Thanks for tuning into my goals series! Though I try to keep this website filled with tips on personal branding and side hustling, I take a couple posts a year to selfishly talk about myself and my goals. I do this for two main reasons:
Nothing puts the pressure on you to do something than when you’ve made it publically known you are and might not come through.
I hope that in sharing my goals, we can communicate about our goals together and help and support each other.
I’m a fan of setting and keeping track of my goals (personal, professional, and financial) on a quarterly basis (you can see my entire goal system here). I find New Year’s resolutions to be too big + long to keep momentum, and a month isn’t usually enough time to make a big change.
This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
2017 has been quite the year so far! The first quarter was relatively low key, which I intended it to be. I wanted to save money and rest these first three months for two reasons:
1- Upcoming wedding season
Apparently, I’ve reached the age where all of the sudden weddings are popping up left and right. This actually isn’t so much the case from my friends here in NYC (New Yorkers, in general, get married later, which I think is because of an intense focus on careers. As dating expert Erika Kaplan says, “No one moves to New York for love.”)
Yet, I am from the midwest, and people over there are ready to tie the knot. This is all a long way to say that I’m going to several weddings this spring and summer, so I wanted to spend the winter staying put in NYC.
2- Recovering my savings
I’m still financially recovering from quitting my job last year and spending 4 months income-less in Southeast Asia. Until I had replenished my savings, I didn’t want to travel much.
Nonetheless, this has been a great year so far! Some of the highlights are:
- Meeting Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation
- Celebrating my anniversary with my boyfriend
- Traveling to Maui to see the whale migration
I have no complaints about having a slow(er) couple of months. I love New York so much that every day here still feels like an adventure.
Quarter 1, 2017
Here’s a look at how I did for my goals in the first quarter. You can read that entire post here.
Have coffee or drinks with one new person in my industry every month
Success! This went well and is something I hope to continue doing. I’ve learned that more important than meeting someone new once a month is fostering those connections longterm. To make sure that happens, I created a networking system which has helped so much. It reminds me every couple of months of who I need to reach back out to and who I haven’t been in touch with. I go over how to create this system in my Create Your Community Challenge, which you can take for free here!
Sort of. I got better at this, but still not perfect. As you can see from my progress chart, I slacked a bit more on Mondays and Fridays. One thing I did notice is that I thought (hoped) this would overflow into my life and make me more punctual in other ways, and it certainly has not. So, that’s going to need to be its own goal.
Psst: grab your copy of this excel spreadsheet, formulas in place, below! Simply enter your own goal and watch your own habits start developing by checking off each day you reach it.
Up my savings by the equivalent to 2% of my annual income
Success! I actually put the amount equaling 5% of my annual income in savings, which feels awesome. But, I couldn’t have done that without the help of my handy tax refund, so I’m not trying to get too comfortable with my savings habits. I know I still have a ways to go.
The real game changer for me has DEFINITELY been automating my savings. I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner and highly recommend everyone does it. You can read my entire automated savings system here. This automatically pulls from my checking account to my savings account once a month with about 15% of my monthly income that I don’t even have to worry about or do anything about it. Then, I also have just an extra $25 pulled every Monday from checking to savings. Between the two of them, timing wise and actual amount, my savings has grown so much faster. I highly recommend this.
Don’t eat out for one meal
I ate out 4 times in 3 months. I didn’t reach my goal. As I saw more savings go in, I felt less pressure to save money and eat in, so I splurged a couple of times. It was fine financially, but I still didn’t like that I wasn’t keeping my promise to myself.
So, in about mid-March, I instead of continuing to eat out, I raised my monthly grocery budget by $40 so that I could do some more creative + expensive grocery shopping while still keeping true to my goal. It was a bit boring and packing lunch every single day was time-consuming, but I definitely think this goal helped my savings success. Importantly, it also showed me how possible it is to eat inexpensively, and I don’t think I’ll get lazy about eating out a lot for a long time.
Finish 3 Books
Nope. I failed at this goal by only completing 2 and I’m bummed with myself.
That said, I had a great time with the two books I did complete:
- Boss Bitch by Nicole Lapin
- The Big Life by Ann Shoket
I was lucky enough to help out with the launch of both of these books. I met Ann Shoket last fall in Soho and was overcome by her motivation to empower women and girls. When she mentioned her upcoming book, we figured out how I could help get the word out (though she hardly needed help, she’s got amazing fans!). You can read more about her book and how you can apply it to your life here.
Nicole Lapin is one of my ultimate career role models, so getting Boss Bitch in the mail was one of the more exciting moments of March. I recommend it for all women, no matter where in your career you are or want to be. You’ll devour it.
