Goals

Where I see myself in 15 years, 5 years, 3 years, one year, 6 months…well you get the picture. My goals all leading up to the big goal.

Losing Focus

At the start of every year there is an influx of people signing up for gym memberships. Driving home after work you can see lots of people in brightly colored trainers jogging or walking. This is all very normal during the first couple of weeks of the year. As we approach the end of February though, less and fewer people are on the roads sweating their asses off. This too is very normal.

I am no exception to the norm either. My one and only goal for the year is to lose enough weight to get my BMI to a healthy status (around 90 kilograms). I woke up early in the mornings to skip, I ate a fruit each morning, I tried to cut down on my coffee  and sugar in take and I was drinking at least two and a half liters of water a day. Today I don’t do any of that. I don’t wake up early, I don’t skip anymore, I eat fruit now and then, I drink at least three cups of coffee a day and I hardly drink more than a liter of water a day. No wonder my weight is stuck at 110 kilograms lately.

The wheels started coming off around the time my knee started paining. This was about two to three weeks ago. I stopped skipping because I didn’t want to aggravate my knee and risk further injuring my knee. This was also around the time that school started. I work full-time and study part-time. Some nights I only get home around ten PM which leaves me with barely two hours to enjoy my wife’s cooking and catch up on the happenings of the day with my wife.

I’d be lucky to be asleep by midnight, so most nights I only get about six hours sleep. If I’d like to skip in the mornings I’d have to cut my sleeping time even shorter. I feel like a zombie in autopilot mode most mornings. It’s challenging to give 100% at work because I’m just too damn tired. That’s I just knock back those cups of java like it’s going out of fashion.

I do realize at this point I am only making up excuses and offering no solutions. There are people out there who manage to lose weight even with a full-time job, part-time studies and minor injuries. Waking up early and exercising is supposed to boost your energy levels and give you what you need to make it through the day. I’m just being a lazy couch potato.

This is however my last intense semester and my intense I mean I usually have five subjects per semester but this semester I have six. Next semester I will only have three subjects, of which two subjects should be a walk in the park. The next two months is going to be hectic because I’ll have to do no less than ten assignments and write no less than ten tests. With so many assessments on my plate stress would inevitably start creeping in and trying to stick to an exercise plan and diet with so much stress will be next to impossible.

Maybe for March and April I need to shift my focus to my studies to make sure I don’t lose my 100% pass rate. This doesn’t mean I should stress eat and gain a lot of weight that would make it even harder for me to meet my goal this year. All this means perhaps is that I have to keep my weight stable, but I still hope to find a way to balance it all.

Until next time. Thanks for reading.

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What Do I Want?

The end of the week and things start winding down at the office. After lunch on a Friday I’m not really in the mood to do any work. Good thing the internet was invented.

I read an article on Lifehacker.com about how it’s easier to save when you don’t have an expensive lifestyle. It makes perfect sense. If you want to drive big flashy cars and live in mansions, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny compared to the guy who just wants a car that takes him from point A to point B and a roof over his head.

This got me thinking, what do I really want. Do I want the expensive lifestyle or not. I’d like to think that I don’t but year I stress when it comes time for our annual pay increases. I don’t earn a lot of money, just higher than the national average household income but I barely get by as it is. If I wasn’t married, my wife and I would have much lower standards of living.

I want more than I have. I have to make do with a budget phone, a budget laptop and a budget tablet. Yes, I am happy that I have those things in the first place but I want the top of the line gadgets. That’s really the only things that’s luxury about my wants.

Big fancy sports car’s don’t really do it for me, but I’ve looked at the new Mercedes A-Class cars with drool dripping from the side of my mouth. I’ll be happy with a decent car with low gas mileage and easy to maintain. I’ll be happy with a two bedroom house in a good school district.

I do however want to travel. I’ve only ever traveled outside of Africa once. I want to travel to all the continents. I want to visit all the popular destinations. I want to watch Manchester United at Old Trafford. This could be the most expensive part of the lifestyle that I do want.

