Mid-Year 2012 Blogging and Personal Goal Setting Check-In and Progress Update

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Blog Carnival, blogging goals, Carnival of Passive Investing, guest posting, personal finance speaking service, Tour de Personal Finance, Yakezie Carnival, Yakezie Challenge, Yakezie Writing Contest

Back in January of this year, I laid out some personal goals for my life in general and blogging goals for My Personal Finance Journey for the 2012 year.

As I experienced in 2011, (click the following link to view my 2011 blogging goals and year-end progress updates) by tracking these goals periodically, it provides me with more accountability and visibility to what I am doing and where I want to go with this community/blog and in my life. As such, the purpose of this post is to review how I’ve been doing so far in 2012 in reaching the aims I set for myself. 



As far as life goes overall, the first half of 2012 has been very successful in my opinion. However, for the first 4-5 months of the year, my day-job in graduate school was requiring a lot of extra hours, causing me to get tired out at night. As such, I wasn’t able to spend quite as much time on my blog (and we’ll most likely see this reflected by a good number of Not on track status updates below). But, such is life I suppose, so I’m not too disappointed about it all! 


And, I’ve learned during the 1st half of 2012 that in life, when you are confronted with the situation where you have more on your plate than you can possibly tackle, it’s SUPER important to have clear-cut priorities about what you will do and what you are not doing

Nevertheless, here goes! An update on my progress so far in 2012 for my blogging and personal goals, with updates highlighted in bold text below. This should be fun! 🙂 
The blogging goals for 2012 were as follows:

  • Read and interact with (comment) 25 partner blogs per week.
    • Not on track. Need to be better at commenting on more blogs.
  • Continue active participation as a proud Yakezie Personal Finance Blog Network member.
    • Not on track as much as would have liked. I’ve had trouble having time to comment in the Yakezie Forums as much as I’d like to. I need to be better about this!
  • Publish 3-5 blog posts per week.
    • On track, although a lot of the posts recently have been guest posts. I’d like to have time to write more of my own articles during the 2H2012.
  • Obtain 800 unique visitors per day average by end of 2012.
    • Not on track – Currently averaging about 400 visitors per day. Not bad at all, but not quite to this year’s goal yet!
  • Host all personal finance blog carnivals (Festival of Frugality, Best of Money, Tax Carnival, Carnival of Personal Finance, Totally Money, Carnival of Retirement, Carnival of Financial Planning, Carnival of Passive Investing, etc).
    • On track – Have hosted Best of Money, Carnival of Retirement, Totally Money, and Carnival of Personal Finance this year so far.
  • Continue organizing Carnival of Passive Investing in 2012. Offer hosting of the 12 editions for 2012 to guest hosts. If you’re interested in hosting, October, November, and December 2012 are still open and in need of hosts! You can view the schedule by clicking here. Also for the Carnival in 2012, my goals are to a) continue getting passive investing authors involved and b) start reaching out to financial journalists (maybe from Kiplinger’s or Money Magazine, etc) and/or financial reporters on TV.
    • On track – Have all of the guest host slots filled except for the December 2012 one.
    • We’ve had a couple passive investing authors help judge the articles this year, but I haven’t had as much time to follow up on this as I would have liked.
  • Continue to spread word about benefits of passive investing over active investing. Get involved in BogleHeads forums as well.
    • On track. Need to participate more in BogleHeads forums though.
  • Write 1 guest post for another blog per month to expand reach of my ideas.
    • On track – Have guest posted for Consumerism Commentary, Good Financial Cents, Budgets are Sexy, and Enemy of Debt so far this year.
  • Create an eBook on one of the following topics – a) Ways to be Frugal, b) Investing Strategy, c) Steps to Buying a Home, d) Getting out of Debt, or e) Financial Prioritization / Account Hierarchy.
    • Not on track Have not had time.
  • Possibly transfer blog to WordPress hosting. First, migrate Carnival of Passive Investing for practice before do My Personal Finance Journey.
    • Not on track – Have not had time.
  • Create and publish monthly newsletter – “Intelligent Financiers Newsletter.”
    • Not on track – Have not had time.
  • Attend blogging, marketing, finance, or real estate classes at local community college or nearby conference locations. Particularly, I would like to take a class or two to learn more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
    • Not on track – Have not had time to follow up on this.
  • Submit blog posts to 5 blog carnivals each week (or after generate 5 new un-submitted posts) to expose my blog to new audiences and build links.
    • On track. Have been doing very well at remembering to submit to carnivals whenever I have a critical number (5 or so) of articles published.
  • Successfully execute Tour de Personal Finance in July this year. For 2012, plan further ahead of time to gather more entries (max = 64) and get some sponsors involved. If get sponsors, donate 50% of the earnings of the event to a charity chosen by the yellow jersey winner of the event and also offer prizes for top place entries and jersey winners.
    • On track – Will take place shortly. Keep an eye out!
  • Do Easy Like Sunday Morning Roundup and Recap 2X per month minimum.
    • Not on track Have not had time.
  • Improve social media presence on Twitter and Facebook. Establish a more regular M-F posting schedule for those outlets.
    • On track – I’ve been sharing much more content on Twitter and Facebook and have also been submitting the articles on this site to social media sharing sites such as Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc.
  • Feature one Cheapskate Jake Frugal Ramblin’ per month.
    • Not on track – Have not had time. 
  • Run 10% Blog Income Give Back Project each month. Continue teaming up with local charities to build relationships. Try to get other sites interested in doing something similar and also begin to look for sponsors for 1-2 of the giveaways.
    • On track. I’ve really enjoyed doing this!
  • Start and grow personal finance group speaking service. Generate ideas for speaking topics. Offer to local community first and build from there. Create page promoting service on My Personal Finance Journey.
    • Not on track – Have not had time. 
  • Continue to try to find other ways to help people with their finances away from the blogosphere. One thing I’ve applied to do is become a volunteer credit counselor with Credit Education.org. However, I have not heard back from them, even after submitting my application multiple times. Another option I could pursue is offering general advice on finances from a life coach perspective – lifestyle, frugality/money saving tips, life values and dreams, etc. You have to be very careful in making it clear to not offer advice on specific financial instruments since you must have the correct certifications for that (which I do not have). This might be hard for me to resist delving in to the specifics, but it could be fun! I would definitely need to learn more about the legal aspects first though.
    • Not on track – Have not had time. 
  • Start building smaller sites – one about blogging tips, finance from a scientific perspective, running, and my family’s genealogy as time allows (this is a lower priority goal).
    • Not on track – Have not had time. 
  • Network with other bloggers, with a particular focus on physically meeting them to build relationships. The bloggers I have met in person so far are really interesting people!
    • Not on track – Have not had time. 
  • Incorporate affiliate resources in to posts where relevant.
    • Not on track – Have not had time. 
  • Negotiate advertising deals for other sites.
    • Not on track – Although I’ve done a few, I haven’t had as much time to actively pursue this so far this year. 

