Father Sez

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My goals for 2009

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Many bloggers have already proclaimed their goals for 2009.

I have always admired (or is it wondered) about those of us who are brave enough to list their goals for all to read. This sorts of makes the writer accountable and hence create a strong level of motivation.  

Some come up with a list of things they want to achieve. Others come up with SMART goals. I guess that so long we have something to shoot for, it’s still miles better than aimlessly wandering around for the year. Have a look at some of the goals set.

 - Julie’s 

- The Ladies of Liberty (who focus on the need of deployed female service members)  

- A young 40 something lady artist and educator blogging about her journey to break the family’s “fat curse”   

- Really Ready for Change 

I am a lot more shy. I feel as if I am undressing in public if I were to declare all my goals in detail. (Maybe I am just scared that I’ll miss my goals and be called a bum.) Yet I want the accountability and the motivation. I also want the support of the goal buddies that my readers can be.  I figure that a fair compromise would be for some goals to be kept private and some to be detailed here. 

So here goes: 

Health and general well being 

I want to get up at 5.30 am daily.  

This goal is driven less by productivity concerns, and more about having a morning ritual of exercise. In addition this goal will help me get my spiritual matters in better order. As a Muslim, I have an obligatory prayer that has to be done around 6 am or so. I have been late for this Fajr prayer far too often.  

This morning I read Frugal Dad who is setting a goal to get up at 4.30 am daily. He is planning to make even further improvements in his productivity, fitness and personal well being. 4.30 is a little too early for me.  

I am reading again the post I wrote in November 2007 on how to set up a routine for rising early. The tips I had gathered on how to rise early did work for me. Unfortunately I allowed myself to backslide.   

Signing up for a Qi Qong class and practicing it regularly. 

I have written about the great positive effects of Qi Qong. This goal has just been carried over from 2008 when it was made and left undone.   

Have 6 short nature hikes in 2009 

I loved the hikes we used to do when we were in school. Much later in life and much more unfit, I joined the Malaysian Nature Society and went for a hike they labeled as “a walk in the park.” Boy, it was a real toughie for me. That was the first and last. 

I have read some really interesting material in a website called Nature Escapes. Rick has listed plenty of treks and hikes that can be done in 1 – 4 hours from Kuala Lumpur, which is only a 45 minutes drive from my home. 

Nature Escapes’ treks and routes promise to be a lot less taxing on the bones whilst being no less enjoyable. I shall choose some of Rick’s suggestions and go off on the short treks once in 2 months.  If I can get my children to join me in some of these outings, then this goal would be an outstanding success. 

Family 

To have at least 5 Outings in 2009 – cheap and enjoyable – Ulu Bendul like 

This has been explained in my previous post 

Support my wife and children fully so that they meet their own goals  

I have talked a fair bit about my children’s goals. My wife, one the other hand, wants to keep her goals private. I’ll do all I can to help my family members meet their own individual goals.     

Financial 

I have 4 financial goals for the year 2009. These are goals that my wife is fully aware of, and the children are aware of most of them.

I just want to talk about one of the goals here. My wife and I started a business in late 2008 selling an educational product. I have long been looking for something like this to help me support and monitor my younger children’s studies. And this product has exceeded all my expectations. My wife and I figure that there must be many other parents with the same problem, hence the business.

Our goal in respect of this is to:  

To achieve an income equivalent to my 2008 income, before I “retired”, by the 31 December 2009.        

This is the “stretchest” goal that I have made for the year.        

My Blog     

My 2009 goals for the blog are far less ambitious than last year’s.

 Just to participate in at least one Carnival a week and sensibly comment in as many blogs as I can.  And to set a measurable target, it would be nice to get into Fire Finance’s list of top 100 personal finance blogs.       

I don’t quite understand FF’s requirements that have to be met to be considered, and I have to catch up on this sometime soon. 

