2017 Goals Review Megapost

Most years, I write out a list of goals for the year and then review them at year end to see what I accomplished. In 2017, I had a list of 50 goal (yes, ambitious). How did I do?

The big theme of 2017 was the steep learning curve of entrepreneurship and running my own small business for the first time.  I let something that would otherwise be a priority – seeing friends and family – fall below my business in my list of to-do’s.

Most friends I only saw when I ran events (like the multi-city scavenger hunt I put on for my birthday) or for business-related reasons (meetings, launch/wrap parties, roping them into help filming). While that is fun, it isn’t sustainable – one needs community and positive relationships in order to be a healthy, contributing member of society. Part of this was a two-way street – many of my friends are in the season of their life where they have children under 2 and getting out and about is harder. It’s so easy to get lost in ROIs and metrics, though, and not prioritize friends in the startup phase of business.

Despite the social downsides of this year,  I learned a lot about business, and celebrated a successful first year in business full-time teaching personal finance online, on the radio every single week, and in-person in more than 10 cities (and three countries). Oh My Dollar! raised $15,000 on kickstarter to make a cat-filled money workbook. I am really enjoying getting to help people work through their money issues – with a little bit of help from glitter and felines – and want to grow the business in 2018.

One flipside of a startup business year is that I am making a lot less money than I was in 2016 and 2015 when I had a steady day job, and my financial accomplishments don’t look nearly as good as when I was saving over 50% of my income. I hope that in 2018 I reverse that trend and see a significant uptick in my income now that I’ve built the business foundation.

One unexpected goal for this year was that I quit drinking alcohol on a whim in November 2016, and didn’t pick it back up all year. It really helped with my limited income (based on my calculations, I saved ~$805.04 this year by not imbibing) and has been surprisingly nice for other reasons. I had already cut down on drinking a lot in the past couple years, but now I’ve completely reset my habits and don’t even think about it as an option anymore, preferring a bubbly water or tea as a way to relax before bed. I’m not sure if I’ll start drinking again next year, but for now, I feel okay about it.

Last but not least, I checked off some pretty major travel goals for the year: a 13-country trip by train from Dublin, Ireland to Shanghai, China, including the trans-siberian railway. This year I visited 15 countries, not bad for a low-earning year.

Interested in setting and meeting your own goals for 2018? Join the free Oh My Dollar! goal setting mini-challenge. You’ll get a short daily guided exercise for 5 days in January to help create your money & life goals in for next year. Join here:

    • smallyesWrite and launch workbook/book – Workbook is written and was successfully 200% funded on Kickstarter. It will hit the printer next month and be shipped out and in shops starting in April 2018!
    • smallyesPitch GYMT bootcamp at local employers – Yes, I gave a total of 14 Get Your Money Together workshops in 2017, including at local employers.
    • smallyesFinish Watch Me Turn 30 project – That I did! I took a picture of myself every single day from the day I turned 29 until the day I turned 30. You can check it out on Flickr.
    • smallyesHost awesome birthday party – This was probably one of the funnest events I ever coordinated. It was a multi-city transit themed spy scavenger hunt, involving over 80 people. There was a surprise karaoke bus, secret codes visible only from the aerial tram, a numbers station, and secret identity passports. Here are some of the tweets from the event. We even trended the event’s hashtag in Portland.Could not have been successful without the event planning assistance of Cheryl Crowe (my mom), resources from Michael Andersen, the creation of a scoring system by Aaron Parecki, and our amazing volunteers Brian, Jason, Breesa, Steph, Lauren (who spent hours on a karaoke bus alone), Heather, Kim, Brad, Alexis, Andrew, and (all the way from Pennsylvania) Hayley.Not to mention our sponsors Ford Food & Drink, Old School PDX, Books with Pictures, Velo Cult, Townshend’s Kombucha, Portland Aerial Tram, and the patience of hundreds of TriMet drivers.As Jesse Holden summed it up:“3 takeaways from #spy301. you can get an absolutely unbelievable amount of transportation in this town for $52. staff are without exception awesome people3.   and are craaaaaazy for doing this”
    • smallyesStart creating video content – Oh My Dollar! created 8+ hours of video- now a TV show on public access & an online course (with over 25 hours of studio time to produce them). I couldn’t have done the studio resources of Open Signal TV, and the invaluable help of Aaron Parecki of Backpedal Productions, KMikeyM, and Marcus Estes.
    • smallyesLaunch online Get Your Money Together Bootcamp – Launched on tax day 2017. Check it out here.
    • smallyesPublish 2016 zine & mail  – I did that and mailed it to over 200 people – check it out here
    • smallyes Log 100 days of time by the half hour based on the 168 hours book – I did this in spreadsheets, from 1/1/2017 – 3/5/2017 and then again for two weeks in April.  It was really helpful to see where I could improve with time efficiency. I’d like to do it again for another month, especially since I have a different part-time job now.  Here is a screenshot of what it looked like with my time tracked in 15 minute increments, with one spreadsheet:
    • smallyesPitch a QS conference talk   I gave one, here it is on video!
    • smallyesSome sort of art project while on the trans-siberian (audio, visual, writing?) – I livetracked my location using a satellite beacon and added pictures and audio on Anomalily.World

