My 2017 Year in Review

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19 min read. Goals, Personal.

2017 was a whirlwind year. It was a great year, an exciting year – but also a stressful and life-changing year. It was a year of big decisions and major changes for me. I started the year unmarried, living in Orlando, Florida and working on Code School. I ended it married, living in Salt Lake City, Utah and working on Pluralsight – and blogging.

I didn’t start a new job but did change what I was focusing on during my days. Mrs. livMinafi and I were married in a small ceremony (30 people) on our 11 year anniversary (we wanted to be really sure we liked each other). The move across the country is the first time either of us has lived outside of Florida in our adult lives.

The biggest overall themes for the year were: Wedding, Honeymoon, Minafi (!), downsizing, learning my new work responsibilities, preparing to move and moving. We started talking about this move in January 2017, starting with a what-if? It wasn’t completed until December 14, 2017. That’s a lot of time to think about moving.

So What’s This All About?

Every year I do a rundown of what I did during the previous year. Think of it as a highlight reel of only the interesting bits of the year. Looking back, it always seems to amaze me what was accomplished, and writing your own year in review posts can be inspiring. I start writing notes for this post midway through the year and build on that with things as they happen.

I’ve been doing these yearly posts for quite a while. These were started before Minafi, but I recently moved them over here for posterity for past years: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

What stands out from the past year?

What Went Well?

  • Our wedding! Our venue moved 2 months before our date, but they ended up upgrading us to our dream venue. Imagine a speakeasy-stylebar with plenty of room to move around. Everything went perfect (or has been properly blocked out).
  • Working on Minafi has been amazing. It’s been so much fun connecting with others around personal finance. It was an area I didn’t know I was missing in my life. Launching the interactive guide to FIRE and attending FinCon were two highlights.
  • Changing focuses at my job, Pluralsight. Switching from working on Code School to Pluralsight after more than 6 years was a big shift. It’s exciting to see what I can help create at PS and bring in from my experience on Code School.
  • Moving from Orlando to SLC went much more smoothly than I expected. Even our dog Lily was able to adapt fast after the move.
  • Selling our house was crazy. It was on the market for 4 days, then was under contract for the bank appraised value and sold 35 days after listing.

What Didn’t Go As Well?

  • Reducing possessions when downsizing is tough. We stopped trying to sell things and just started giving stuff away to anyone who would take it. Many things we had were hand-me-downs from when my mom passed away. In the end, 1-800-got-junk ended up carting away an embarrassing amount that we couldn’t give away but needed to clear out before we left Orlando. Even after we moved we gave away carloads of things that didn’t fit in our new apartment.
  • Getting into routines was tough. I feel most productive when I have a routine. With these life changes happening, attempting to focus and get into any kind of schedule was an uphill battle. I’ve recently started to think this is partially because I didn’t make time for my keystone habits.
  • My saving rate this year wasn’t all that I wanted. Between a wedding, 2 honeymoons ( 🙂 ), living in a new city and fixing up a house, there were many more times eating out than usual.
  • Having Hurricane Irma hit our house just a few months before selling wasn’t exactly great.

Wedding

I loved our wedding. We had our ceremony at a local park on a lake in a gazebo with 30 guests and Mrs. Minafi in a drop dead gorgeous dress. She walked down the aisle to Helpless from Hamilton played on a 3 piece string ensemble, where I was helpless as well. They also played As the World Falls Down (David Bowie, from the masquerade scene in Labyrinth), Over the Rainbow and more.

Later on, we moved over to The Ravenous Pig for our reception. We love this place. If you’re in Orlando and are looking for a great meal, we’d obviously recommend it. Having a small wedding was great. We were able to make rounds over cocktails (and oysters – which we both love) and chat with people before sitting down for a tasty dinner.

We found a vintage suitcase on Etsy and opened it up for people to write us notes on old postcards from around the world. As a kid I collected postcards when I traveled, and it was a great way to put them to use.

