Goals for 2014 (and 500 words on my feelings…)

You may be thinking, “But January is almost over, why are you doing your goals now?” Well, because I wanted to take a few weeks to reflect on what I want for myself, and why. I didn’t want to rush setting yearly goals when I hadn’t had a chance to properly think about it, so…here I am, on January 24th (finally) putting my yearly goals for 2014 on paper.

I got really detailed and specific last year, setting goals for both work, my side income, and my life. This year, I am being a bit  broader in terms of scope, but also tying measurable and quantifiable objectives to my goals, so I can better accomplish them. (For those of you who are familiar with the strategic planning software company that I work for, you will find that last sentence very funny.) So, without further ado: 

LBMT Goals for 2014

Make 30,000 in side income for the year. 

2013 was the first full year I was actively making money from my blog, and this number includes both advertising, and freelance writing “gigs” I take on as part of my side hustle efforts. I made close to 15k in 2013, and I’d like to double that number for 2014. Breaking that down incrementally over 12 months means I need $2500 in side income each month. I am already on track for this in February, and if it holds fast for the rest of the year I am positive I can get there.

Increase Net Worth to $40,000

I have started publishing quarterly “net worth” updates (here, and here) which I have found to be a great way to track my financial progress. I’d like to be worth $100k by the time I am 30, so for 2014 I’d like to increase my net worth from around 13k to 40. Sounds ambitious, I know, but if I could just get around to paying down all of my debt, I’d already be halfway to that number. Coupled with the increasing equity in my home, this means I’d only need to save an additional 10k this year to hit that mark.

Start saving down payment for second property

After I pay off the cards, the loan, and bulk up my EF, I’d like to at least begin saving for a second income property. Ideally I’d like to make this happen before my 30th birthday, but since it is my second property I’ll definitely have to put down the full 20%, so I’m giving myself some time to accomplish this goal.  I know, after the difficulties of this last renovation, you probably think I’m crazy to want to do that again, but I know things now and think I’ll have a much better handle on the process.

Make LBMT/Beehive Content my primary focus

A lot went down in 2013, and it makes me cringe to think what else I could have accomplished if I’d been focusing on my own career rather than someone else’s. With that in mind, 2014 is definitely going to be the year of LBMT. I’ve already been making some smashing changes around the site, which I will detail for you next week! I plan on revamping the Starter Home Diaries and setting up the website for my LLC, Beehive Content as well.

Travel More

Again, because I was saving for a house and a wedding , I didn’t go anywhere except St. Louis for FinCon in 2013. That is so sad! Now that things are finally back under control financially (well, except for the MASSIVE power bill for my house……) I want to travel and nurture those relationships with my old and long distance friends. I just returned from a trip to the Portland/Seattle area that really reaffirmed this for me, and so I am making it a priority.

And the 500 800 Words on My Feelings

My number #1 Goal for 2014- Put my emotional baggage behind me

Oooofh. This one is a doozy. Not to brag, but when my engagement ended, I handled it like a champ. My ex and I parted on civil terms. Now, I did have a good two weeks there where I would cry in my car at particular moments, or whenever this song came on, but I would say for the most part that I did very well. Better than expected. I threw a nice housewarming party in December and everyone commented on how great I looked, how well I appeared to be doing, and for the most part… I was. I met someone. I threw another dinner party at my house on NYE and had one of the best New Year’s of my life.

I got through the holidays and our one year anniversary in December without even thinking about it. I thought I had closed the door on that chapter in 2013 and I was glad to welcome a new year. Between finishing up renovations on the house, doing my first show in over two years, and trying to keep my head above water at work I was running around like normal and telling everyone, “I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m fine.”

Turns out, I am not fine, and that has become very apparent these first few weeks of 2014.

