Another Year Has Gone By – What Do You Regret?

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Believe it or not, we only have a little over three short weeks left in 2014. I know it’s cliché, but I have absolutely no clue where this year has gone. It feels like I blinked my eyes in January and we’re looking at the Holidays being upon us now. It’s nuts really, but a fact of life I suppose.

As people, I think we like to have closure and then follow that up with new beginnings. It becomes second nature I believe. This, not surprisingly, is part of why we’ll see a slew of New Year’s Resolutions posts come the New Year. I love having goals, I really do but as I get older I come to see the need to have a purpose or a drive behind those goals. Otherwise, they’re just not going to happen. However, if I have a singular focus behind the goal then my chances of success increase exponentially. Of course, this is just in theory as I have no scientific data behind it. 😉

Where I Was Almost A Year Ago


I’ve added a twist here on the site this year by sharing what my goals were for the year. It was important to do, for a variety of reasons, and glad I did it. I learned a number of things in doing it – key among them being the need to have fewer goals I can really attack throughout the year. I had too many goals and killed it on some and failed at others.

One goal I did not share, at least really specifically was my desire to lose weight. I’ve dealt with weight issues on and off throughout most of my life and really fell behind over the past five to ten years. I was ashamed. I was disgusted. I was afraid that no matter what I did I wouldn’t see success. I had tried to lose weight a number of times with some success losing about 25 pounds at most and having the wheels fall off entirely only to gain it all, and likely more, back.

I wanted it to be different this time. I had just celebrated my 40th Birthday and knew that if I didn’t do something now then it just wasn’t going to happen. That wasn’t something I was willing to let slide by. I knew action had to be taken. I knew that I had to act and not just act, but act with purpose. I had to have a driving goal with this new attempt. I wanted to act so as to not have any regrets. Loving sports the way I do, I wanted to leave it all on the field and hold nothing back.

I’d be lying if I said it has been easy. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to give up too many times to count. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t fearful of it all blowing up in my face.

But, that didn’t matter. I had to act. I had to do something and put a laser focus on it. That doesn’t guarantee success, of course, but I wanted to leave regrets out of the equation and leave it all up to my performance.

I’m glad to say that as of last night, I have officially lost 79 pounds! It’s sort of surreal really and a little mind boggling that I’m wearing clothes I bought nearly 20 years ago because nothing else I have fits at the moment. But, I suppose, that’s a good problem to have. 🙂

Time – Friend or Foe?


I learned this lesson much more intimately when we lost our son Isaac a little over six years ago – but time is likely the best gift we can ask for. You can almost always get more money. You can almost always get another job…at some level. Time, however, doesn’t really work that way.

That was the mindset I took as I approached my weight loss goal. I have only so much time and I didn’t want to look back at the end of this year and think to myself that I allowed another year to go by the wayside without taking action and seeking to attack my goal with all I have.

We all have goals of some sort. Some are financial and some are not. I look at this year and while I killed it with regards to the weight loss I failed miserably with relation to saving in our kids’ college fund. We did put money away in their custodial accounts, though it’s far from enough and I haven’t opened 529’s yet. I also didn’t attack saving for a new car seriously enough. As a result, I’ve lost time and have to double time it next year.

The Time To Start Is Now


As you start looking over this past year and looking towards what you want to accomplish next year my encouragement is to start looking to take action now. Start dealing with your fears. Start dealing with the excuses you’ve used in the past. Start thinking about the “why” behind the goal. I know that isn’t easy by any means, but the more you do those things the stronger the bond is towards attacking that goal and thus you are more inclined to see some level of relative success with it.

I know my goal wasn’t really financial in nature, save for saving on potential healthcare costs, but you get my point. That said, the same mentality can most definitely be applied to finances. Whether you’re wanting to attack your debt, start saving for retirement or anything else, it can definitely be applied to any of those areas of money. While all of these seem unrelated, they do have one common basis – starting now. It won’t be easy and there are always a million reasons you can think of not to start but turn those reasons on their head and start now. You never know…you just may find yourself happy that you did!



What is one goal you wanted to work on this year but allowed to slide by? What attitudes or actions have you seen bring you success on goals in the past? What’s your go-to excuse for not starting on a goal?



Photo courtesy of: BK

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • Jon @ Money Smart Guides says:

    Congrats on the weight loss!!

