I believe in the power of setting goals. It is the ultimate foundation towards taking action and achieving success. When a goal is in place, the destination has been set. And by knowing the destination, we can start taking the required action in order to get there.
If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.
There is a good trick that will enhance your goal achievement process. It’s a simple but effective one: Writing down the goals. According to a study conducted by psychologists of the University of California, people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve it than those who don’t. It literally helps us to picture the goal and create a certain commitment.
While having a long-term goal (> 10 years) is important, it can sometimes demotivate us, simply because it seems unreachable from todays point of view. That is when short-term goals (< 1 year) come into play. These goals are inherently in line with our long-run vision. Achieving these intermediate targets gives us the motivation to keep moving further. I have summarized my personal goals for 2019 in three different categories: Financial, Fitness and Personal Growth.
In 2019 I plan to make another step forward towards my long-term financial goal: create a passive income that will cover my costs of living. How do I get there? To put it simply: by consistently investing my savings into dividend growth stocks. I’m fortunate having learnt about DGI early in my life. It’s a beautiful concept and its power increases the longer I hold onto it. This is how my personal DGI journey looks like so far:
As you can see, the fun is getting bigger towards the end of the stairway. This is exactly how the power of compounding interest works. However one has to set the foundation first. Step by step. No shortcuts. My next step is about growing the dividend income and investing new capital in 2019. The actions now will define the results later. Here are my financial goals for 2019:
- Receive €1,650 ($1,890) in net dividend income
- Invest at least €12.000 ($13,740) of new capital
- Increase exposure to the technology sector to at least 15%
I got into strength training approximately five years ago. It was the time when I quite playing football, because of ongoing injuries. Hence I was looking for some alternatives to stay fit. Getting a gym membership was the first logical choice. The goal was to get in a better physical shape. Easy in theory, difficult in practise. Since I didn’t know what I was doing, the first two years in the gym delivered a very poor record for me. There was no progress and it was literally a waste of time. I knew I had to change something.
As a result I started to read a lot about fitness and nutrition. Luckily, I’ve discovered a fantastic website run by a Swedish guy named Martin Berkhan. Truth be told, it has completely changed my view about strength training and nutrition. Martin is the father of a training/diet approach called leangains. In a nutshell, leangains is a diet/workout methodology based on intermittent fasting (IF) and lifting heavy weights. In case you are interested to learn more about it, I highly recommend to start with the infamous FUCKAROUNDITIS article. The most eye-opening training manuscript available on the whole internet.
Incorporating the ideas of leangains was a real game-changer for me. I swapped cable movements, crunches and curls for some heavy compound movements like deadlifts and squats. There is nothing wrong about crunches and curls, but getting stronger in compound exercises will make all difference in the world. I’ve built my training routine around it. Nowadays I go to the gym and have only one thing in mind: to be better than the last time. Let it be a slightly increase in weight or one more repetition, it all comes down to progressing. This is what motivates me. This is what delivers the results. In this respect, I have specific figures (weight x reps) in my head that I aim to achieve in 2019. Here are my targets for some compound exercises:
- Deadlift 160 kg x 5
- Squat 120 kg x 5
- Bench Press 90 kg x 8
- Pull-ups bodyweight x 20
Personal Growth Goals
As the body requires training to get in a better physical condition, there must be also some kind of training to challenge the mind. In reality there are tons of possibilities to do so: learning a foreign language, enroll for a cooking class, earn a university degree, learn to play a music instrument or visit foreign countries to get to know other cultures. As you can see, it all comes down to mastering new skills respectively do something that you haven’t done before. Each and every time we learn something new our brain forms new connections and neurons and makes existing neural pathways stronger or weaker. Learning new things literally rewires the brain and changes it for the better. Similar as our muscles are growing when we push ourselves in the gym, we train and improve our mental condition through mastering new skills. To this effect, I’ve chosen following personal growth goals for 2019:
- Read 12 non-fiction books
- Publish 50 blog posts
- Visit 2 new countries
Wrapping things up
Here we go, ten goals, divided into three categories. I’m already curious how the track record will look like on January the 1st. There are different challenges behind each of them. Undoubtably some are easier to achieve than others. In fact, the achievement of every goal is linked to solving some kind of problem. However those are good problems for me. Problems that I like having and solving. And that makes the whole process much more enjoyable.