Sometimes, I scare people with how I handle things. Maybe it is a holdover from my emotionally repressed youth, but I like to be very present with my feelings. When I am upset, I cry very hard for however long it takes, write something neurotic and sad, then write something angry, and then move on. Again, it scares people, but it works for me and usually I can move on from things very quickly and with relative ease because I’ve allowed myself to be unafraid to fully process my feelings. Yet, this particular situation, unlike any other I have ever encountered, has been very difficult for me, and for whatever reason, I handled it differently than I have any other problem in my life. This was a mistake. 

I took zero personal days when it first happened because I was afraid to sit alone with my feelings. I drove myself crazy with projects around the house to keep my hands and mind occupied. I went to FinCon and pretended everything was OK, and while I don’t regret that decision, it was just easier to keep pretending upon my return home. I am paying for this now, three months later, when I should be close to fully healed and I’m still hurt and angry, because I was too busy in October/November assuring myself that everything was alright.

Normally when I haven’t liked something about my life, I rebooted it. I moved to Atlanta, then I moved to New York, then I moved back again, but I can’t do that this time. I bought a house, have a job I actually like, and adore the friends I’ve made here (I had 40 people come to my housewarming, and I felt really loved and popular. seriously!) I have to stay here and mine through my feelings and make things work, not only because I should, but because I want to. I’m still a long way from where I want to be when it comes to coping with this overwhelming grief.

This is all a very long and winded way of saying that in 2014, I really want to focus on putting my emotional baggage behind me. Not in the fake, “Look how fucking fantastic I am!” way,” but in a real one, where I can spend a full day without a moment of misplaced anger or sadness (lets be real, it is pretty much all anger at this point.) I’m close. It is always in those wonderful moments, when I actively feel as if I am moving on when all of it comes back to haunt me, and then I beat myself up for a number of things: how it happened, why it happened, and why I’m still holding onto those feelings. I tell people on my site all the time to be good to themselves, but I’m really not bringing that home or practicing what I preach.

Well…that stops today.

I found this great quote on NYE by T.S Eliot and it really resonated with me, and after I read it I just knew that I had to include this one personal goal for myself among the other financial ones I set for myself this year.

“Let last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice.” 

I read it every time I need to remind myself to let go and move on once and for all.



41 Comments on Goals for 2014 (and 500 words on my feelings…)

  1. J. Money
    January 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm (10 months ago)

    2014 is going to be a good one, no doubt. I don’t know you very well, of course, but what I do know is that you seem to be one damn strong woman. And I love a damn strong woman ;) So you own it this year and just kick-ass!

    If I can ever help with anything, you better email me.

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:02 pm (10 months ago)

      I know I said this before, but THANK YOU for all of your support and kind words/thoughts. And kiss that sweet baby for me!

  2. Cashville Skyline
    January 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm (10 months ago)

    $30,000 in side income is an ambitious (and inspiring!) goal for 2014. Best of luck with that! Also, thanks for sharing some more personal details about moving on. The honesty is refreshing.

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:04 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed. I am feeling pretty optimistic about accomplishing my goals and hope to share the journey along the way!

  3. SavvyFinancialLatina
    January 24, 2014 at 2:24 pm (10 months ago)

    Best of luck on all your goals! $30,000 in side income is ambitious but I know you can totally do it.

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:05 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you dahling!

  4. Kaylee
    January 24, 2014 at 2:51 pm (10 months ago)

    I am so so proud of you, and glad that 2013 made us friends! I know that this will be an amazing year for you, and I can’t wait to see what it holds.

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:05 pm (10 months ago)

      You are the sweetest. I want to see you soooooon!

  5. Mark Ross
    January 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm (10 months ago)

    Nice list of goals. Good luck on achieving them and I hope you have a great 2014.

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks Mark. Same to you!

  6. Blake @ BeanCounterByDay
    January 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm (10 months ago)

    I’m sorry to hear about your engagement! I went through the same thing a couple of years ago, and I too powered through, kept myself busy, and thought I was fine for several weeks before I finally broke down.

