Goals and values

Project planning for 2022 – a focus on passion projects and fun

Happy New Year!!! Each New Year, rather than setting a resolution, I set a focus for the year (see my post on why). 2020 was my year for my personal finances and 2021 was my year for health and wellbeing. This year my focus will be on my passion projects and having fun.

The past two years have been a bit serious and stressful. Covid has been the obvious cause, but we have also been working really hard on house renovations, which we’ve done ourselves to save money. Now that the end is in sight (hopefully for both!) I’m going to intentionally spend more time and money on the things that I enjoy doing.

This doesn’t mean that I’m going to go out and splurge on luxury goods, it will be a planned approach to maximize on things where I get the most value. It will also be a year to optimize my approach, and experiment to see where I get the most satisfaction from.

I’m using a similar approach to project planning, that I would for a business project. I used this for my 2021 health and wellbeing planning (see my post on this here), to give me a structure for tackling an area of my life to focus on.

Clarifying the ‘why’ and ensuring it fits with my broader life strategy

I do a lot of reading and listening to podcasts, from people who have achieved or are well on their way to financial freedom. A common issue is that when work life stops, there needs to be something to go to. It’s also important to have a balanced journey to FI. It’s a long process and I don’t want to be miserable for ten years until I can really start living.

To ensure I can keep going for the long haul, and make financial independence worth it in the end, I want to refocus on having some fun and cultivating my passions.

One of these, hiking and outdoors adventures, is also the ‘why’ behind my health and wellbeing value. I’m using getting fit enough to enjoy these types of activities as a medium term motivation, so I want to put those good habits to use.

Establishing scope

For ‘fun’, the scope of this focus will include travel (with an emphasis on outdoor activities), local day hikes, and classes or other activities. I’ll also be making sure I book in for a massage once per quarter, which was something I got a lot of value last year.

For my passion projects, I’ll be focusing on writing and/or creating artwork. I also enjoy gardening but already have an established system for my veggie patch, and just need to maintain the light work that this involves.

I’ll plan out the exact scope of this focus throughout January, and tweak it throughout the year as I experiment to find out which activities bring me the most value.

Setting some goals or benchmarks

My goal is to set up a system where I have trips and fun activities planned in advance. By the time I really feel the need for something fun, I’m usually already stressed and too tired to add another item to my to-do list, so I’ll be aiming to have them pre-arranged before I get to that point. There’s also a bunch of things that I’d like to do ‘someday’ that will never happen unless I commit to them.

I’d also like to complete a passion project or two.

Ultimately, I’d like to spend the year figuring out which activities give the most back, in terms of enjoyment and a sense of purpose.

Figure out the ‘boulders’ and the ‘pebbles’

Projects are made up of lots of rocks that need to be moved. Some are larger, one-off tasks – the ‘boulders’ and some are smaller consistent habits – the ‘pebbles’.

I’ll spend January working out what the boulders and pebbles task list will look like for this year’s focus.

Allocate resources

I mentioned in my 2021 financial wrap-up (see that post here) that I would be capping the amount of money I put into savings and investments, so that I could properly resource travel and fun activities. I’ve allocated around $5-6k for the year, which I’ll put aside funds for once I’ve achieved my savings goal each quarter. My aim will be to fully spend this amount!

Risk assessment

The biggest risk to not fulfilling this focus, is getting too stressed and busy with work and the last bits of house renovations that still need to get done. To try and mitigate this I’ll be using January to plan ahead, and try and keep ahead for the whole year.

I’ll also be trying to do a few ‘bucket list’ trips, that incorporate some activities and adventures to try, instead of just destinations. I think this will give me a bit more inspiration to actually plan and take holidays. At the moment they will just be within Australia, but there’s plenty to see here!

Finally, I’ll be limiting my ‘next actions’ to-do list to three items per week. Hopefully this will prevent me prioritizing chores over fun activities unless they are genuinely important and urgent.

Monitoring and reviewing

Last year I reported my progress on my health and wellbeing focus through monthly blog updates. This worked really well to help me regularly check-in with myself, and also gave me the accountability I needed to continue. This year I’ll be continuing these updates, and I’ll add a tracker for this ‘passion projects and fun’ focus.

Evaluation

Like every annual focus, I’ll evaluate the project at the end of the year. I always find lessons for better ways to set up habits and reducing friction, and figuring out which actions give me the best bang for buck and which I can declutter from my life.

What are you planning for 2022?

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