Once we closed the venue down, we walked a few blocks and went venue hopping around Winter Park with some friends – still dressed in our finest. We ended the night around 1 am, in a bank basement vault converted to a wine bar chatting with friends.

The end cost of the wedding (this is a financial focused blog after all) was around $10k for everything, including venues, food, drinks, dress, tux, hotel, wedding planner, flowers, photography, string trio and more. We didn’t have a cake, live music, dancing or any of that. Just a big area for people to hang out and chat and choose their own seats. We focused on the areas that would make us the happiest during the wedding, and it worked out well! I have no regrets about it.

Huge thanks to our day of coordinator, flower provider and photographer Andi Mans for these photos (aside from the one of me getting ready, which was taken by Zac).

Honeymoon to Japan

To decide where to go on our honeymoon, we created a spreadsheet and started adding anywhere in the world that we wanted to travel to someday. This list had dozens of places and spread across every continent. It included Japan, Galapagos, Iceland, Korea, China, Singapore, Hawaii, Cuba and many more. We created two more columns – Adam’s rank and Mrs. Minafi’s rank. We both blindly ranked these trips without knowing what the other had done. After this exercise it was clear – we’re going back to Japan (we went once 3 years back). It was Mrs. Minafi’s first choice, and my second (Galapagos was #1 for me – but it was close).

The first time we went, we traveled to 3 different locations around Japan – Kyoto, Hakone and Tokyo. This time we decided to focus on Nikko and Tokyo – meaning quite a bit less traveling. We also went all out and stayed at a Ryokaan (Japanese bed and breakfast) with an outdoor hot tub.

Nikko and Kegon Falls

The area around Nikko was amazing. Everywhere we went we were immersed in history and beauty. We hit the major Unesco world heritage sites, took a trip to Kegon falls and walked the scenic Kanmangafuchi Abyss lined with stone Buddha statues. The Japan Guide list for Nikko was a huge help in planning our time there.

Tokyo

Last time we were in Tokyo we stayed in the Meguro district for free on Starwood points. This time we hunted down a place in Ginza that we called home for 7 nights. Although it was small to the point where the bed took up most of the room, we didn’t spend much time there.

We took a tour of the Imperial Gardens, Tsukiji Fish Market, took a sushi making class, had hanabi at Ueno Park (picnic under the cherry blossoms), explored the city looking for even more Cherry Blossoms, went to the iconic Shibuya Crossing and joined a bar crawl in Roppongi. My favorite meal ended up being at a 7-seat soba/ramen shop named Kagari Ramen which earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand rating despite their $10 plates.

Tokyo Disney Sea and Ghibli Cafe

When Mrs. Minafi said she wanted to go to Disney in Japan for a day I was skeptical. We live(d) in Orlando and have (had) passes to the parks to go whenever we wanted. Would a trip to Disney in Tokyo be so different that we should spend a day of our limited time there?

Yes, the answer is yes. Disney in Japan is on an entirely different level. For one, the theming is out of this world amazing. The food was great (and cheap) as were the unique popcorn flavors (curry anyone?). The wait times were crazy short – at least when you know how to work the fast pass system. We ended up going on every ride we wanted to hit and more.

What was really interesting to me though was the age of the attendees. While US Disney is filled with families taking their little kids, Tokyo Disney was filled almost entirely of middle to high school kids – mostly girls going in pairs dressing in twinsies. This meant we weren’t constantly being run over by strollers which was an added bonus. We ended the night at a bar in a ship on the ocean.

We’re also massive Ghibli fans. Our first date was to see Spirited Away in theaters, so it holds a special place for us. We hunted down Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory and enjoyed some fun treats.