When I do eventually complete my degree in Computer Science and when I finally get a job that pays enough for me to get these fancy things, I hope I stay grounded and stick to my guns. It’s so easy to get lost when new money comes in. I see it all the time. People who live from paycheck to paycheck when they were just middle management but after they get that big promotion and start earning the big bucks, they still live from paycheck to paycheck.

Maybe I will never earn enough money to buy a big fancy house and car. I’m fine with that. As long as I am still happy and my wife still loves me as much as I do her, I’ll be content with my average lifestyle.

Until next time. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend.

No Goals for 2017

Well, that isn’t entirely true. I did set myself some goals but I haven’t written them down anywhere. Usually I would’ve made a note on Evernote by now, but I’ve just decided against it this year.

I won’t lie, it’s nice going back to my old goals I’ve set and then start ticking them off one by one. The problem is I don’t look at my goals enough to keep reminding me what I’m supposed do. I lose touch of my goals and become uninterested in them.

This year I’ve decided, mentally, that I want to lose 25 kilograms (55 lbs) this year because I was at 115 kilograms (224 lbs) at the start of the year and for my length, I should weigh 90 kilograms to get my BMI to healthy. So far I’ve lost 6 kilograms. That’s 24% of my goal reached by end of January already.

Only thing I’ve changed was drinking lots of water, cutting down on the snacks and waking up at 6 AM to skip before I go to work. I usually do 500 skips in 4 sessions (2x 100 & 2x 150). Once I notice that my weight loss rate is slowing down, I’ll start adding more. The thing is, I think I only skipped 5 times the entire month. Also, when I get on the scale, one day it’s 115 kilograms, the next day its 110 kilograms. So I’m not sure how true my body mass is actually. Maybe it’s time to invest in a proper scale.

That’s the only goal I’ve set for myself really. Nothing about finances, nothing about school (obviously I want to pass everything, that goes without saying), about my career and nothing about blogging or family or anything like that. The main focus is just to get healthier and fitter. If I get to the end of this year and I still feel fat and unhappy with my body, 2017 would be a big, big failure.

I just hate the feeling of going to the store, trying on some clothes and nothing fits. I want to walk out immediately. I don’t even care that I have stretch marks all over. I don’t really care how my man boobs hang when I sit down shirtless at home. Only thing I care about is going to the store, trying on a pair of jeans and walking out of that store happy. That’s it. That’s all I want for now.

Of course it will change once I start hitting goals, feeling healthier, wake up with more energy and happier. I’ll want more. Much more. I’ll want to lose the man boobs and the flab of fat around my waist. I’d like to have a six-pack for once in my life (ironically my wife isn’t that into rock hard abs and muscly guys – not sure if she’s just saying that to make me feel better). I want to be able to run a marathon one day (a short one).

I hope I do it. I hope I do it early as well so I can go and reach greater heights.

That’s it for now. Thank you for reading. Cheers.

I’m Back and I’m an Idiot

It’s that time of the year again where everyone reflects on their lives and try to make an improvement. This year will be no different for me. I’m going to give this blogging thing another go just to realize later this year that I actually don’t have time to blog and fail miserably.

I’ve set a lot of goals last year and the main ones that I’m very happy about achieving was that I’ve kept track of all my income and expenditure. I make a budget every month though. When I received a bonus in August, I had so much money that I didn’t feel the need to keep checking my budget to make sure I’m still on track.

I’ve also managed to pass all my subjects in 2016. If all goes well I will graduate at the end of this year. Semester 4 has to go down as one of the toughest semesters. I just never had enough time to get everything done, but I still managed. I was ready to quit school twice. I got angry and upset with the school, especially with my Distributed Systems Programming lecturer (more on that on a later blog post).

Last year saw me change positions for the third year running. 2014 I was promoted from clerk to supervisor, 2015 I was promoted from supervisor to manager and in 2016 I switch from finance to IT and now I’m a computer analyst (or business and data analyst to be more specific). I got news about the switch to the new position in June but it only took effect in December. It was a very frustrating period in my career, but I’m happy to finally be in the field of IT.

No big no-no’s last year. Being married to my wife was smooth sailing most of the time. We hardly ever had any arguments. Our relationship is growing stronger and stronger with each passing day. We understand each other better. I’m mostly the guilty party when it comes to arguments because I show my anger a lot.