I have done my plans towards achieving my goals and will review the plans and my progress weekly. Unlike in 2008, I am sure I have no “wishes” disguised as goals.  I hope this year I meet Mike’s exacting requirements for goals as opposed to wishes.

God Willing, 2009 will be my family’s and my best year ever!!!!             

Continuing a goal set in 2008 – low cost fun filled family picnics

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

I have mentioned that I am a little shy or maybe even embarrassed about publicly displaying some of my goals. One goal that I am not at all shy about is having low cost picnics or outings with my family.

The exact wording I used when I crafted this goal in 2008 was:- 

“To have at least 5 family outings in 2008 – cheap and enjoyable- Ulu Bendul like” 

Hutan Lipur Ulu Bendul is a recreational park about 16 kms from my home. It is a protected forest area and the waters of the stream that winds round the park are cool and refreshing. We visited this park when I was recovering from the bout of malaria contracted during my travels in West Africa in early 2007. 

My wife, the 3 younger children and I went for this picnic. The eldest girl was then still in Wales and Azah was in her University. Since we had chosen a working day (though it was the school holidays), there were no crowds and we had the place almost to ourselves. We enjoyed frolicking in the cool waters (the streams at the foothills are quite shallow and the only swimming is done by some small fishes). It was then that I made a promise to myself that I shall have the goal drawn up. 

Alas, in 2008, this goal was not met. And I listed back this goal for 2009.  

We have plenty of these recreational forest sites all over the country. In Negeri Sembilan alone, where we live, the Forestry Department has listed 12 such sites. (The website is in Bahasa Malaysia.) These places are at most a couple of hours drive from my house. It would be easy to pack some food from the house, mix some drinks and have a frugal fun filled few hours frolicking in the streams and rivers. 

In addition, I had also bookmarked this great website on “Nature Escapes” where Rick has listed lots of quick nature trips that could be made by a family with young children. 

On the 1st January 2009, we took a drive to Hutan Lipur Sungei Gabai, about 35 kms from our home. Our intention was to go for a drive in the countryside and see the waterfalls.  

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The day was cool and the view spectacular for us city folks.      

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We passsed the Semenyih Dam on the way to Sungei Gabai.

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As you can see quite a number of people seem to have had the same idea. After all it was a public holiday.      

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Finally, we arrived and received a warm welcome.    

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The place was too crowded and we could only find a place really downstream. Still the flowing waters were cool and refreshing.              

Though we were not able to get to see the waterfalls (it was far too crowded), I enjoyed myself. In addition the children were also on their best behaviour and there were not too much “lets go home now” mumbles. And as expected the youngest, Ain, had the best time.  

We do not get quite the same feeling when we accomplish a goal like this as compared to, say, meeting a goal of paying off a loan. Meeting this goal is not an end. It is just one step in the long journey of building a stronger bond within my family. Still, I do relish the fact that I have taken that one step.

My children’s goals for 2009

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Last week, I posted about how my children fared for the goals they set in 2008.  

For 2009, all my 5 children have written up their respective goals. The two elder girls have written theirs in their laptops (like I do) whilst the younger children have their own little goal books. 

The elder girls want to keep their goals private. I have been allowed in only on their financial and career goals. I plan to discuss their progress with them periodically as their goal buddy. 

The younger three are also feeling uncomfortable with too much disclosure of their goals on this blog. Our youngest girl, Ain, has given me approval to list some details of her educational and financial goals. 

Ain has drawn up a total of 5 goals. Two for her studies, one for health matters and the last two for finance, the details of some of which are listed here.  For her studies she has to:  

a)  Do her English writing and reading weekly, without fighting with Papa. 