In addition, my personal goals for 2012 that I set were as follows:

  • Get to bed at midnight and wake up earlier, instead of staying up until 2 am working on various projects.
    • On track – I now go to bed between 10-11 PM each night instead of working until 2 AM.
  • Take 1 day off per week (Saturday or Sunday) completely from doing work on my blog or from my graduate research job to keep my mind feeling more “fresh.”
    • On track – However, since I’ve been getting better at getting good sleep and pacing myself overall, I haven’t felt as much like I need a complete day off from everything.
  • Become better at following the Getting Things Done email/workflow management system to focus my time and energy on high value projects first and avoid distractions. 
    • Towards the end of 2011, I started getting between 100-200 emails total per day relating to blogging and communications from my graduate research job. 
    • When I used to have a full time engineering job, I had a totally separate computer and email account that would not even allow me to access my home email (which I saw as a very good thing). However, with the way my current job is set up, I use the same computer for blogging and my full time job. 
    • So, unless I am careful, it is easy to be disturbed during the day by blogging emails since there are more requests coming my way than I have time to respond to. 
    • To help with this, the Getting Things Done system dictates that you only download/look at your email 1-2 times per day so that your focus remains in tact. 
    • On track – Currently doing very well at this. 
  • Run a full marathon.
    • Cancelled – During January and February, I started ramping up my running training, but I soon realized that my body simply wasn’t meant to run 17+ miles at a time.
    • However, I’ve been really good in the past few months at bike riding more with a local riding group. 
  • Hike more with the Charlottesville Hiking Group.
    • On track. 
  • Read one personal finance book per month.
    • On track. I’ve been reading a lot recently actually. 
  • Learn how to build a group speaking business.
    • On track – I’ve learned enough for now, but the hurdle now is to find time enough to execute on the things I’ve learned. 

Conclusions



Looking over the various progress I’ve made and haven’t made thus far in 2012, the first conclusion that can clearly be made relates to PRIORITIZATION.
  • For example, since blogging is not my full-time job, I’ve unfortunately had to let some of the blogging initiatives slide, not because I’ve lost interest in blogging (quite the opposite actually!), but because 1) I prioritized my day-job and personal goals ahead of them and 2) I decided that I didn’t want to stay up until 2 AM each night after working a full day doing research in graduate school. 
  • However, during the whole process, I was up front with myself about what I was and was not going to do. For example, I placed a high priority on meeting the commitments I had already promised on for the year in continuing to organize 1) The Carnival of Passive Investing, 2) The Tour de Personal Finance, and 3) my monthly 10% blog income give back because I strongly believe in what they stand for. I’ve realized that doing this prioritization exercise with myself makes me feel less stressed during the day and less frustrated in not being able to accomplish enough.

Another question/conclusion that pops in to my mind when reading through the progress update above is this – were the blogging goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2012 too ambitious and not realistic? And, I suppose a follow-up question to this would be – do I regret setting these goals?

  • Looking back on the blogging goals, I realize that they were indeed a little too involved for someone that only blogs part-time and for fun. If, on the other hand, this was my full-time job, I have full confidence that I could have been on track with the majority of the more strategic/innovative goals I set. 
  • However, I don’t regret setting such ambitious goals, and I don’t feel bad about not achieving all of them. In fact, I view this list as running place to continue to keep track of ideas that I can develop and follow-up on as time is freed up in my schedule. 
How about you all? How have you been progressing on your blogging/personal/professional goals you set for yourself in 2012? 

Share your experiences by commenting below!

    ***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/4508096755/lightbox/

    Comments

    1. We have a bunch of people who run with us (about 18 people who run together) who really don't have a “marathoner” body and happily have completed a marathon (or several). If you want to give it another go, try the Galloway plan. We run/walk rather than just run. By running/walking you're able to build up a ton of distance without risking injury. Plus, you run really, really slow on your long run days and faster on short days. I wouldn't have done 6 marathons in 400 days if I hadn't followed this regimen.

      • Thanks for reading Joe! My girlfriend also suggested something similar. The trouble with me is that I have this mentality that I like to run fast. For example, when I run a half marathon, I try to do it usually in 1.5 hours. I think that mentally, I'd prefer to just run shorter races faster than do the longer, slower ones. However, thanks so much for the kind suggestion!
        My recent post The Pros and Cons of a Down Payment Assistance Program

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