Personal Development

Goals from 2008 – How Did I Do?

Posted by 1 January, 2009 (9) Comment


Here are my goals for 2008. Let’s see how I did.

1. Tell my wife I love her every day.

My wife has gave me the “thumbs up” for this goal.

2. Fully fund our IRA’s.

We fully funded both IRA accounts. There were actually fully funded as of late October. I’ve since been placing half of the amount that did go into our Roth IRA’s into an ING Direct savings account instead. The other half I left alone because we are still trying to smooth our budget out.

3. Read 1 book per month.

This year I’ve read Your Money or Your Life, Getting a Life, The Bitch in the House, Rental Houses for the Successful Small Investor, Fix’em Up, Rent’em Out, The Magic of Thinking BIG, Letting Go of Your Bananas, The Millionaire Next Door, All Marketer’s are Liars, The 4 Hour Work Week, and The How of Happiness. I didn’t quite make the 1 book a month goal, but I was pretty close with 11 books. I may have to bump this goal up for next year. One issue I had with this goal is that it takes me so long to get through a book since I take a lot of notes all through out the book. I think I may tone my note taking down a bit.

4. Keep posting consistently on this blog through the end of the year.

I am very proud to say that I have completed this goal.

5. Pay off the car and two smaller student loans by the end of the year.

I am happy to report that we do not have a car payment and the smaller student loans are PAID! We only have one larger student loan in addition to our mortgage.

6. Put $10,000 more into our Zecco account by the end of the year.

We had a shift in plans in regard to this goal. We did not place the money in our Zecco account because we thought it would be going elsewhere such as into an investment property. We were not able to quite save $10,000, but we were able to sock away approximately $6000 in additional to maxing out our two Roth IRA accounts.

7. Complete a half marathon by the end of the year.

We have signed up to run in the Fort Worth marathon February 28th 2009 so we didn’t quite make it for 2008. Since we are running in a half marathon so early in 2009, I’m going to make it my goal to run a full marathon by the end of 2009. The farthest I’ve run is about 6 miles to date so I have quite a ways to go, but it’s certainly within reach.

8. Purchase an investment property.

We put in approximately 50 offers or more this year. I had to admit that I was disappointed by our results. I think that a lot of my offers were much lower than the accepted offers. This is an instance where we need to step back, find a person that is currently where we want to be, and do what they do. There is no reason why we should try and reinvent the wheel.

9. Complete a real estate transaction through our direct marketing.

We may have actually completed this goal. I am still waiting to see if this transaction has been completed. If it is the case, I think we will take the consulting fee on the contract instead of partnering with a more experienced real estate investor as this would be a subject 2 transaction.

10. Market to 50 probate records per month.

I did not keep up with this and I’m not sure it’s worth the reward. My wife and I need to put together a plan for our real estate investing business. To be quite honest, I think we both feel lost in terms of our direction with that business.

11. Starting in July, distribute door hangers once per month.

I designed and ordered the flyers, but they are still sitting next to me in a box. Again, my wife and I need to design a plan for how we are going to enter into the real estate investing game.

12. Have a party by the end of the year.

We did not have a party by the end of the year. This will need to happen next year!

13. This is not a SMART(specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goal, but I want to make sure I hang out with Jason, Matt, Charlie, Jesse and Howard.

I have not hung out with many of these people as much as I’d like to, but I am happy that my wife and I have increased our effort towards our friendships in general. For instance, we joined a Kick Ball league this past fall and were able to meet a lot of people through that team. We plan to start a pot luck dinner group for 2009 to strengthen our current friendships and make new friends in the process.

14. Join the Free Mason organization.

I did not join the Free Mason organization. I went to breakfast with one of the members at the central Mason temple, but I placed it on the back burner after that breakfast. I think it’s a fine organization. The big question mark in my mind with the organization was the time commitment required. I’m really trying not to overload myself. I want to make sure I enjoy the activities I am in and that I have plenty of time for them.

What do you think of my goals? What were some of your goals for 2008 that you completed?

Photo by: Wili Hybrid

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10 Simple Ways to Overcome Disappointment

Posted by 1 December, 2008 (12) Comment


Everyone is disappointed at some point in their life. Perhaps you didn’t receive the grade you were hoping for on your math test. Maybe you didn’t perform as well as you had hoped for in the big championship soccer game.

My recent disappointment is that despite a good amount of effort, my wife and I have not secured our first real estate investing deal that I put into my goals for 2008. We’ve had quite a few that were very close to going through, but we haven’t quite made it over that “hump”.