This is a project which we have been doing since 2007 or so. The Malaysian school system is in Bahasa Malaysia and the kids come out of school with very poor English. I think the Government is doing the children a terrible disservice in these global times. I want to do my part in making my children more proficient in English. Weekly writing and reading may not be enough, still it is a world better than what they are getting in school. Maybe next year I might think about other forms of English language classes.  The fighting with Papa has been inserted since, as you may guess, each week there has to be some pushing before this gets done.  

b)  School Grades 

She has taken upon herself a goal of achieving a grade of being in the top 3 in her class, in every test and exam during the 2009 school year. She has also a plan on how to reach this goal.  

For finance, she has to keep very good accounts of her allowance and secondly she has to save at least RM 300 by the 31st of December 2009 

Nana, our 14 year old 4th girl’s goals are a little more elaborate. She has listed a total of 9 goals. One for her education, 2 for her health, 2 for religion, 2 for finance and 2 under her social skills.  

Our only son, Abang, who escaped doing his goals for 2008, has also done his for 2009. Abang has a total of 16 goals for 2009. This may be a little too many, but let’s just see how this goes. He has one goal listed under Community (after all, our family Mission Statement calls for our family to be respectful and respected members of the community we live in.) He also has two goals listed under Family. 

I mentioned last week, that the accounts books of the three younger ones did not balance. The physical cash balances in their piggy banks were quite a bit less than what they should have per their accounts. This was for the 3 of them! 

So this year, I plan to implement some changes. Each time, I give them their allowance, I shall do a cash count together with them, take away their extra cash and give them an IOU. These IOUs would be cashed from me when they bank in their savings twice yearly.

I have to discuss this new system with them when they receive their February allowances.  

Not all the goals set meet all the SMART requirements. Some of the “goals” are more akin to practicing and forming good habits that we want them to cultivate. Like keeping their rooms tip top. Or like washing their school shoes without being told.   

I take the view that the children now have something to aim for and are doing something about reaching the aimed for target. 

This alone is more than good enough for me.        

How did I fare in my 2008 goals?

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Though I have written quite a bit about my 2008 goals in this blog, I have not really listed all of them. I suppose like many of us, I am a little shy about revealing all. Anyway, now that 2008 is drawing to a close, it’s time to write about how I fared. 

First, the biggest failure of them all……though maybe all has not been lost 

This refers to my most audacious goal for 2008. It was to bring this blog to a readership level of …mumble, mumble …readers a day.  I have failed and failed spectacularly in this goal. I wonder what I must have been smoking when I wrote this post way back on the 31 December 2007. 

On the other hand, this blog has done wonders in improving my communication with my elder two girls. I write about whatever I want to pass on to my girls and they read it in their own time, when their minds are a lot more receptive. (The younger ones have no interest in the blog unless maybe if the article is something specific about them). 

At least I think I have now found my rhythm for maintaining this blog. The blog’s value in promoting communications with my elder girls makes it something I’ll continue for quite a long while. 

The lesser goals…..

Not too bad, three out of four. I am still not good with Photoshop, though I have played around with the program a couple of times.  

The children’s financial education 

I have also written about educating my children on the two most important pf lessons that I had learnt in my life. One was for my two elder girls to have a peer group with an interest in personal finance. I don’t think I have succeeded in this very much. Though they do read some of the fine pf blogs that I pass on to them, I don’t think the idea has gained the kind of traction I would like yet. 

The second was for them to “pay themselves first”. This is progressing quite well. The elder girls have to save a portion of their income upfront, and the younger ones have to do the same with their allowances. In addition, the younger three have kept their bargain of maintaining an accounting for their expenses.  

Helping my elder children secure jobs they would like I wrote a series of posts on this. I am pleased that this goal was substantially achieved. My eldest girl, however, left the job after a couple of weeks and she is now intending to do her Masters in Psychology. In the meantime she is working as an apprentice with a Counsellor and is also teaching an autistic boy.

Other goals – not specifically declared in this blog   

On health matters, I had privately written down wanting to start a regime of exercising that I should adopt. The results have been very poor. It has been more on/off, on/off.  I had also wanted to learn and practice Chiqong. This has not been done either. 