    • smallyesTake a dance class – I did this, but I didn’t really improve much because I wasn’t working towards anything. But technically goal accomplished. This is why setting well-thought out goals is important.
    • smallyesStreamPDX launch at new location – We moved into Open Signal in January and have been settling in well there. 2018 is going to be a big year with our fellowship program launching.
    • smallyesMaster facebook advertising – While I knew a lot about Facebook Elections (the advertising wing for political ads on Facebook), I was still learning how to utilize facebook ads for my own business. I successfully managed to get as low as $.80 per conversion for Get Your Money Together Bootcamp, which is a win!
    • smallyesCreate editorial calendar for blog & radio show – Successfully implemented this for the radio show, and made the decision to stop blogging.
    • smallyesTravel to Amsterdam in June for Quantified Self conference – yup
    • smallyesTrans-siberian railway from Moscow > Beijing – Yes! I also went all the way from Dublin to Moscow by train/ferry. Check out the posts here.
    • smallyesFinCon in Dallas, TX – That I did, including singing drag queen karaoke at a gay cowboy bar.
    • smallyesNo moving – check it out! – This wasn’t that hard, because it was the course of least resistance, but was important to list as a goal because I was so sick of moving. We even signed an 17 month lease renewal – for no rent increase (amazing in Portland) – so another year of no moving!
    • smallyesHave Oh My Dollar! provide half my income for the year – As far as gross income, Oh My Dollar! did this. As far as net, I fell a bit short. Learn more about 2017’s finances (and the wild ride of building a business) in my end of year finance post.
    • smallyesOverhaul Wardrobe – I did this (and spent way more on it than I hoped to) but I still don’t feel satisfied with it. I’m not sure what’s going on, as usually I’m at peace with my clothes, but the past 1.5 years I’ve had a fraught relationship.
    • smallyesDeadlift & back squat body weight (118lbs) – Shot WAY past this, getting as high as squatting 145% of my body weight at 170lbs. My bench press is still sadly hovering at 75lbs, and not getting any better, with my arthritic wrists being a big barrier.

  • smallyesNortheast swing for teaching classes – I went up to Camp Mustache Canada outside Toronto and keynoted the event. Due to the hectic travel schedule of that month, I didn’t book any other stops in the NE.

