2015 have been a great year for me.
I say that because every year, my company will accompany their bonus and increment letter by saying the year have been challenging with this turmoil that turmoil, be happy with what you get.
I got sick of these expectations managing email.
So here is me saying its was a great year!
My net worth didn’t go anywhere due to the market volatility, but its a great year!
I didn’t get any where with my health issues, but its still a great year!
I ended the year watching my only movie for a long time twice and its been a good experience.
Instead of doing a review of 2015 and then what are the goals for 2016, I decide to do a list of things I hope to carry out in the new year.
Not Making Vague Goals but Specific Achievable Systems
This is the period where you get a lot of memes and blog post telling you that you need to do this, you need to do that.
Goals probably get forgotten in February when there is very little motivation to do it.
It gets even worse when there isn’t a review every half yearly at least because, who seriously do personal reviews other than top performers in life?
I think that, for myself, as long as I create a few specific achievable systems with clear end points, this gets me closer to where I want to be than not moving at all.
So instead of goals or even milestones for measuring, letSo ‘s focus on the actions.
1. Live and Die by the Calendar and To Do List
Folks who first met me have asked me how come I can consistently write so much post when I have a day job.
I think they don’t realize the amount of time I waste, else how much more I could have achieved.
I spend too much time delving on nonsensical things I see on the internet when I was suppose to be doing something.
But who doesn’t?
It is just that for myself I see this as an area that if I improve I could achieve much more.
I use 2 Cloud Apps to help me:
- Sunrise with Google Calendar [free]
- Todoist [paid]
My first rule is that I will fail from time to time. I accepted that but I will still continue to do it as I will improve overtime, but I am not the perfect robot.
The second rule is to accomplish progress on 2 main tasks that determines the outcome greatly a day.
I will block out tasks in at most 4 quarter slots. If the task is more time consuming then its half day slots. Night time 1 quarter slots.
I felt its no point over planning the small things.
Also plan in FREE and Leisure things. You need to make an appointment with yourself.
The third rule, if its not on the calendar or not on the Todoist, don’t do!
Todoist, like Sunrise is ubiquitous that it can be assess in all platforms, so that makes dumping my thoughts the moment I think of them and review to be very accessible.
This means less points of failure.
2. Focus more on the assets that have the greatest impact to my Wealth
In 2015, the market was lukewarm, but more so, I made a decision to be more detached from doing the usual level of stock prospecting and wealth management.
The reason is that they say these stresses affect the auto inflammatory nature of my body. So I should “relax” more.
So what if I took a deliberate step back from these “stressful” stuff and see if there are profound changes?
I realize that as I grow older, I grow accustom to market draw downs, but when it comes to whether a less stressful environment helps, I do not think so.
Rather, I more or less confirms that it is not stress that aggravates these problems.
It is how you perceive stress as constructive and meaningful or the opposite that determines whether it affects the body in a negative way.
If you get more competent, you handle these competencies be it work or wealth building better, and naturally you cope better with the stress.
So the solution is: get better at wealth management and wealth building.
It also occurred to me that while I wrote that, at a certain point, your wealth machines will get to a point where if you are competent or not competent in managing them has a greater impact than last time when your wealth is much smaller. (Read When it is Smarter for you to focus on Saving versus focusing on Investing)
If I look at my portfolio of cash flow:
- Human Capital
- Wealth Machine: Value Based Income Investing
The biggest impact will be #2.
If I do well or not do well, the impact could be $25,000 to $50,000.
The net worth drop this year is $30,000 at least, which is more than what I put in annually from my disposable income to my wealth machines.
There is no change in the specific systems here, but to leverage on allocating more calendar slots to the wealth machine and focus on the process of value based income investing.
3. Cook 2 Specific Dishes Competently
I do not have a huge love for cooking.
I have an affinity to cooking since I spend much time when I was young watching cooking shows.
Over time, a lot of people ask me whether the food I brought to work is cooked by me. They are not but cook by my mom.
This gets to me not because I have an ego problem but that, I am still reliant on them in this area.
I believe I can do better.
It is not like I can’t cook. It is just that I am really not familiar with these dishes.
The upside of being competent is that, next time in the worse case scenario I have 2 dishes to alternate and eat.
I get so competent that there is very little resistance in head to preparing food since I get as competent in sourcing for the ingredients, preparing and cooking to cleaning that it becomes habitual.
Since most of our daily meals is a mix vegetable bowl and a meat dish, I basically mastered the harder one since I can just steam some meat or sauteed some meat and that is done.
Limiting to 2 dishes make the barrier low and achievable.
Master 2 dishes and make them eatable and delicious is better than learning to cook 10 and being very hit and miss with them.
Lastly, the lessons learn from being competent in 2 dishes will enable me to add some variations if it becomes too boring next time.
4. Spend more time with Ah Ma
Ah Ma is 90.
Whenever I hear her laugh I just think that man, I am going to miss that next time.
Let’s not have too much regrets in life.
5. Live Like Its Financial Independent
In my post updating our 2015 annual expenses, I stated that the net worth value in theory brings me close to the Financial Security Level, if not its already there.
In the past year, I sort of have that realization that: Why am I striving to reach a certain state, just to live the life that I want?
Why not try to live that life now?
I can’t perfectly reached that currently with a job, but if the goal for FI is to live on your own terms, then you should learn to live on your own terms now.
This is so unlike a financial blog.
There is no I strive to save $50,000 like some blogger, or achieve 20% year on year investment growth.
I won’t even ask you guys to buy Macbooks just because the whole team uses it (btw, go ahead and choose to buy a Macbook versus a $500 worthless refurbished Asus that I am using to do this post, which is completing its 2 year anniversary).
I use enough different laptops at work to tell you guys that a laptop 5 years ago can do most of what you guys do nowadays, be it trade the markets, watch movies, YouTube, spreadsheet and word processing (well except probably the first generation Atom range netbooks).
And most smartphones are just awesome nowadays (that includes my china made phone that battery last 2 hours)
5 Actions is good enough. Too much and its unrealistic for me.
New Year resolution do not work because you have the ability to choose yet you choose not to do anything.
The first step is whether you have that motivation to convert that inner voice in you to actions.
If you do not do this, its either you have life figured out and you are at peace with yourself, or that you choose to do the stuff that you do not like.
If it is the former, I salute you.
If its the latter, either take action now and design specific habits or systems that push you in the right direction or let procrastination murder that little voice in your head.