My 2019 Goals – The Big Steps

As 2018 draws to a close I decided to take sometime to create this site and record my goals for 2019. I have spent the last few weeks thinking about what I want to achieve in 2019 and when my husband gave me a new diary for Christmas I got planning.

The reasons for creating this site are;

  1. It ties into my goals,
  2. I hope it keeps me accountable and,
  3. I am interested to see how the goals play out and have a record to review next year.

I hope you enjoy reading along. Below I have listed my 8 “Big Goals”

  1. Make £1,000 per month online
  2. Diet and train for a healthier me
  3. Get outside everyday for at least 20 minutes
  4. Use less plastic
  5. Declutter and organise the house
  6. Clear the garden and start growing veg
  7. Learn new practical life skills
  8. Involve my 3 children in all my goals with a focus on furthering their education at home

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”


Ralph Waldo Emerson

This has always been one of my favorite quotes and this year I plan to take control of the journey.

That’s it for now, I am away to open a bottle of bubbly and start working on the baby steps I need to take and the help I need to enlist to achieve these goals.

Have you set any goals for 2019?

2019 Goal 5: Declutter and Organise the House

My decluttering in 2019 has spread not only to include my home and all its possessions but to my business and all the processes that are included in that and to my personal life and how I am spending my time.

I realised at the start of this year when I entered into a business revamping phase that I have been running my dropshipping and print on demand business for over 3 years now without any real structure to the daily business processes and promotion schedule!

That is crazy; to put it plainly I have basically worked on a week to week sometimes even on a day to day basis trying what I thought was a good idea at the time – eek!

Now I have not been unsuccessful with my business, luckily, but I have realised I could do better and by better I mean that by putting in some forethought and planning I could use my time more productively and therefore declutter my schedule. I will be sharing these planning techniques and process ideas on this blog.

Enter the Bullet Journal and the start of my planning journey:

Bullet Journal Page to Track Monthly Steps towards making £1,000 per month online

2019 Goal 4: Use Less Plastic

I have now been making an effort to reduce the plastic use in my home from the start of the year. My first few easy to implement changes were to stop buying liquid soap in bottles and change over to bars of soap and to take my own containers and cloth bags to the shops. Neither of these solutions takes much effort but they can have a huge impact.

The book No. More. Plastic. by Martin Dorey lists the top 15 items that wash up on our beaches and these include Drinks Bottles, Drinking Straws/Plastic Cutlery and Plastic Bags.

What I have realised from reading this book is that you are not just reducing your waste and helping the environment by using less plastic, you will also be saving money. For instance, Martin works out that if you buy a litre of bottled water a day (this is in the UK) where it costs between 30p and 60p per litre you will spend roughly £220 per year on bottled water, which is available from the tap.

Another one of my changes is to stop buying my kids bottles of juice for their packed lunches and to instead send them in to school with a reusable stainless steel bottle. These may seem like a large outlay at the start but if you calculate spending £1 per day on a drink then they pay for themselves in 2 weeks.

If you want to see more ideas from the No. More. Plastic. book then follow the hashtag #2minutesolution on Instagram. What changes are you going to make in 2019?

2019 Goal 3: Get Outside Everyday

Today I want to discuss more of the background to why goal 3 came about and start to explain the benefits I have found in implementing it by getting outside everyday, or at least most days.

The Giants Causeway

Being someone who is a self proclaimed geek I used to find days slipping by on the computer, whilst focusing on a project, only to realise that I had not been outside at all. I hadn’t always been like that, becoming a mother and working for myself seemed to be when I found it harder to take a break as I was always trying to fit in a bit more work before returning to household duties.

That was before I started to make a conscious effort to get outside. This goal did not just start with the new year, if I am honest it has been something I have been working on for quite a while.

Mourne Mountains

It is easy to make excuses to not go outside, especially if it’s cold or wet, or it takes you away from what you feel is more important, like your work, but it is essential for both our mental and physical health.

To help me achieve this goal I have been habit tracking everyday. The process of habit tracking gives me the opportunity to see myself making progress and sticking to my goal. Modern thinking estimates it takes 66 days to form a new habit so I am almost halfway there.