    I think confronting it straight on like you now seem to be doing, and checking a few of your goals off along the way will do wonders for a fresh start! Best of luck!

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks Blake :) It is always nice to hear from people who have been through the same thing and made it to the other side.

  7. Michelle
    January 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm (10 months ago)

    Good luck in 2014 Lauren! Even though 2013 was a tough year for you, you are obviously loved by many others (including myself!). Hope to see you at FinCon this year :)

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm (10 months ago)

      Aww. You’re the sweetest. I hope we get to reunite again soon! This year I plan on being fully present so I can soak up all FinCon has to offer.

  8. Leah
    January 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm (10 months ago)

    Rest assured that you made absolutely no mistake in handling your grief the way you did. Really. I’m sure you already know that instinctually, but I thought maybe hearing an outsider saying it would offer some relief.

    Even if you had “handled it” the way you normally do, it might not have helped you cope with the situation any better.

    Be precious to yourself–and I know 2014 will be a year of tremendous growth and change for you!

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:09 pm (10 months ago)

      Aww leah, thank you so much!

  9. Michelle @fitisthenewpoor
    January 24, 2014 at 6:21 pm (10 months ago)

    Not to be that cliche person, but “time heals all wounds.” And I hope that much needed time comes to you quickly. Sometimes it helps me to hear myself say “I will be alright.” That way you recognize that you are not ok now, but you will be in the future. No pressure to make it happen tomorrow or even next year. Just sometime.

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:11 pm (10 months ago)

      You always know the right thing to say Michelle, on here and on twitter. I am so glad we’ve become acquainted.

  10. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
    January 24, 2014 at 7:42 pm (10 months ago)

    I was so fortunate to do a show right after breaking up with my ex of 5 years. It’s so important to have a place to reconnect you with other things you love and a community to share that time with.

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:12 pm (10 months ago)

      I doubt I would have made it through without their love and support. Seriously. And the ironic thing is that my ex didn’t want me to do a show at that time because we were renovating the house. I am glad I followed my own heart on that one.

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:12 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you Tejana!

  11. MakintheBacon
    January 25, 2014 at 7:43 pm (10 months ago)

    $100 K net worth by 30 is an amazing goal. I wish you the best of luck. I wish I hustled more in my 20s. I felt I wasted so much time flip flopping between jobs, desperately applying for any job and not really knowing what the heck to do with my life.

    I hear ya on travelling more. Last year I was in my sister’s wedding, so I spent a lot of time and money on that. I didn’t even get out of the province. :( I am rewarding myself with a nice vacation this year.

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:14 pm (10 months ago)

      Thank you! I prefer to set larger, long term goals (like the 100k) rather than be super dilligent about my monthly/yearly income goals. I seem to do better that way. I hope you manage to get somewhere nice! Come visit Atlanta ;)

  12. Michelle
    January 26, 2014 at 12:30 am (10 months ago)

    I believe that you will meet and surpass all of your goals that you’ve set for yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself, we all deal with emotional pain in different ways. Let yourself to mourn your relationship in the way that you need to. Am looking forward to reading about all of your adventures in 2014!!

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm (10 months ago)

      Being hard on myself is kindof my specialty ;) I look forward to working with you in this new year too!

  13. Shannyn @frugalbeautiful.com
    January 26, 2014 at 1:33 am (10 months ago)

    I feel like an asshat, I had no idea you had been through all that- I’m so sorry! My mom passed away right around the time of FinCon and I quit my job which I so truly wanted to work about two weeks before Fincon and while I did my best to put on a happy face, I was a wreck and it didn’t seem to come to fruition until a few weeks later.

    You and I should chat sometime- maybe just about blogging, or Fincon or goals..whatever we talk about, but you are someone I’d like to spend more time talking to in 2014. Sending you lots of good juju. You ARE fabulous. :)

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 30, 2014 at 1:55 pm (10 months ago)

      You should NOT feel like an asshat, you were going through a lot as well, I remember! Hopefully 2014 will be better for us both.

