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2018 Personal Goals – Planned One Month At A Time – Brian D. Hawkins

Last updated on January 15, 2020

This post is for me. Stop reading. Just joking, read on. It can be for both of us. Sharing my 2018 personal goals.

I’ve never been big on the whole new year’s resolution thing, still ain’t. So this is NOT another lame-ass new year’s resolution – it’s simply the steps I need to take to meet this year’s short-term personal goals.

Some background.

Anyone that knows me is well aware of my fondness for 30-day challenges.

Some of my more memorable 30-day challenges were:
✔ Last year I went thirty days with no criticising or complaining (SO HARD!).
✔ Walking two miles every day.
✔ Thirty pounds in thirty days (resulted in a 70 lb. weight loss for that year).
✔ One of the most enjoyable challenges was writing at least 750 words a day for thirty days.

One I failed was read a book a day for a month.

So for 2018

I’ve taken some of my more important short-term goals and broke them into twelve bite-sized steps – tackling one each month.

JANUARY – Weight Loss And Better Health With Paleo

Famous Quote: Proper weight and better health go together like nachos and pizza. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

As I finally get around to putting fingers to keyboard on this personal topic, I just had a successful first month – the first step. Weight loss.

I’m down 25 lbs. for the month of January. I’m more than halfway to meet this year’s weight goal. Then the hard part – maintain that weight.

As I mentioned, several years ago I lost a whopping 70lbs. in a single year. And it started with a thirty-day challenge for myself. Well, over the last three years since, I managed to gain forty of those pounds back.

Time to get that crap off and start feeling like the thirty-year-old that I should -in my fifties. 😉

FEBRUARY – Unplugging And Getting Organized

Famous Quote: Social Media causes blindness – to your real life. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

I work a full-time job and a half. I’m up at the last minute every morning, work non-stop at a high level of torture for 10 or 11 hours. I’m back home drained and brain-dead just in time to eat poorly and stare blankly into the nonsense we watch on TV.

Time for a change. A big change. Yes, Improvement. Sounds like a job for my birth month – as I turn 53.

On January the 31st, I removed every social media app from my phone with the exception of Instagram and YouTube. Instagram needs a phone and I’m building a brand. I still won’t use it until I schedule a time for it. I use YouTube as an educational tool.

From now on, I’ll log onto social media when I plan to, not every time I have 30+ seconds available. It was getting ridiculous.

Now, if I choose to at all, I’ll schedule half an hour or so and log-in on my computer.

So far, I haven’t bothered and I’m not missing it at all, let me tell you. It’s a relief to be freed from the addiction. Seriously.

I also removed most apps from my phone – as well as ALL notifications.

I’m liking this so much I’m seriously considering a minimalist flip phone or something for my next upgrade. Do I really need another $800 smartphone to become a slave to and treat as my most important friend?

I also started a new sleep schedule. We (Yes, my wife is on board with all of this – she’s amazeballs) start getting ready by 10 P.M. and are in the bed by 10:30 P.M. with NO SCREENS.

No TV, no phones, not my Kindle, her Nook, or even her Nintendo 3DS. Yes, my 57-year-old wife plays Nintendo – and she’s good at it. How freakin’ cool is that!

Perhaps it’s the result of the crazy distractions I’ve allowed to invade my life or just that I’m lazy, my organization skills have developed into throwing important documents into an old Amazon box to be filed someday. Seriously, there are six or seven of these boxes and they aren’t small.

True Story: Last weekend I needed last year’s income tax records and I spent hours looking for them – to no avail. First, I went to look in our fireproof file safe – only to realize I lost the key.

No – I lost the entire ring of keys. Great. I’m such a mess. So I spent hours digging through boxes and looking for my keys. Still no tax records – no keys.

Part of February’s goal, just added the other day, is to get it together. No more boxes. I ordered a replacement key to our old file safe. I’m dragging in a couple of file cabinets I long since abandoned and putting paperwork where it goes and in the proper order.

MARCH – Getting A Handle On Our Finances

Famous Quote: If I saved a dollar for every bill I ignored I wouldn’t have any bills. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

Money. I feel sick just at the thought. I avoid all things finance.

At my age, that will be a devastating mistake. Whether I live well into retirement or die tomorrow, I’m about as clueless and unprepared as I was at eighteen. Okay, that’s a little of an exaggeration but I should be far better at finance than I am.

I know what to do, trust me. Book after book (See my review of my favorite finance book here), course after course, seminar after seminar – I’m well aware of how to do it. I just don’t do it. Until now.

How much do I have in my 401K? I have NO IDEA. Seriously, I don’t even know how to log into my account. I haven’t since my company left Merrill Lynch for whatever company they’re using now. I have never logged in. So sad.

When will my house be paid off? How much do we spend on utilities? Insurance? How much insurance do we have on our home, cars, life or health?

Great questions. If you know any of the answers, help a brother out.

Hey, and I’m the one paying the bills. I have all that stuff set up as auto-pay. I haven’t written a check-in, well, I can’t remember but it’s been many years. Do I even have a checkbook?

So each weekend I’ll put aside a little time to start getting my finances in order.

APRIL – Our Backyard Garden

Famous Quote: Gardening is like children – except plants know when to disappear for a while. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

My favorite time of the year. I’m excited already.

Without going into boring detail, I’m expanding my backyard garden in a BIG way this year. My 26′ garden is going deeper, wider and higher.

