It’s almost 2018, and that means it’s time to reflect on 2017 and make plans for next year. There was a time in my life when I didn’t put enough thought into my decisions and I often did things just because “that’s what everyone does”.
When my husband and I decided to pay off our $117,000 of student loan debt in three years, we knew we had to live more intentionally.
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Every year, I like to make goals for the next year as well as three year goals for each of the following eight categories: money, career, health, faith, relationships, fun, service, and environment. (I got this idea from Natalie Bacon’s awesome blog).
What are your one year and three year goals for each of these eight main categories? Here are mine!
Overall, things went really well financially in 2017. My husband started a new job (with a pay increase), my income went up, and I began to steadily earn a little extra money from this blog each month. We paid off a ton of student loan debt, and our current balance is about $47,000.
That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind we started at $117,000. We’ve also paid a boatload of money in interest (*sigh*) on top of the $70,000 we’ve paid toward the principal.
We unfortunately added $10,000 to our debt load with a car loan (you can read more about why we did that here), but we’re on track to pay off the car by mid-January and then we’re going to be really gazelle intense about paying off our loans throughout the rest of 2018.
Here are my one year financial goals (where I’d like to be by the end of 2018):
- Have ALL of our student loans paid off.
- Be prepared to start aggressively saving for a down payment on a home.
- Do thorough research and have a plan in place for our retirement savings (saving for retirement is currently on hold while we focus on our loans).
Here are my three year financial goals (where I’d like to be by the end of 2020):
- Own a town home.
- Have at least $10,000 in an emergency fund (with a long-term goal of $20,000).
- Have a minimum of 5,000 in a car replacement fund (with a goal of hitting $10,000).
My career goals are boring, so I’ll talk about my “side hustle” (blogging) goals instead. Blogging went well in 2017. My page views increased significantly and I started to earn a little side income every month, which goes straight toward the debt snowball on our loans.
Improving my Pinterest strategy and guest posting on other sites were the two primary things that seemed to increase my traffic the most.
I started using BoardBooster to automate pinning, and it’s been a lifesaver! Pinterest is now my largest source of traffic.
For 2018, my two main goals are to increase my page views and my blogging income. My main strategies for achieving this are going to be:
- Growing my email list (as many people say, the money is in the list!)
- Guest posting on popular sites
- Maintaining my social media strategies (particularly for Pinterest and Twitter)
Here are my stats. The bold number has current stats, the red shows where I’d like to be in one year and the green shows where I want to be by the end of 2020.
- Monthly page views: 15,000-20,000. 30,000. 100,000.
- Email subscribers: 275. 500. 2,000.
- Facebook fans: 555. 800. 3,000.
- Pinterest followers: 869. 1,000. 2,000.
- Instagram followers: 1,121. 2,000. 5,000.
- Twitter followers: 589. 1,000. 3,000.
I lost 35 pounds a few years ago, but unfortunately, I’ve gained most of it back. I’d like to lose 20 pounds this year and keep it off. I also want to get stronger and more fit.
Here are my health-related goals for this year:
- Lose 20 pounds.
- Average at least 9,000 steps each day. I track this using my FitBit Flex.
- Do yoga or strength training at least 3x per week.
- Drink almond milk every day.
I didn’t grow up going to church, and I actually had a very negative perception of religion for most of my life. A few years ago, I found a church that treats everyone with love and respect and doesn’t use religion as a justification for hate.
To be honest, I’m a bit of a control freak and a lot of my anxiety stems from uncertainty and being worried about things I can’t control. Having faith in God allows me to surrender control to Him and gives me a sense of peace.
Here are my one year goals for faith:
- Reread the Bible on the She Reads Truth app. I’m reading it more slowly this time to gain a better understanding of what I’m reading.
- Start a prayer journal.
- Pray every day.
Here are my three year goals for faith:
- Take a Bible study class at church.
- Be baptized.
- Become a member of the church.
I’ve been really focused on this blog this year, and I haven’t been getting together with friends as often as I used to. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that (introvert here), but maybe I could be a little less introverted sometimes.
My one year relationships/fun goal is to organize one (free) friend outing per month. My three year goal is to organize one frugal ($50 or less) friend outing per month and one frugal date night with the hubby each month.
Once our student loans are paid off, we’ll still need to be frugal so we can reach other important goals. That being said, we can be a little less strict about our budget since our student loans will be paid off in full.
Sticking to a spending ban is tough and we are both more than ready to start living a little and enjoying fun experiences.
Living with my parents (and paying off debt) forces us to be minimalists. We don’t have the money or space for tons of new stuff. Once we move out, we both feel strongly about remaining minimalists.
Less stuff = more money + more time (less time spent cleaning/organizing) + less waste. It’s a win-win-win.
Here are my one year goals for environment/service:
- Always recycle when I can.
- Continue the spending ban (which reduces waste).
- Volunteer at church.
And my three year goals:
- Always be thoughtful when making purchases so we don’t buy things that we’ll end up throwing away.
- Buy higher quality items when possible instead of buying cheap items that will be discarded more quickly.
- Volunteer on a more regular basis and give money each month.
I’m looking forward to what 2018 will bring! This is going to be a very exciting year for us :) We plan to pay off our student loans and begin the process of buying a townhouse!
Once our loans are paid off, we can FINALLY start focusing on other important goals, like saving for retirement, replacing my 18 year old car, and saving a large emergency fund. The next few years are going to be full of some of the biggest changes of our lives and I can’t wait!
What are your goals for 2018 and the next three years?
Here are some of my favorite moments from 2017!
Make it a great year with love, peace, and happiness. :-)