    I know for me, when I was struggling to get out of credit card debt, I had to get real with myself and look deep inside of me. I had to be honest. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was a little scary. No one wants to admit they have low self-esteem and are depressed. But it is what I had to do in order to get out of debt. If I didn’t look inside, I would just be going through the debt cycle over and over.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Jon! I can definitely relate to that feeling. You do have to look within yourself and be real. Otherwise, you’re bound to just repeat the mistake.

    • Jay @ Thinking Wealthy says:

      Ditto. Losing weight is a lot like paying off debt. It’s easy to gain it and hard as hell to get rid of it. I’m done with the debt side at least…


  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    Congrats on the weight loss John!!!!! Having lost 50 pounds myself after Will was born, I can attest to the fact that it is not always an easy or fun road; however, the results feel phenomenal. I didn’t make it a goal of mine this year, but next year, I am making weight loss an official goal of mine. I have gained back about 15 pounds over the last 3 years and I need to reign it in before it becomes 20, then 25 and so forth.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Shannon! You’re dead on – it’s not easy though the end result is so worth the work. Good luck on it next year as I know far too well how it can add up if you don’t watch it.

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

    Congrats on your weight loss! That’s awesome! I agree with you on the importance of having a reason behind each goal. It always helps me stay on track if I can visualize my long-term goal as I make sorter-term decisions.

    A goal I failed at this year is volunteering. I wanted to start volunteering regularly at a non-profit and I just never did. But, it’s on my list again for 2015!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Mrs. FW! I could not agree more that having those goals to tie things back to can make a huge difference in reaching what you want.

      That’s an awesome goal to have! It’s one I should have too. πŸ™‚

  • Kathy says:

    I have no financial regrets for the year. My one regret is that I’ve regained some of the weight I lost 3 years ago, so it is back to the “diet” that I followed while losing. I have a liver disease that absolutely mandates that I maintain the weight loss so it is important that I get back on track. Congratulations on your 79 lb. loss!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Glad to know you’re on track financially this year Kathy! Best wishes as you work to get those few pounds off. πŸ™‚

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    Love this post John and huge congrats on the weight loss. In addition to not getting back time, too often we take our health for granted, even doing things like just eating mac and cheese every night to save a buck or two, but you’re doing yourself a disservice because you will be living a shorter life and paying huge medical bills. Good health is just as much of a commodity as having enough money. For me I fell way short for financial goals…partly my fault and part circumstance. I also wanted to create and e-course to make some passive income which didn’t happen. But on a personal level I ran a 1/2 marathon and learned how to play ukulele. I never thought I’d actually be able to play a musical instrument and I love it. I also finally got off my ass and started producing the TV episodes I wanted to, so a big part of my goal next year is raising money for more videos since I can’t keep asking my crew to work for free. Anyway, great post!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Tonya! I could not agree more, health is definitely a commodity and one that I far too often overlooked in the past. I’m so thankful for seeing the foolishness in that. That’s awesome you’ve been able to reach some of those personal goals this year! My wife has a similar goal of running a 1/2 marathon. She has done the distance, now she just needs to do it in an actual race. πŸ™‚

  • Mark@BareBudgetGuy says:

    Time is huge. That’s probably the biggest realization I’ve had this year. I started actually tracking how much time I spend with my kids on a daily basis, and was surprised at how little it was. I will continue to track in 2015 and hopefully make many more good memories.

    • John Schmoll says:

      That it is Mark. I’m right there with you in the time spent with kids – I need to do more of that with ours.

  • Derrick says:

    Congrats on the significant weight loss. I told myself to lose 36lbs. this year and keep it off all year. So far so good even with the holiday season. The one goal I let slip by was the goal of writing regularly and getting my business set up. That’s my goal for 2015…I’m sticking to it this time.

  • Lauren says:

    Congratulations, John! 79 pounds is an awesome accomplishment. With weight loss, I think of it more as giving yourself the gift of improved health, which is a gift to your loved ones, too. Hope you’re feeling great πŸ™‚

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Lauren! That’s an awesome point. I tell our kiddos everyday that I’m losing weight because I love them and hopefully it’s making an impact on them. πŸ™‚

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    Congrats on the weight loss. I bet it was probably harder than paying off debt! I think turning 40 really kicks it home that we’re maybe halfway done and it’s now or never. Your kids and grandkids will thank you over and over down the line.

  • Kasey @ Debt Perception says:

    79 lbs is no small feat! I let too many goals slide by, too many. I also made a massive list. I did accomplish a few. Baby steps, right?