Minafi

Minafi was started in August of 2016. I wrote a dozen posts but didn’t know any way to get the word out. I ended up giving up before the 2-month mark. In December of 2016, I wrote an article on Medium.com about a product launch for something I was a part of. The idea of writing on Medium stuck with me, and in June of 2017 I moved Minafi over there and started writing! I think in the first week I had 10 posts queued up. After years posting on LiveJournal and starting my own blog in 2002 (before it was called a blog) somewhere along the line I stopped writing. It was something I loved and was missing somehow.

It took less than a month for me to feel limited by Medium and make the move to WordPress. I haven’t looked back since. The biggest discovery of all was around the financial blogging community – something I was completely unaware of. As someone who would just read randomly linked posts on Twitter, or what was at the top of Reddit, this group blew me away.

This year on Minafi had a few different waves of productivity:

  • June – early July: Just writing and enjoying it on Medium.
  • July – September: Building lots of relationships with other bloggers and creating/publicizing the Interactive Guide to FI.
  • September – early November: Writing the Minimal Investor Course (it’s 200 pages long!) and attending FinCon.
  • November: Taking a blog break to fix up our home, downsize possessions and move.
  • December: Trying to get back into things post-move and use some of the SEO knowledge I picked up at FinCon.

Travel

This year was light on travel for both Mrs. Minafi and myself. Most of the trips this year were work-related rather than recreational.

  • Went to Charleston, SC with friends for my bachelor party
  • Spent 2 weeks in Japan for our honeymoon!
  • 3 separate trips out to Salt Lake City for work (March, May, August), totaling roughly 26 days in SLC or traveling before moving out for good (so almost 2 months here this year).
  • Went to St. Petersburg for a weekend getaway for Mrs. Minafi’s birthday.
  • Flew to Dallas, TX (Southwest on Points) for FinCon.
  • Went to St. Petersburg again for one last Crab Feast with friends.
  • Drove from Orlando to Salt Lake City, stopping in Chatanooga, Kansas City and Denver along the way.

Comparing this to previous years, the travel list looks a little thin. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2018 it’s also shorter but focused on areas we can drive to from our new home.

St. Petersburg, Florida

For Mrs. Minafi’s birthday, we planned out one last trip to St. Petersburg. Although I grew up there, the city has changed a lot in the last 20 years. Now, there is a thriving night-life and craft beer scene with interesting restaurants and waterfront views. The city still feels like St. Pete to me, even without it’s iconic pier.

If you’re in St. Pete, I’d recommend checking out the Chihuly Glass Museum, The Dali Museum and heading over to Tampa for steak at Berns Steakhouse.

Events and Entertainment

We love live performances (musicals, plays, concerts), but this year was very light on that front.

  • Mrs. Minafi scheduled a secret birthday trip out on a boat in Disney Springs with champagne, chocolate covered strawberries with Guardians of the Galaxy music blaring.
  • Went to a number of DUX meetups with other UX pros in Orlando
  • Went to a bunch of movies. My favorites of the year were: Blade Runner 2049, Get Out, Baby Driver, Loving Vincent and Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
  • We watched entirely too much TV. Some of my favorite shows were: The Good Place, Big Little Lies, The Orville, Halt and Catch Fire and Black Mirror.
  • Had monthly video chats with a number of friends from all over. This has been great for keeping in touch.
  • Played my first ever D&D campaign as a neutral-good Goliath entertainer before sacrificing myself by charging into battle on a warg.
  • Food & Wine Festival on our own, with Code School and with my immediate team.
  • Had a huge going away / giving away party with friends.
  • Went to Orlando Creative City Project, an interactive art and performance takeover of downtown.
  • Volunteered at Hope for Puerto Rico in Orlando after the storm hit.

In 2016 we went to a LOT of events. We had Broadway Across America season tickets, Orlando Shakespeare season tickets, went to a bunch of Florida Film Festival movies, loads of Fringe Festival events, and kept our ears to the ground for local events. Although we loved it, it was just too much of a good thing. After all of that in 2016, we were ready for a break. We spent more time in 2017 at home, traveling, creating or hanging out with friends.