Financially, we did manage to meet the biggest goal, i.e. to sell our rental house and pay down some of our loans.  The goat farm was launched during the year as planned. I had also wanted to convert the family car to NGV. I did not do so more as a result of procrastination than anything else. Now with the fuel prices down again, it does not look all that attractive a ROI anymore.

Career wise, I had written in my goals list that I would on the 30th of June 08 talk to my boss on flexible hours so that I could spend more time with the family. It did not quite work out that way. I resigned with mutual agreement on the 18 June 08 and now have all the time I need to spend on the family.  

Well, 2008 has not exactly been a roaring success. Still it has been a very significant year in my life to date. My mother passed away during the year. And for the 1st time, I am no longer a rat, running the never ending treadmill we call the rat race. In return I have had quite a number of anxious moments on how I would continue putting food on the table and keeping a roof over our heads.  

I am reviewing (yet again) my thoughts on mind mapping my way to retirement that I wrote about in a 2 parter in May 2008.  For the time being I am following my own advice and God Willing, 2009 should prove better.

I have made my goals for 2009 and will write about some of them soon. 

PS: As I wrote this post my thoughts went back to all the earlier years when I reviewed my enthusiastically made and left unmet goals. I am even more convinced that starting this blog has made a major, major difference in my life, and is helping me in no uncertain way to turbocharge my transformation. I feel a lot more accountable now and God Willing, this will spur me more in 2009.  

How did my children fare in their 2008 goals?

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

One of my bigger regrets in life is that I did not spend as much time as I should have with my two elder girls when they were growing up. I was then too engrossed in climbing up my career ladder.  I have long determined that I should and shall not repeat this mistake with my younger three kids, Abang (our only boy, now 15), Nana (14) and Ain(9).  

And one of the things I do with my three kids is joining them in setting their yearly goals. We have been doing this since December 2005. The exercise does meet some of the rules for SMART goals some of the time and all the rules some of the time. Each of them has a goal book, so that the goals set can be tracked by year. (I suppose these books would have some nostalgic value when they are much older.) 

As usual, in early December 08, we sat and reviewed the goals set for the year. 

Abang did not set any goals for himself for 2008. He got away by promising that he would set them by himself. In addition he claimed he had misplaced his goal book. Though he “escaped” in 2008, he has set himself some really worthy goals for 2009, maybe a little too many. 

Nana had set some goals covering her studies, health, religion, finance and social. And the same for Ain.

On the financial (savings) goals set by Ain and Nana, they both scored an A+. I had initially thought that the goals were too difficult to achieve, and had agreed to contribute agreed sums of money should they achieve the savings goal. Not only did they meet the goal, but surpassed it very comfortably. 

Note: Ain’s financial goals for 2008 were featured when Lynnae hosted the 2nd Carnival of Financial Goals, way back in January 08.

I am really pleased about the fact that there were no wild splurging when they received their Hari Raya duit. This refers to monetary gifts they receive during Eid from the busload of grand uncles and aunties they have from both their mother’s and my side. (I remember almost throwing a fit when in 2006, Nana wanted to buy a RM175 CD.)  

Their savings (together with my contribution) has just been banked into their savings accounts.  

There were some hiccups on the other goals set. Though we had together reviewed the goals during each of their school term holidays (and there were promises each time to do better and catch up), the progress was, shall we say “improvable”. 

The maintaining of their accounting is also something that needs some improvement. Though they had good written records of the money they received as allowances, spent and saved in their piggy bank, the year end totals did not tally! The book balances were higher than their physical balances! And by amounts that indicated the need for far better money handling skills.  

I have an idea on how to resolve this for 2009.  

I am very happy and proud that my younger kids now seem to accept this yearly goal setting as a habit. There is now some sort of an internal motivation for them to meet their goals. Goals set with some thought. Goals that any parent would consider worthy. 