Disappointment can be an ugly thing. Disappointment can be a temporary feeling for some people or it may drag others to depression depending on the severity of the disappointment and the mental state of the person. Disappointment has actually been classified as a type of mental stress (see reference).

So, what are some ways to overcome disappointment!


1. Exercise – If something is bothering me, I exercise. I don’t exercise to try and forget about the problem necessarily. I exercise and work through the problem in my head and I seem to always come to a solution. Perhaps it’s the endorphins helping out, but I seem to always come to a resolution.

2. Focus on the Future – There’s a reason why the rearview mirror in a car is small, but the front windshield is large. Focus your attention on what’s in front of you. Sure it’s good to know about the past, but DON”T DWELL ON IT!

3. Be with Friends – It’s amazing what being around friends will do for a person. If you are disappointed about something, find and friend and go talk about your disappointment. A lot of times people think their situation is unique when more often than not, many people have been through the same situation. Plus, it’s good to talk it through and a lot of times you’ll realize that it’s probably not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

4. Focus on What Makes You Happy – If you are feeling disappointed and watching a comedy makes you happy, go down to the store and rent a comedy from a DVD rental center. If you have kids and they make you happy, go play with them. It won’t take long before you forget about your disappointment.

5. Go Read – Reading can be a great tool to get your mind off of what’s bothering you and allow you to focus on the story in the book. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find that reading is a new hobby for you if you are not already an avid reader.

6. Go Walk Your Dog – If you have a dog, walking them is a great way to keep your mind off of your disappointment. A lot of the dogs I’m around are soi friendly, it’s hard not to forget about your disappointment.

7. You Have Your Health – Despite your disappointment, you have your health. I know I get caught up in sports, goals and activities, but instead of focusing on the fact that we came up short in a soccer game or didn’t quite complete a goal, I focus on the fact that I have my health. I have a lot of friends that are not able to play soccer due to their health so I am certainly thankful for the opportunity to still play.

8. Be Alone – This my seem counterintuitive to some of the other ways to overcome disappointment, but sometimes and for some people, it’s good to be alone. I know I sometimes enjoy being alone so I can have some quite time to myself without the distraction of the television of other noises.

9. Motivation – When I am disappointed about an outcome, it motivates me to not to want to feel that way again. For instance, I’m disappointed that I will probably not make my goal of purchasing our first real estate investment. Instead of hanging my head low over the fact that I didn’t accomplish that goal, I’m going to regroup and double my efforts!

10. Forgive Yourself – Just as you are taught to forgive others for their wrongdoings, you must live to forgive yourself and realize that you are human and not perfect. Things don’t always fall the way you want them do, but if you plan and put enough effort into your goal, you’ll definitely give yourself a good chance at realizing that goal.

What other methods or tricks do you use to overcome disappointment?

Photo by Diabloooz, The-O

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Bad Medicine is What You Need

Posted by 27 November, 2008 (1) Comment


No, I’m not referring to the Bon Jovi song from the 80’s (actually titled “Bad Medicine”). I’m referring to the concept that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I think it’s well known that some germs are good and low levels of stress are good, but too much of a good or a bad thing can be bad.

That’s certainly the case, and has now been proven by biologists as detailed in an issue of New Scientist. This concept known as hormesis, means that high doses of a substance can be toxic, but at low doses, it could actually be beneficial. To prove a point the author states that many compounds that improve health at low doses, including vitamin A, vitamin B6, selenium, iron, and zinc, are in fact toxic at high doses.

But antioxidants are a good thing, right?

Mark Mattson and Edward Calabrese explain that antioxidants are part of a wider class of plant chemicals, called phytochemicals, that are toxic at high doses but beneficial at lower doses. The amounts we normally eat are insufficient to reach toxic concentrations in the human body, but are enough to activate our molecular stress responses. In other words they are hormetic stresses.

The article also mentions recent research has also shown that hormesis is responsible for at least some of the health benefits of exercise and calorie reduction. Reducing calorie intake and increasing energy expenditure lowers your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and we now know this is because diet and exercise induce a state called “mild metabolic stress”, where levels of glucose and the molecular energy currency, ATP, are depleted.

So, what does this all mean to you? For one, it’s scientific proof that proper diet and exercise are a good thing. Throughout our history, we have always modeled things after nature. Whether it was the Wright brothers modeling their airplane after a bird, or more recently, scientists trying to mimic the composition of a spider web, which is extremely strong given its low weight. I think that hormesis (I hadn’t heard of this word prior to reading the article in New Scientist) is something we can look at and model after in our everyday lives. Whether we are exercising, trying to save money for retirement, or trying to eat healthy, we should model after nature and do things in moderation. If things are difficult at first, you should remember that it’s natural and things will get easier because we all need mild stressors to make us stronger and more able to handle more difficult challenges in the future.

