to help reduce the hunger pains the first couple of days. During the fast I'll want to take it easy on exercising and working. Afterwards, I'll need to ease back into eating a normal diet.

If you have any suggestions (like giving my co-workers a heads up I might be hangry all week) or resources, I'd like to hear about them. I'm aiming for summer time (I think?).

Business Focus

4) Grow ProDIYLandlord
Professional DIY Landlord is my website that helps landlords manage their rentals professionally: to maximize long term cash flow and minimize headaches. I want to grow it's impact. To do that, I have 3 sub goals:

  • Write 1 post  every 2 weeks (26 total). Creating new content will help attract new readers. I have plenty of topics to cover and need to carve out time to write regularly.
  • Grow the email list to 1,000 subscribers. I plan to do this by regularly promoting my new posts.
  • Research what product/service/class I can provide. I started talking to other landlords about their struggles and plan to use those insights to test new ideas. The books I plan to read will help with this goal.

Social Focus

5) Send 1 thank you note each week (52 times)
I'm excited for this goal. One personal growth area for me is gratitude. I take too much for granted and don't say thank you enough. So this year I want to get more comfortable with regularly saying thank you and genuinely improve the way I say thank you. 

I'd like to send actual cards, but I don't know many people's physical addresses. What do you think? Should I stick to email/Facebook/text or go for physical cards?

Education Focus

6) Read 12 books
Jim Rohn famously said "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." This is so true. My plan is to spend 10-20 minutes each evening with an author who took the time to record their knowledge on paper. Specifically, I'm focusing on starting and running businesses so I can grow in my knowledge and confidence.

Those are my goals. Feel free to ask about them any time during the year.

Image inspiration:

Saturday, January 02, 2016

2015 Goals Review: Transformation

(I carried this piece of paper in my wallet. Every time I opened it to pay for something, I got a quick reminder. Being able to check things off during the year is also fantastic.)

The whole family is ringing in the new year sick as dogs (actually, Vinnie seems to be totally fine). I finally mustered up the energy to focus on this post and will ignore the, now impossible, todo list I created for this extra long weekend. So, in the face of plans disintegrating in front me, let's focus on how plans worked out.

It turns out having a baby completely rocks your world. No amount of warning, planning, learning, etc can prepare you for it. It's really hard. Everyone keeps saying it's worth it and I'm just starting to see glimmers of that truth.

My focus last year was to transform my life for this new reality: to become a better dad and husband. It's hard to say for sure if I did since I still very much feel I'm in the middle of it all, but I do notice differences in the way I react to situations. So that's good.

OK. Let's get to it.

1) Memorize 52 Bible verses - YES

That's a picture of my wall next to my computer. I wrote the first letter of each word on an index card and stuck it on the wall. I had a another set which had the verse written out. That way I could look it up quickly when I forgot. I found that I would memorize a couple verses in a row (often to complete a thought) and then spend the following week reviewing all the previous ones.

I loved doing this and hope to continue. It was nice to focus on a small part of the Bible to truly understand each word and deconstruct what the writer said. Plus, it's a ton of fun when someone starts to read the verse and you know it already.

2) Run a half-marathon - YES

I wrote about my knee injury earlier and my decision to walk. I do really enjoy these types of events and want to do one again (Though probably not this year). When I do, I'd like it to do it with a partner.

3) Do 100 push-ups and 200 Crunches - YES

I'll be honest, I'm tired of push-ups and crunches. 2 years every single day, especially when the numbers started to get high, got old. So once I hit my goal in September, I went back to lower reps to just get it over but say I did something. This year I'll be looking to do something different.

4) Earn $1,000 from Pro DIY Landlord - NO

I was right, one of our streams of income dried up this year (Yay for Jessi being able to take care of Elinor full time!). Thankfully the apartment building, now called The Lyon Apartments, helped to offset it.

So, I didn't earn $1,000... but I still wouldn't call this a failure. I do have the website built, started to create content, and am at the beginning stages of building my email list. I've taken a couple copy writing courses and a product development course. So I would really describe this as a year of learning.

My focus so far has been on tenant screening, which if done right, solves 99.9% of the problems landlords experience. I also spent four months (way too long) putting together a deal with TransUnion. Normally they work with larger online properties and I had to demonstrate my "worthiness", which is hard to do when you're new. Plus, they rebuilt their backend system which slowed everything down. But now it's set-up. So when people use TransUnion's service to screen tenants, and they go through, I get a commission. I have a new path to revenue which is pretty cool, right?

I'm also in the process of interviewing other landlords to discover their pain points. Based on those conversations I'd like to create a course/product/service to help them. These conversations have been a lot of fun.

5) Improve eye contact - MAYBE

The hardest part about trying to improve eye contact is remembering to do it. So, at least once a week I would go back to my goals and write each one down 10 times. That helped it stay top of mind. I'll have to go back and ask people if I still seem shifty eyed.

6) Watch only one show / movie per day - NO

I was awesome the first half of the year. Then when Elinor was born things changed (and every parent reading this just went "Yep"). It's hard to type and work with a baby in my arms. She also really likes my bouncy ball chair which is next to my computer. So boredom naturally gave way to regularly watching TV shows. Then once that momentum started, in addition to general tiredness, it was hard to go back.

Still, I did get to spend some fun time with Elinor. And even though she didn't understand anything from my copy writing classes, she willingly snuggled with me during them.

7) Read 4 books - YES

I mentioned in August that I made a small change to where I put my books, and it made all the difference. By August I only read 1 book: Landlording on Autopilot. Once I made the change, here's how I finished the year:

It's amazing how one small change (the location I keep my book) can have such a profound impact on my life. Once I started getting into the flow, I got a Kindle using my "Fun Money" savings account. Those are pretty slick devices. I like being able to read at night without a light, and without the distractions offered by my phone.

So there you have it: 4, maybe 5, YES. 2 NO. Thanks for reading and thanks for the encouragement.