I’ll talk about their 2009 goals next week. (The two elder girls, Along and Azah, have also done their goals, but I think they would prefer to let it be a private affair.)   

Can this provide the motivation to my children on smart personal finance?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

I want to thank Get Rich Slowly for his excellent post, “What motivates you to pursue smart personal finance?”  It provided me the inspiration for this letter to my elder girls. 

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Dear Along and Azah, 

The time is drawing near for the both of you to graduate, seek jobs and find your own financial footings. Your mother and I have tried our best to bring up the both of you and your other 3 siblings, in a responsible manner. All your lives, we have always had food on the table and a solid roof over our heads. Almost all your requests have been met. You have almost never been left with any of your wants unmet.  

You have never ever seen debt collectors come to our house and bang on our doors.

You never had to pick up the phone and lie to the other person that your father is not in, so as to avoid a bill collector. 

You have never seen unpaid bills lying around the house. 

And you have no idea what it is to be poor or to seriously want for money. 

Having brought up the both of you like this, I wonder if I have done enough to instill in you  the motivation to pursue smart personal finance. 

I envy parents who have taken steps when the children are so much younger. There are many examples, some of which are listed below. 

- Money advice to my teenage son,

- Teach your teen the basics of money management,

- College money matters,

- Following our own path.

For the vast majority of people, motivation to pursue smart personal finance comes from two sources:- 

a)  Guidance and examples set by parents or other role models and 

b)  Pain, loss, suffering or set backs caused by lack of money or money mistakes. 

Well, I may not have done enough of (a) and certainly you have not gone through (b). So what do we do now to instill in the both of you the needed motivation? 

You have been writing down your goals for some time now. We have talked about seeking financial independence as one of your major goals in finance.  

Now I seek you both to think hard and write down the reasons why you want financial independence. It could be:- 

a)    Never having to work for a lousy or “kerepot” boss, just because you needed the paycheck. 

b)    Being able to do things that you choose to do and not because someone else wants you to do. Like travel, working with the underprivileged children in Rembau etc. 

c)     Never having to go through the financial pain your Auntie Faridah and your cousins Sophia and Mima went through when she went through the messy breakup with your Uncle. Your mother rented a house for them and they lived with us for almost a year. 

d)    Being able to spend comfortably on your real wants knowing that you have a strong financial base. 

e)    Never having to be a debt slave.  

f)      Doing the greatest charity, which is not being poor yourself.  

g)    Having a sense of purpose in your life. 

Spend some time on this and think about this carefully. These reasons should be strong enough to provide you with a continuous stream of the motivation you’ll need to pursue smart personal finance. Reading again your “WHYs” should keep feeding you the required motivation.  

And believe me, strong and continuous motivation, you’ll need. 

- To protect you from succumbing to the relentless advertising of all kinds of products and services that you’ll see day in and day out. 

- To protect you from so called “well meaning friends” who’ll nudge you into spending just a little above your budget, today, tomorrow and everyday. 

- To protect you from the clever and well oiled banking machinery that seeks to offer you loans to buy things that you don’t really need, so that the banks can live off you. Slaving away to pay them interest. 

There are still many other things for you to learn about smart personal finance. I am still learning myself. However, once you have your motivation embedded strongly and deeply enough in you, you’ll start seeking out this knowledge and it will come. I have no doubt about that. 

My dear princesses,  

You’ll never fully appreciate how difficult it is for parents to see their children go through difficulties of any kind, until you are parents yourself.    

I can only pray that your mother and I have brought up the both of you responsibly enough to recognize good advice and to listen and be prepared rather than to go out unprepared, make the unnecessary mistakes and then learn.  

We have talked about the story of the mother mouse and her baby. The baby mouse did not listen to its mother’s advice and got caught in the mouse trap.  

The last thing, your mother and I want to see is you getting caught in the trap of bad personal finance. 

When you have finished your studies, let us spend more time on going deeper into planning your personal finance moves. After all, getting a good job is also part of smart personal finance.  

