My Personal Goals for Q2 2018 – Health, Growth and Creation

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8 min read. Goals, Meta, Personal.

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For the last few years, I’ve been setting yearly goals and monthly goals. To add to these, I’ll spend a few minutes every Sunday doing a weekly task planning session to align what I’m working on during the following week with these goals.

This sounds pretty rigid, but in actuality, it’s never felt like it. If I didn’t feel like working on any goals during a given a week, I wouldn’t – it’s that simple. Too often I’d realize there were more important things in life to focus on and just let that happen. While this has worked for helping me focus, it’s far from perfect. It lacks a sense of focus in Buffett’s 25/5 goal system. I’d been thinking about switching it up for April and luckily ran into something new to try.

A New System – OKRs

Recently I stumbled on a new system for organizing, setting and following through on goals that I’m interested in trying. The system, which the book Radical Focus is based on, uses a few core ideas:

  • Set high-level abstractions for what you want to achieve (objectives).
  • Set specific key results that let you measure if these objectives are met (key results).
    • Make these aggressive – it’s OK if only half of them result in success
  • Each week, set specific tasks that will be driving towards the key results you want (priorities).
  • Give a timeline for accomplishing these objectives.
  • Review these every week.

This system, referred to as OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), is used at a bunch of high-profile companies. Google, for example, began using this framework at a very early age. I can already see how it would be beneficial for getting everyone on a team aligned around a specific goal. Lean, Scrum, Sprints, and other techniques are great for executing on a goal, but this is welcomed addition in deciding what direction to go in.

From a numbers standpoint, you don’t want more than a few objectives (less than 5 for sure, and the fewer the better). Each objective only needs a few key results. The priorities don’t need to be set now but can be set each week with is identified as the most important thing to work towards that result.

We’re using this system at Pluralsight. In my role as a Product Manager there, I’ve been writing similarly structured OKRs (or trying to at least). Practicing it more in my personal life will allow me to get a little more experience and understanding of the process – which never hurts.

Health Metrics

One other thing I really like about this approach is that it has you define “health” metrics. Health metrics are areas you want to monitor to make sure they’re still strong, even if they’re not a primary focus. For example, if a company has some objectives are doing more business, a “health” metric might be around NPS (net promoter score) to gauge if their customers are staying happy.

What I like about the health metrics idea is that they’re usually the things I was planning during my weekly session that felt like they didn’t belong. This includes them as a priority to focus on.

My Goals for Q2 2018

This is my first shot at this approach, so I don’t expect this to be perfect. If you have experience using OKRs (or related concepts), I’d welcome your feedback on these goals!

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The view from Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City. This is only a 0.9 mile hike!

1) Explore more of Utah through exercise and healthy living.

This relates back to my yearly goal: Become more active.

With the recent move and travel, and I have not been eating or exercising as well as I could have been. Having food for breakfast and lunch at my job is handy, but too often I choose unhealthy options. A lot of this objective is getting back on track to where I was last year before the move and using that energy to explore. Here’s how I’m planning to measure this.

  1. See more natural beauty by going for 12, 2+ mile hikes or trail runs
    1. Schedule time on my calendar that Mrs. Minafi knows I’ll be unavailable.
    2. Create a prioritized list of hikes to try.
    3. Go for a first hike, etc.
  2. Increase energy by limiting alcohol to 2 nights a week.
  3. Grow fitness level by going to the gym at least 2 times a week.
    1. During weekly planning, set dates on my calendar for when I’ll be at the gym
  4. Eat cleanly at work 4 days a week to perform better when exercising.
    1. Don’t eat candy from the candy wall (yes, there’s an entire wall of sweets).
    2. Drink only water
  5. Do “Murph” (CrossFit Workout w/a 2 mile run, 300 squats, 200 pushups and 100 pullups) on Memorial day for the 6th straight year – this time in under 55 minutes.

That’s a lot, but nothing sounds crazy daunting. Here’s how this breaks down to objectives, key results, and priorities.

  • Objective: Explore more of Utah through exercise and healthy living.
    • Key Result 1: Go for a 2+ mile hike or trail run every week
      • Priority 1: Schedule time on my calendar that Mrs. Minafi knows I’ll be unavailable.

Not all priorities are listed, but these are some of the first steps. Each key result has a clear indicator of it is accomplished. When I was originally writing this, it was more of a general “eat better and exercise” goal at the objective level. I tried asking “why?” (something my manager has very handily instilled in me) until I came to a better reason for it. The reason for health, at this point in my life, is to explore more! Having the energy to do that comes partly from motivation and partly from preparing my body for it.

Does that mean if you miss 1 hike, or have one “clean” meal at work this entire one fails?

No! For these to succeed, I will need to do them on most weeks. Even if I fail at these most weeks, but end the quarter with better habits that’s a success to me. The objectives and key results I’ve read about are usually based on tasks that are accomplished once, rather than ongoing lifestyle changes. Trying this out should be a new experience.

If you have no interest in side projects, you can probably stop right here. Objectives 2 & 3 are all about Minafi and get pretty meta. I try not to talk about Minafi as a thing much. It’s interesting to me, but it doesn’t tie into the overall goal of Minafi. It is a goal of mine personally though, so I’m going to include it here.

2) Create enough income to enable Minafi to be self-sufficient.

This relates back to my yearly goal: Turn Minafi into a business.