Habit Tracker

I have my habit tracker on the wall in the kitchen so I see it daily, I am also using it to track my decluttering. My daily goal is 20 minutes but if I don’t get out one day I let it roll over to the next. These trackers are easy to make but it you fancy getting a premade one hop over to MythsOfTimeArt and grab yourself one.

MythsOfTimeArt Habit Tracker

I know some people do not have this issue and taking a break from things comes easy and that is great. This post however is aimed at people who like me find it hard to switch off and slow down.

Slieve Gullion Giant’s Liar

Since I started to make more time to go out and join my family on trips, prior to this my husband frequently took the kids on his own to let me work or catch up on housework, I have been happier in general and actually more productive when I work.

I have also really enjoyed looking back on the photos of the trips we have had and my kids are thrilled to have me along. I will admit there are times I still stay behind but I am a work in progress.

Beach on Antrim Coast Road

Life seems to be supercharged these days and everyone is busier than ever, sometimes it’s OK to stop and enjoy the wonders and the people around us. Do you make time to get outside each day?

2019 Goal 2: Diet and Train for a Healthier Me – Recipes

So I am into week 3 of the new year and today I want to discuss my 2nd goal which concerns dieting and training for my health. Just before I get into that though I wanted to share an excellent article with you. It is ideal for people who have either not made any resolutions for the new year and want to or have made some but have since found they couldn’t keep up.

https://www.figure-competition.com/new-years-resolutions/

Halfway through January is the normal time when the shine wears off the resolutions from the New Year and sticking to them seems harder. Remember don’t be too hard on yourself, you can always start again, take a step back or wait a while. Reassess why you wanted to make the goal in the first place and perhaps you will be able to rekindle that resolve. I particularly like the idea of making a vision board and I am working on one for this goal which I will share with you when it is complete.

Read article on New Year’s Resolutions.

Recipes for Health

When I provided some background to this goal I explained that I wanted to take a bottom up approach. Basically that means that I am adding small steps every week to my routine instead of trying to change everything at once. In the first week I started a new morning routine whereby I have a glass of warm water and lemon and a spoonful of ground flaxseed before I have anything else, I have cut out added sugar from my diet and I am training with weights 3 times a week. In the second week I added in one cardio class a week and started to incorporate more protein into my diet.

This week I am starting to include more healthy recipes. It is important to me that my recipes are healthy, quick and easy to make and tidy up from and that the children can share them. I wanted to share a few of them with you here:

How to make a Banana and Strawberry Smoothie with added protein

How to make a Coconut and Blueberry Health Shake that the kids will love.

A Healthy Dessert with Avocado, Coconut and Chocolate

The Perfect Breakfast Food; Protein Pancakes

All of the recipes above are ones I make myself on a regular basis. Click the titles to view the full recipe for each on HubPages. I have written each of the posts I have linked to and am currently earning passive income from them. If you want to read more about how I do that see my previous post; 2019 Goal 1: Making £1,000 per Month Online – HubPages.

Since I started this goal I have now lost 6lbs in weight, and while that is not my only focus I am starting to feel better for it. Have you implemented any new habits to improve your health this year? If you want some weight loss tips check out tryadietforaday.com it is full of interesting posts.

2019 Goal 1: Making £1,000 per Month Online – HubPages

If you have been reading along since I started this blog you will know that for 2019 I set 8 Big Goals for myself and the first of those was to earn £1,000 per month online. As I explained in my Background on Goal 1 post I have been exploring different avenues for making money online for close to 7 years now. My personal approach to earning a living online is to have multiple income streams which are preferably passive. Today I want to provide you with some details on HubPages and how you can use it to earn money yourself.

Firstly though, before I get into the details of HubPages, I want to state that I do not believe making money online is any easier than working in any other profession. We all know money does not grow on trees and in order to make a living working online you will need to put in the hours and treat it like any other job. Of course you are doing it in the comfort of your own home and working the hours that suit you best so there are some very welcome perks.