Photo by Notions Capital


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What I’ve Learned From College Football and the Presidential Election

Posted by 24 November, 2008 (2) Comment

Obama 2008-3

I’m a huge fan of college football. I keep up with the University of Texas Longhorns and a hand full of other teams. I read all of their articles and I am on the message boards. I even keep up with the recruiting through out the year.

This Presidential election was interesting to say the least. There were a few firsts which was exciting to see. It was a great contest between two worthy presidential candidates.

Watching the Presidential election process and the Texas Longhorns, I couldn’t help but see the parallel between the two. Both, Mack Brown, the head coach for the Texas Longhorns, and Barrack Obama, the Presidential candidate for the Democratic party, often spoke about routine.

Is this one of the key factors that sets successful people and apart other people?

If I take a quick scan through the dialogue between Mr. and Mrs. Obama and Steve Croft’s 60 Minutes interview on November 17th on their Personal Transition, I found the word “routine” came up three times. I only point this out because it’s something I happened to notice while watching the interview last Sunday.

Mack Brown also speaks about the routine of the team on a regular basis. On game day, they go through the same routine for every game. It’s all about repetition for them from doing the drills in the same way and the same order to going to meetings and waking up at the same time everyday. This is also the case prior to the start of the season. Mack Brown had his team scrimmage on a Saturday prior to the first game. This is a fan appreciation day, but it also puts the team into the routine of playing a game on Saturday in front of fans. Prior to the scrimmage, they go through all of the motions that they would for a normal game.

As I write this, I wonder what routines I have that are leading me to success. Over the past 6 months, the one routine that I feel has helped me improve is blogging. I have routinely put out 3 blog posts per week. Blogging itself isn’t necessarily helping me per say, but it has helped me get into a routine that I can carry over into other areas of my life.

Peter at Pick the has some great suggestions for 10 Morning Habits You Can Build Your Day Upon. Perhaps you looked over the 10 habits that Peter suggested and you aren’t sure whether they are for you or not. Well, Steve Pavlina has a great article titled “30 Days to Success“. In his article, he suggests that you give the habit or routine a 30 day trial. If after the 30 day trial, you aren’t sure whether it’s for you or not, you can extend it to 60 or 90 days or longer. The interesting point he makes is that:

Now if you actually complete a 30-day trial, what’s going to happen? First, you’ll go far enough to establish it as a habit, and it will be easier to maintain than it was to begin it. Secondly, you’ll break the addiction of your old habit during this time. Thirdly, you’ll have 30 days of success behind you, which will give you greater confidence that you can continue. And fourthly, you’ll gain 30 days worth of results, which will give you practical feedback on what you can expect if you continue, putting you in a better place to make informed long-term decisions.    

I thought the concept that Steve Pavlina presented was really useful and I will incorporate that into my life when I look at my potential positive habits.

What are some habits you have that you are proud to mention?

Photo by The Austin American Statesman


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Life is Like an Etch-A-Sketch

Posted by 17 November, 2008 (6) Comment


Wouldn’t it be nice if your life was like a Etch-A-Sketch? Dr. Daniel Drubin wrote in Letting Go of Your Bananas:

Take a good, hard look at what you have and, if you don’t like what you see, shake things up. You get to create a new vision as often as you are unwilling to accept some of the limiting pictures in your life.

Is life that simple? Can you change the direction of your life that easily? I contend that if people are fed up with the direction in their life, they will change. It’s a matter of someone’s motivation being greater than their dislike for their direction in life. Otherwise, it’s the path of least resistance and that usually doesn’t lend itself towards change.

Mike King at Learn This recently wrote a great post on motivation that is a great read and pertinent to helping you find the motivation to change!

Once you decide you are going to change, you certainly need direction and focus otherwise you’ll get lost or easily distracted. Dr. Daniel Drubin has some great guidelines to consider as you become the CEO of your life.

1. Think one step ahead and always have a backup plan for whatever you are doing; don’t put all of your plans in one basket.

2. Understand and effectively utilize the power of your personal affirmations and self talk.

3. Be childlike in your unwillingness to accept no as an answer.

4. Live the principles of TELL – Teaching, earning, laughing, learning.

5. Always deliver more than you promise.

6. When given the choice regarding how to think and behave, always choose limitless over limited.

7. With a dramatic need for speed, decide to break the speed barrier for changing your life.

8. Become more purposeful in your thoughts, actions, and attitudes.

9. Eliminate the eighth day of the week: “Someday”.

Are you the CEO of your life? If so, what are some of your guidelines?

Photo by Eliya


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