  • Andrew@LivingRichCheaply says:

    Wow congrats on the weight loss…I’m sure it takes a lot of dedication and determination. I’m pretty disciplined when it comes to money (saving/investing/not spending it) but I definitely don’t have it when it comes to dieting/exercising. That’s something I really need to work on as I get older. It is crazy that time flies so quickly…it feels like just yesterday that I was reading new years resolution blog posts.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Andrew! It does take a lot of determination. I’m not quite at my goal yet, but it does become more of a challenge as time goes on.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    Powerful and awesome post, my friend, and I’m SO proud of you/your weight loss accomplishment. I really wish we would put more gazelle intensity into our debt payoff program – that’s one thing that’s on our list for 2015, but most of all, I wish we wouldn’t have spent so much time worrying about stuff – what a waste!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Laurie! I hear you on the worry. We all do it, myself included. One of these days I won’t have to deal with it anymore. πŸ™‚

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor says:

    Yeah, there’s got to be a scientific explanation for this acceleration of time it seems we all experience as we age. It’s so scary, because if the trend continues, it feels like I’ll be deceased in about 10 minutes! πŸ™‚ Is there anything we can do to make a year feel like a year again??

    • John Schmoll says:

      Ha ha, I was having a very similar conversation with my Dad over Thanksgiving. Sadly, I think we’re at a loss on that one. πŸ™‚

  • Michelle says:

    Wow 79 pounds is amazing. Good job!

    My major goal was to be more fit, and while it took a long time, these past 2 months have been fitness-packed months and I’ve been loving it.

  • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says:

    Congratulations, John! I am so proud of you! Losing weight is not an easy feat and losing 79 pounds in one year is fantastic!

    I don’t have any real financial regrets this year but your message about time being the one thing we can never get back certainly hits home. We had a very unexpected personal loss this year and you never have enough a time with a loved one.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Shannon! It has been a lot of work – but definitely well worth it.

      Yes, time, is definitely precious and the older I get the more I see how I’ve taken too much of it for granted.

  • Kayla @ Everything Finance says:

    Congrats on the weight loss John! That’s awesome πŸ™‚ I’m glad you shared your successes and failures with us. I set too many different goals for 2014 and I haven’t met very many of them at all. I have certainly made some progress, but nowhere near what I was expecting when the year started. I guess I’ll be able to set more realistic goals for 2015.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Kayla! I’ve found that to be true in my own life as well. I’ve set far fewer goals for next year as a result.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    I typically have the same problem you ran into: too many goals. But actually this year I limited my goals and made some really easy to reach. I honestly don’t know if I hit my $2k/month side hustle income goal – I think I did? I stopped reconciling my accounts each month in April so I guess I’ll find out this month when I’m on PTO and reconcile the whole year πŸ˜‰ I struggle with the time issue. I want more time, but I also realize that the more time I invest towards my goals (outside of my 9-5, that is) the more I can accomplish. I’ve become very concerned this year that I will look back on my life 10, 20, 30 years from now and regret some of the time I sunk into side hustles and just general work beyond my 9-5.

    • John Schmoll says:

      I’m going with the limited number of goals next year approach and hoping it really proves to be fruitful. You make a great point about not wanting to have regrets about the time spent. You can’t get time back unfortunately.

  • moneystepper says:

    Good work on the weight loss John – very impressive!!

    I’ve just updated my 2014 financial goals and I’ve already completed 7/9 of them, and am in a very good position to complete on the other two in December.

    I’m absolutely chuffed with 2014 in general. It was without doubt the best year of my life so far (both financially and just generally in life) and so I don’t regret a thing.

    Now to make 2015 even better…!!! πŸ™‚

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Graham I’m pretty happy with it.

      Very cool that it has been such a good year for you, those are always good! πŸ™‚

  • Aaron says:

    John – I commend you on the weight loss! That’s really an accomplishment. And, it’s tough to stick with – especially when you’re accustomed to living/eating a certain way. I was in the same boat as you – and have lost about 50 lbs myself over the course of 2 years. I’ve done it slow – and it never would have happened if it weren’t for a wife going through a transformation in her health.

  • Tawcan says:

    Congratulations on your weight loss, it will do wonder to your daily life. I was just looking at my 2014 goals and looks like I’ve completed 8 out of 10 already. Should be able to knock off the 9th one very soon. I’ll definitely set some health related goals for 2015.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Tawcan! I can tell a difference now, so I can only imagine what it’ll be like in the future. Sounds like you killed it this year, congrats!

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