For now focus on your studies and do well in your exams.  

Your mother, brother and your two younger sisters convey their best regards and wishes to the both of you. 

Love 

Papa

    

A review of goals set for 2008 - Educating my children

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

I have been inspired by some of the pf bloggers doing a review of their 2008 goals, now that about 8% of the year has passed us by now.

And the goal under review is “Imparting to my children the two most important  PF lessons that I have learnt“.

a) Goal 1

 

To get my elder girls to join a peer group that has pf as a core subject.

 

My idea was for them to start reading the pf blogs. Over time, hopefully the useful advice given(especially since they are mainly real life experiences) will have some effect on them.

 

The good thing is that the two elder girls are reading my blog and also the links that are being provided. The both of them have occasionaly commented on my blog.

 

They have also told me that Mrs. Micah’s mom is cool. The eldest once sent me a text message saying that she had read and commented on “Millionaire Mommy sumthing sumthing”

 

I have also forwarded them some of the oustanding career tips that can be found in Free Money Finance

 

Some of their friends are also reading my blog. This is a very promising step.  

 

I think this goal is being on its way of being achieved.

b) Goal 2

Teaching the younger children to “pay themselves first”.

In late November 2007, the two younger children signed allowance agreements with their mother. (I signed as a witness). They would both receive weekly allowances, they had to save at least 10%, and maintain accounts of their allowance.

This has gone on well for the past 2 months. Somethings to note:

 -  the boy just had two entries in his accounts ledger everyweek, the receipt of the allowance and the out to his piggy back. Basically he spent zero. It seems that he had stashed away the cash gifts received during our festive holidays and was spending them.  His mother and he have agreed to bank in this stash and we should now be better able to track his spending.

- Nana, (our fourth girl), is a little more lavish. She maintains the 10% (in fact, it is a lot more that 10% savings), but she also spends on stationery etc. I have talked to her about her seemingly lavish ways. I have to see how this develops. Nana also had her stash and this has also been banked in.

The weekly ritual of them presenting their accounts books for inspection and getting their allowance has had an effect on our youngest girl. She gets her allowance daily. I think she is also a little more careful with her spending, because my wife says that I am not giving her enough.

Anyway, she has also asked for a bank account and this has also been done.

In conclusion, I think this goal is progressing well. 

I like the way, D4L has weaved a story around the pf lessons to his children. I must do the same. Perhaps something from the “Richest Man in Babylon”.

How I keep track of my financial progress

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Brip Blap recently wrote an interesting piece on why he thinks net worth is not an awfully important metric to know. This article created an active discussion thread with some people disagreeing.  

My thoughts on this. The principal metrics we should have are:- 

Knowing where we are financially at any one time. 

No matter what our financial goals are, this is an important piece of information to have. Without knowing where we are, it would be next to impossible to get to where we want to go. 

A good indicator is the balance sheet, or our net worth statement. This has to be consistent. For example, whether you want to include or not include your house and mortgage, whether you want to take your house at market value, whether you want to include your vested pension, etc.  

Our financial progress 

The two tracking statements for these are our cash flow statements (how much net cash flow we generate, whether positive or negative) and our profit and loss statements (how much do we spend from what we make). Good indicators of these would be our yearly spending statements, if we have one. 

What I use 

I refer to 2 statements:- 

a)  My net worth statement 

This is a list of all my assets less all my liabilities. (We include the house). Yearly I track the increases / decreases against the previous year’s total. (In 2006 and 2007, my NW decreased by 3.60% and 7.75% respectively. This was basically the costs of university education for our 2 elder girls. Hopefully, we can start building it up now that the kids should be completing their studies). 