No, I’m not going to start growing weed. Not yet. I’m saving that for retirement. LOL

The garden is also expanding into the house. Kitchen herbs for cooking, window planters full of edibles for health and medicinal use.

MAY – Happy To Be Hiking Again

Famous Quote: I’d hike way further if I didn’t have to walk back. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

I love hiking. A couple of nights on and off the trail, all by myself and I couldn’t be happier.

Last year we had crises over crises.

Without going into detail, it was a tough year, to say the least.

There was little time for anything other than picking up pieces and putting out fires. Hiking was off the table other than a few pathetic weekend attempts.

For my sanity, I want it back. Nothing spectacular or anything. I’m not going to hike the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail, or anything like that. Just a few awesome weekends here in Michigan.

JUNE – Homesteading Like A Boss

Famous Quote: Homesteading is the modern name for life before we became dependent. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

This is going to be a very busy month.

I plan to jump into hydroponics – think plants, water with fish, all living in their own little self-sustaining ecosystem (almost) in harmony – just waiting to be eaten.

Chickens? Maybe. I have to get my wife on board and, truthfully, that isn’t looking good. I am determined though. If not this year then next year for sure. I want fresh eggs dammit.

Food forest? You bet. At least we’ll get started on it. I eventually want to transform our little backyard into a living prepper pantry.

No-till garden, edibles everywhere, fruit trees, berry bushes, and even flowers for pollination. I want to design our own little backyard permaculture paradise.

JULY – A Blogging Superhero Again

Famous Quote: I’ll blog about my funeral if time permits. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

I’ve been blogging since 2004. I lived, ate and breathed blogging a few years ago. I got burned out. Almost died. Not true – but I was beyond overwhelmed and it was affecting my health.

Some nights I’d stay up till dawn and have to go to work with just enough time to shower and dress.

Rather than cutting back – I all but abandoned the entire thing. Every time I walk away, I miss it. I always end up starting back up. It’s in my blood.

While I’m probably done with most of my blogs, including Hot Blog Tips, I plan to spend July building Next Step Survival.

As far as my personal blog (the one you’re reading right now), I’ll post whenever I feel like it. I like it like that. Traffic and readership don’t mean much on this one. That’s refreshing.

AUGUST – Harvest, Canning And Prepping

Famous Quote: Canning is the hardest chore you’ll ever love. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

Last year was my first time canning and my wife and we canned over 100 quarts of vegetables.

We’re still going through those jars and it’s fantastic.

When we need tomatoes, sauce, green beans, carrots, mushrooms as well as many other veggies, we just step into our prepper pantry and get healthy, quality, and homegrown goodness right off the shelf. From our shelves.

This year we’re going for 500+ quarts. We’re adding many new vegetables to our garden and we’re going to expand our canning as well. Jellies, preserves, meats, spices and more sauces.

We also started dehydrating last year. That’s getting kicked into high gear this month as well. It has worked incredibly well.

SEPTEMBER – Vacation, Finally

Famous Quote: Taking a vacation from real life is a tragedy worth exploring. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

It’s been YEARS since my wife and I have taken a decent vacation together. This year- this month- we’re taking a couple of weeks to make up for a little of that.

First, we’re headed out for a week at a resort in Pigeon Forge, TN. My oldest son and his wife will drive up from Georgia to stay with us for a few days while we’re so close.

From there, we’ll drive to North Carolina to spend a few days at Prepper Camp. Here, I’ll be turning many of my online friends into better friends – in person.

After that fantastic weekend, we’ll jump into the car again and head to Wilmington, OH where we’ll kidnap my two youngest grandsons. We’ll be staying at another resort there for a couple of days.

By the time we get back to Michigan, we’ll have a nice long 4-day weekend to recover from the trip before we get back to work.

OCTOBER – Home Improvement And Projects

Famous Quote: Home improvement is wrapping all the things you ignored into a big ball of impossible. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

Every winter stuff falls apart. All things that can break hate the cold.

I want to get in front of things gone wrong this year by tackling those projects and maintenance in the month of October.

The weather is perfect this time of year in Michigan for any outdoor work and this is the time to put up summer equipment, prep the garden for next year, and prepare for the freeze.

NOVEMBER – Reading, Learning And Planning

Famous Quote: Reading is the only way to shut off writing your life for a while. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

Boring? Maybe to some but I’m looking forward to it.

I love reading and while it might seem ridiculous to plan reading into my goals, I know that’s what it will take with my schedule.

Since we have to be in bed by 10:30 P.M. each night, I’ll go into my studio each night around 9 P.M. and just read, learn, and plan.

DECEMBER – Family Time, Reflection And Evaluation

Famous Quote: Reflexion is a time for less accusing and more accepting responsibility. ~ Brian D. Hawkins

The holiday season is full of family. While all that is going strong and out of control 😉 I want to reflect on our achievements, shortcomings and next year’s goals.

A little corny, I know, but give me a break – I’m at 1,800 words already.

A little note on the steps I’m taking.

While some of the steps are just a month-long, others, such as weight loss, bedtime, unplugging, blogging and reading are just getting started that month and will become part of my permanent lifestyle.

This article first appeared on and is Copywrite

Just the beginning. See ya. Brian D. Hawkins

About This Author

Brian D. Hawkins is a late-blooming thought leader in his mind. So please don't disturb his happy thoughts. It's all he has.

Brian D. Hawkins has been a blogger for over twenty years, having written thousands of public articles on dozens of websites. He currently blogs for and his personal blog at

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