How-To: New Year’s Resolutions 2014

I know, I know. I am a little late to the New Year’s resolution party. But let’s be honest, the new year doesn’t really start until the first Monday (i.e. 6 January 2014) anyway (read: 5 day hangover). And then I assume most people spend a fair amount of time (like me) clearing their inboxes and compiling mile-long to-do lists. Regardless, here goes.


New Year’s Day

I have had “Read The Four Hour Work Week” on my to-do list for quite some time (come on, it does sound intriguing). So when I spotted it on my dad’s bookcase during our New Year’s Day lunch, I took it as a sign. (He of course found the four hour idea appalling).


The first section of the book defines the concepts of lifestyle design and aims to challenge popular beliefs around work and money. The section ends with quite a useful exercise called “Dreamlining” or setting out dreams on a 6 or 12 month timeline (i.e. goals).

Create your own Dreamline

I have included the exercise below and suggest you work through the steps yourself – you could be surprised by the outcome. Click on the links below to view the “Sample Dreamline” from the book and the Excel “Dreamline Worksheet” for you to use when completing the exercise.

Sample Dreamline

Dreamline Worksheet

1. What would you do if there were no way you could fail? If you were 10 times smarter than the rest of the world?

  • Create two timelines – 6 months and 12 months
  • List up to 5 things you dream of having (including, but not limited to material wants like money, a French bulldog, a Canon 70-200)
  • List up to 5 things you dream of being (e.g. be a fitness model, yoga pro, amateur travel photographer, etc.)
  • List up to 5 things you dream of doing (e.g. visiting Prague, learning to code, learning Spanish, etc.)

2. What does “being” entail doing?

  • Convert each “being” into a “doing” to make it actionable
  • I.e. identify an action that would characterise the state of being or a task that would mean you achieved it.
  • E.g. “Being a yoga pro” becomes “Do a head stand” or “Being an amateur photographer” becomes “Take photos using the manual setting instead of auto”.

3. Pick the 4 dreams that would change it all?

  • Star the four most exciting and/ or important dreams

4. Determine the cost of these dreams and calculate your Target Monthly Income (TMI)

  • What is the cost per month for each of the four dreams?
  • E.g. even though a new car might cost R150,000, the cost per month would be the instalment payable each month if financed – let’s say R3,000 per month.
  • E.g. if your dream is to take a trip around the world costing R120,000 in total, divide this total cost by the number of months until you want to take the trip – let’s say in one year – R10,000 per month
  • To determine your Target Monthly Income (TMI) add the total monthly cost for each of your four dreams to your total monthly expenses (including a 30% savings buffer):

Target Monthly Income (TMI) = Sum of Monthly cost (Dream1:4) + Total Monthly Expenses x 1.3

* More on where this extra money will come from in future posts.

5. Determine three steps for each of the four dreams in just the 6-month timeline and take the first step now.

  • Define three steps for each dream that will get you closer to actualisation.
  • Set actions – simple, well-defined actions – for now, tomorrow and the day after.
  • Do it now.

Why not share your four dreams below. I think it is a great way to be accountable 🙂 I promise to follow up in 12 month’s time.

Wondering what my four dreams were?

My Dreamline

Dream 1: Having: Savings for a Year of Travel

dream1 travel

Recently two close friends (who also happened to be engaged) saved up, quit their corporate jobs and embarked on a journey of a lifetime – a seven-month long trip through South East Asia. You can read more about their trip on their respective blogs, Finding My Inner Chi and Backpack Fit.

Besides the basic level of FOMO one experiences sitting in your flat scrolling through Facebook photos of picturesque Thailand beaches and early morning bicycle rides to Angkor Wat, I think there is something enviable about taking time like that to find yourself.

Of course, the prospect of having no income for an entire year is daunting but you would be surprised by how attained a trip like this is (something I hope to research even more in future):

  • Working on a budget of R500/ $50 p.d. (which is more than reasonable considering that Adam and I spent approximately R300/ $30 p.d. including frequent transportation on our previous trip to Thailand in 2010)
  • And assuming (at first) one aims to save for just 6 month’s worth of travel = R500 / $50 x 183 days = R91,500 or $9,150
  • Which means the additional monthly income I need to make this a reality is = R91,500 / $9,150 / 12 = R7,625 / $762,50 p.m.

Dream 2: Being: As Fit as Fitness Model

Not this:


But this:

<3 Jamie Eason <3

It comes down this: “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels”. A few years ago (ahhhh, my youth) I was completely obsessed with gym, I loved salads and drank litres of water in a day. Nowadays, I still manage to drag myself to gym and, with the right podcast playing, still manage to have a half decent time. But salads have been replaced by frequent Autonno pizzas from Col’cacchios and many a sneaky slab of chocolate and water has been replaced by coffee and wine.

I am not saying I have any plans to enter Ms Fitness and become an orange-bronzed version of myself, but I have a sneaky suspicion that, once the initial chocolate/ wine/ pizza withdrawal has passed, it will feel pretty awesome to feel healthy again.

So what does being as fit as a fitness model require me to do?

  • Eat clean:
    • Eat whole foods
    • Avoid processed foods
    • Eliminate refined sugar and excessive salt
    • Eat 5 or 6 small meals a day
    • Cook my own food (avoid eating out)
    • Combine proteins, carbs and fats in every meal
    • Drink water all day
  • Train mean:
    • Find and stick to a training program
    • Train 4 to 6 times a week
    • Push – more reps, bigger weights
    • Learn to love what I am capable

The upside to this dream is that it will probably save me some money (less alcohol and eating out) or at least not add anything to my Target Monthly Income. But with the money I will be saving I’ll need to buy vitamins but good thing I got iHerb coupons so I can get the vitamins and protein powder for a better price.

There are loads of free resources online relating to health and fitness. I found a very do-able program on Created by Jamie Eason (above), the Jamie Eason LiveFit 12 Week Trainer combines three progressive phases of training, nutrition and supplementation. This is not some quick-fix, look-hot-in-5-days program and does not require giving up any major food groups. It is focussed on resetting to a healthier lifestyle.

Dream 3: Doing: Learn to code

learn to codeSince my first taste of programming in high school (Turbo Pascal) I have wanted to learn how to code properly. My parents at the time (just after the 2000 dot-com bubble) advised me that a career in programming was not a viable option (my, were they wrong).

I now find myself running a technology startup, endlessly frustrated by the delays caused while waiting for developers to deliver. In the past few months I have also managed to learn how to use WordPress quite extensively (no coding required) for my blog. But I am still dreaming of coding.

Once again, much like the previous goal, learning to code is possible at a very low (if any) cost. I have found learning by doing is by far the best when it comes to coding and as such, I really enjoy the Codecademy approach. They offer courses on web fundamentals, HTML/ CSS, jQuery, Javascript, PHP, Python and Ruby.

Dream 4: Doing: Blog More/ Blog Better

blogI love this little blog. I also love all my friends that read it regularly and give me the confidence to write in such a public space without fear of ridicule or judgement. In return for all the love you share I plan to blog more and blog better in 2014.

Blogging more will include more posts about:

  • Travel: where I have been/ where I dream of going
  • Cape Town: my first love and home
  • Money: my thoughts on it and schemes for it
  • Health: thoughts, recipes, exercises, tricks
  • Technology: my startup journey, apps and websites I love

Blogging better will require me to:

  • Improve my writing skills:
    • Watch the Macalester College lecture series, Write Well
  • Take better photos:
  • Learn how to use Photoshop:
    • Explore over 277 Photoshop courses on offer on

So there you have it – my goals for the next 12 months. What are yours? Why not share them below?

Here’s to 2014 – the best (so far)