Year of Less

If I were to put a statement on this past year it would be that it was the ‘Year of Busy’, it felt like I was running around a lot doing a great many things and in the end I felt like I was stretched extremely thin. The goal for this year will be to make it the ‘Year of Less’! This past year I read Leo Babauta’s book Power of Less and it had a very lasting impact for a few reasons first off it made a lot of sense that by doing less you can be extremely productive. Focusing on fewer things rather than more means you can accomplish these things and secondly I know it works because I’ve been reading his blog, Zenhabits.net, for a while now and he’s a living case study of the power of less.

I find with myself that I like to set my goals extremely high and then inevitably they aren’t achieved or the project is started and never quite finished. This blog has been witness to a few of these grandiose goals such as my posting of my weekly budgets to goals from previous years where I have tried to save X or Y where the numbers were rather large. So this year I am going to take a slightly different approach, I am going to focus on fewer things and by doing that I am hoping to achieve more of them.

Further to that point here is my list of goals for the year, I’ve kept the list to 5 items. I think I could accomplish a great deal more than just these 5 items but I think by starting with these and not putting more down I have a better chance of success

  1. Quit Smoking and drink less
  2. Get my finances in order
  3. Find my passion
  4. Get my side business going
  5. Declutter the house

Each one of these items is important to me and I think that in the long run I would be happier by achieving these than anything else.

Quitting Smoking and Drinking less

This will be the goal that I start working on first because it has the most immediate impact and at the same time it has the farthest reaching impact. The smoking part is in my opinion extremely obvious. Smoking is extremely bad for you and I have never hidden the fact that I smoke and that I would rather be a non-smoker. There is no cutting down on this part of the goal I am sick of it and I don’t want to do it anymore. The second half of this goal is a bit more of what I would call fuzzy and it will tie into the other goals to some extent. I like to have a few beers at the end of a long day, while I don’t drink excessively I do drink fairly frequently. The drinking by itself is not a problem, I enjoy having those couple beers a day, what I believe is a problem is the fact that this habit is extremely expensive and I don’t think I need to do it.

Get Finances in Order

In many ways this goal is the a very significant part of the reason why this blog exists and has existed so long, unfortunately I am still struggling with certain aspects of my finances for example I am not saving much money and I am still carrying a fairly substantial consumer debt load. While my financial situation has improved over the years its still not great and could be a lot better than it is.

  • Savings – increase savings to 15% of my paycheck by end of April (currently its at about 5%)
  • Credit card debt – reduce debt by 20% by the end of the year (this would mean that by the end of the year I would be below 10K)

Those two measurable goals are something that I would like to achieve, I also think that I could do a lot better than this but I would like to start small and keep myself focused. Also this will give me a bit more time to truly define what getting my finances in order really means for me. I pay my bills on time but I have not been making much headway financially and I just want to make sure I tackle it in a way that is appropriate for me.

Find my Passion

Over the past year I have started delve into myself and try to figure out what drives me and what my passions are and for this upcoming year I want to continue to do this. While I don’t know if I’ll be able to find my passion within this calendar year I do want to continue the process of trying to discover what they might be and what I can be doing about them.

Get my side business going

As part of trying to find my passion, and finding myself in some ways, I have discovered that I don’t want to do live the rat race life until I am ready to retire (or die). I want to be able to try new things and to experiment I also don’t want to be a slave to someone else for my bread and butter. I have had a few ideas for starting a side business for a few years but I have never really done anything about it other than dream and talk. This year the goal will be to get this moving once and for all. The worst thing that can happen is it fails.

I have a couple ideas that are potential candidates and I have decided to focus on one of them to drive the idea forward and see what happens. If I make some money off of this that would be great, if I try it and nothing happens then really I am no worse off, but if I try this and it works then this will become the starting point for additional income streams.

One of the starting ideas behind this blog and its name is was to have one million dollars by the time I turn 35, I am now 32 so this is an achievement that is becoming harder and harder to fulfill and I believe that getting off my ass and doing something about a side business is the way to go. Over the next couple months I will be working to getting this going and while I don’t want to blog about it just yet I will once the idea is in place.

What I would like to achieve from this goal is that by the end of the year I would like to have $1000 in income from a side business coming in monthly.

Declutter the house

This goal ties in more to the concept of the year of less, we simply have too much crap and I don’t want to bother with it anymore or worry about it. Just by scanning around the room I am in right now I can see things that we really don’t need like the extra phone and charger stand that aren’t being used and I believe the phone doesn’t even work anymore or the printer that is stacked on the shelf because we’ve replaced it with a new laser printer. I am never going to buy new ink cartridges for it and thus never use it. These are just a couple examples that I was able to find by looking around the room and I am sure that the house is full of items such as these that need to be removed. The end result is that i am hoping to have fewer things to worry about and have to deal with. If anything can be sold or donated then it will be what can’t will be thrown out. I will attempt to initiate this goal slowly because it is not as important as the others I still want to achieve it.

Will I be able to accomplish all of these five goals over the course of the year? The real answer is I don’t know, the one about finding my passion might the one that brings the house of cards down, but I believe that I can and should be able to achieve these. If I am successful then I can always add more items to the list.

One thought on “Year of Less”

  1. I was in the same position as you are, with close to RM40k in credit card debts. Which was why I decided to take up a 6-month job posting in Nigeria. The extra money helped working in a 3rd world country. I’ve managed to cut down my credit card debts to around RM10k, which is about what you’re having now.

    I also share the same goal of getting supplementary income from my blog. It’s a two way thing – I am forcing myself to learn more about finances and I give back to teaching others.

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

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