Set Your Goals for the New Year
We made it to 2021! The vaccine for COVID is making its way to the masses and the year will start anew with the promise of being less eventful and hopefully more social than this past one. If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that you have to focus on the things you can control and that’s the best way to ride through the things that you can’t.
My husband Chad and I started a new tradition last year where we sat down and I wrote our goals down in a little notebook. Then of course, I snapped some photos of it and saved it to our shared folder in Google drive because you have to back everything up–even your goals.
We broke the different goals into categories — Real Estate, REI Networking, Personal, Career, Budget and Books to Read. We’ll be modifying these headers for 2021 as we refine the list and improve the process.
In 2020, we wanted to purchase two more properties in Oklahoma City. We had two single family homes that we bought toward the end of summer in 2019 and both were rented at the beginning of this year. This goal was completed by the fall and we almost squeezed in a third property. Unfortunately, the purchase was delayed due to clearing up some issues with the title on the seller’s side. For 2021, we’ve upped our goal to four properties so if it all works out, we’ll have one done by the first quarter of this year.
The second goal was to plan a visit to meet our team in OKC in the flesh. This one will likely be transferred into the new year given COVID. We met our real estate agent in person during our first visit, but were unable to meet his team, our contractor and our property manager. I did FaceTime our property manager, but I’d like to try to meet her in person in 2021, along with the rest of the amazing group that helps up find and renovate properties in the Sooner State.
Finally, we wanted to get together with the long-distance investor who helped us kick off our real estate adventures in Oklahoma. Again, COVID derailed this plan as we observed social distancing and unfortunately, our colleague’s family was impacted by the virus so she could not meet.
I was able to meet some great investment-minded people in 2019 so it was important to us to continue to grow and foster these relationships. I love hosting and we had a list of about four key contacts that we wanted to meet with, share resources and check in on. We were able to achieve this goal through Zoom and outdoor meetings.
Our personal goals were less exciting. I wanted to figure out a babysitter for our toddler so Chad and I could get some quality adult time together. COVID kiboshed this one pretty early on. Chad wanted to get his hunter safety course certification. He was able to take care of this over the summer. For whatever reason, I didn’t include one important person goal on our list — starting this blog. It took me until November, but I’m grateful I was able to get this started. For 2021, I’d like to take this more into the business realm of goals.
As you may already know, I am a construction manager for a commercial company. My husband Chad is an executive at an educational technology firm. We would ultimately like to retire and live off our investments, but we are not quite there yet. Our jobs are currently the vehicle to fund our real estate and financial goals.
For my work, I planned to figure out a different role for me to take on at my current company. Last year, I did some soul searching and realized I didn’t love the position I currently had, but I liked working for the organization. I had some conversations with mentors and supervisors about this and the ball was in my court to figure out where I wanted to be. Before COVID, I had met up with coworkers in different departments to pick their brains. I was able to land on a type of role and then serendipity led me to the right position and support from senior leadership. I should be joining a new team by the end of the first quarter.
For Chad, his company was bought by some venture capitalists so in addition to having great relationships with his supervisors and being good at his job, he was able to establish and grow contacts at the parent organization. His goal was to continue to just be awesome and maintain those ties with upper management as he climbs the corporate ladder.
Our target was to lower our grocery/restaurant bills down to $1,000 a month. Thanks to COVID, we were able to reduce our costs from about $1,341 to $1,175. We were just shy of our goal and we’ll revisit our new target for this year.
Books to Read
Firstly, I want to change this category to Continuous Learning for 2021. We both wanted to read David Greene’s BRRRR book, which I made a good chunk of the way through. I don’t think Chad was able to crack it open. I did complete Greene’s Long Distance Real Estate Investing book. Our “fun” book was Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, as we both like to cook. I think we cheated by watching the Netflix series, but Chad has been reading it.
Your Goals for 2021
Our goals weren’t particularly lofty or exciting. We identified areas of our life that we wanted to improve and grow and got to it. A lot of things in 2020 didn’t go as planned and quite frankly, most years are like that. Here’s some quick tips to putting together your own goals for the new year:
- Get an accountability partner. This can be your spouse or your best friend or your mom. You need someone who is going to check in and make sure you’re on track.
- Write it down — digitally, physically, whatever. Get it out into the universe so you have a record and something to look back on.
- Break your goals out into categories. You don’t need to match what Chad and I had, but it’s a good idea to pick a few areas that you’d like to make some changes.
- Balance realistic with stretch goals. We knew that meeting up with real estate colleagues would require time and effort, but it wasn’t going to be a heavy lift. We also weren’t sure if we would be able to find two good deals for our real estate investments, but we did come across two properties in 2019 and thought we could try to at least match the acquisitions for 2020.
- Quantify. If you are looking to reduce spending in an area of your budget, create your emergency fund or start putting together your real estate investment bucket, put a number on it. Are you looking to add $5,000 to your reserves or establish your investment fund by putting away $25 a paycheck or a month? Put it in terms that break it down and show you what you need to do to get there. Remember you have to start somewhere so whether it’s $5 or $500 a month, it counts. You can’t get there until you start moving in that direction.
- Be flexible. No expected 2020 to look like it did. If you don’t meet your goals or you run short, it’s an opportunity to fail forward–learn from it and continue on your path to success.
What are your goals for 2021? Leave a note in the comments below.