2012 is getting off to a fine start! The economy is shot, the Eurozone is in a state of near collapse, and the government is as incompetent as ever! However, not all is gloom and doom. Even as the larger economic environment continues to tank, we as individuals can still take actions to substantially improve our lives. I believe that setting realistically achievable objectives is valuable in these trying times. Clear goals provides direction and purpose. It helps us help ourselves. By having a list of stuff that I can shoot to get done, I’m going to improve the quality of life for myself and my family this year.
So here is my new year’s resolution:
1. Lose 30 pounds through diet and exercise!
A stressful job, sleep deprivation, and infant care has really taken a toll on my body in the past year. I’ve put on quite a few pounds and I am certainly not loving it. It’s mighty difficult to survive hard times if you’re carrying around so much lard! Since government mandated healthcare is just around the corner, I really need to shape up! My goal is to walk at least 20 miles a week and avoid eating red meat until I lose 30 pounds. In any case, I should be eating more green vegetables and whole grains since I could actually grow many of these foods myself.
2. Slash our family’s student debt by 50%
As many of you know, we still owe around 95K of student debt. And the debt’s interest is really high, averaging at about 7.5%! It is a tremendous financial and emotional burden upon myself and my wife. This year we will do whatever it takes to pay off 50% of this debt. In 2011, We’ve already cut our spending down to the bone. Now that my wife has gone back to work, we can really focus on paying down this debt as much as possible. It’s going to be a lean year for us, but hopefully within 2 years, we’ll be free from the shackles of debt Slavery!!!!
3. Pay off the rental property Mortgage
As many of you know, we own a house in another state. And by “own” I really mean that we are leasing the house from the bank. I had to move to New York due to the lack of job opportunities back home. So I turned that little house into a rental property. The major good news in 2011 is that the property market stabilized a bit, so my house’s “market” value is somewhat less underwater than it was in 2009. With that said, we are going to try to pay the entire damn mortgage off once and for all this year. Thankfully the mortgage isn’t huge, since the house itself is pretty small to begin with. If we can succeed this year, then we will regain several hundred dollars of our income per month that we are currently shelling out as interest to the bank.
4. Increase my monthly small business earnings to $1000/month
Over the course of 2011, I’ve been developing several semi-passive internet-based income streams. It was really hard going and the pay off was not nearly as large as I had first thought. Still, after more than 15 months of continuous effort, I’m banking around 600-700 dollars a month from this side business. And that’s not chump change! So my goal for this year is to push that earning up to $1000/month. If I can achieve this goal, then it means that i can at least cover groceries, health insurance, and utilities for my family if I were to be laid off from the day job.
5. Grow 30 percent more produce from my backyard garden
I have a small organic garden in the backyard of my current home. The landlord complains about it every once in a while, but mostly I’m left alone to cultivate my crops. Last year I grew a variety of vegetables but I made 2 big mistakes. The cultivation of sweet corn, and potatoes was entirely unsuitable for my small gardening space. Both of these plants took up too much space and yielded very little economic benefit(since corn and potatoes are dirt cheap at the supermarket). Instead of growing it, I could just stock on corn, rice, and beans. So this year, I’m going to avoid growing staple crops and only focus on growing herbs, leafy vegetables, and fleshy vegetables such as Tomatoes and Summer Squash. By not growing spuds and corn, I would have 2 whole raised beds available for cultivation. And Fresh vegetables are way more expensive to purchase than to grow so I would be saving quite a bit of money by doing this.
6. Learn how to change a car’s oil and rotate it’s tires
I’ve realized that auto maintenance has become a major cost in our family’s spending patterns. So this year, I’m going to do something about it. A good friend of mine is an auto mechanic, and I’m reaching out to him to learn the basics of car maintenance. I’ve seen an oil change being done. There is no way that 10 minutes of effort is worth $35 of my hard earned money.
7. Hunt and fish at least once this year!
I’ve not gone hunting or fishing in 3 years, and that is a real shame. I’m afraid that I’m quickly loosing the fishing and marksmanship skills that I had developed in my childhood. And especially with hunting, the laws of New York State is so onerous that I would need to jump through hoops just to get a chance to hunt. Nevertheless, I have to do it to maintain my skills in these 2 areas.
8. Have 3000 Twitter Followers
I’ve never used Twitter before starting this blog. But at this point I’ve become a little bit addicted to it. After 1 year of running this blog, I already have over a thousand followers. These wonderful people have provided so much helpful survival knowledge and shared some of their stories with me. So this year, I’m really looking to have more followers.
And last but not least…
9. Spend at least 10 hours of quality time with my wife and baby son every week
My day job and side business efforts have been causing a lot of stress in my life. It’s left me with little time for my family. This year, I’m going to try my utmost to carve out a significant amount of quality time to spend with my lovely wife and adorable little son!
So those are my goals for the new year. I’m hoping to achieve many if not all of them by December 31, 2012. If you have a resolution for 2012, please leave a comment and let us know!