The Kindas

  • squiggelyMake birthday zine – I didn’t do a full zine this year because I was coordinating a multi-city scavenger hunt for my birthday, but I did do a 1 pager.
  • squiggelyContinue maintaining & utilizing relationships spreadsheet – I did this, but I felt like this year was one of my worst years for social connection. Some of this had to do with the season of my friends’ lives (small children) but a lot had to do with starting a small business, including the large amount of travel I did.
  • squiggelySpend less than $20,000 for the year (including health insurance)I spent $22,217 this year,  so it would look like I failed – but with $2,984 of that going to health expenses and my income coming in lower than I’d estimated, I’ll be getting about $2092 of that spending back in health care subsidies at tax time, so I count that as a win.
  • squiggelyWorkout 5 days/week – I averaged  3.7 days a week of working out, which isn’t terrible. I failed to account for the toll that travel (10 total weeks traveling for work) would take on my stats and averages. Overall, I think I did okay, but it could have been improved. For 2018, I am now working at a fitness studio and expect to keep things going.
  • squiggely100 hours of yoga– I got to 78 hours this year, which I will call a solid effort, considering the 10 weeks I was on the road this year.
  • squiggelyContinue meal planning/grocery shopping weekly –  This really started to fall apart around the time of all my travel in the fall and we’re only halfway back on the wagon. Now that I’m consistently back in town with a regular schedule part-time job, I expect to kick butt at this (with Aaron’s help.)
  • squiggelyGet HPA board back up to 7 members – We got three new board members on (2 turned us down to other commitments) and brought ourselves to 5 members. I’m feeling very solid about the folks on the board, but looking forward to getting to 7 folks.
  • squiggelyHave 1000 newsletter subscribers – I had significant gains, with less than 100 people on my list at the beginning of the year, I now have over 800 subscribers, but not quite at 1000 (my software price does go up at 1000 so…)
  • squiggelyGet sponsor for Oh My Dollar! podcast –  We sponsored the podcast ourselves (the bootcamp) and inked a deal for a 2018 sponsor.
  • squiggelyGet HPA financially stable enough to bring staff back up to full-time – We did this for all of the staff that wanted to be full-time, but some staff have chosen to be part time.
  • squiggelyAccomplish splits – I did the splits ONCE this year all the way in a particularly hot room after lots of trying, but otherwise this was my most successful year since being a figure skating teenager towards the splits. I hope to have the splits consistently in 2018.
  • squiggelyMake quarterly tax payments for OMD – I am set up to do this in 2018, but it was unnecessary due to my W2 withholding and low net income from 1099 work in 2017 (you only need to file quarterly if you expect a certain amount of income from 1099 work and have no other withholding.)
  • squiggelyMax out Roth IRA – Nope, my income was too low to make this work – maxing would be a $5,500 annual contribution. But I did contribute $2,000 (about 9.5% of my income) in order to max out my Saver’s Credit.


  • noCreate independent artist financial survey – I reimagined this project as a more art-based endevour but it ended up not being a priority for the business.
  • noCreate independent artist financial report – See above.
  • noGive TEDx talk – I didn’t even apply anywhere. TEDx doesn’t pay and I’ve given one before ;)
  • noBlog weekly – I gave up on this, because I decided producing an excellent podcast and radio show was more important.
  • noSave 50% of income – Lol nope. I didn’t make enough money (I made about $23,000 this year) to make this possible. Next year I shall get back to my 2015+ 2016 levels of saving!
  • noOpen Solo 401K – This was unnecessary due to not maxing out my Roth IRA. Someday!
  • noBe a good friend & daughter – This was a terribly defined goal (here’s a post on what kind of things make good goals) – but honestly I don’t think I did great this year at this. I saw the least # of friends one-on-one that I have since 2012, skipped most parties I was invited to, and generally was pretty bad at social life. Some of this is travel related, some is spoons related, but a lot of this had to do with starting a business and deprioritizing my friendships.

The No Longer Applicables

I had 7 goals related to my job at Beeminder, which I left due to the demands of my business in August this year. I still love Beeminder and am processing payroll for them each month as a contractor, but my own business needed more attention.

Overall Verdict: A-

I think I did pretty well this year on goals, hitting most of the big ones, and getting “part of the way there” on many others.

The biggest areas for improvement are income (and subsequently savings) and strengthening social connection.


Interested in setting and meeting your own goals for 2018? Join the free Oh My Dollar! goal setting mini-challenge. You’ll get a short daily guided exercise for 5 days in January to help create your money & life goals in for next year. Join here:

19 thoughts on “2017 Goals Review Megapost

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