Favorite Meals

One thing we always find room for is trying new restaurants.

  • Kadence Omakase sushi was easily our favorite meal of the year, and well, ever.
  • Berns Steakhouse in Tampa where we had the best steak of our lives. Seriously, look at their steak menu.
  • Xiao Bao Biscuit in Charleston, SC. Imagine all the best dishes from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam all at the same place, while somehow still executing amazingly well on all of them.
  • Le Celier at Epcot for our going away from Disney dinner (last night before our passes expired)
  • Went back to The Pharmacy, one of our favorites in Orlando for food & cocktails. This place isn’t too far from Fincon 2018 either. Anyone want to go?
  • Repeated visits to Domu for delicious ramen and some of the best spicy Korean fried chicken we’d ever had.

Books

I’m still working on a full breakdown of all of the books I read this year. I rate and review these on Goodreads if you’re ever curious what I’m reading. Here’s a rundown of some of my favorites:

  • The Kingkiller Chronicle series. It took me a little time to get into The Name of the Wind (book 1) but then I was hooked. The magic system, the characters, the world – it was all amazing. It wasn’t as epic as Brandon Sanderson, but it didn’t feel missing anything.
  • Oathbringer (book 3 of The Stormlight Archive). Speaking of Sanderson, the 3rd book in the Stormlight Archive series came out this year as well. I re-read the first two this year in anticipation (and I’m very glad I did).
  • Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0 series). This one is just plain fun. The series is 4 books in and the concept still makes me smile. The idea is: there a file on a computer and it controls everything – your personal stats, the year you exist in and more. You can write programs to manipulate things in the world. So what do programmers do? They travel back in time to be wizards in middle-age England (or Atlantis for the women).
  • Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble. I was laughing out loud with this one throughout most of it. Partially because so many startup mannerisms portrayed here were ones I’ve experienced.
  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse, #1-3). Similar in tone to Off to Be the Wizard, this trilogy is hilarious. The story starts like this: a software developer sells his startup, is financially set for life only to walk out of the build, get hit by a truck and “die”. He is revived, or at least his brain is, in the future. At this time, brains are brought alive as the operating system for anything from garbage trunks to space rockets.
  • Attack on Titan Manga. The first week of every month I anxiously await the release of this months book. It’s been so much fun reading and theorizing with others reading on just what the fuck is going on. If you were watching Lost back when it was airing where you just wondered wtf was going on – it’s a similar feel to that.

My year-end total for books read/listened to came out to 63! 4 were re-reads. 13 were by women authors (down from 15 in 2016). The split in genres was 36% non-fiction, 33% fantasy, 17% sci-fi, 7% fiction, 7% memoir.

Podcasts

On the podcast front, I only listened to a few podcasts – usually at the end of a book series before jumping into the next one.

  • The Freakonomics podcast remains one of my favorites. Explorations into unusual connections in the world? I love that stuff.
  • The Do You Even Blog Podcast with Pete is a very high energy and inspiring. I tend to get hyped up and want just DO something after listening, which is a rare talent in a host. I was lucky enough to be on an episode titled “How to create the worlds greatest post on [X]“. Due to that title, a bunch of people recognized me at FinCon as the guy who created the greatest post in the world – not a bad reputation. 🙂
  • Invisibilia season 2 was amazing. The explorations into emotion and memory this year were especially memorable.
  • The Problogger podcast was great for keeping me motivated. At one point in the year, I downloaded every episode and binge listened to them – over 100. When I was slightly tipsy at the FinCon after party I may have pulled out my phone and showed Darren Rowse this. Like a craftsman, his first response was about how much better the podcasts got as time went on.
  • Bad with Money with Gaby Dunn was one Mrs. Minafi started listening to and I joined in. This one is fun to see a non-finance expert talk about and try to learn money topics. Gaby is fun to listen to, and I see why she was so successful at Buzzfeed and elsewhere before going off on her own.
  • I binge listened to pretty much all the past episodes of Budgets and Cents with Cait and Carrie. Their focus is very similar to my goal here – around exploring not just personal finance but other areas of minimalism, mindfulness, and self-reflection.
  • The Fire Drill Podcast with J and Gwen has been a load of fun to listen to as well. Hearing from guests with wildly different backgrounds, goals, and motivations that are all aiming towards financial independence in some way. I was on an episode of the Fire Drill Podcast which was a fun dive into brokerage investing.

