What’s this? New Year’s Resolutions this late?
Yep. It always takes me some time to figure out what I want to do with 2023. Even now, I feel like I’m putting this together at the last minute. My resolutions may need to morph a little bit as the year goes.
I realize that many of you may not be New Year’s Resolutions or Goals people. That’s fine; I’ve got you covered with some…
Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions
I get it. To a lot of people, January 1st is just another day. You can choose to start fresh any day. I’m proof, as I’m writing my resolutions in the middle of January. I may not publish them until near the end of the month.
Nonetheless, there’s something magical about New Year’s Resolutions. You have Groupthink in the form of a billion media articles. Everyone expects it and understands why you are making a sudden change in your life. You also have sales on gym memberships.
I need that extra magic. I’m envious of you if you can pull a fresh start off on February 18th.
If you aren’t into New Year’s Resolutions, there’s a chance that you haven’t set up your goals very well. You want to set up SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. I cover a lot more in that last link, with an Office Space theme if you are a fan of the movie.
Here are a couple more alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions:
- Pick a nudge word
This idea comes from a Washington Post article that I read recently. The idea is to pick a word of the year and stick with it. It could be gratitude, nourish, reconnect, or a pile of other words.
Last year, the author of the article chose “growth” and used it whenever a situation came up. She asked herself, “Will this help me grow?”
- Misogi Challenge
My kids love Japanese culture, so I loved telling them about the Misogi Challenge.
The Misogi Challenge is about doing something that pushes the limit of what you can do and scares you a bit. If you can accomplish this (or even get reasonably close), then almost all the other challenges you’ll face throughout the year will be minor by comparison. That’s probably an oversimplification, but the previous link will get you started with the idea.
The best part is that there are no rules. You can mix and match any of these ideas.
I’m going to a more traditional set of resolutions. Joe from Retire By 40 turned me onto the idea of using a spreadsheet and updating it every month. I usually do my passive income once a month, so I like to review this about 6-8 times a year. I should get it on a more regular schedule.
Lazy Man’s 2023 Goals and Resolutions
Make $90,000 in Income
I had an income of around $51,000 in 2020, $75,000 in 2021, and $98,000 in 2022. The reason for the increase has been that dog boarding has exploded. I think it will continue to do well, but you never know. I need to close a couple few times this year for goals that you’ll see below. We have some home renovations scheduled, and we can’t board dogs while traveling.
In addition to boarding dogs, I have this blog that makes some money. I also run customer relationship management for a small Silicon Valley tech startup.
It sounds like a lot, but most of the work is flexible and not too challenging.
Wife Retirement Savings – $30,000
My wife is looking to save another $30,000 in her squirreled-away account to reach $100,000 in liquid savings. She could definitely retire now but would like that extra security blanket.
We sold a rental property last year and have this $30,000 in cash. We also have conservatively invested a lot more, and we could use those if necessary. Having the $100,000 feels symbolic to me. She doesn’t follow our money as I do, so I can imagine how it might mean a lot more to her.
I’ve been trying to create an estate plan for a long time. The big stumbling block is that the lawyers want our money situation in their format (every account, every share, etc.), and putting that on paper is very difficult.
I may just need to throw up my hands and say, “Here’s a spreadsheet of our net worth… I’ll walk you through it.” They don’t need me to write down each individual stock, quantity, and share price. If they do, I can get supply printouts.
We became very good friends with a great insurance agent about a year and a half ago. We should have done this last year. I’ve been procrastinating because I’m smarter than the average bear when it comes to insurance. I’m not a professional, though. This could be a win-win.
Of course, there’s a reason why I didn’t do it last year. There are a lot of types of insurance, and we effectively have a significant financial “presence” in four states. We’ve tried to consolidate as much insurance under USAA to make life easier, but they don’t do everything in every state.
Since my wife is military, most of the USAA insurance is in her name and doesn’t show up in my accounts. We need to have a call with USAA to figure out how I can get access to all our policies. Alternatively, my wife could print them out if that makes getting started easier.
Kid Wealth (50,000 Page Views, 75 articles)
Last year, I set a goal to hit 50,000 page views, and I’ve only had about 5,000 page views. It’s hard to expect 10x growth, but I hope that something will go slightly viral. That’s all it really takes.
I also want to publish 75 new articles. I published 64 articles last year, but some of them were written for Lazy Man and Money originally. This is an aggressive number. I have some new tools to help me write a little faster, and I may hire a writer.
