At the start of the year I published my goals for 2017. I also promised to keep you updated on my progress with them. This is the first update to see how on track I am, to keep my accountable and to show you how it's going. I had planned on breaking it down into monthly reviews for the first quarter of the year so you can see exactly how it all came about, but when I wrote the January review, it got quite long, so I've decided to give you monthly reviews instead.
You can read the whole start of year goals post here, but as a quick reminder, here's what I promised. One blog post a week, totalling 50 this year; 3 niche sites up and running by the end of the year; all three credit cards cleared; save £1,000 and to finish the Insanity workout programme.
The Blog Promise
In January, I published all 5 blog posts that I had planned to. I promised one a week and have been completely on top of it. Not only have I published each post on time, but I have 6 written and ready to go in advance as well! This is great as it means that while I'm in South Africa, I can just publish pre-written posts and not have to worry about getting access to the internet while I'm there and writing while trying to keep up with the activities as well. It's been fun and challenging and educational. Some posts have come easy and some have taken more work than I thought they would. It seems like I can't yet tell which one is which, but I'm enjoying it all the same.
Making Niche Sites
This one has a bit of a grey area. I started making a niche site with my fiance at the start of the year, but he kinda took it away and made pretty much the entire website with someone else then came back and said do I want to write for it? To which I (reasonably and politely, of course) said no thank you! I didn't want to write for his site. It was supposed to be our site.
So while we are now back on speaking terms and I have looked over a few of the articles and correcting them, since my English and grammar is better than his, I don't feel like this is my site. Technically it's there and it's published and the money it'll make will go towards our trip, as was the initial plan, but I don't feel like I can count is as part of my quota.
I have started a second site though. Or a first site, depending on how we end up looking at this. The keyword research is under way, but it's so brand new that by the end of January I think it doesn't count. That's ok though. The plan was always to have it as my main focus after the first 100 days of the year. This period, I gave to writing this blog, but since I'm so far ahead, I can start a new project sooner.
Conclusion: This part isn't yet being met, but it's not off track.
The Money Stuff
Clearing the Credit Cards
The first credit card has been cleared already! Granted, it was the one with the least on it, but it still counts. The others are seeing a noticeable decrease in their balance. I've not quite decided yet though whether to concentrate fully on one at a time or to try and bring them both down gradually together. What would you do? Let me know in the comments below.
I've also put away some savings, though a very small amount. This is my first pay since Christmas, so there was an extra week to get through. Our South Africa trip comes from this pay too so there's not much left. I've started though and that's important. To make it non-negotiable. I'm cultivating the mindset of save first and spend what's left rather than spend first and save what's left at the end, cause usually it's nothing.
This one hasn't started yet. I'm predicting that it will come with the niche sites. I need to be earning £125 per month by each quarter to keep on track with it. This one is interesting though as the income won't be linear like that. It'll take a bit of time to get going and then it'll go up quickly.
Organising My Food
This one has worked so well! I've barely cooked all month. On a Sunday evening, I spent around 90 minutes. I made 2 lentil bakes at once and freeze one for later and a pasta bake that did 3-4 meals each for 2 of us. Though I did get a bit sick of eating this and Anthony finished it off. I made mince and bolognase sauce that then went in the freezer for later. I even steamed some vegetables in advance and put them in tubs in the fridge and had carrot sticks ready to go as snacks. Not only did we eat healthy this month, but at the end of the month we had enough money left in the food account to pay for a weekend cottage in South Africa! All because I was organised and we had no takeaways.
The Insanity Challenge
I haven't started this one. I knew that there weren't enough days to complete it before we went away and there's no guarantee that I'll be able to keep it up while we're gone. Instead, I started the Ashy Bines Ab Challenge again and am enjoying my third run through that. After this and our trip to South Africa, I'll start Insanity. I'm even looking forward to it. I always get really good results from that workout.
Some Unexpected Extras
When you change certain keystone habits, other parts of your life seem to change by default, with almost no effort at all. I'm not sure which keystone habit I've altered, but I have found that along the way I've achieved even more than I set out to. Not only am I ahead in some of my goals (which is new to me, I'm more of a last minute, panic and catch up kinda person usually), but I've also started getting up early. Easily and without complaint. Anyone who knows me may well not even believe this.
Each morning, I get up 30 minutes before I have to and usually even before the alarm. I do it first time,
without pressing snooze and don't have to fight for it. I have no idea where this has come from,I just do it. It's not something that I had intended to make into a habit. In fact, I had accepted that I was just not a morning person and that planning things in the morning didn't work for me, but here I am. Awake at 6:00am every day.
Along with this, I've also meditated every day this year. I always intended to and I'd made it my goal for the last few months in a row to mediate for at least 24 days out of the month. That's 80% so I gave myself a small fail rate to be realistic. However, each morning, when I get up early, I meditate for around 15 minutes using the Calm app. This has helped loads with my concentration and stress levels. It teaches you how to train your brain to focus, to be present completely in what you're doing and to be non-reactive to external stimuli. I've even learned to sleep better with it.
January Review Summary
Everything is either on track or ahead of schedule. January has been a good month and I haven't burnt out from it. I've formed some very sustainable habits. I'm confident that I can keep these up and continue through the year. I will make this year the best one yet and set up the next year to be even better.
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