I will firstly introduce you to what HubPages is and why you may want to use it and how you can earn money from it. Secondly, I will provide details on how you will know what to write about and what you need to consider when writing an article online. Finally I will provide you with some further resources to check out in your own time. What I will not supply is a step-by-step guide on how to sign up for HubPages.

What is HubPages?

HubPages is an online community of people who like to share information on their hobbies and areas of expertise in order to help others. Articles should be of high quality and range in size from 1500 – 2000 words with pictures and / or videos to accompany the text. It is important to remember that the articles must be 100% UNIQUE.

Why use HubPages?

For me, HubPages is a great place to start if you are new to earning money online, the reason being that you do not have to worry about setting up your own website or concern yourself with security issues and the like. In addition you become part of a helpful online community of people who will make comments on your articles and answer any questions for you regarding the site. Furthermore, the income you generate from HubPages is passive, meaning you can dip in and out of it as you please and do not have to worry about things like customer service or staffing issues, which you would when pursuing other online revenue generating methods such as drop shipping.

How can I earn money?

HubPages is not a get rich quick scheme, in order to make some money from it you will have to produce high quality unique content. If you do produce good content though and use the money generating options available you can make a nice side income. As an example I personally have 15 articles published and last year earned £500 ($640) which equates to roughly £41.50 per month. One of my steps towards increasing my monthly income this year is to write more articles and to direct more traffic to my existing hubs (I will keep this blog updated on my progress) .

There are 3 ways to earn money via HubPages with their available ad programs; Google Adsense, HubPages Ad Program and HubPages Amazon Program. Having all of these in place will mean you can have money generated from Impressions, Pay Per Click Ads, and Amazon Products (I will cover more on each of these in other blog posts).

How do I know what to write?

You should write about subjects that interest you or that you have experience of, for example your hobbies, interests, line of work, education, relationships. When writing an article it is a good idea to plan it out before starting and to do some further research into the subject area.

For example to plan this article I produced a Mind Map but you could also use a Concept Map or any other planning technique that you are familiar with.

Mind Map for Using HubPages
Mind Map on how to use HubPages to earn money online

Both of the articles I linked to for Mind Mapping and Concept Mapping are examples of the types of articles that do well on HubPages (they are not mine).

What to consider when writing an article

The first thing you want to consider after you have planned your article is the title. Make sure that the title is clear and concise covering exactly what is contained in the body of the article. For example if you are writing about putting into practice techniques learned from Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix do not call the article “Here we go, let’s get started” or something equally random. The reason being that you want search engines to see your title and direct relevant traffic to you. So you may title it “Marie Kondo Method in Practice”.

Secondly you want to include relevant keywords and keyword phrases in your article. You can start by imagining what you would type into Google to find your article and then see what other suggestions Google makes at the bottom of the search screen. For example if you typed Marie Kondo technique you would get the following suggestions:

When including keywords make sure you use them naturally in your article and do not simply list them.

Finally, incorporate some relevant images and / or videos into your articles, be these images you take yourself, public license images from sites like Pixabay, and videos from YouTube. Aim to make your article as useful and informative as possible.

Further Resources

There are many other aspects to writing articles that I could include but these will have to wait for another post. For now I will leave you with these further resources to explore.

Lacking in ideas why not have a brain storming session.

Want to know what’s on trend then check out Google Trends (free)

Want some more ideas for earning Passive Income then read:

Hopefully this article has provided you with a brief overview of what HubPages is about, why you may want to join it and how you can earn money passively from it. Further questions that I will answer in later posts include: how do I find keywords, how do I get more content ideas, and how do I get traffic to my articles.

If you would like to join HubPages here is a detailed article on how to complete the sign up process.

2019 Goal 8: Involve the Kids and Further their Education at Home

In this post I would like to discuss the final goal I have planned for 2019, to involve my children in my goals, where possible, and further their education at home.

I have often thought I would like to educate my children at home and as a result I have carried out a lot of research into home education. I am a trained tertiary level educator and lecturered in Computing Science before I became a stay at home mother. I feel it is an extremely good way of educating children as long as both the parents and the children are in complete agreement. As it stands both my older children absolutely love school and do not wish to be home educated, therefore my current plan is to supplement their school education with projects and activities at home. My youngest is still an infant so he is with me all day learning anyway.

