75% Complete

75% Complete

It’s a little bit overdue, but I wanted to share with you the progress made as we near the end of 2014.

2014 has been a powerful year for Kristin and I. I feel like we’ve taken charge with so many things in life and are now moving the needle in ways we never tried in the past.

A lot of this has to do with you, the community of readers and supporters!

Twitter Peeps!

Developing this community has been both humbling and rewarding for us. When we started the blog, I would have never thought we’d be reaching the people & the places we are.

From our hearts to yours, we thank you! We want our successes to inspire greatness in your own life.



Here are just a few areas where life got better this year:

Exercise

I’m rounding out the year of a marathon and an ultra with a half marathon coming up in a matter of weeks. I’ve been lucky to train with online training group Educated Running. It has helped bring focus to my training in areas where I’m lacking, specifically in speed work and dynamic exercise.

I also look forward to the possibility of going to Japan again this year for Ekiden, I hope to know more about that as we get closer to November.

Reading

I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read 30 books, up from 25 last year, and one recommendation from Kristin. After checking out my Goodreads page, it looks like I’m on track to do so with 20 books so far.

This goal was a little bit lofty for me. Adding an extra 5 books doesn’t seem like much, but it is over the span of time. I feel as though I’m flying through some books without understanding all of the content.

“Much reading is like much eating – wholly useless without digestion” – Robert South

In the future, I will be more selective with my books and focus on quality rather than quantity.

I also was able to start reading some fiction, with the help of Kristin.

I’ve been reading Hunger Games at the end of most days, and I find that it does give me that chance to settle down from the day’s stresses. It reminds me that reading can be worry-free & not so focused on learning.

Friends

So often we get caught up in our own lives that we don’t make enough time for friends. Life sort of gets in the way as the years pass, and it gets harder to be together with those you care about.

This year I decided to make a conscious effort to call a friend a month on the phone. While I didn’t succeed at this every month, this was the most fun goal of the year so far.

It was great to talk to some friends I hadn’t heard from in a while, and just hearing their voices made my day as well as theirs!

I feel like men are worse at doing this than women. Men don’t always have the gift of gab. Guys, that doesn’t mean you can’t “check-in” every now and then. It’ll do wonders for your friendships, especially across long distances.

Finance

We’ve made some great strides in our finances this year, and most recently, we paid off the first of three student loans! Those of you who have struggled to pay big debts know that it can be really tough, and we must admit that we lost some steam early on in the year.

Now we are back to focusing on getting debt out of our lives.

It’s a tough road plowing through debt, but it’s such a rewarding feeling being free from obligations that are a decade old like this one.

Now we have an extra $175 a month, and a great feeling that we are one step closer to debt freedom.

Personal Growth

I had intended to join a mastermind group or an investor club of some kind this year to further my development and be around like-minded individuals.

Though I struggled a little bit in the beginning with this one, I was able to find an awesome mastermind group through the Dreamers & Builders community.

This is what has jump-started my productivity and success. I have others willing to hold me accountable and provide feedback when I’m stuck on something.

It’s such a great resource to be able to tap into, I’m really thankful to be a part of such a great group.

(To the Hustler Mastermind-ers reading this, thank you so much for keeping me honest and providing accountability all the times when it was so easy to just give up!)

Conclusion

As we round home on this year, there’s still plenty to do, and I’m excited to see what the next 3 months have in store.

I’m also going to be shifting my goal mindset in 2015.

In 2015, I will be planning quarterly goals instead of yearly goals. Yearly goals are hard to remember, let alone accomplish. This will give me a chance to adjust goals more frequently and adjust goals based on the seasons of life we all go through.

I am excited to finish 2014 strong and I look forward to an amazing 2015.

Let’s hear from you! What are some wins you’ve had in 2014 so far? What do you plan to accomplish in the rest of 2014?

Young, Dumb and in Love

Young, Dumb, and in Love

Yesterday was the anniversary of our first date.

We met six years ago at match.com, but our relationship truly blossomed on a little relic called myspace.com (We were both too cheap to auto-renew match.com for one more month at the time!)

After several weeks of emails, Kristin and I decided to meet face to face for the first time. As many online couples do, we chose our first encounter at a Starbucks. I was excited and nervous that day, as was she.

We talked about life after school, the rush and worry of existence that only a young person in their mid-20s could, and cell phones.

(For the record, six years ago I had the Palm Centro and Kristin was in love with the Blackberry Curve 8330 with a pink case)

We’re pretty nerdy, I know.



I had such a great time that day, thinking I could talk to this woman forever and not be bored. She was so much like me, had similar struggles and success like me, and we just clicked from day one.

Our first picture together

Ever the hipster, Kristin had blogs and took selfies way before most of the world knew these were even things. She was as smart as could be about stuff before it hit the mainstream, and so I even learned what a hipster was from her!

Kristin's selfie circa 2008

From an outsider’s perspective of our relationship, it was such a different dynamic, most people did indeed think we were crazy back then, but that was ok with us.

I think we were talking about rings within 2 weeks of meeting each other, and the great Cincinnati Wind Power Outage of 2008 ensured we made haste when moving in together.

 

This past weekend, for our six year dating anniversary, I took us both on a trip back down memory lane by compiling the 1st 30 days of our Gmail chats and making a scrapbook of them all. (thanks Google for wanting to know our entire lives, sometimes it actually comes in handy!) We read it at Starbucks.

Kristin and the Scrapbook

Coffee and Gchats

I had a complete blast doing this, and something really struck me as I read all of the late night messages, giddy conversations and talk of the future with the two of us together.

One singular statement really read true in all of these love letters.

We were idiots.

It turns out we were both not great with money. Messages abound of “spotting” each other tens of dollars in between waves of the feast and famine that was payday.

My favorite text in particular talks about not having enough money for both a loaf of bread from Panera and gas, and how we were actually choosing between the two:

gas or food

Gas won out if I recall. We didn’t have money for a loaf of bread, people.

As is often the case when no one has told you otherwise, we had no clue that we were living our lives in chaos in our mid-twenties.

As the relationship grew, we started facing our money fears head-on. I started working with a budget and telling Kristin how bad I really was with handling money. It was difficult, sure, but it saved us. We realized that we wanted more from our lives and struggling like this was not going to get us there.

Slowly but surely we began to turn our lives around. Not just with money but in all habits. The uphill battling together only made us stronger.

We started treating ourselves and others better. My life began improving because I admitted there was a problem. I started living a life of integrity and a sense of purpose that had somehow evaded me for so many years.

If you feel that you’re stuck and your life is not getting any better, or if you just can’t seem to move the needle enough on a project, know that we all start somewhere. For us, it was making plans to not want for so much and appreciate what we have.

If you struggle, know that there is always something better beyond today. Know that you can make those miracles happen.

If Kristin and I had not kept moving forward in our efforts with money, we would still be where we were at all those years ago. I can honestly say now that we are far better people, much happier in life and live with a renewed sense of gratitude.

We can’t wait to see what the next six years bring.



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