Many other podcasts I’ve listened to individual episodes of, and are looking forward to in the future too.

Blogs

With the rise of new aggregators (Reddit, Digg) in the mid to late 2000’s and the death of Google Reader, I stopped reading blogs quite so much. At the time, it was a welcomed relief. I was burnt out trying to keep up with the huge amount of blogs I subscribed to, and would often see a feed number so high that I knew I wouldn’t have fun reading through them.

This year I’ve slowly started subscribing to blogs that I enjoy, and actually talking with the authors as opposed to being an anonymous reader. This has meant actually commenting on blogs and telling authors when I think they’re doing an awesome job. No matter how “big” or “successful” a blog is, I can guarantee that the author loves hearing genuine feedback – especially by those who love what they do.

Here are a few of the blogs I’ve looked forward to reading this year by category. Some blogs span multiple categories as well.

Financial Independence, Investing, and Money Related

  • Our Next Life – Amazing voice, fun to read, great stories.
  • Millennial Boss – So much hustle. When I asked her how she got so much done at FinCon her fast response was “I don’t sleep”.
  • I Dream of FIRE – Extremely genuine stories and a great guy to have a beer with.
  • Adventure Rich – Hard to find someone more easy to connect with – both in person and through her writing.
  • The Luxe Strategist – Someone else who appreciates spending money on what matters and has fully embraced it through great stories.
  • Physician on FIRE – There are few people where everything they write is of the same technical side for where I’m the audience, but PoF hits that spot too often.
  • Fiery Millennials – One of the first FIRE blogs I read after her Reddit AMA in June (really? that was only June?). Great personable voice (and all too fun in person).
  • Satisfied Ghost – Mindfulness & FI explored through well written, personal explorations.
  • The Frugal Gene – Lily is too funny not to be on any list. I’ve caught myself thinking about more than one article she’s written well after.
  • ESI Money – Like PoF, there are few people who I feel share as much of the same take on how to succeed at ESI. I’m all on board his approach.

Minimalism, Simple Living

  • No Sidebar – I’ll be honest – I don’t know much about No Sidebar. They put out amazing posts by a variety of authors though.
  • Cait Flanders – Before I learned about the finance blogging community, I was following Cait on budgeting and minimalism. I’m looking forward to her new book coming out soon too!
  • zen habits – Leo has been exploring mindfulness and focus for over a decade. He’s one of the voices I’ll follow wherever he’s publishing.

Blogging and Hard to Categorize

  • Derek Sivers – I’ve been following Derek for over a decade. He’s one of the people who inspire me most, and I enjoy his flavor of motivational entrepreneurship.
  • Do You Even Blog – On my first trip out to SLC in August when Minafi was just getting started, I downloaded every episode Pete had released and listened to them on a 5-hour hike. I emailed him right after, and have been a fan/friend/guest since.
  • Backlinko – Although I didn’t follow these strategies verbatim for the release of my guide, it did help a great deal with the strategy for it.

These are just some of the many blogs I read this year. And by many, I mean I have everything in Feedly, and try to get to Feedly-0 when I can. By meeting people at Fincon, it’s been awesome putting faces to names for many of these as well as finding many new ones to read. If you’re looking for a list of more blogs, Erik from The Mastermind Within has an ambitious list of 100 Personal Finance Blogs to Read in 2018.