Start Reading the News Daily Again
Successful, but not any happier.
After the polarizing election in 2016, I found myself straying away from the news. Not just regarding US politics, but all together. It was like I had hit a limit and just needed to cleanse. I don’t think the news is any happier, but I have incorporated the NY Times into my morning routine again. I’ve started reading more of the Opinion pieces because the variety makes it more relatable and interesting.
These are the goals I had for my blog for this quarter 1.
1- Take one web development e-course
- The Profitable Teacher by Teachable
- Draw More Traffic To Your Site from Udemy
2- Grow my email list by 300%
I did this! Very proudly!
3- Attend 3 blog-related in-person events
1- Pizza with Melyssa Griffin
2- Spoke at Women Entrepreneur’s Network event in Soho
3- Began hosting a monthly girl’s dinner for my blog
Overall, 2017 has so far been a success for work and for my blog. Of course, there will always be things I wish I completed, but I think I’ve set myself up for a great year. Here’s to the next quarter!
Quarter 2, 2017
Okay! Now, onto the future.
Attend two professional development events
The majority of the work I do at my job is professional development for our members, which means we put on a lot of programs, panels, and events. This quarter, I want to branch out and attend two events that relate to my work and/or career field NOT put on by my own company.
Empower others more
I’ve been unbelievably lucky to meet people that have connected me and empowered me in selfless and meaningful ways, and I definitely think it’s time I upped my game with giving. At least twice a month, I want to be able to say what I’ve done to help someone in their career that month.
Double my side income
This is a pretty big goal! But, I’m determined I can do it. I make side income right now from blogging and freelance writing, and it’s so helpful, especially in my quest to pay off my student loans at an expedited rate. I’m excited to see what new ways I can earn more money.
Habit- Eat out once a week
No more no less. It might seem over-calculated to manage this so much, but I’m doing it for a couple of reasons:
1- I still want to make sure I’m not overspending on something like food, which I view as an easy way to waste money and become unhealthy when eating out too much. Once a week is enough.
2- I actually want to push myself to allow myself to eat out more for my social life. I like that I’m self-disciplined but sometimes I feel it comes at the cost of my relationships and social life, so I’m going to try to eat out once a week this quarter, no more, no less.
3- My boyfriend and I are moving in together (!!), and I am thinking this might be one of the ways we still make sure we go on “dates” even when we’re seeing each other so often.
Do something for my scoliosis once a month
I don’t often write about this, but I have very severe scoliosis. It’s one of the most difficult parts of my life. Over the years, I’ve tried SO many coping methods. Yoga, pilates, swimming, massages, you name it. I’ve finally found some that do work quite well and need to make it a habit of keeping them up.
Practice gratitude every single day
I’m cheating and doing two personal habits this quarter. This one shouldn’t be too difficult though and it’s so important to me. I want to make sure I’m practicing gratitude every day and look forward to trying different and new ways of doing so.
Move apartments and lower my rent
This might seem like a weird “goal”, but I’m trying to move in this quarter and if you have ever moved apartments in NYC, you know that it is actually the worst thing in the world. This will be the fourth apartment I’ve moved into New York and though it’s exciting at first, it’s always a headache trying to find apartments with no broker fee, or finding brokers that aren’t so pushy, figuring out when to move and how to move and going through the intense sober reality of how much it actually costs you to live here. It’s not for the thin skinned.
This time, I’m going to actively try to make it as smooth as possible. This means focusing on all the moving parts carefully, but also remembering that things will eventually work out (they always do!) and not allowing the stress of moving leak into my life. I also have the goal to move somewhere slightly less expensive. To follow along on my apartment hunting, follow me on Instagram here.
Overall, Urban 20 Something is going well and I am happy with it. I feel fortunate that I have a full-time job I love so much so that I can learn blogging at my own pace, without relying on it as a source of income. It’s what allows me to keep focusing on what I want to write about and what I think is helpful, without feeling pressure to monetize it.
Still, one of my favorite parts of my blog is how much I learn about online entrepreneurship and the blogging community, so I definitely want to see it grow.
1- Grow my email list by 300%
This seems crazy to me and I’m not sure I’ll actually reach it. BUT when I wrote my Quarter 1 goals, one of my goals was to grow my email list by 300% and I grew it by 400%! So, I’m shooting high in quarter 2. Let’s do this!
2- Launch my Ecourse.
It’s juuuust about ready and I just need to wrap up the recordings. I have been working on this for almost 7 months at this point and I can’t wait to launch it.
3- Focus more on SEO
After I finish my Ecourse, I want to focus on learning more about SEO and increasing traffic organically.
How are you 2017 resolutions going?