Where Has The Year Gone? Goals Update For 2014

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Is it just me, or is it absolutely nutty that 2014 will be coming to a close in a little more than two months? With all the traveling we’ve done the past few months it feels that 2014 has evaporated before our eyes.

Putting actual goals here on the site is something new for me but I’m glad I did it. Making the goals public motivates me even more to achieve them. I’ve also learned that I work best when I have a couple of main goals I’m working towards. I’ve found that having too many leaves me a bit unfocused so I’ll likely be changing that up next year.

Overall, I’m generally happy with how this year has gone. We’ve seen business growth and are seriously plugging away at retirement savings. We’re not back at where I’d like to be in regards to retirement savings since it we didn’t have as much to put away over the past couple of years while getting the business off the ground. However, we made some significant strides this year and prospects look even better for next year.

Anyway, enough rambling and on to the goals. If you’d like to check out our previous goal posts, you can do so here, here and here.

Goals Thus Far


  • Start going to bed by 10:00 p.m. during the week…I’m not going to lie about this one. It is a total fail. We had been making some strides earlier in the year getting to about 10:45-11:00 but are back to our old ways of 11:30 or so. It’s a cycle that I want to break but it’s just not happening. Maybe it’s just the stage of life we’re in right now, but the needle has not moved in this area.
  • Stop snacking once the kids go to bed. This is continuing to be a big win for us. We made some lifestyle changes at the beginning of the year and they’ve stuck and seemingly for good. I’m actually down a little over 65 pounds!
  • Use our exercise bike 3-4 times per week. This one continues to be a pass. I’ve added in some circuit training as well as walking to the mix to give myself some variety. I’m exercising roughly five times per week, if not more, so I’m pretty happy with that.
  • Add one more blog management client. As I said last quarter, I’ve scrapped this altogether. I just don’t have the time for it right now and am keeping fairly busy with freelance writing. Speaking of which, I’ll give my shameless plug so contact me if you have any writing needs. 🙂
  • Buy another PF blog. This one is a pass. I bought Wise Dollar earlier in the year and run Sprout Wealth with Grayson. I don’t see myself buying another one in the near future, though I do have a few other ideas for additional income streams going in my mind right now that I’d like to launch in the near future.
  • Getting back to being serious about saving for retirement. This area continues to go well. We’ve been able to hit my goal for what I want in our SEP IRAs at Scottrade. We also maxed out our Roth IRAs earlier in the year so we’ve been able to put a decent chunk away for retirement. We’re also near maxing out our HSA and then will likely start saving for our Roth contributions for 2015 so we can hit the ground running in January.
  • Start actively saving for a new- to-us car each month. I’ll give this a borderline pass. We’re putting away at least $300 each month now for a “new” car. I’m happy with that but the crazy thing about kids is they grow – shocker I know. It’s becoming obvious we’re going to need a larger car sooner rather than later. My goal is to be able to buy the car in cash so we’re going to need to ramp up the savings big time to hit that goal. We’re effectively a one car family right now but I’d rather not be in the long term.
  • Reach a better balance at home between our work time and our family time. I’d be lying if I were to rate this a pass. This continues to be a struggle for us, especially where I’m concerned. I said I was going to start scheduling it last quarter and failed on that so I need to get back to the basics in this area.
  • Take the kids to Disney for free before the end of the year. This goal has been scrapped as well. My Mom and Stepdad are taking the family on a Disney cruise over Christmas and we wanted to take the kids to Disney World through churning. This just wasn’t practical on many levels. Mainly, Disney is just beyond crazy expensive and that’s during non-peak times. Around the Holidays is just over the top. I know I could get all the travel rewards cards I wanted but it would still be a challenge to swing for free. That’s also not to mention that a week on a Disney ship will drive me over the edge anyway. 😉 We’re going for a short trip to Chicago later this week and that’ll more than suffice when combined with the trip at Christmas.

Now that we’re nearly a full ten months in on the year I’m happy with how saving for retirement has gone as well as my health goals. The other ones, especially with regard to balance, not so much. I think I’ve learned over the course of this past year that I really need to work on narrowing down my goals to a solid 2-3 that I can put my focus on as opposed to a longer list. That’s not to say that I won’t find other things to work on, but I’m going to focus on being highly effective at achieving fewer goals.


How are your goals going so far this year? Do you tend to like to have a short or long list of goals? Is there anything specific you’re working on reaching by the end of the year?



Photo courtesy of: Simon Claassen

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.


  • Mrs. PoP says:

    “I’m actually down a little over 65 pounds!”