Goals from 2017 in Review

So, how’d I do on my 2017 goals for the year?

1) Set Monthly Themes and Weekly Goals

The idea behind this was simple. All I had to do was two things:

  • Write down a goal for the upcoming month
  • Write down tasks each week

This resolution wasn’t about successfully accomplishing them each month – just that I stuck with this foundation. I’ve had a lot of success with it, and did accomplish this one. For the first five months of the year, my monthly goal setting was in Evernote, and since then it happened here in public:

This monthly goal setting has been extremely helpful for me to focus, especially when paired weekly task planning. Since our recent move, I’ve come to realize that my weekly task planning session had become a keystone habit for me, which made it a priority to set aside time for it. In 2018 I’m planning on switching these up and doing a separate “review” and “new goals” post – mainly because the title gore of having “last month” and “next month” all together in the same post.

2) Launch a Side Project That Brings in Income

As you can see from my failure resume, I have a habit of not sticking with side projects. I wanted to launch something that I could stick with for a while and bring in some side income. The amount I defined at the beginning of the year was rather conservative:

This doesn’t need to be a significant amount — even a few bucks is fine.

Well, given that – mission accomplished! Minafi isn’t very well monetized right now. There are no ads. There are some affiliate links, but I lack the traffic to capitalize on those right now. Minafi is growing – search traffic doubled in December alone. I’m having a lot of fun growing it too! The total revenue in 2017 for Minafi? About $200! That came from a little coaching, winning 2nd in an investing strategy contest and a small bit from affiliates.

3) Create a Better Work/Life Balance with Boundaries

I started the year using my same computer for work and home. I had push notifications for emails and Slack going to my phone at all hours. I would worry about how what I was doing at work would impact the growth of the company, peoples jobs and the future of the products I was working on.

In 2016 I stepped down from managing people after realizing I liked managing products much more. I was lucky enough to work at a company with people who embraced this change and enabled me to follow my interests.

This year I made the switch to having a separate work computer, turned off all notifications and stopped worrying about things that are outside of my control (or at least worry less). Moving to a new city does mean that most of the people I know here are coworkers, so I’m cautious to not let that swing too far back by completely surrounding myself with only work friends.

One area I want to grow is making non-work friends here in Salt Lake City. I love all my work friends, but it’s still good to have time away. I Dream of Fire has been welcoming, and I’m looking forward to meeting others. If you’re in the Salt Lake City area and want to grab a beer or food sometime, feel free to reach out!

4) Be Mindful of False Productivity

I’m marking this one as a success — mostly because I feel I accomplished cool stuff this year. Getting married, starting Minafi, moving to Salt Lake City, selling our house (!) – not to mention writing 75 posts in 6 months. This is something I’ll continue to work at though, as it’s an area where I struggle. Here’s what I defined “false productivity” as last year:

There are a number of things I do that “feel” productive but really aren’t. This includes most time online, social media and even some planning, tracking and organization. There comes a point when the next step is action, and anything else is a delay.

This one isn’t solved by any means, but I’ve improved on it from last year. There are a few things I could do better:

  • Carve out more time for productivity at periods when I’m feeling productive.
  • Stick to my to-do list more when I’m not sure what to work on.
  • Ask myself if I’m working towards my monthly and yearly goals more often.

This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t relax, binge-watch the latest show on Netflix or enjoy coffee on a weekend morning in my pajamas with Mrs. Minafi. It’s more about changing the times when I “think” I’m doing something productive, but in actuality, it’s not taking me any closer to my goals.

4 out of 4 hit in 2017! 

Goals for 2018

I feel like the goals I set out for 2017 were just right for creating happiness with a sense of accomplishment. That’s my goal for 2018 as well. These goals aren’t lofty in the “stay-hungry” sense, but more about creating lifestyle changes that should influence and nudge me towards success in the areas I want to focus on.

