2018 Atypical Life New Year’s Goals

With 2017 behind us, it is time to look forward to a bright and sunny 2018. 2018 is the start of a new year and it can be the start of a new life for each and every one of us.

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. ~Mrs. Atypical

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 concrete steps to follow to achieve that goal gives us a more tangible way to measure progress.

First, let’s take a look at how I did on my 2017 goals:

1. Start a financial independence retirement early blog.

My goal for 2017 was to start a FIRE blog and for that I was successful. I wrote all year consistently and have published 70??? blog posts. The problem with this goal is it was too vague. I succeeded in the goal of starting, but as the year progressed, I saw less growth than I had expected.

2. Lower my shopping budget from $600 per month to $300 per month

Success! I spent a grand total of $3500 in the shopping category for 2017. That averages out to just under $300 per month. I even had one month with $0 of expenses in my shopping category!

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

Success! Through riding to work which is about 150 miles per week and riding on the weekend with my wife, I managed to scrape by on this goal with 16,600 km. Since I live in China, more like not in the US, I have been using the metric system to measure everything. It simply makes more sense than the US standard measurements. But old habits die hard, and 10,000 miles is a much more round number than 16,000 km.

4. Build and ride a bamboo bike

Fail! Bummer. I have had the materials and the jig ready since March, but have not spent the time to actually finish this project. I need to at least finish it before 2018 is out and I move back to the US. I even heat-treated the bamboo in a friend’s grill. The only part left is to fit the small tubes together and glue/wrap it all together.

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

Fail! No worries though. I raced in some pretty cool places in 2017. I raced up in Fuzhou Province in Pingtan in a beautiful race by the sea albeit way too hot. I didn’t even finish the race due to the heat. I got the chance to travel to Inner Mongolia and race 3 races that were very fun. One was even over 100 miles, which is awesome. Too many of the races in China are so short, that they are not even worth racing in. Shortly after I returned from Inner Mongolia, I traveled to Guizhou Province in Xingyi to do another race that was almost 100 miles. All said and done, I raced in 5 big races this year, plus a handful of small ones and had a good time.

Did I race 10 times? No, but when I did race, it was fun and that is the whole point anyway.

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

Success! I got the chance to travel a good amount this past year, though it always seems like not enough time. I get 3 weeks of vacation, and I even bought an extra (took unpaid leave) in order to travel. Yet it still leaves me wanting for more.

We had the chance to travel to:

  • Indonesia for 2 weeks over Chinese New Year’s 2017
  • Gansu Province with my parents in April for 1 week
  • Inner Mongolia for bike racing for 1 week
  • Italy for 2 weeks

That accounts for all my travel for the year, however, Mrs. Atypical took advantage of her expat wife status and traveled even more:

  • 3 weeks in Tagong (Tibet) volunteering at an eco-shelter
  • 3 days in Guilin with a friend
  • 3 weeks in Tuscany, Italy working on a horse farm before I joined her for the final 2 weeks.

All in all, we had a lot of traveling and a lot of fun. The only bummer, we did not have even more time. Travel is cheaper and more enjoyable the slower you go.

2017 was a good year, but looking forward to 2018, I have some more concrete goals.

Blogging Goals 2018

To start off, I want to talk about the goals for this blog for 2018.

I plan to increase traffic to 50,000 pageviews per month by the end of 2018. How am I going to do that?

Good question. I plan to follow all of the advice in the Billionaire Blog Club and utilize the guidance of Paul Scrivs to help determine the direction and marketing for Atypical Life. Paul has tons of knowledge on how to startup and build blogs that I need to follow to be successful.

pageview growth
This is where I am now. ~5000 pageviews per month.

In conjunction with the 50,000 pageviews, I have a goal to be making $1,000 per month of blog income by the end of 2018.

Blog income I plan to be from 2 sources: ads and affiliate income.

Once I reach 25,000 sessions per month, I will apply to Mediavine and have them place the ads on the site. All the data I have seen about Mediavine, show that they are an awesome service, so I will be using them as soon as possible.

For affiliate income, I will continue to bring to all my wonderful readers the products and services that I feel are truly worthy of purchase of use. You can be sure that I do not like wasting money and I do not promote anything that is a waste, only those products that will pay you back in dividends for years to come.