Whilst I keep myself aware of the various rules of thumb that suggest the amounts for retirement, I really do not have a target for my NW. For the time being….just more is better… 

b)  Yearly Income Statement 

I classify my yearly income into 5 headings,  

i)                  Employment Income, 

ii)                Trading gains and losses and dividends etc from stocks and shares, (This information is easily available for us.)  

iii)             Property Income. (This is rental from the one property that we have). 

iv)              Business Income. This is from investments in small businesses that I have. Presently income is zero! These businesses are structured in such a way that I have little active participation.

v)                Extraordinary income. This is unplanned, unexpected income that I had not spent any energy on.  

On income our goal is to ensure that (ii) + (iii) + (iv) is equal or more than our estimated expenditure. (Incidentally, I am quite far from reaching this goal.) 

My wife and I have only recently done our first budget. All these while, I have used an estimated amount as our expenses. This year we should be able to get a better comparison.

Ultimately, we have to have some sort of measurable factors to track our financial progress. This is an issue where there may be no exactly right or wrong answers.  The only thing that is right is that you must design one that feels good for you and includes the relevant assets, liabilities, income and expenses.  

My Least Audacious Goals for 2008

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

I am sure the goals we plot and plan to achieve during the year 2008, will not all have the same levels of difficulty. Possibly some may be easier to do or take a far shorter time to do, than others. 

Similarly major goals may be broken down into a number of sub goals, or as NCN puts them, as micro-goals.  

Say, someone wants to have a 2008 goal as – “Learn more about investments and investing during the year.” This goal may be broken down into sub goals.  

Then,  

Step 1 – Do some research and identify the books I should read, and prepare a list. 

Step 2 – Buy or get the books. 

Step 3 – Read book 1 in week 1 and so on… 

So a relatively complex goal can be broken down into smaller parts which can be tackled more easily. 

Then why not, make the goals less complex in the first place? Why not just have micro-goals that says “Do research…..” etc. 

Well, this is what I have done. 

For 2008, I have some major goals, some not so major ones, and some micro-goals.  

My micro ones for 2008 are :- 

a)  Learn how to draw graphs in Excel. 

This one has been bugging me for quite some time, and I never got down to learning it. Everyone who knows graphs says it is so simple…blah, blah, blah. I have to get this out of the way. So for 2008, a goal it is.  

b)  Learn how to scan documents and save them in my computer. 

This has been another painful issue. Whenever I want to post some documents in this blog, like a page from my daughter’s goal book, I have to ask colleagues or my daughter to help out. No more is this going to be an issue. Learning this is now a goal. 

c)   Learn how to take digital photos and download them into my computer. 

Hah! Bet you are saying, what a Neanderthal, this guy is. There are still people like me all over the place. And in this digital world, unless undigitized people like me get up and do something about it, we’ll get left further and further behind.  Well, I am no longer going to be left behind. 

d) Learn Photoshop 

Why? Because Simple Dollar said so. I am a great admirer of his blog and Trent should know what he is talking about. This is also part of meeting my most audacious goal for 2008.

e)  Learn how to make Yogurt 

I just love yogurt. Those sold in the shops inevitably have sugar and stuff. With 3 young (and usually hungry) children in the house, purchase of yogurt has to be done wholesale, and that is a bit heavy on the wallet.  

And looking at what Wikipedia has to say about yogurt, it looks like I am on a good ticket.  Why don’t I learn to make yogurt myself and cut out the manufacturers, middlemen’s, distributors’ and retailers’ profits? 

My sister in law makes the most divine yogurt. She has told me a number of times that it is easy to do.  This year it shall be done. 

Well, these are my micro, or little, or baby, or simple goals for the year. Maybe achieving these simple ones will act as motivators for me, whilst I plod on the grander goals.  

And maybe I’ll keep on adding micro-goals as these get done and as the year progresses. Or maybe I’ll just tell myself these are part of my goal of learning 3 or 4 new things a month.

  

My M.A.G. for 2008 – Part 2

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Yesterday we talked about Part 1 of my Most Audacious Goal for 2008, which is :- 

Bringing this blog to a readership of 15,000 page views a day.  