I didn’t get my driver’s permit last year, but I am starting to drive. I’m driving almost every day now. It’s just a matter of time before I do get my driver’s permit. Then I can share the driving load with my wife. She is a very impatient driver and gets stressed out a lot by traffic. If I can lighten that load on her end, she’ll be an even happier wife at home.

Last thing I’d like to mention before ending this post. I am the world’s biggest idiot. Last month I bought myself a new smart phone. I was very excited about this. I saw a video online of the same model phone as mine being submerged in water for a minute with no consequences at all, but there is no mention that the phone is waterproof or water-resistant by the phone manufacturer.

This past weekend my wife and I, together with her parents went camping. We went for a swim, I took my phone with me. I took a couple of selfies in the pool. I so badly wanted to take an underwater photo. My wife told me not to. I didn’t listen. As I came out the water, my phone was black. I put the phone in rice. When I turned it back on, the phone wasn’t reacting to any touches on the screen. Now I have to take the phone in for repair and hope it doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg to fix it. I am so upset with myself. WHY DID I NOT LISTEN TO MY WIFE? I think that’s not the last time I’ll be uttering those words this year.

Happy new year and thanks for reading.

Still surviving

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Holding on

I am not dead from being overworked yet. I’m still in the trenches but its not as bad as previously thought.

I just got a couple of tests back and the results look good. I might get through this semester without failing any subjects.

I also wrote a few tests this past week and it wasn’t that bad. I might just pass all of them and I also submitted a couple assignments that I feel very confident about.

Work still sucks though. Last week I had possibly the worst week I’ve ever had at a work place and this week I’m drowning in work even though I’ve been working as hard as I can to get things done, more things just get added to the list.

My finances look good even though I couldn’t give an update on March and Q1 of 2016 yet. My wife is even drawing up excel spreadsheet budgets now even though she was opposed to the idea at the beginning of our marriage.

I’m also looking forward to the weekend. I’m having my friends over. They haven’t been over at my place since I got married. Gonna have to entertain them and show them there is nothing to be afraid of at my place, they are always welcome to come visit.

Well, that’s me for now. I hope the next two weeks can only get better.

Until next time. Thanks for reading.

Throw Back Thursday – Debt Repayment

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(Edit: Due to some technical difficulties, Throw Back Thursday is late. My apologies)

It’s that time of the week again, Throw Back Thursday. One of the best ideas I’ve had yet, even though it’s not totally original. Each Thursday for the month of January I post something regarding goal setting from my past and this is supposed to help me set my goals for 2016.

My first post was about my life time goals where I discussed what I achieve in the long-term (by 2029, when I turn 40). The second was about my reward list. I have to admit, after that post I have identified a few other goodies I could add to that list. Finally last week I posted about habits I want to either gain or get rid of, mostly to do with health, finances and organisation.

This week’s throw back is about debt repayment. I found a sheet of paper in one of my files. I think I must have come up with this plan right after my place was broken into and they took about everything material I value like my Xbox 360, TV, laptop, iPod and some clothes.

I needed to come up with a plan to get some clothes to just go to work but I had no money. I reviewed credit card and consumer debt situation and came up with a plan to pay off most of it.

It was a pretty simple plan. I was going to commit $2,000 NAD (about $120 USD) per month for the next six months to the repayment of my debts. There was a total of $12,800 NAD ($780.80 USD) outstanding.

Well I managed to close the one account and buy the engagement and wedding ring for my fiancé without making more debt but I couldn’t pay off my credit card and I didn’t have enough money to buy my own wedding ring, so I had to open another consumer debt account for that.

I didn’t make my goal but I think I came pretty damn close. Now I’ve created a new debt repayment plan for 2016 and hopefully I stick to this plan and pay off all my debt and go into 2017 debt free. Below you can see my new debt repayment plan.

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Please note that one NAD is equivalent to $0.061 USD. (Most of my readers are from USA).
The toughest thing about repaying debt is not creating any new debt and actually sticking to the repayments amounts set out. I really hope I get to stick to this.

