New Years Resolutions 2019
1) Financial Stability
Last year I spent a lot of money...not just on the wedding and honeymoon, but I also refreshed nearly all my tech (new laptop, phone, tablet, headphones...). I had some impulse purchases that haven't seen much use (a drone, some cameras). I did keep a reasonable eye on my spending, recording about 200 items (above and beyond cost-of-living stuff like mortgage and utility bills), and that made me realise that while I live within my means, I could definitely save more with a little bit of discipline. For 2019 I'd like to have a strong handle on exactly where my money goes, so I'm going to implement a number of goals around this.
...a) Record every purchase
Last year I recorded "most" non-cost of living purchases, but the main focus was on making sure that my savings accounts kept above a certain level. For 2019 I shall attempt to capture everything, including cost-of-living stuff (by which I mean food, essential transport and healthcare etc). House bills are covered under a separate joint account, however I will track payments into that account. In addition, I'll capture the category (I've already identified 12 general categories) of the purchase, and how I paid (as I suspect that methods like Paypal and Contactless payments lead to low-value impulse purchases). This will all be captured in a Google Form/Spreadsheet that I've already set up and linked on my phone.
...b) Implement a "2-week wait" rule for all non-essential purchases
For anything that is non-essential (food, essential transport etc) I shall wait 2 weeks before purchasing it. If I still think it's worth it (and within budget) after that, then I can proceed. My plan is to put the item in my calendar for 2-weeks time. I suspect for a lot of items that by the time I get back to it, the initial _desire_ will have waned. I will need to be careful about stuff like Kindle books, as I don't have much of a pipeline, and I could be stuck without anything to read.
I did have a last minute splurge in 2018, picking up a monitor for my "home office" area of my room (which is now a big sit/stand desk)...turns out a 35" ultrawide monitor looks pimp on it!.
...c) Save at least £10,000
I was going to put this at £12,000, however I don't want to screw myself over when I'm still partially broken, and find myself needing something big in order to keep myself moving. I don't have any "big ticket" items that I can think of this year, but 2018 has made me very aware that shit can happen very quickly. A sort of sub-section of this is to save efficiently. Generally speaking, savings do not get much reward at the moment, however I've opened a 12-month fixed saver at 5%, and I'll be using an ISA as my main savings location. If I don't hit this goal, then I will definitely have the information and reasons why I failed from the spreadsheet above!
2) Re-build my fitness
2018 has not been kind to me physically. Starting with a prolapsed disc in my back, and then with complications during surgery, I'm going into 2019 very de-trained, and with some ongoing issues. If I have a good run from January (which will require some luck...right now I have an infected surgical incision, and orders to not train while I'm on antibiotics) then I reckon it will take ~6 months to get myself back to a level of fitness that I would be halfway happy with. I can't set a deadline for this yet, as there is an outside chance I'll need additional surgery which will...complicate...matters, however at some point this year I need to be at the following numbers;
20 Minute Power > 320w
Weight Weekly training time > 10 hours
I also need to be able to ride on the drops for over an hour, which will need some back flexibility (currently lacking).
I'm doing some ground work for this...I'm currently working with a nutritionist, with an aim to reduce my sugar addiction and stabilise my blood sugar levels. Once I'm cleared for training, I'll be working with my coach to plan a return to competition in late summer. I've already had some physio sessions around protecting core flexibility and strength (I'll also be adding some core gear into the Wattbike room, as one of the best things I can do to help my back is a good core routine). I think setting a goal of holding my 2nd cat license would be dangerous, the key for this year is fitness and stability, not risking going too hard too soon.
Update 31/12/2018 - I will have to wait on this one...over Christmas my back has gotten progressively worse, and I have a bad feeling that more surgery is on the way. I'll defer any fitness plans until I know my long term prognosis. I have a consultant meeting on the 7th January, and I suspect an MRI will follow...
I also need to adapt to having a poor back. Again, some work has already occurred here. I have a sit/stand desk adaptor at work, and I have a full sit/stand desk at home. Sitting for long periods of time is no longer an option, so I need to get in the habit of working and living a different way.
3) Use what you've got
This goes back somewhat to the impulse purchases stuff earlier. I have a fair amount of stuff and unfinished projects lying around, and I should revisit and complete them. Films I've not watched, games I haven't finished, projects I haven't completed...in fact the only area where there is no "pipeline" is books. If I'm genuinely not going to use something (and I'm looking at you, PS4), then consider selling it and clearing junk out.
Stuff that I definitely want to get working (or fail trying) this year is;
- The strawberry NFT hydroponics system
- Some Switch games
- Finish getting my laptop gaming working*
- Decide what to do with the garden (and its lack of lawn)
* Actually got somewhere with this between christmas and new year with a last-minute purchase in the sales, so I now have a full gaming desk setup
4) Discover 4 new authors
Back again, and it's (still) working well. I'll need to plan a little harder this year, as I'll need to be buying books 2 weeks before I start reading them. Ideally the books will be non-series books (if there is one thing I get really irritated by it's new authors immediately launching into a 15-book series, it's a real scourge of fantasy/sci-fi. By all means write a long-running series, however you should also demonstrate your ability to write a story as a standalone entity). I've become big on "readability" in books, and also get frustrated by poorly written stories. This is mainly noticable from reading speed, when a story lacks flow you get quickly bogged down in ill-structured text.
5) Complete 2 games of reasonable size
I managed this quite well last year. I've now realised that this target doesn't really fit well with some games (Dead Cells, Diablo 3 and Stardew Valley did not have traditional ends, however they all gave some enjoyable playtime). I should expect a non-ending game to provide a good 10-15 hours of entertainment, though I prefer to work on a value based on cost-per-hour. At the least, I should get an hour of entertainment per £1 cost of the game...if you consider a cinema trip is approximately £5/hour, I think this is reasonable (once you factor in the hardware costs of the console/PC itself). As a slight addendum to this, I've been casually watching League of Legends pro-play for a while, and over Christmas decided to finally try and learn it. I've quickly discovered that it's bloody hard! I'll see how the next month or so goes, but I might add in a "be not shit" at LOL.