2017 New Year’s Resolutions

With 2016 behind us, it is time to look forward to a bright and sunny 2017. It may sound cliche to write about and discuss new year’s resolutions because that instills more of a sense of short term change. My wife put it best when she said, “don’t call them new year’s resolutions, but new year’s goals.” A goal is a more tangible, achievable idea than a resolution. Many people resolve to do something, lose weight is the most common for us in the US, however, that resolve falters as soon as they see what it takes to accomplish that. Having a goal in mind and pursuing that goal gives you a more tangible way to measure progress.

So on with my goals for 2017:

1. Start a financial independence retirement early blog.

Well, as you see, I have accomplished this goal, right? This first one is more of a resolution. In order to put it into a tangible goal form that can be achieved, I would restate it as a goal statement. By the end of 2017, I will have written at least 52 blog posts, or one post per week. I plan to write monthly expense summaries, informational posts on personal finance, taxes, and savings/investing, and analysis of quotes I hear with a new perspective from atypical life.

2. Lower my shopping budget from $600 / month to $400 / month with a goal amount of $300 / month or less.

Ever since I graduated from college 4.5 years ago I spend approximately $600 every month on acquisition of things. Many of these things seem like necessities, but I know they truly are not. They are surely nice to have and I have amassed quite a collection of bikes, parts, tools, cameras, camping gear, touring gear and many other things. However, I am ready to put more effort into the pursuit of financial independence and I hope my readers can help me along the way as I will post monthly expense reports and break it all down. I planned on cutting the budget in half this year, down to $300 / month, but my wife convinced me to keep it a little higher to give a more realistic waning off of spending.

3. Ride at least 10,000 miles, and average 200 miles per week on my bikes.

I have ridden road bikes since I started high school and it is very much a part of who I am. In the past, I have ridden up to 18,000 miles in one year, but that was in college while I was single. Now that I am in the “real world”, the working world, and am married this ideal is no longer feasible. My long commute to work of 27 miles makes it easy to rack up the miles by riding to and from work, even though the ride is uninteresting. This year I plan to continue to ride to work on a regular basis and enjoy long rides on the weekend with my wife on our titanium tandem. This bike was certainly not a budget conscious decision, however, it is a dream ride and was a very good deal, as well as being a “forever” bike. I will discuss in future posts about thrift and good deal hunting.

4. Build and ride a bamboo bike

I love to ride bikes. I have had quite a few different bikes over the years, optimized for different purposes. This year I plan to join together my passion for bikes with my enjoyment of building things, to bring to fruition the bamboo bike frame. I built a bike jig last year to hold the frame together in alignment before gluing and wrapping, but did not get around to completion of the project. The goal this year is to completely build and ride at least the prototype fixed gear bamboo bike. The stretch goal would be to complete the prototype, analyze the needs for improvement, and then build a second one of higher quality. After building these 2, I have dreams of building bikes for family and a tandem for my wife and I out of bamboo, but I will be happy this year with completion of one bike.

5. Race on the road bike at least 10 times in 2017.

I have raced road bikes now for 10 years. I improved greatly while I was in college, to the point that I raced for a elite level team for 3 seasons. However, after college was over and I started working, my race load dwindled as workload increased. It continued to dwindle to a minimum 2 years ago in 2015 when I raced only 3 times in the entire year. Granted moving around the world to live in China, has its limitation when it comes to racing. Now, after 2 years living abroad, I have established a community of cyclists that I race with, and can now pursue racing around China more often. My goal for the year is to race at least 10 times. These can be individual races, or a large week long stage race where each stage counts as a race. At my peak in college, I raced more than 50 times per year, and the past 2 years have been averaging about 10% of that. Hopefully, I can continue to build my strength back up and be competitive racing racing around China.

6. Continue to travel to more interesting places around the globe.

As you may have found out above, I currently live in the wonderfully different world of China. I have lived here for 2 years and the contract I am currently working under lasts 2 more years, so an atypical life of freedom cannot start until this contract is up. However, the original purpose of moving to China was to be free from the bounds of the US. The US, in general, is prohibitively far away from the rest of the world making international travel more expensive. Living in China gives us the chance to travel around SE Asia and most of the world while being based closer to it, therefore making the travel cheaper and more efficient. I do not have the luxury yet of slow travel. Only a life of freedom can really allow that, however, I hope to travel to multiple destinations in China this year for racing and vacation, as well as some international travel within SE Asia and Europe. This one can only be stated as a resolution, since we have not planned all destinations for the year, but have hopes to go globetrotting while work allows.

My goals for the year are all attainable and reasonable. I hope to follow through on all of them, and I will let everyone know here on Atypical Life, the progress I am making as the year proceeds.

I wish everyone a happy new year and look forward to hearing about your new year resolutions.

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