Earlier this week, I wrote at Get Rich Slowly about how to set New Year’s resolutions you’ll actually keep. My number-one tip? Make just one major goal every year, and treat that as your top priority.

I’m about to be a hypocrite.

Major Goals for 2011

I’ve thought a lot about my goals for 2011. For once, I’m entering a year without anything HUGE that needs to be fixed in my life. I have lots of little things that need work. Instead of taking on too much at once, I plan to set three main goals (and they’re “main goals” only because it’ll take all year to complete them), and then have a series of small “serial goals” to tackle in my spare time.

My main first main goal for 2011 is again a physical goal. I want to drop from about 23% body fat to 15% body fat. As a side effect of shedding forty pounds this year, I also dropped from 35% body fat to 22% body fat. Rather than focus on losing my last few pounds (my target weight is 163), I’m going to shift my attention to body composition. I want to lose fat and build muscle.

My second main goal is to read one non-financial book every week. By this, I actually mean I want to read 52 books this year. (There will be weeks where I read zero, but there should also be weeks where I read three.) As I mentioned yesterday, a decade ago, I was reading nearly 100 books a year. Last year, I maybe read 25. Time to boost that number. I’m reading four books at the moment — True Grit, Born Free, The Covenant, and Citizen Vince — so I’m off to a good start. (Audiobooks count, by the way.)

My final main goal? I want to write 250 posts for Folded Space. That’s right. I intend to post here an average of five times per week — just like in the Olden Days. That’s triple the rate I’ve posted over the past two years. Don’t think I can do it? Just watch.

Minor Goals for 2011

Those three goals will require year-round attention. They can’t be completed all at once. But I have a series of quarterly goals that I hope to pursue in my spare time. As I complete one, I’ll move on to another. They are:

  • During the first quarter of the year, I want to resume an old habit. My financial goal is to track every penny I spend. After several years of tracking my spending, I let go of this habit last spring. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I don’t like how this makes me feel like I’m out of touch with my spending. As I wrote recently, I plan to get back to basics.
  • Once I’ve resumed this habit (which shouldn’t be difficult), I’ll move on to a second small goal. I want to rejuvenate our yard and garden. For too long, I’ve been lackadaisical about completing projects and chores around the house. I plan to spend much of this spring outside, pruning and planting.
  • After I’ve spruced up the yard, I want to spruce up my on-line world. For years, I’ve scattered my writing across a half dozen blogs. This summer, I want to move all of my non-financial writing to Folded Space.
  • Finally, when autumn rolls around, I want to turn my attention to book #2. I’m proud of Your Money: The Missing Manual, and I think it’s a great summary of the best personal finance advice from many experts, but it’s not the “J.D. book”. Now that I know I can actually write a book, I’d like to write that J.D. book, one more in the style of Get Rich Slowly, one with more personal stories, from myself and others. Next fall, I plan to complete a book proposal for a Get Rich Slowly book.

Last week, I met Adam Duvander for lunch at Milo’s City Cafe. We chatted about life (we both attended good old Willamette U.), blogging, and more. Adam mentioned having seen my list of 101 things I wanted to do in 1001 days. I may revisit that later this year (because it was a fun project). For now, though, I think these seven goals are plenty. Especially since I believe strongly that one goal per year is best.

4 Replies to “My Goals for 2011”

  1. Darren says:


    Two years ago I went through the same “weight-loss-then-gain-muscle” phase you are going through now. Trust me, it’s waaaaaay easier to bulk up and then loose the fat than it is to try to “change fat into muscle”. I remember my trainer saying to “trust me” but I didn’t believe it until I went through it myself. If I only knew then what I know now…

    Over six months, I went from 200 to 165 by cutting out all white foods (carbs) with no exercise at all. I then gained about 15 or so pounds back naturally over the next six months before beginning a gym program. Once at the gym, I bulked up to 200 again but this time it was very different weight and I looked very different. After ending my bulking and adjusting my calories to maintenance, I dropped to 190. My body fat started out at 185 pounds over 20% and ended when I hit 190 at 13%. Since I’ve been traveling for some time now, I’ve lost lots of muscle mass but I should be back in the gym to bulk up again in the next couple of months.

    My advice…

    1. Weight (on the scale) doesn’t matter anymore. Your target weight of 163 will look emaciated when you drop body fat. People will think you’re sick. Remember, equivalent muscle weight is physically smaller than fat. A pound of muscle is much smaller than a pound of fat.
    2. Experiment. Target to gain 10-15 pounds of lean mass over two months. You’ll need to cut back/eliminate your cardio (for the bulking phase) and eat LOTS of protein calories (think 3500 a day).
    3. You’ll naturally gain a little bit of fat while gaining the weight unless you’re super strict. Trust me that once you’re done your “bulking” phase, the fat will fall off your body. You’ll do this by cutting back your calories to a maintenance quantity (~2000 a day or so) and because your metabolism will be much higher.

    I know you won’t do this because you don’t believe it. You need to experience it for yourself. It’s so much easier to loose fat when you have more muscle mass (muscle burns more calories than fat). Good luck with your goals!


  2. luneray says:

    I made the goal to read 100 books between December 2010 and end of 2011. I never kept track of when I finished books, and I was rather surprised to find out that I finished 14 books in December alone. I’m starting to think that this in not just a goal I can achieve, but one I can totally exceed! 🙂

  3. Sarah says:

    I believe that you’re probably right about having just one goal a year but I feel like I have so much to do and time is running out so my goal list is huge!

  4. eileen says:

    This is great. It reminded me of something you said on GRS that I really appreciated…someone had complained that you weren’t writing a lot of the posts (I think it was right after one of your trips) and you said something about how you weren’t in an interesting financial place right now so readers need more diversity of content (or something like that). Your not being in an interesting place is a testament to your success, so we certainly wouldn’t want it any other way (Don’t go into debt again!!), but it sounds like you’ll have more to say about your own $ experience this year. Thanks! Keep it up!

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