      Let’s schedule a skype or gchat soon!

  14. Lauren Bowling
    January 26, 2014 at 3:44 pm (10 months ago)

    You should NOT feel like an asshat, you were going through a lot as well, I remember! Hopefully 2014 will be better for us both.

    Let’s schedule a skype or gchat soon!

  15. Luke
    January 26, 2014 at 5:17 pm (10 months ago)

    I’m looking forward to see what 2014 has in store for you! I’m also planning to travel more this year; I’m also somewhat recently out of a relationship. We’ll have to find some time to chat some more.

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm (10 months ago)

      Don’t forget about our cross country road trip that we tentatively planned! :) I am thinking I will be in NYC May/Juneish. Will you be in town then?

  16. Fig @ Figuring Money Out
    January 27, 2014 at 1:20 am (10 months ago)

    Amazing goals! You will definitely achieve all of them and I’m excited to watch you achieve it. I also want to hit $30K online this year so hopefully we will both be celebrating at the end of the year. :)

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 30, 2014 at 1:57 pm (10 months ago)

      Keep me updated on your progress and any tactics you might be doing!

  17. Grayson @ Debt Roundup
    January 27, 2014 at 5:24 am (10 months ago)

    Good goals L Bee. I think you are doing a good job. I want to double my income both through the blog and freelancing. I think it is doable, but will require some work. Best of luck to you in 2014!

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 30, 2014 at 1:57 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks same to you! Did you set a quantifiable target? That always helps me when I have a concrete number attached to a goal.

  18. Don @ Breath of Optimism
    January 28, 2014 at 12:21 am (10 months ago)

    So much to say….first off, we all heal at different speeds. Don’t beat yourself up because you are still licking your wounds. It took me over a year to get over a bad breakup (and I was the one that ended things!). With that said, it’s important to focus on today. You can’t change what happened and it would be a shame to waste the beauty of today by ignoring it and focusing on yesterday. That’s not to say you should forget about it, but learn from it and move on. Lastly, I love that you found a quote that resonates with you. To help me get over a rough breakup, I watched a video of my niece on my phone over and over because it was the only thing that made me smile and not feel like crap. I used that as my crutch to help me move on and push forward. Here’s to wishing you the best!

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm (10 months ago)

      Don, thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. Seeing so many positive comments on the site really did wonders for my mood last week. <3

  19. Dear Debt
    January 30, 2014 at 2:59 am (10 months ago)

    Wow your blog income and side hustle goals are incredible and inspiring! I need to get to your level ;) Seriously, that would be a game changer for me. Don’t be too hard on yourself, we are allowed to feel and hurt and grow. Take some personal time, adjust and be open to new possibilities.

    • Lauren Bowling
      January 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm (10 months ago)

      Haha I am glad they inspire you! They inspire me too, as I’m not entirely sure I am going to get there, but it is either that or die trying, right? ;)

      I have to admit that it is really nice being able to focus on myself for a change. That is one silver lining of this whole experience I am growing quite accustomed to.

  20. Daisy @ Add Vodka
    January 30, 2014 at 2:43 pm (10 months ago)

    I have some similar goals. My biggest one is to focus on making side income and earn $20K this year online. I considered making it a bigger more audacious goal but I am getting married and going on a big honeymoon so really, I won’t want to focus on side income as much.

  21. KK @ Student Debt Survivor
    January 31, 2014 at 1:27 am (10 months ago)

    I find your honestly refreshing and so relatable. I had a horrible breakup when I was 20 and it took my over a year to get back to “normal.” Take as long as you need and don’t feel bad about randomly crying when you need to. Like you said, when you don’t fully mourn the relationship your repressed feelings come out when you least expect them (and usually in unhealthy and unproductive ways). I think you’re going to kill the side income goal.