2021 New Year's Resolutions & Goals

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It’s a brand new year, which means it’s time to set yearly goals.

This year will be the fourth year I’ve posted my goals on this blog. It’s crazy that I’ve been doing this blog thing (and making almost no money from it) for over four years.

If you count the posts from my old blog that I’ve imported, it’s been over ten years.

Anyway, back to goal setting.

While most people[citation needed] use the SMART system - that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound - I do something a little different. I use abstract and concrete goals.

Abstract goals are a high-level overview of what I want to do. Maybe I want to be healthier. Maybe I want to be more sympathetic.

Concrete goals are the how - this is where I might use the SMART goal criteria. This is where I’ll take my high-level, abstract goal and plan on how to accomplish it. For example, to be healthier (my abstract goal), I will track my food daily, eating no more than 2,000 calories daily on average, and will weigh no more than 225 pounds by the end of the year (that’s three concrete goals to meet one abstract goal).

Improve Our Finances

Our financial goals for 2021 are:

  • Max out our Roth IRAs & HSA
  • Max the match on our 401ks
  • Up our 529 contributions from $25 to $30 a month per kid
  • Up our church donations from $50 to $100 a month
  • Become 100% debt free
  • Figure out what to do after debt
  • Eat out no more than 1x week on average

The first four goals are automatic - the IRA, HSA, and 401k money is taken directly out of our paychecks, and the 529 contributions and church donations are set up as automatic payments. I’ve also already changed the amount for each.

Becoming 100% debt free will happen sometime this year - maybe even in the first half of the year. We have less than $10k left, and we lowered our debt by over $20k last year.

After we pay out debt, we’ll have to figure out what to do with the money we’d been putting towards the debt. I want to max out my solo 401k and potentially max out our 401k contributions overall, but we’ll have to see where we’re at when the time comes.

Be Better Parents & Our Goals for Our Kids

  • Read at least one book to each kid every day
  • Hike as a family at least once a week (typically on the weekend)
  • Sign up our son for preschool
  • Potty train son - preferable before he turns three (on March 26th), but at the latest by the time preschool starts
  • Enjoy our daughter learning to walk and talk
  • Max two hours of TV for the kids only on the weekends. No TV during the week.
  • Improve our parenting skills by either taking a parenting class (preferably) or reading a book
  • Volunteer at church at least once

Improve Our Marriage

  • Have at least seven dates
  • Attend at least one marriage seminar or retreat

The second one is largely contingent on how the pandemic plays out this year.

Seven dates nights is feasible, however, even if we have to find something socially-distanced to do.

Improve our House & Yard

A couple of problems with our driveway. A couple of problems with our driveway.

Improve My Health

  • Maintain my weight at 225 lbs or less
  • Reach a body fat percentage of 20% or lower
  • Run at least one 5k
  • Daily run to a 5-minute walk, 40-minute run, 5-minute walk
  • Continue strength training

A month ago, I wrote about meeting my fitness goal last year and how I began running. I want to continue that by running at least one formal 5k. I’ve been running a little over 3 miles every weekday morning anyway.

Distance ran per run, in miles. Distance ran per run, in miles.

To help meet the “run one formal 5k” goal, I joined the Ohio River Road Runner Club. They host several 5ks (and other running events) throughout the year that are free with a paid membership. The next 5k on their calendar is the Sweetheart Shuffle on February 14th. Of course, especially now, every race is tentative.

As far as my “daily run to a 5-minute walk, 40-minute run, 5-minute walk” currently I walk 5 minutes, run 13 minutes, walk 7 minutes, run 13 minutes, walk 7 minutes, and then walk a final 5 minutes. My plan is to slowly move minutes from the 7-minute walks to the 13-minute runs until the running time has taken over the walking time. I intend to always do the 5-minute warmup and cooldown walks

Develop Personally & Professionally

  • Attend at least one conference
  • Run for city council
  • Read (i.e. finish) one book per month
  • Finish the fast.ai course

I’ve already begun petitioning to get on the ballot for city council. I’m currently at 40 signatures. I need 50 valid signatures to get on the ballot, but I am not allowed to turn in more than three times that number (i.e. 150) total.

My supply of masks, pens, alcohol wipes, and hand sanitizer sitting atop my petitions and clipboard. My supply of masks, pens, alcohol wipes, and hand sanitizer sitting atop my petitions and clipboard.

My minimum goal is to simply get on the ballot; I do intend to do some campaigning as well as talking to people.

As for the fast.ai course, I’m currently on lesson seven of eight, although they’ve only released about half of the lessons so far.

Better My Blog

jQuery is not as necessary as it was five years ago, so I’m slowly replacing it with vanilla JavaScript. I’ve already rewritten my commenting system and removed a few unnecessary $(document).ready calls across the site.

The main CSS file (style.css) has a content length of 23,859 bytes. To contrast, the main page (at the time of this writing) has a content length of 4,358 bytes (that’s the HTML only). I’m not using a number of the CSS classes, plus it could be better organized.

My Wife’s Goals

Improve Her Health

  • Lose weight
  • Exercise at least 150 minutes a week

Develop Personally & Professionally

  • Recertified her PTCB credentials
  • Read at least two books


  • Clean at least for 15 minutes 4 times a week
  • Clean, declutter, and otherwise minimize the house, especially in the computer room, garage, and our bedroom

And You?

What goals do you have for this year?

1 comment for 2021 New Year's Resolutions & Goals

  • I forgot one financial goal - max out my bonus 5% grocery category with my new Chase Freedom Flex card.

    The terms for the 5% effectively were:

    Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

    My first transaction was on October 1, 2020 - so I have at the latest October 1, 2021 to complete $12,000 spend at grocery stores. Of course, I don’t want to spend money just to get the 5% back, but there are some things I can do (such as buy a Kroger gift card in-store to use at the pump) that can move spending from a non-grocery location to a grocery location.

    I’m unsure if Chase is still offering that particular bonus, but they always seem to offer some sort of bonus, so feel free to use either this referral link or that referral link.

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