I have already outlined all my personal 2019 goals in previous posts about what I would like to achieve as an individual, but as a mother of 3 I also have a responsibility towards my children to make sure they are getting exposed to ideas, habits, activities and skills that will help them to grow as independent people.

With all that said I hope to share some of our family projects and activities on this blog. I have some topic led lesson plans in development and some friends lined up who will help me and the kids to improve our practical life skills. What are your favorite activities to involve your children in?

2019 Goal 7: Learn New Practical Life Skills

I like to think of myself as a life time learner and have been studying towards different qualifications for most of my adult life. Now that I am a stay at home mum as opposed to a working mum I find I am missing a number of the practical life skills. This year I intend to change that.

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death”

Albert Einstein

So I am now in my 37th year and I have a confession, I cannot cook or bake or sew or knit or well, the list goes on. Now, while I know this is not the end of the day as I can always make an awesome bowl of porridge (so my kids tell me) I would like to be able to do these things. I would also like to teach my children how to do these things and more.

I know I cannot become proficient at all the practical life skills I can think of this year but I do want to have a go at some. I would especially like to learn some cooking and baking and also increase my gardening skills (which I have covered in goal 6). In addition I want to learn to sew and to knit.

What practical life skills do you have or would love to learn?

2019 Goal 6: Clear the Garden and Start Growing Veg

Every year that goes by I want to get more from my garden so my 2019 Goal number 6 (click here for the original list) is to clear the garden and start growing vegetables.

We have been in this house for over 10 years and the garden has always been a project. From demolishing an old shed to creating a lawn to making it child friendly, but now that the major lifting work is complete I feel I can set my garden to work for me.

After recently having our oil tank moved and a patio built I need to clear a lot of rubbish from my garden. The new patio included the installation of a 16ft raised bed so I now have a space to grow my vegetables.

For the last 4 years I have concentrated on growing fruit bushes such as raspberry, blueberry, gooseberry and red and black current. In addition I have had a go at growing tomatoes and peas in pots so I am not completely new to all this. However to date I have always got the plants from my local garden centre and this year I want to start from seeds. This is another goal I plan to involve my 3 children in and I hope to share our progress on this blog. Have you got green fingers or would you like to?

2019 Goal 5: Declutter and Organise the House

I have been working on decluttering my house for many years and it is something I frequently start and then forget about. This year I want to commit to setting aside 15 minutes a day 5 days a week to getting my house in order. I will be using the same habit creation technique, using a habit motivation chart, as I implemented for goal 3.

This 15 minutes is not for the regular everyday cleaning we all have to undertake such as cooking, dishes and laundry. This is especially for those areas in the home that gather clutter and those boxes that are stuffed with things from when we have quickly “tided” before the guests arrive. My biggest issue is paper clutter and clothing so those will be my primary focus. What is your biggest clutter issue at home?

If you want some tips on getting started check out this useful article on making decluttering a healthy habit.

I have recently finished watching “Minimalism: a documentary about the important things” and “Expedition Happiness” on Netflix and I am now reading some books on the subject. Check these out if you haven’t heard of them.

We are now into week two of the new year and I have found I am still excited about making the changes required to achieve my goals for 2019 – how are you getting on?

2019 Goal 4: Use Less Plastic

Today I started thinking about my 4th goal for 2019, to use less plastic. This goal is actually larger than just reducing plastic use it is about trying to be more conscious of the waste we produce as a family and to find ways of reducing all of it. This waste includes excess clothing and toys, food waste and packaging to name a few.

Some of the baby steps I intend to take this year are using cloth shopping bags and taking my own containers to the butchers and green grocers, also shopping local to save on fuel costs and finding alternative presents for my 3 children’s birthdays that do not include plastic toys.

To gather some more simple ideas I have just bought No More Plastic on my kindle, I will do a full review when I have read it.

No. More. Plastic.

As a fun project to involve the children in I have been researching eco bricks and how they can be used to build structures. These bricks can either be donated to a large scale project or used in your own garden. Have you ever made an eco brick?