New Years Resolution

Stop smoking. Lose weight. Save money. Don’t worry. Be happy.

By the time you read this blog post, there’s a good chance that millions of people have already broken their new year’s resolutions. They have these bold ambitions while watching the ball drop in New York’s Times Square, but much like the hangover the next morning, they all go down the toilet. That’s not helpful. That’s not useful.

For my part, I’ve made it a point never to make new year’s resolutions anymore for exactly this reason. They’re far too easy to ignore, far too easy to forget, far too easy to give yourself yet another cheat day. They don’t work. Instead, it makes far more sense to make new year’s goals that are measurable and come with a plan. They need to be goals that mean something and work toward fulfilling a bigger picture.

After giving it some thought, I’ve come up with three main goals that I would like to accomplish this year.

Publish at Least One More Book

As you may already know, Beyond the Margins launched for Amazon Kindle late last year. This is my “indispensable guide for first-time freelance writers, designers and other work-from-home professionals.” For this book, I drew from my own personal experience as a full-time freelance writer, offering some advice for people who are first starting out as entrepreneurs and small business owners. It’s not just for freelance writers.

The print version should be made available soon through Amazon too.

Part of the struggle that I had with Beyond the Margins is that I never gave myself an exact timeline to complete and publish it, so it ended up being a back burner project, taking a back seat to other endeavors and projects for my clients. For 2014, I’m setting the goal to publish (at least) one more book, likely through Amazon and Kindle again.

Learn to Invest Money Better

Yes, I fully realize that this isn’t exactly a “measurable” goal and that it is just as vague as “be happier” or “spend less.”

I’d hardly consider myself to be wealthy, but I’ve always wanted to manage my money better. Up until now, I haven’t really dabbled far beyond the basics of savings accounts, Canada Savings Bonds, GICs and the like. These don’t offer the kind of return on investment that I’d really like to see.

So, my goal for 2014 is to educate myself on finances and investing. I am to learn at least one new thing a week, whether it be about a new investment vehicle, a new investment tool, or whatever else. Moving forward, I may set a goal for 2015 to achieve an “X” percent return, but for 2014, it’s about the education.

Commit to One Hour of Physical Exercise a Week

Ever since graduating from university (and losing access to the student gym) many years ago, I’ve allowed my personal fitness to slide. I may play some tennis in the summer and I may go for the occasional jog, but I know full well that I don’t exercise as much as I should. As I start to get a little older, this will become even more important and regular physical activity needs to become a part of my regular routine.

Some people may scoff at the lack of ambition in this goal, but I would rather commit to something I think I can do than to set the bar much higher and ultimately disappoint myself. As I become better able to “reach the next level” with my health and fitness, I will shift the goals accordingly.

What Do You Want to Accomplish in 2014?

A year is simultaneously a very long and a very short amount of time. You have over 350 days to get something done, but those days can go by in the blink of an eye if you’re not careful. What are your goals for this year? Do you want to travel more? Grow your business? Get in shape? Buy a house? Tame a dragon?