Content Audit – 15 Articles
A content audit is a review and refresh of older articles on a website. Lazy Man and Money has over 2700 articles over 16 years of publishing. That’s a LOT of outdated articles.
I’ve always been overwhelmed by how much work it is. However, if I can just do my most popular, un-updated 15 articles, it will be a win.
Dog boarding Website
I get most of my dog boarding business through Rover.com. Rover takes a 15% commission, and it’s well-deserved when they bring me business. However, I’ve started getting more business through local connections. I need to have a website to refer people to book outside of the Rover system. That way, I can keep all the money.
Lose Weight (Target: 175lbs 24% body fat
I got close to this last year. I got to around 178 pounds and 23.8% body fat. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep it. Let’s re-roll it again this year.
30 “Health Wins”/Month
I wrote an Extreme Lazy Man’s Diet a couple of years ago. It’s really difficult to keep up with it consistently. However, I think it’s possible to stick to an average of one a day.
Recently, my most common “health win” is to start the day with a salad bowl of raw baby carrots and broccoli. I make it and put it on the counter. Then I pick at it over the next few hours as I’m doing stuff around the house. I usually get up between 5-6 AM, and this helps me fend off breakfast until around 9:30-10 AM.
I’m not always going to be able to make that bowl – especially when we’re traveling. I’ll need to look for other “health wins”. I’m purposely aiming for health wins instead of “diet wins”. This allows me to substitute exercise if there’s not a great diet win opportunity available.
I completed this one already this year. I needed to find a new dentist. Sounds easy, but it isn’t.
My insurance, military, isn’t taken by many dentists in our area. My old dentist couldn’t figure out how to bill insurance, and they were overworked with the Great Resignation. They said that they submitted it, but my insurance said they never got it. My dentist and insurance pointed figures at each other for about eight months. My insurance said that I couldn’t submit the claim myself because it violated their agreement with the dentist. They tried to call the dentist (with me on the line), but the dentist could never pick up because they were too busy.
In the meantime, my dentist decided that they would just bill me as if I had no insurance. They wanted their money, which is reasonable.
Finally, my insurance allowed me to submit the claim, and they paid it. Phew! I dodged a bullet, but I couldn’t get any more dental care there.
I called a new dentist and set up an appointment, but they didn’t have an appointment available for seven months. I booked that and said that I’d take any kind of cancellation if they had an opening. After three months, they never called me for a cancellation. I called them up to ask if they still had me on the list. They didn’t have me on the list. They didn’t have my appointment, which was now supposed to be four months away. They were also dropping my insurance in two days.
It’s been a disaster trying to get a dentist, and I felt defeated whenever I tried. Logging into military dental insurance is a challenge. The password requires 15 characters, and it needs to be changed every 90 days – about any time that you’d log into your dental insurance. They then need to verify the phone – the typical code via text. Then there was a step to download a Microsoft verification app to your phone and create an account there.
It… is… a… lot!
However, I finally got a dentist, and they had an appointment the next day. It’s great! I’m going to book them for any and every kind of service they offer. If they want to charge me $100 to meet the Tooth Fairy, I’m on board.
I think I have ADHD. There’s a family history, and I feel like I have all the signs.
I tried to get tested two years ago. I explained to my primary care physician that health care has always been a mess for me. The dentist saga above is typical and actually worse in a lot of cases. My physician had a doctor call me to evaluate me for ADHD. I told them my insurance, and they didn’t take it. End of the phone call, end of any attempt to get testing or a diagnosis.
Maybe I can get this done, but I have a couple of other healthcare battles to fight as well.
I need to come up with some hobbies. My hobbies have largely been related to work or parenting. I need to come up with some other stuff.
Read Three “Fun” Books
I have a ton of sports books that I’ve been gifted over the years. I’m not limiting this to only sports books, though.
I can’t remember the last adult book (to differentiate it from kid books that I read for Kid Wealth) that I finished. It might be my possible ADHD that makes it so difficult for me to concentrate on a book.
I bought myself a drone last Christmas (13 months ago), and I haven’t done anything other than get it to hover in the living room. I want to spend more time learning how to fly, but I also want to do it with my kids. We are also boarding a few dogs at any given time – so it’s hard to just leave them to go fly a drone.
I want to
Program in Python
Last year, I had this goal and didn’t make much progress. I want to create a “toy” app. It doesn’t have to be useful, but just something that gets me back to being the software engineer that I used to be.