Financial Goals for 2018

Next are my financial goals for the year. At the top of the list is to retire at the end of my contract, which is actually in January 2019, but I think it would be completely reasonable for the company to allow my contract to end a month early so that I can be home for Christmas. It has been a long time since we were home for the holidays and it would be very nice.

So the goal to retire this year is definitely at the top of the priority list.

In order to allow me to retire at age 30, I need to again aggressively save this year as we prepare to leave the corporate workforce for good.

Our savings goals for the year are thus:

Pre-Tax 401k$18,500
After-Tax 401k$27,500
401k Company Match$8,280
Traditional IRA for both of us$11,000
Company ESOP$13,800
ESOP Discount$2,435
Total of My Contributions$77,700

The truly crazy part of this goal is that the total including matching contributions is actually higher than my base salary!

Because we live on the expat package, we can save my entire salary and live only on the expat benefit of hazard pay. Our net worth in 2017 went up by over $100,000 and we hope to duplicate that again in 2018 on our way to $500,000 net worth.

In addition to this savings, I also hope to find enough extra money to bring my total investment in cryptocurrencies up to $10,000. So far, I have invested $3,500 and its current value is ~$5,500 all in the span of one month. Do I expect those returns to continue through 2018 and beyond?

Probably not, but it is a very interesting field and technology and I feel investing here aligns with what I enjoy reading and learning about.

The final 2018 financial goal is to realize $2,000 or more of side-hustle income per month by the end of the year. This is total between Atypical Life, it’s sister travel blog, ebooks, eBay businesses, online courses, and whatever other businesses/products we are able to launch this year. All of this is to prepare for my imminent retirement when side-hustle income becomes only income.

Personal Goals for 2018

My personal goals for 2018 are much the same as 2017.

I hope to again complete 10,000 miles of bike riding. I would love it to include more actual enjoyable riding outside of commuting, but if commuting is again nearly 75% of my miles that is okay. I know it is coming to an end one way or another as my contract in China completes.

In addition to bike riding, I also want to finish that bamboo bike that I have been toying with and thinking about for 2 years. Almost a year ago, I finished acquisition of all the parts and supplies, but have yet to put in the final work. I want to finish at least one before we leave China.

I would also like to continue racing around China as the opportunities present themselves.

Outside of cycling, though, I would like to continue to travel the world on the expat package and see many more places this year. I love traveling and work simply does not provide enough time to go and see everything we desire.


Going into 2018, I am optimistic that I can complete all of my goals for the year. By defining my goals, and writing them down for everyone to see, it makes them more definite. It also helps to hold me accountable for their completion and realization. Goal setting is worth it for everyone to do to give you direction and help you realize your true desires.

Happy new year’s everyone!

So readers, what are your new year’s resolutions/goals?

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  1. Congrats on the goals you hit, and good luck on your ambitious goals for 2018.

    I’ve never really considered living the expat life. I guess my time in the military (and being based in Germany and Kuwaitt/Iraq could count). We were able to save significant amounts of our income while there, especially in years 3-5.

    Like most FIRE folks, once of my passions is travel and seeing new things, so I’m very jealous of your travels. Keep it up and keep writing!

    Happy new year!

    Mr. 39 Months
    Mr. 39 Months recently posted…Clearing your “Shop” for the next project…My Profile

    1. Thank you so much Mr. 39 Months. I would definitely count Germany and Kuwait while in the military as time abroad, though you were living on bases. It is still so different from being home.

  2. Thank you for mentioning us, Mr. Atypical!
    My name is Jenny and I am the Marketing Associate for Mediavine.
    Our goal is to help digital content creators passively monetize their awesome content through display ads, and we aim to do this with ease to the publishers and without slowing down their sites.
    As you said, our threshold to work with a site is 25k monthly sessions and we’re here to answer any questions at [email protected]
    We’ll be looking for you in 2018!

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2018 is a new year for new goals. Setting goals allows us to have a finish line to shoot for and a direction to head in to keep us on task as we pursue our greatest desires. Blogging, finance, money, and personal goals.