Why breaking down your goals makes them attainable

As I approach the new year, I always like to set goals for myself. I like to dream big but also infuse some reality into process.

2017 is my "M&M&M" year ... Marathon, Mortgage and Millionaire.


My sister got me into triathlons about 10 years ago. I could never fully get into the swimming part, but the biking and running were right up my alley. Then I decided to sell my road bike to pay off some debt (money nerd) so I was left with my running shoes. So alas, running became my go-to exercise by default.

In all seriousness, going out for a run is my favorite way to start the day. The simplicity of waking up, throwing your shoes on and heading out the door is like no other exercise. It is fun, challenging and brings a sense of freedom that sticks with you throughout the day.

This year, I'm signing up for my first full marathon. I've always wanted to check that off of my bucket list as a life long accomplishment and since I've been doing half marathons for the past few years I feel confident that I'll complete my first marathon without reporting to the ER.

Here are the simple steps I'm taking to make this marathon a reality:

** Sign up by January
** Tell a lot of people I'm doing it (oh, I guess I just did) so I won't back out
** Set a 6-month training schedule
** Swap runs every other day with my wife Nicole so we can do this marathon together (We have two small kids so one parent stays with the kids one morning while the other runs)
** Stretch before and after every run
** Listen to my body and rest as needed
** Hydrate like the world is running out of water
** Run the marathon
** Smile as I'm crossing the finish line


2017 is the year that our mortgage will be no more. Dead. Gone. Eliminated. PAID OFF!

As of this morning, we have $52,952 left to pay on that bad boy. By December 2017, our balance will be $0.

I detail this process on my site, but here is the 10-second version:

** In 2013, we got a $200k mortgage on a 15-year fixed for 3%
** We have thrown approximately $500 extra toward the mortgage principal each month
** I get paid 26 times per year and throw 2 of those paychecks toward the mortgage principal annually
** We sell stuff we don't use or need anymore and those dollars go toward the mortgage too. See a pattern?
** And through the cosmic power of mathematics, our 15-year mortgage will be gone in less than 5 years


No, I won't be a millionaire by the end of 2017, but I'll be setting the course to make that a reality by 2022. An arbitrary date? No, it is slightly before my 40th birthday.

Here is what I plan to do next year to make my "Millionaire by 40" dream become a reality:

** Pay off my mortgage
** Max out our retirement savings through tax advantaged vehicles like our 401k and Roth IRA accounts
** Crush my sales goals at work so I receive a fist-pump worthy bonus
** Side hustle and increase my income through writing, blogging and podcasting
** Start researching and reading up on how to make money in rental real estate

By my calculations, the Hill Family should be approaching the $600k net worth mark by the end of next year.

It has taken a lot of time, patience and perseverance to get where we are today as a family. By setting annual goals, we are creating a driving force that helps us realize our dreams, no matter how big they are.

Now ... Bring on the sweet M&M&M new year! Where is my kid's candy bag?

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