Clean and Organize House
I feel like most of the house is clean, considering the number of dogs we have here. However, we seem to just acquire more and more stuff. It’s time to reduce and organize.
To start, we’ve hired painters to paint the whole interior of the house – well, almost everything. We’re also replacing the carpets upstairs. When we bought the house they weren’t pet-friendly and the new ones should be much better. They are starting as I publish this.
We like to travel three or four times a year. We talk about where we want to go, and my wife handles the logistics. I need to be more involved. She just finished planning our trip to southern California in March. We’re going to hit Disneyland, Universal, and visit some friends. Oh, and my wife has a pharmacy convention where she’s being inducted into the Pharmacist Hall of Fame. It’s not literally called that, but that’s what she compared it to. It’s great that they planned the ceremony around our travel and kids’ school vacation. I’m joking, but it just worked out that way.
It’s getting hard to travel because our dog is 14 years old. However, she found an awesome Rover sitter who works at the animal hospital across the street from where we live. She’s young and lives with her mother, so house-sitting for us is a perfect situation for her. It’s perfect for us too because our dog can be comfortable in a place he knows without having to deal with stairs or anything like that.
For our other travel, we’ll likely do our annual staycation to Block Island in the summer. We want to do a European cruise in August. We want to go back to our Aruba timeshare in November/December.
FinCon, the personal finance convention, is in New Orleans in October. I love New Orleans, and I’m happy to pull the kids out of school for a few days to go. There’s a lot of culture there, and it will be a great field trip.
That’s a lot of travel. With all that travel, I may not do as much dog boarding. That impacts the income goal. All this travel also leads to a lot of spending, which impacts the goal of my wife saving for retirement. It’s going to be a balance. What’s the point of money if you can’t enjoy it right?
Our kids are now 9 and 10. They are able to do more and more all the time. We’ve come a long way since we were wiping their butts.
In no particular order, this is what I have planned for the kids this year. This is in addition to karate, music lessons, Cub Scouts, and other stuff they do. They’re already doing well in ski/snowboarding lessons – we can check off that box.
YouTube Channel (20 videos)
They usually get excited about their channel in December. They throw together a few videos and call it good. This year, my 9-year-old actually put together a script, and they worked on it for a few hours. The odd thing is that my 10-year-old is a theater junkie. Once we get our basement painted, it will be easier to make movies.
The goal isn’t to become YouTube stars. It’s just an extension of drama class. I want the kids to be comfortable in front of a camera, know how to edit videos, and simply be able to present their ideas outside of the written word. If all that fails, they are being creative, which is always a great learning experience. I work with them to figure out how we can make the videos better. It’s fun for me too.
My 9-year-old enjoys sports, but he loves art and building more. I’ve already applied him to M.I.T.’s architecture school early decision – LOL. It will be easy to get him into sports. He gives 110% effort into everything, and it’s great!
My 10-year-old doesn’t do well with sports. He has fun, but he’s extremely competitive at everything and not athletic (blame my bad genes). It’s not a great combination. I think a little more confidence can make a world of difference.
The goal here is to throw the football around, hit some baseballs, or basically just be a kid. It sounds easy, but we’re booking a lot of camps. The dog boarding means that our yard needs to be cleaned up well before we can play.
My 9-year-old loves art. He’s great at drawing, but he’s not as excited to color it. I spotted a deal on a Samsung Tablet (S7, I think) last year. It came with a great pen. I wanted him to use it more for his art last year, but it didn’t work out. I’ll make it a formal goal this year. It will be easier for him to add color. He’ll be able to print out copies and share them with friends.
I think he’ll still love pen and paper, but I think learning how to use art software is great for him too.
I don’t know how to move forward with computer programming for my 10-year-old. He dreads going to Lego Robotics but then has so much fun there. I don’t think he’s learning a lot of programming. My only other options are to home-school it, and he’s very busy with other extracurricular activities.
My 9-year-old loves Legos, and his robotics class is going to start in a week.
In previous years, we had the kids try all sorts of camps. Some things worked, and some things didn’t. I feel like we’ve honed on what works, so we’ll continue with those. We don’t know about the timing of what’s going to be offered, so we’ll have to see how it works out.
Wow, that’s quite the list. I originally thought about shrinking the list from last year, but what’s the fun in that? You can’t accomplish big things without thinking big, right?
When I have a list this big, I know that I’m setting myself up for failure. There’s a certain amount of freedom to that. The pressure is off to get it all done.
That’s the longest article that I’ve written in some time. I should have split it into two articles.