    Congrats, John – that’s amazing! Here’s to you guys finding more work/life balance and time to spend with your kids as the year ends and the holidays come upon us.

  • 65 pounds – way to go, my friend!!!!!!! So proud of you. 🙂 I’m shocked too by how fast the year is going. I haven’t even looked at our goals for so long now. Gotta get on that. 🙂

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Laurie! I still have a little bit to go, but VERY happy with the progress on that front. I know, this year is just flying by – hard to believe 2015 is less than 3 months away.

  • That’s some seriously awesome goal progress, congrats John! I found that I set a whole bunch of goals at the start of the year and almost all of them get swallowed by the growth of my blog- though thankfully, I was able to maintain things that I’ve tried to change in previous years like my health and relationships. I think going forward I’m going to have to narrow down my goals to one or two things at a time.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Stefanie! Overall I’m fairly happy but have a few glaring things I need to work on. Growth is always nice, so I’d say that’s a good reason to have goals overtaken. 🙂

  • Our goals sound similar to yours. We try to go to bed at 10:00 p.m. but are terrible about it! Awful! We need to take the TV out of our room =/

  • Great job on the goals. I’m of the same mind, shave down to fewer goals so I can focus more energy and effort on them.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Al! I’ve really come to see that myself this year. I’d like to accomplish more goals, of course, but I like the idea of just focusing on a couple very high level goals.

  • Miriam says:

    Congrats John. 65 pounds is impressive. Can you share how you did that?

    My goal for this year was to complete the renovation of my basement into an apartment. I had hoped to have it ready by now but it WILL be done by the end of the year for D..n sure.

    Since I don’t have kids at home anymore, my evening starts earlier than yours so I get to bed just after 9, read until 10 (or 10:30 or 11 or…). I remember when I had twin babies and a toddler and my ‘evening’ would start whenever all three were asleep – sometimes as late as 11. For some reason I thought all adults were supposed to have an “evening”. Sometimes I could barely keep my eyes open but I was determined! Took me a while to learn when you have young children(esp babies) you sleep when they do!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Miriam! It has honestly been diet and exercise. A complete change in my way of life really. I do have a few posts planned on it once I reach my goal weight loss.

      Very cool on the basement work!

      The kids make it a bit of a challenge, though for us it’s our work. We work best when they’re in bed so it’s either early in the morning or when they go to bed. One of us is usually working until at least 9 or so, which makes it difficult to go straight from that to bed.

  • Nice to hear of the successes you’ve had. I’ve realized as well that I need to concentrate on a few goals at a time. If I try to do too much at once, I fail with everything. Now I work on a few until they action becomes habit, then add in another goal.

    • John Schmoll says:

      That’ a great way to look at it Jon. That’s really the path I’m looking to take starting next year. It might mean breaking them down quarterly or something, but change will be coming at the very least.

  • I am with you John, I have NO idea where the year has gone. So far I have done well with my business goals; however, my personal goals could use some improvements. I would like to get rid of the 10 pounds I have gained over the last year and I have actually been better about keeping myself on target especially since I got back from FinCon. I do much better in controlled environments rather than when I traveling. I don’t have any other large trips planned, so I am hopeful I can get back on track by the end of the year.

  • Congrats on the 65 pound weight lost! That’s a huge goal to achieve! Overall your hitting most of your goals so congratulations! I’m on track with a lot of personal goals, but not so much with financial.

  • Michelle says:

    Great job on being down 65 pounds! I need to work on getting back into better healthy habits. We’ve been eating healthy but working out has been nearly nonexistent for me. 🙁

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Michelle! The working out has always been a challenge for me. I just have to schedule it in otherwise it wouldn’t happen. Even with the schedule I’m likely only 50/50 with it.

  • Liz says:

    It is interesting how the time seems to fly by faster and faster as we grow older!

    Congrats on reaching some of your goals! It sure does feel good when you can check somethings off your list.

    I agree with you that some social media have become a race of who has the most friends or who does the most fun stuff. I think that it is important to try and get out of this kind of logic and live your life the way you want it. Do what makes you happy and forget what everyone else thinks :).

  • Great job with the weight loss…I’m gonna have to work on that myself. Time really flies and I need to follow through on my goals as well. The balance of work and family has been tough…my son is 15 months old and I still haven’t figured out how to balance it! When I look back to when I didn’t have a little one and complained about how little time I had…I just shake my head!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Andrew! The balance is definitely a tricky one if you’re not careful with it. Lol, I’m the same way. I look back at our pre-kid days and wonder why on earth I wasted so much time.

