Our Year of Taking Action
Welcome to 2018!
Apologies for taking a break longer than I had anticipated. But life gets in the way sometimes and it sure has in the last month. Occasionally it just full on kicks you in the butt and reminds you of what is important in life. My father had been suffering from Alzheimer's, aka “the shittiest of all diseases” for a number of years and when in my blogs I mentioned that I travel a fair bit, it’s because I go backwards and forwards to Dunedin regularly to visit him. But unfortunately he took a turn for the worse and passed away on the 21st December. It was expected, but also completely unexpected, if you can understand that? To be right there with someone when they pass away is a truly significant experience and one I’ve spent the time since his death dwelling on.
A huge positive is that my entire whanau gathered to be with Dad and then stayed on for Dad’s service, then Mum’s birthday on the 24th (to add to the challenge my Mum is currently receiving treatment for cancer), Christmas and then Dad’s wake. Oh, and when I finally got back to my own home I fell ill for the remainder of my ‘holiday’ then to add insult to injury lost my voice, so there was no podcasting from me for a short while, unless you wanted to hear the story from the croaky frog who ribbits on about personal finance? AND THEN on Friday while in hot pursuit of a mouse that the cat had decided to bring inside Jonny went and snapped in achilles tendon! Despite the seriousness we did manage to find that a little bit funny.
I know! Poor Dad! Poor Mum! Poor Jonny! Poor me right?
And then I was reading Say Yes To Adventure magazine and this quote popped out:
“Put on your positive pants”
So, it’s time to find the good in life again. None of us wander through life in a linea fashion. There are some pretty major bumps along the way that always occur at the most unexpected times, sometimes all at the same time, and at these times I really ask myself if I’m prepared physically, emotionally and financially to deal with them?
And you know what? I mostly am. I’m buggered if I know HOW I manage it sometimes but despite all of the above I can still say that I’m thinking logically, clearly and with a positive outlook. Because life is going to happen TO ME regardless and leading up to these unexpected events you have to build resilience into your character to help you deal with them. AND I find small comfort in burning through another box of tissues in knowing that one of my Index Funds has a tissue maker in its holdings!
Always thinking, always planning…
I move on by reflecting on the past for sure, it’s time to remember the good times with my Dad, but I’ve also got to keep looking forward and memories of my Dad help me do that too. So, headed into 2018 Jonny and I are taking the advice of Chris Guillebeau from Side Hustle School and are spending time conducting our own “annual review” as a couple. I have worked for a number of organisations who conduct such reviews but this one is truly personal this time, focussing just on us. This is a first for us and I’m calling 2018 “our year of taking action” (because everything works better with a title)! We are going to set some personal goals, some business goals, , some learning goals, some financial goals and have a conversation that is not interrupted by our beautiful daughter shouting “Mummmmm” from the other end of the house while we do it.
And I know to some this concept may sound a little naff and very “January” but have you noticed that those who do plan ahead do tend to get ahead? “Failure to plan = plan to fail” and all that guff...
Kids or no kids, single or in a relationship, when do you actually take time out to plan ahead?
How many times do we say:
“When I retire I’m going to…” or “When I have enough money I’m going to…” How many times do you have a great idea, start to thrash it out, but then get sidetracked and you never see it through? For an upcoming podcast I interviewed Ronnie and among many of the key points she said one of them was that “I woke up at aged 39 and wondered why I was not rich”. And then she realised that you had to put actionable steps in place to lead yourself down that path.
Unless we put some actual thought into how we are going to get there we are going to find ourselves at the end of 2018 absolutely no further ahead or headed down a completely different pathway instead!
Last year I set myself (ourselves) a Hairy and Audacious Goal to tip our investments over a particular dollar amount. Daily monitoring and updating of my spreadsheet meant we just scrapped in by I kid you not, about $50! If I had not actively set this goal, I know we would not have achieved it, so off the back of this success I’m excited to write down a few more goals. AND we have given ourselves a pat on the back as well, because reaching this milestone is for us a bloody good achievement! Planning works y'all.
There are a lot of ideas that Jonny and I kick about and we are going to take some time to work out which ones we want to turn into reality and which we won’t bother with. For example, I more than Jonny, talk repeatedly about selling our house and downsizing to one worth about $200,000 less. Then we can add this freed up cash to the savings above, invest that money and create a greater income from it. But when the rubber hits the road WILL we actually do this? Or are we just full of hot air? I will keep you posted on that one…
There are always endless opportunities that call for our time, energy, creativity and money and I’m looking forward to locking in a strategy to deal with these which I know is going to give us some FOCUS.
So, here is how we are going about it, in case you want to give it a go.
First give this podcast a listen: Chris Guillebeau at Side Hustle School Extended Cut: How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review
Chris has also provided a useful template you can use to start your own Annual Review. Click here to download his template.
Then take yourself away somewhere different for a day or a night, without the usual interruptions. Make sure you have internet access so you can Google stuff, eat good food, make sure there is good scenery and make a day or two of it. I’m pretty confident that this is one of the best investments we will be making this year. Planning your year and the things you want to do, see, experience, achieve and feel works. Trust me on this one.