We covered the areas of:- 

a)  Knowledge Gathering  

b)  Content

c)   Traffic and

d)  Technical Stuff 

Today let’s follow up on the rest of landmarks in my journey to meet my MAG for 2008. 

a)  Advertising / Business Model 

I have not put much thought on this. Right now, this blog is not seen as a money source.  If I look at the improvements in my own personal life that my foray into blogging has resulted in, this investment has already paid itself over many, many times. By far, the best investment I have ever made in the area of self improvement.  

Still, stories like “I made $3,828.72 in March” does have a ring of excitement. So I intend to embark on this someday soon. 

Maybe I should consider this model ……. And this idea, which is consistent with the message D4L is promoting also looks attractive. 

And of course, there are many graciously given guides like:- 

-   Single Ma’s 7 ways I can earn money while blogging,  

I am sure that with the generosity of the senior bloggers, there will be lots and lots of guidance on this. 

b)  Blog Design  

First, my sense of style and design is something that even my wife is not proud of. And she is a really tolerant woman. Second, I am technologically challenged.   

So when I read seemingly nonchalant statements like ….”I have just tweaked my design..”, I just go green with envy.  

I like The Digerati Life’s bright, cheery and welcoming style. I hope to model my new blog on this. 

From the designs of the other blogs that I read, certain aspects appear appealing. I have noted some of these, and have asked a web designer to create a new design for me.   

I should also have some widgets and whatchamacallits.   

The new design is scheduled to come online by the 8th February 08. 

c) Blog or Blogger Branding 

This has also not been figured out yet. Most of the blogs I read give me the impression that the bloggers are very passionate and driven people. And mostly serious.  

Maybe Brip Blap and Punny Money give me the impression that they are a little laid back guys, though no less serious in the articles they produce.  

The blogger who stands out, in my mind, with a brand, is the Fabulous Single Ma. When I read her posts, I get the feeling that she is smiling, has a gleam in her eye and is humming something catchy as she writes her posts. That is how she seems to have positioned herself.  

I have no idea what image my blog or posts create in the minds of my readers. I hope it’s that of sincerity with a dash of humor.   

d) Blogging Etiquette 

I have not done any searches in Problogger on this specific matter. Most blogs give the universal advice that we should be polite. For example, MMND’s 12 success tips for newbies. 

Frugal though she may be, cultured and well versed in the social graces is the Duchess. She took the trouble to welcome readers of the Simple Dollar and Consumerism Commentary who dropped by due to the Duchess being mentioned in the former and her guest post in the latter. 

I, too, had a spike in readership, when Zen Habits made a mention of my blog as a Blogger of Kindness. Being a little dense, I did nothing other than feeling pleased as punch. 

Now that I have learnt a little social grace, I hope Zen Habits will accept my belated thanks and so would his readers who dropped by. Please be assured that you were most welcome. And that you are equally most welcome to visit again. 

I am preparing a file under the various headings mentioned, where I’ll make a note of something I pick up from all the reading and learning. Then I have to steadily and ploddingly work on this list. I expect this list to be dynamic and ongoing.

So too, shall be my journey in blogging.  

I think the target will be tough, but not impossible. (I am saying so, only because others have done it before). Whatever the outcome, I am sure I’ll enjoy myself and improve myself at the same time. So there is no downside for me at all.  

It looks to me that my MAG for 2008, is a goal and a plan has been developed to meet the goal.  Nevertheless, it would be great if my MAG could be scrutinized by an independent party. 

I would be grateful if Patrick of Cash Money Life would have a look and see if my Most Audacious Goal for 2008 meets his SMART guidelines and also if Mike of Quest for Four Pillars can confirm that my MAG is not just a wish.

Thanks in advance, guys.  

And the day, I feel brave enough to apply to host a Carnival, I’ll feel that I have arrived! 

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