So why is this one important? Believe it or not, the total cost for running Minafi is at least $2,400 a year – more than $3k if you throw in a trip to FinCon. If I were to use the 4% rule, I’d need an additional $75,000 at the time of retirement just to keep Minafi going as it has been. That doesn’t take into account growth, experimentation, education, new conferences and whatever else might help me continue to grow it.

I love, and am privileged, to be able to spend this much money today on what’s actually just an expensive hobby. I wouldn’t change a cent spent here, but I do want to plan the future (that’s kind of a thing for people in the investing/FIRE group after all).

It’s unrealistic I’d work on minafi for the rest of my life, but I’m penciling in that expense for general experimentation and future projects. If there’s one thing I do know it’s that I’ll always be working on something. If that something can be self-sufficient that’s less I have to save up!

Using my handy Interactive Guide to FI, I can see that saving up this amount will take me roughly 5 months. If I can instead supplement this here, then I’m 5 months closer to FI! Not too bad if these key results can help close some of that gap:

  1. Release a product that helps people learn how to invest and brings in at least $500/month.
    1. Finish all text edits for the course.
    2. Create additional sections to expand on the email course.
    3. Finish creating quizzes.
    4. Record videos for the course.
    5. Update Minafi to point people towards the course
    6. Launch The Minimal Investor Course.
  2. Spread the word by contacting at least 100 financial media creators about joining the affiliate program for this new product.
  3. Find opportunities to share affiliate links by auditing the 25 most viewed pages on Minafi.

Minafi Vision & Values

When I started thinking about this as an objective, I realized I didn’t have a clearly stated vision of what I want Minafi be. The led to a very fun brainstorm and creating the Minafi Vision and Values. Having this focus on a vision and values helps shape how Minafi makes money.

For example, I write about investing, and it doesn’t make sense for this blog to be focused on entrepreneurship (sorry, you’ll have to look elsewhere for your Bluehost links). Having that clearly defined helps me understand what to write about and keeps me accountable.

After some brainstorming, I came up with a simple vision for Minafi:

To inspire investment in a life you want.

“Investment” in this context means many things. Investment in the monetary sense. Investment in yourself. Investment in relationships. Investment in your surroundings. Investment in understanding what the future could be.

I’ll still be writing about minimalism, mindfulness, financial independence and investing, but that helps add shape to the definition. You can read more about Vision & Values of Minafi, or dive into my Income & Expenses Report which will be kept up to date each month for transparency.

3) Inspire new people to invest by introducing them to Minafi

This relates back to my yearly goal: Turn Minafi into a business.

Increasing traffic to a blog takes time. The goal of this objective is to speed things up by investing more time on the traffic side. On a normal week now (for March), I’ll spend roughly 90% of my time creating and 10% (if that) doing any kind of marketing for my posts. I’ll queue up a post to go out on Twitter/Facebook when I edit, but beyond that, I don’t do much promotion.

I enjoy writing, telling my story, reading and learning from others. What I worry about is this becoming a limiting belief – that I can’t increase traffic if I wanted. This objective is all around trying to learn more about areas I’m weak on and try things out.

  1. Increase month over month social visits from 1,700 to 3,000.
    1. Go through the “Perfect Pin” course.
    2. Create images for the 15 most pin-worthy posts
    3. Try using Pinterest with these and other strategies.
    4. Look into systems that recycle some old posts (in a non-spammy, spread out way).
  2. Increase month over month organic search visits from 1,600 to 3,000.
    1. Write down my personal strategy to use on all posts.
    2. Develop a strategy to optimize past posts for SEO. (Tips on a strategy here would be helpful actually)
    3. Audit past posts to optimize pages that could benefit most from SEO.
  3. Increase traffic from Quora from 0 to 250 visits per month.
  4. Increase traffic from Medium from 10 visits to 100 visits per month.
  5. Continue sharing my story at a pace of (at least) 2 posts a week + 1 email.

This is the one I feel I have the least control over. I can put in the work to post on these channels and doing the best I can at it. I’ll continue learning about this one and see how it goes.

Health Metrics

When working towards these, it’s important that other areas of my life don’t slip. The idea is that if these are out of alignment, getting them back on track becomes my #1 priority.

  • Keep on waking up early and writing for an hour in the morning.
  • Keep on killing it at work and finding new places to add value there.
  • Have a date night out every week with Mrs. Minafi.
  • Keep playing video games.
  • Keep hanging out with friends every week or two.

Weekly Review

Rather than just setting these and hoping they happen, Radical Focus uses a weekly check-in to make sure things are on track. This check-in hits on 4 key questions:

  • What are the top priorities to get done this week? Only mentioning Priority 1 / Priority 2 high things, nothing lower than that.
  • On a scale of 1-10, how likely is it that each key-result will be completed?
  • What’s happening in the next 4 weeks?
  • How are the health metrics looking?

That’s a lot in 4 questions. It manages to fit in immediate prioritization, confidence, health and has a realistic look at what’s happening in the next month. This can be organized into an easy to read matrix which helps give a snapshot of what’s being worked on.

My hope is to pull this up every Sunday, take a look at it, update the confidence levels plan out some tasks for the week. This won’t take the place of using Todoist for weekly task planning but will supplement it with more prioritization.

  1. Great idea about including having a weekly date with mrsminafi. It is healthy, a healthy approach to relationship. I do like the idea of seeing more of Utah. Need to do that also in my home state of Illinois. We always talk about out of state/country vacations all the time, and we forgot that there is also so much to see locally.
    With regards to SEO, have you looked at Agency Analytics? I signed up last month and I really like a lot of their features. I believed they still offer that 14-day trial.

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