  • Pauline says:

    down 65lb that is very impressive, well done John!
    re doing to bed early have you tried waking up sooner? you’ll just crash exhausted sonner theoretically. I wake up around 530am so I can’t make it to much later than 930.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Pauline! We’re actually up fairly early as well – around 5:30. Before the kids get up and after they go to bed is the best time for us to work since it’s much quieter. It’s sort of a vicious cycle really that we’re not doing much to break.

  • Grayson Bell says:

    Nice job sir! I have a lot to do for my goals, but they are all house related and I need cash for those goals. I have slowly added more blogging clients on my end, but I want to focus on building some other sites as well. I did have a goal to do more writing, but I am pulling that back a bit. I would rather help other people start and manage their blogs.

  • MMD says:

    Believe it or not, we’ve got the same “go to bed earlier” goal in mind – I’d love to make it 9PM if possible, but it never seems to work out that way.

  • John, I’m so proud of the 65 pound weight loss! That is a HUGE accomplishment and you should be very proud! I am an early to bed kind of girl. Many nights I head to bed right after the girls do. They are getting older and staying up later, so pretty soon they will be tucking me into bed. 🙂 I am guilty of layering too many goals, and I work better as well with a few very specific goals too.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Shannon, I appreciate it! It’s cool to be able to tell our oldest that I’ve lost more than she weighs and see her facial reaction. I’ve learned the same thing myself with the goals. More feels better, but it just seems to throw off the focus.

  • I like having a short list of goals, since it can be tough to find the time to pursue too many goals at once. I’ve been doing “okay” on my goals. I increased my side hustle income a bit this year, but not quite the amount I had set out to make. I have been struggling with balance goals as well, as I want to streamline Y.A.M. so I can pursue other business ideas – and just have more time to not be side hustling.

  • Nicola says:

    Congratulations on the weight loss – that’s fantastic! I go to bed early, I’m really not a night owl at all. It doesn’t help me sometimes when I have a lot on, but I need a lot of sleep! Some of our goals for the year are going well but others are a bit of a fail. Trying to end the year on a high 🙂

  • Kim says:

    I like goals that are a stretch but attainable. If that’s the case, it doesn’t matter how many. Congrats on your 65lb weight loss. That’s wonderful, and I can’t imagine how much better you must feel. Nicole looks awesome too. You guys are like the shrinking couple!

  • Jason B says:

    This year has gone by very fast. I’ve completed about 60% of my goals. I still have 2 months to go so hopefully that number is closer to 70%.

  • Myles Money says:

    65lb weight loss is huge. Well done, John. What has helped you to stick at it and succeed where so many others fail?

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Myles and great question. It was finally seeing that if I wanted change then I had to commit to it and had to change my way of life. I’ve started/stopped in the past on multiple occasions and wanted it to be different this time. My wife also had a little bit of post baby weight she wanted to lose so it has been great to have that accountability in order to encourage/push each other on.

  • Ciel Belle says:

    I think next year I will stick to having fewer goals – the main one is just to pay off my debt! I started a blog which made me more accountable so thats a big whoo-hoo for me =)

  • Amy says:

    Congrats on some great goal achievement! Losing 65 pounds is no small feat!

    I like smaller, more frequent (monthly) goals, otherwise it’s too hard to stay focused and keep my momentum going.

    And getting to bed before 11 is nearly impossible for me, too. My daughter goes to bed at 8, and those last couple of (or few!) hours are some of my most productive

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Amy!

      I’ve heard those work good as well. I’ll be changing something and don’t know if it’ll be fewer more focused goals or same amount of goals, just in smaller chunks.

      Those hours as pretty productive for us as well.

  • Jesselle says:

    Hey John, congrats on the 65lbs weight loss. Such achievement! One of the things that could really make us happy is achieving our short and long term goals. But of course, BIG things start to small things! Kudos for the everyday productivity! 😀

  • Poor Student says:

    Congrats for losing weight! I haven’t been good with eating — those late night pizzas are so tasty — so I have gained a couple of pounds. I really hope be able to exercise more in the remaining months!

  • Congrats John for having done a job well done. This year I have been trying to post daily updates in my personal blog. I haven’t succeeded yet but I am still trying! Maybe in Christmas season when there are lots of activities to do.

  • Cat says:

    Yeah yeah John. Convince yourself you go to bed at 11:30 😉

  • Michelle says:

    My sister and I were looking at a trip to Disney, and we were blown away by the prices of things. It was much more than I expected.

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