2018 Mid-Year Reflections: Crushing goals and learning lessons

Wow, guys! We’ve made it halfway through another year. HOW SWAY?!? It was just winter yesterday!

Check out what I’ve accomplished so far and read the BIG NEWS about what’s coming up in the fall. Please share your wins and opportunities for improvement in the comments.

How have I done with my 2018 goals so far?

The goals include:

  1. Reduce debt balance by $18,000.
  2. Become a certified teacher in Florida through an online program.
  3. Pay cash only for all certification costs.
  4. Pay off Barclay balance transfer card by June 30.
  5. Climb the Great Wall of China.
  6. Create passive income stream(s).

Through dedication and the universe working in my favor, I’ve checked off 2.5 goals so far. I’ll explain the .5 in a bit.

  1. Reduce debt balance by $18,000. This was a goal I made before deciding to pursue my educator certification. If it weren’t for paying nearly $6,000 for the program, I would have kept up with my debt snowball and been on track to accomplish this goal. Instead, my debt balance has only been reduced by $3.074 from January to June. Womp womp! Maybe I should have amended this goal after I enrolled in the certification course so it would be more realistic and attainable. I could have reduced more debt if I hadn’t traveled and overspent in other areas. But I wouldn’t trade my trips to Beijing, the U.S. and Hong Kong for anything. Bonding with family and friends worked wonders for my soul.
  2. Become a certified teacher in Florida through an online program. ALMOST DONE! Here’s the aforementioned .5. From January to mid-June, I managed to complete all of the lessons, pass three Florida Teaching Certification Exams (on the first try!) and turn in all of the paperwork to complete the TeacherReady program. What a relief! The Florida Department of Education has to evaluate my certification application to finish the process. I’ll be certified by the fall, God-willing.
  3. Pay cash only for all certification costs. DONE! Each lesson cost $600. Thank goodness I could pay I as I went, so each month I sent home cash. Some months, I finished a lesson before I sent home money, so I used a credit card and paid off the balance in full each month. No long-term debt was accumulated to get this certification.
  4. Pay off Barclay balance transfer card by June 30. I’ll miss this goal by 2 weeks. Paying off the teacher certification course and traveling took priority over paying off the balance transfer card. It’s not a big deal considering that the card won’t charge interest until December. As soon I get my paycheck on July 10, I will be sending money home to pay this bad boy in full ($1,670).
  5. Climb the Great Wall of China. DONE! I honestly think just putting this goal out in the universe help it manifest. While a friend was styling my hair, she mentioned that she was going to Beijing to sell her candles at a new business expo. My ears perked up. She hadn’t gone to the Great Wall either. My wheels started turning. In less than a few weeks, I was on the plane with two friends and we were doing the Electric Slide on the Great Wall on Easter Sunday. EPIC! One of the best weekends of my life!
  6. Create passive income stream(s). The second half of 2018 will be dedicated to this goal. I’m a knowledge whore. I read, read, research and read some more, but I have yet to really plan and act. Having multiple streams of income is paramount to getting out of debt quicker, pursuing financial freedom and giving myself the opportunity to work and travel at will—not out of necessity.


2018 mid-year reflections Wise Woman Wallet_2

What else happened?

  1. BIG NEWS! I got a new job! Third year in China. Third job. I’ll be working at a Canadian-run kindergarten in a new suburb. The job pays almost $400 more a month than my current one and provides a better apartment. So far, it seems way more organized, too. The apartment building is adjacent to a lake around which I can run or walk and near a mountain park perfect for hiking or cycling. The friends I went to Beijing with work in that school system and encouraged me to apply. I’m so glad that I did.
  2. I paid off my undergraduate loans in June! Yaaaaaay! It only took 9 years and 1 months since graduation. LOL! Now that $100 monthly payment can roll into my graduate school loans—the last debt remaining.
  3. The #debtfreecommunity on Instagram continues to be amazing and has provided over 12,800 followers now. I’m humbled and grateful because @wisewomanwallet had 1,600 followers this time last year.

What did I learn from the first half of 2018?

Persistence and calendaring pays off.

Is calendaring a word? Ha ha! Well, it fits. The teaching certification course I finished usually takes longer to complete. The staff say 9 months or more. I finished in 5.5 months. On top of that, students MUST pass 3 FTCEs to complete the program. Some current and aspiring teachers have taken exams over 5 times. I studied for about 7 weeks. When I flew back to the U.S. for Chinese New Year, I took all 3 exams within 10 days. I willed myself to pass those exams on the first try so I wouldn’t have to travel back to the States or a military base in another country. Seeing those passing scores sent me through the roof!

Reverse engineering this goal paid off big time. I set a deadline of June 30 and gave myself 3 weeks to finish each lesson. I plugged dates and tasks into the Asana app and got busy. Early spring was marked by a rut, but seeing those deadlines provided motivation to push through.

Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. and stick to a plan to achieve those goals. 

The $18K in 18 goal is specific, measurable, relevant and time-bound, but it’s not as attainable as I thought. Cashing out on the certification course took some of the wind out of that sail.

Reading this goal may not happen this year. It would require paying off $15,000 over the next 6 months. It’s not impossible. That’s $2,500 a month. Not getting paid a full salary in July and August is one setback. The other is self-imposed.

I did not budget properly the first half of the year. I could’ve tightened up on spending to put more money toward debt. I could’ve been more passionate about this goal. I could’ve kept better track of my numbers to stay on track. Lesson: learned. I will work hard in the second half of 2018 to get as close to $18,000 as possible. Stay tuned.

Do you want to do your own mid-year review?

If you haven’t already, consider making a date to ask yourself a few questions about the first half of 2018:

  1. What goals did I have at the beginning of the year?
  2. What have I accomplished so far?
  3. What specific things helped me achieve those goals? What works for me? (habit tracking, affirmations)
  4. What has held me back from reaching some goals?
  5. How I can I overcome those obstacles in the next 6 months?
  6. What can I do specifically in the next 6 months to get closer to my goals? (daily, weekly, monthly)
  7. How will I measure success? (the amount of debt paid off, number of times I exercised per week)

What have you accomplished so far this year? What have you learned? Tell us below so we can celebrate and compare notes.

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