Hello everybody! Happy New Year!
It has been a long time since I pushed the publish button. I figured the New Year’s holiday was the right time to get back into the swing of things. Actually, I was going to flake out on everybody this week too, but I made a Twitter message promise to Mike over at Abandoned Cubicle who checked in just before Christmas to make sure I wasn’t dead. Twitter message promises are binding in the state of Minnesota. Besides, I said I’d do 101 posts on Crispy Cabbage. At least! And I was only at 48.
For #49, I thought I’d talk about New Year’s resolutions. That’s timely, right? And I’m gonna publicly back myself into a corner with a bold challenge just like I did around this time last year. First, though, let’s talk about what makes a good New Year’s resolution…
3 Keys to making New Year’s resolutions… By: Crispy Cabbage
I love New Year’s! And I love making New Year’s resolutions!
I know, New Year’s resolutions are for weak-willed humans. And I know, if you can’t push yourself into new habits the other 364 days of the year, simply scribbling your goals on a crisp new kitten calendar probably won’t work too well either. And I know I failed miserably at last year’s 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall Challenge (I waved the white flag on 9/21 after a couple of football Sundays). But I still love making New Year’s resolutions. I still think they’re worthwhile (if they’re done the right way). Even if you fail miserably.
Here are my 3 keys to making good New Year’s resolutions:
- Tell someone about it… The more people, the better. If you have a blog, post about it. Tell all your family and friends, so they can mercilessly mock you if you fail. Use that as motivation to keep you going as far as you can go. Better yet, make a bet. Something like what Cleveland Head Coach Hugh Jackson said about jumping into Lake Erie if the Browns go 1-15 again. Only, don’t tether yourself to the fortunes of a failed football franchise. Bet on something you can actually control. Poor Browns.
- Make it a short list of bigger goals… It should be a very short list if it’s a list at all. I don’t know about yours, but my puny brain can only really handle potentially one life-changing brand-new resolution at a time. Too much to juggle and I’m much more likely to drop all the balls. I can’t really juggle more than 3 balls and I can only do that for about 10 seconds, but I can throw one of those big rubber kick-balls up and down all day.
- Gamify it… Make it fun and turn it into a little game. In order to do that, you need to get hard numbers involved and real rules so there’s a final score and an easy way to tell if you won or lost…
And here’s a little secret. Even if you lose the “game”, you probably win. That’s why New Year’s resolutions (done the right way) are worthwhile.
Yes, I lost the Beer Challenge in 2017, but I learned a ton about myself and that particular habit in the process. So, I’ll be doing the 99 Bottle Beer Challenge again this year. I’ve got a benchmark to beat.
There are actually a couple gamified resolutions I’ve “lost” lately. I lost the Beer Challenge resolution in 2017 and I lost my more unofficial workout challenge in 2016. I couldn’t quite muster 250 days of workouts out of 365. In both cases, though, I got close enough that I wanted to try again.
In fact, my 2016 workout challenge has turned into a bonafide habit and I’ve averaged at least 3 workouts a week for the past two years (not including patting myself on the back). That’s the longest stretch of regular workout exercise I’ve ever had. Just in time to do battle with the Stay Puft default setting on my 40-year-old body. I like to think I’m a little less puffy and a lot more healthy than I would have been without that New Year’s resolution two years ago.
So, in that spirit, here’s my brand new New Year’s resolution for 2018…
The $5,000 Challenge
That’s right, I’m challenging myself to make at least $5,000 of extra income this year. It may not seem like much, but I think it’ll be quite a challenge. And it’s the right time for me to try something like this.
You see, my wife and I are sneaking up on our Runway Retirement. It’s the phase of our lives when we hope to have about 5 years of living expenses stashed away (easily accessible outside traditional retirement accounts) so we can focus time and energy on building our ideal life without the distraction of having to “earn a living” from wage income.
A Runway Retirement is not early retirement. We’ll use the 5 years of runway to be fearless in our current jobs, quit those jobs to focus on finding our most ideal jobs or build a lifestyle business of our own, or simply earn enough side-hustle money to stretch the runway all the way to the day we can access our traditional retirement accounts. Or any combination.
My ultimate goal is to have several income-spitting spigots in place by the time I would ever think of leaving my day-job. This $5,000 challenge will be the first real test of my ability to earn real cash-flow outside the corporate world.
Here are the rules:
- Regular reporting. I’ll report revenue to this blog every month, so you can see how goodly or badly I’m doing and comment accordingly.
- Gross revenue only (for the most part). I won’t really factor in expenses. For example, this blog is deep in the red with hosting costs, etc. But I do plan on counting the 89 cents/month gross revenue toward my overall total. Every little bit counts! I also won’t be tracking the cost of materials for art projects, as another example. I’ll be paying some attention to make sure I’m not spending $10,000 just to make $5,000, because that’s no good. But I won’t obsessively track my expenses and I won’t report that side of the ledger at all. For this phase of my side-hustle journey, I don’t want to be tripped up by focusing too much on net profit.
- The one flipping exception. If I want to earn money fixing up and flipping things on Craigslist or eBay, I absolutely have to include the original cost of these items in my calculations. That’s easy enough to track and it wouldn’t be fair to not factor that in.
- Selling my old crap counts. Frankly, I just need more motivation to de-clutter, so I am counting the sale of old, un-used household items in my overall total. For obvious reasons, I won’t factor in the original cost of these items.
- No night-jobs to bail me out. Believe it or not, $5,000 is a tall order for me without taking on a second job delivering pizza for Papa John’s or something like that. I thought about including second-job income, but at the last minute decided just to include income earned being my own boss. I’ll learn much more this way.
- Uber’s out. So’s Lyft. I don’t have the car for those gigs anyways. Besides, they’re too close to a night-job for my taste.
- The money doesn’t necessarily have to reach my bank account in 2018. I may never reach the $100 threshold it takes to cash out my WordPress WordAds earnings and actually put money in my bank account. But, I’ll still be using WordAds numbers in my earnings total. As long as it posts as 2018 earnings in some account somewhere, it goes toward the $5,000. Whether I can actually get to it or not.
- Investments and interest don’t count. As much as I love to speculate in the stock market with a small part of our portfolio, I will never (and don’t want to ever) be a day-trader. It’s not the right kind of income for this challenge.
- Gifts don’t count. This probably goes without saying.
Good news! These rules put every single one of my half-dozen ridiculous Doughnut Face ideas in play! Who knows, I may just set that bonsai breeding operation up after all. I’m going to have fun with this challenge.
Wish me luck and let me know what your big New Year’s resolution is this year.