It’s been a pleasure writing these series of blog posts. Maybe I will start a new Throw Back series soon, but I don’t have much in my archives. Next week I will post my final 2016 goals.

Until next time. Thanks for reading.

Throw Back Thursday – Wish/Reward List

Back again for another installment of Throwback Thursday, the goals edition. I’ve gone through my old stuff and stumbled across some goals I set for myself. Before I set my goals for 2016, I first want to go through these goals I previously set and come up with a new and improved list.

This week I’m sharing my reward/wish list. Like every time I ticked off a goal from the list and I would get myself one of these bad boys., but I didn’t follow this system. I bought something when the money was available. So here is my wish list:

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Throw Back Thursdays – Lifetime goals

As promised in my previous post, I am going to start a series of posts called Throw Back Thursdays (very original, I know) whereby I go through all my old goals I’ve set for myself in the past. With the help of these goals, I will try and set my goals for 2016. 

I decided to start with the big one. I set these goals round about the time I dropped out of college and was living at my parents place. I had no job, I was single and I wasn’t really sure where to go. I took an aptitude test to determine what I am actually good at and really sat down and thought, what do I really want to do. What will truly bring me joy? And this is what I came up with:

Lifetime Goals – By the time I reach 40 (2029)

Work from home – consultant in finances and information technology
A PhD in Information Technology
Always be on top of the technological developments
Master all relevant web and software development languages
Set-up my own place with the latest tech gadgets
Own a sports coupé
Have a passive income that covers all my day-to-day expenses

It’s 2016, I still have 13 years left to get there. I am currently in my second year of studies. I am slowly but surely getting to my goal of getting a PhD in Information Technology. I’ve learned four languages in the past year, namely Java, C#, CSS and HTML. I wouldn’t call myself a master in those but I feel comfortable enough with those languages. I got a new smartphone last year and a new laptop. I have no car and I am no where close to having a passive income to cover my day-to-day expenses.

So far it’s looking good. I am on course to complete these goals. I haven’t deviated from the plan. I can’t come up with better goals at this moment in time. Those goals look pretty solid. 

From these goals, I can come up with the following goals for 2016 to bring me closer to my life goals:

Pass my second year of studies
Master Java by writing a Java app for desktop or mobile
Read new tech articles every day by subscribing to tech articles, blogs etc.
Save up money to build a home theater PC
Get my drivers permit (I was never in a position to buy a car)
Pay off all short- and medium-term debt
Start a savings account that will later turn into an investment account

These goals aren’t final yet. Still 3 more articles to go before I finalize my goals for 2016. Things are really looking up for me. I have a feeling this is going to be a fantastic year for me and my family. 

Until next time. Thanks for reading

2013/14 Year Review [Part 4 of 4]

Financial freedom

2014, It’s only getting started

Looking back at all my posts, the past 365 days and what’s to come for the rest of the year, I must say that I am very excited to say the least. A year ago I thought my world is coming to an end. And now, it just getting better.
Now that I have a new job I will be earning more money. For the first time in my life I will experience the true meaning of income > expenses. I will be able to save some money. I am still trying to cut expenses and live a more frugal life. Just two more weeks and I would’ve kept a budget for 3 months and recorded every single transaction I made over those 3 months. Budgeting will only get easier and it will become a part of my every day ritual.
I have major plans for the next 365 days. When I write another mid-year review and I look back to this post and think that I have finally achieved something big. This would be bigger than me getting am accounting degree. Much bigger. It will be a step in the right direction. No more taking a back seat on my financial future. I will become the driver and take control. No more blaming other people for where I was a year back. I am in control of my journey and only I can change it.
So here are my goals for the rest of 2014:
  1. I will buy an engagement ring and propose to my girlfriend.
  2. I will have less debt than I started with this year.
  3. I will have my driver’s permit.
  4. I will have all the necessities required to live a comfortable live at home.
  5. I will learn all the programming languages to enable me to create a website and a mobile app from scratch.
  6. I will finish my website.
  7. I will finish my own mobile app.
  8. I will reach 500 views on my blog.
  9. I will have a budget that I following strictly every month.
  10. And I will be a more productive and healthy human being.