1) Turn Minafi into a Business

This doesn’t mean making it a money-making endeavor as the top priority. Instead, it’s more about separating it (legally) from me, making it cash flow positive and changing it from an expensive hobby. I have a wealth of ideas on what to do in this, but the recent move, current tax bill and holiday season have meant pushing this off to 2018.

I want to be able to spend money to grow Minafi and learn new topics and have that funded by it. That could be spending on tools that could help, working with experts in areas I’m weak in or paying for educational materials. A stretch goal here is generating $1,000/month profit. To accomplish this I’m hoping to post 3x a week (most weeks), releasing a product for sale and doing something interesting with all the data from the interactive guide.

2) Build on my Keystone Habits

Exercise and goal setting are a great foundation of keystone habits. I want to see what I can do to continue doing these and build on them in some way. I’m not sure what this will be yet. It could be embracing a morning routine, joining a mastermind group, developing productivity time, or anything else. My aim is to try things out and find out what works while reinforcing the ones that work. I’d like to have 3 keystone habits part of my core routine by this time next year. Ideally, this keystone habit would be something involved in creating here on Minafi.

3) Slow Down

The achiever in me (my #3 strength according to StrengthsFinder) is always trying to get shit done. I easily fall into a mindset where I’m needing to get something done right now and obsess about it until it’s complete. This is both a strength and weakness. It’s a strength in that I often do end up getting things done. It’s a weakness in that it’s not always the most thought out plan, or it’s at the cost of other things in life.

Putting “slow down” into practice doesn’t mean I’m going to do less exactly, but instead making sure to ask “can this wait?” more often. The hope would be that I have more time for my keystone habits, sleep, cooking, hiking, skiing and exploring this new city. The hope is to unplug more and accept that it’ll mean less “achievements”.

One thing that I really want to focus on in this category is cooking dishes I enjoy at restaurants. I’m reading through Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand and can’t wait to create some of these dishes in our new kitchen.

One actionable step for this is to take public transportation to work rather than driving more often. This adds another 25 minutes to my commute each way, but it does drastically slow me down (in a good way). It also adds a chance to read or write more on the train.

4) Become More Active

In Orlando, I didn’t exactly love going outside. It’s hard to enjoy the outdoors when you’re soaked in sweat just walking to your car. I’m not a huge beach person, and it didn’t help that it was over an hour away from Orlando. Now that I’m in Salt Lake City, I want to make it a point to enjoy nature more. Hiking and skiing are the obvious ones, but also walking and biking more. There’s a Green Bike station right outside our apartment, and at $75 a year for unlimited bike rentals, it’s an amazing way to get around.

As a side effect of being more active, I know from experience that I’ll eat better, get more sleep and have more energy to focus on things when I want to. The goal here would be not to slip into a state of ambivalence where we put off activities because they’re readily available. I want to stay perpetually curious in my hometown. Action spurs actions, and it’s easier to keep that momentum going after a change than to kick things off from the start.

Welcome to 2018!

There’s my intention for the year! I have a feeling this is going to be a good one.

Side note: I asked Mrs. Minafi if I could use photos of her in this post and she said “Absolutely!”. When I asked her if she wanted to approve them, she very quickly responded with “Surprise me. :)”.

How’d you do on your goals for 2017? What are you planning to do in 2018? Are you setting any resolutions or changes?

Comments (22)

  1. Wow, a very thorough post! Interesting to hear that it was worth going to Disney in Japan even though you’ve been a lot in Orlando. Also, have you ever heard of Brian Johnson from Optimize.me? A lot of the things you talk about, such as keystone habits, sound like they’re coming right out of his mouth. I really like Brian’s stuff, and Derek Sivers too.

    1. Thanks Jonathan! I haven’t heard about Optimize.me, but looking over the content it’s right up my alley. I’m going to give the app a shot. Like the video format too – should be something different.

