This year has been a very intense and yet rewarding year. Blogging is a really a lot of fun. But it is also a lot of work too! I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since I started EagleSoaringHigher.com!
I’m going to pause here for a few reflections on 2015. This year I signed up for social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, BlogLovin’, and LinkedIn. I also created the Facebook Page for EagleSoaringHigher (or ESH). Based on the feedback of other bloggers and readers I edited the About page, created a Contact Us page, ensured most of my social media accounts pictures matched, and signed up for Buffer Awesome.
I hope my blog is helping people soar higher both in their finances and with their blogs. Thank you to those who have encouraged and helped me along the way too!
On a more personal level we completed 5 years of marriage this year. Our kids are also growing up so fast. We have one potty trained and the other one on her way!
Originally I got a very formal photo taken for the blog. After careful consideration and feedback from others it really felt too formal. So I decided to search elsewhere. The Fall 2015 family photos taken by Serena Garcia from SGarcia Photography I think turned out rather amazing. Not that I am at all biased of course. Here are a few of my favorites. Which one do you like best?
It seems to me that crafting goals at the start of the month is a good way to align my effort with my intentions that matter the most. This is also a way for me to dream big and stay focused.
These are my blog and personal goals for 2016.
I. Blog Goals
Continue to engage and study my niches. I have started connecting and engaging other blogs in my niches these past 6 months. I also will continue to engage people on my Facebook Groups I’ve helped create: Dave Ramsey – Total Money Makeover (6000+ members), Dave Ramsey – Financial Freedom (1300+ members, secret group), The No Spend Challenge (4600+ members), Book Worms – The Book Club (500+ members), and Making Cents to Financial Peace (65 members, secret group). I also am helping as an admin of Bloggers’ Community (2240+ members) which is a group dedicated to promoting blogs and facilitating social media interaction. I also started a spinoff group this month the Personal Finance Blog Engagement Group on Facebook for those in the finance and frugal living niches.
Post to social media sites at least once per day. As I mentioned I signed up for Buffer Awesome which has been very helpful in scheduling automatic posts and I have loved it so far. This month I scheduled at least one post or picture a day on Buffer Awesome which really seemed to drive traffic to my blog. Actually, towards the end of the month I was trying to schedule multiple posts or pictures particularly on Facebook and Twitter. Buffer also increased interactions with readers on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I plan on continuing to do this on social media and also include other blogs or resources in my respective niches.
Publish an eBook. I initially thought about creating PDF files but after consideration I would like to publish an eBook by November 2016. I have two topics I’ve been working on. The first has a personal finance theme and the second has more of a blogging tips theme. I need to continue to do research on this subject.
Begin monetizing my blog. I would like to do so in a manner that isn’t annoying to my readers. I believe it’s time to introduce monetization and I’ve been learning about different ways of doing so. This is going to be trial and error. I’m going to continue with my day job but I’m going to re-double my efforts to see some results. I plan on creating a page of available services I plan to offer both to bloggers and those needing help with personal finance.
Get involved with more guest posts. I wouldn’t mind also having more guest posts on ESH either. I did guest post for MyFamilyOnABudget in 2015 and I was very happy to do so to kick off my series on The Millionaire Next Door. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in guest posting on ESH or would be open to have me guest post on your site. We can talk it over to see if there are some synergies we could explore.
Host my first giveaway. I have a new series coming up for ESH on John C. Maxwell’s “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You”. I’ll probably give away 3-5 books in a contest to encourage people to 1. subscribe to the EagleSoaringHigher blog, 2. like the EagleSoaringHigher Facebook Page, and 3. join the Book Worms – The Book Club discussion group. Check back later on this week and stay tuned more to come on that!
II. Personal Goals
Continue to focus spiritually. I want to continue reading the Bible and praying more. I will continue to do this in the mornings on my way to work. I really am loving listening to the Bible with the Bible.is iPhone app. In order to lead my family well, I want to once a week get in the habit of having a 10 minute family worship. We have attempted this with varying success since our kids are so young. We still need to be more consistent on this both for ourselves and our kids. I plan on continuing to help facilitate a stewardship course my church is offering called Financial Peace University. Financial Peace is going well and we’re having good participation.
Continue to focus on my family. My wife and kids are my top priority besides my relationship with God. I want to make time to hear my wife’s heart and grow with her. I also want to continue to engage my kids and love them well. I have done better the second half of the year in trying to play and engage particularly the kids. Family outings are really good. But I don’t want to rely on those as simply time fillers until we put the kids to bed. I think I’ve worked on improving this. I realize this is a process. I hope to become a better husband and father this upcoming year.
Continue to focus on our finances. As I look back on our finances for this year I see a lot of areas of opportunity for improvement. Our goal as with every month is to come up under budget. This last month we did blow our budget. I mean it was completely blown. Surprisingly it wasn’t with gifts or anything of that nature. We spent a pretty penny between doctor visits, a roof leak, and a water heater exploding. The goal this year is to replenish our emergency fund to 9 months worth of expenses, continue to invest at least 15% of our income in retirement accounts, and cash flow some much needed upkeep on our home. I would like to update our written will and consult with a certified financial planner on goals for our future.
Continue to focus on exercise. I want to continue with the goal to walk for at least 30 minutes a day 3-4 times a week. Staying healthy physically is just as important as exercising the mind. I want to be there for my family in the future. I have continued walking throughout the day. We also renewed our YMCA membership in December.
I leave with you with a final thought from John C. Maxwell.