    1. Haha, I was thinking about making more travel posts. I used to do a bunch of them on my personal website but recently found a good way to do them here in WordPress using the Aesop Story Engine plugin. Glad you liked the interactive guide!

  2. Wow, eventful year! Makes mine seem kind of boring and pedestrian.

    Good luck with all the changes and the new home, and congratulations to you and your wife. The road ahead for you seems full of adventure!

    Mr. 39 Months

    1. Thanks! I have this theory that a lot of lives are in some kind of a cadence, where every X years something major happens. For me, that’s around 7 years – and this was one of those years where a TON of things happened.

  3. Awesome recap on an awesome year Adam! I’m guessing it will be tough to top 2017, but I think you’ll be able to do it!

    I’m going for 3 times a week as well for posting. I think it will be doable, but something I will definitely need to work towards!

    Happy New Years!

  4. Just wanted to say your interactive page/retirement calculator is awesome. 3 posts a week is sweet but I’d love to see some more in depth stuff like that. It was incredible, keep up the nice work.

    1. Thanks for the feedback on that Jim. One thing I’m hoping to do is have a bunch of posts scheduled out ahead, so that I can focus on interactive things like this. I absolutely love making that kind of thing, but having good enough ideas to spend the time on is harder. I have a few interactive articles in mind for 2018 already though. 😉

  5. Congratulations on the wedding! We had a small wedding this year, too–basically the same amount of guests, and spent the same, too.

    Thank you so much for the shout out. I always feel a little bit of solidarity with your blog because you guys aren’t afraid to spend money, either. And I want that food from your wife’s birthday–yum!

    I know what you mean about not commenting on blogs. I never did that before I started my own blog. So now I appreciate it 10-fold when people actually engage on the blog.

    My big 2017 goal was making more stuff, and I failed because I didn’t properly prioritize it in my life. Longterm projects need smaller checkpoints so you’re more likely to succeed.

    1. The commenting thing is one interesting area about not being anonymous. I’ll be sitting with a group of people and someone will mention a post I wrote they didn’t comment on. It’s kind of a bonus real-world comment that I awkwardly respond to. Makes me think how many people are just reading what we write but not joining up (as I didn’t for years).

      Making (physical) stuff sounds exhausting. I love the digital realm because the perfectionist in me can just change it if it’s not right. Physical things don’t have that luxury.

  6. Man I love your writing Adam! You are so thoughtful and down-to-earth. Going to check out some of your movie and book recommendations!

  7. Well I subscribed to Invisibilia before I even made it to the bottom of the post. Didn’t want to forget about it over the next 20 minutes 🙂 That was a stellar roundup. Makes me realize how bad I am about documenting things with photos, which I knew already, but c’mon. I may have to dig into some of these ideas more over another beer or three in the near future!

    1. Haha, I hope you like Invisibilia! Probably my most anticipated podcast right now.

      I’m bad about taking photos day to day as well. I’m getting better at it when on vacation, but when it comes to taking photos throughout the month Mrs. Minafi does a muuuuch better job than me. Luckily she doesn’t mind me using her photos.

  8. Don’t short change us with a 500 word post or anything! Just kidding. So much to take away from this but I’ll say this. Burns steakhouse is awesome. I’ve been trying to find an excuse to go to Tampa and eat there a second time for years. Good luck with all the goals. I’m rooting for you.

    1. Haha, I could’ve split this one up into 10 500 word posts! I like the longer style though, unless it’s part of a series where it makes sense. Thanks man! I want more excuses to go to Burns myself. I have a feeling whenever I find myself in Tampa I’ll be trying to find a way there.

  9. Great post. I am awed by your productivity. I relate to the “false productivity” section. I’m really noticing this my self. I love to gather information, but I need to actually take action with that information to be truly productive.

    1. Thanks! It’s a constant struggle between preparing and doing for for sure. There are weeks when I look back and think I got nothing useful done too – even by doing. But at least that’s one less thing to do!

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