July Checkin, Goals Update

July Checkin, Goals Update

I’m big on setting goals and areas of focus for the short term. My general goals and mantra for 2017 are summed up in the post Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger… I usually like to see where I’m at halfway through the year and adjust accordingly to either get back on track or set some different goals.

So far, 2017 has been crazy busy and a lot of fun. We celebrated the birth of our daughter January 11th and the fun (and work!) has not stopped. Being a parent has been awesome, and our daughter is an exceptionally easy infant. I know others don’t have as easy of a time, but this gal is already sitting, standing, eating pureed food, and smiling ear to ear. We love her a ton!

Apart from her, I’ve been working full-time for two different companies doing support, triage, and some maintenance. I’ve been learning a lot about troubleshooting, updating WordPress and its dependencies across multiple enterprise websites, and solving problems within WordPress. I’ve learned the importance of team communication and documenting what you’re doing so you know what changes you made later (thanks from my future self!). I haven’t been building a lot, but that’s about to change…

We also just moved back to the US from South Korea. The move was not planned six months ago, but we’re glad to be back!

Specific Financial and Fitness Goals

In the post linked above, I never set any specific goals, but more shared my mindset and what I was trying to accomplish this year. However, now that we’re moving back to the US (way more expensive than living overseas), my wife won’t be working, and we have a little human life we’re responsible for, I’ve become more laser focused on two specific things:

  • Financial stability and abundance (consistent income and having more than we need to live off of)
  • Physical fitness and longevity (being as healthy and fit as I can be for as long as I can be)

If these two major components are happening on my end, my stress level stays low, I’m able to spend more time with my family, and I have better stamina, which is something I need in work and play.

Tonya over at KnowtheCode.io has been a mentor to me, and recently she asked for our Weaknesses, Strengths, and Goals, as well as how we were going to achieve them. Since I spent some time thinking through them and writing them out, I wanted to include the goals here. I’ve included all the responses below this post.

The Financial Goal

I don’t think I’ve said this publicly, so here it goes:

I’d like to be making six figures on the regular while being able to take two months off throughout the year.

My wife is in education, so being able to sync up with her vacations is important to us. Also, as a freelance developer, I need that I’m not working to recharge, learn more, and step away from my work to connect on a deeper level with my family.

Why six figures? Multiple reasons:

  • This means we can literally afford to live anywhere in the world while I work remotely
  • Currently, we’re living in the US which is more expensive
  • I work on my own, so this will allow a good buffer for taxes after business expenses
  • Also if we need to, I can buy insurance for our family
  • Our living costs are well below this which means two main things:
    • We can save more for later (retirement, college fund, travel, etc.)
    • We can be more generous (tithing, hospitality, supporting others, etc.)
  • It’s a nice, round number

You can read how that breaks down below based on a 5 day, 40 hour work week.

I’m incredibly grateful I can do the work I do, have a wife that is understanding, encouraging and supportive of the lifestyle, and the internet is what it is. I’m thankful I’m living now and doing the work I’m doing.

The Fitness Goal

Over the past two years, I’ve been reading and experimenting a lot more with my health, diet and exercise. For the first time in my life, I’ve been exercising consistently and lifting weights, specifically barbell free weights. I’ve always hated working out, but I’ve learned a couple things about myself and my diet, movement and exercise:

  • I don’t mind working out so much any more. I still don’t like it, but it’s not so bad.
  • I don’t get the endorphin rush all the time, but sometimes I do, and that’s awesome.
  • I don’t work out because it “feels good”. It doesn’t, it sucks, I’m “not an athlete”, but I don’t let that stop me anymore.
  • I love being able to get up and run without hurting myself.
  • I friggin’ LOVE the deadlift.
  • I friggin’ HATE back squatting.
  • Meat and veggies are my favorite meals.
  • Carbs and gluten are not necessary to my happiness.
  • Neither is alcohol.
  • Intermittent fasting isn’t going to kill me.
  • Full-on fasting helps clear me out and feel better.

Highlights in health and fitness from the last year:

  • Running a 5k after 5 days of a juice fast
  • Running an 8-minute mile for the first time in my life (on a treadmill, but hey, I did it!)
  • Deadlifting 315 (three plates on each side, booyah!)
  • Fathering a child!!!

The last six months have been pretty bad for me health-wise. I’ve been doing a lot of eating out, celebrating with friends in Korea as we said our goodbyes, and eating really tasty food. Also, the air quality in Seoul was especially bad this year and I developed bronchitis which lasted for about a month, coming to a head with some allergies in Paris. That was a bummer.

So, around mid-July, I’m focusing on one thing:

I want to be around 225lbs, which means I’ve got to lose about 25lbs of fat.

I don’t just want to lose 25lbs. I want that to be fat. I think it’s important to be specific, since I have muscle mass I’d like to maintain, and I wouldn’t mind adding a little more. However, the goal is to reduce fat. Currently I’m around a 33% body fat level. I’d like to get into the lower teens.

Now that I’ve gotten specific about financial and fitness goals, it’s time to make it happen, which means wrapping this up.

So… peace!



Below is what I turned into Tonya. Go to How to Prosper and Make Money as a WordPress Developer to read more and watch the video.


  • Computer science principles
  • OOP (I’m getting to where I can read it and even call some functions, but I still can’t write it and I don’t think in OOP… yet).
  • Architecting major projects.
  • Highly technical troubleshooting
  • Higher level experiences (like enterprise, VIP hosting and code review, etc.)
  • Marketing (I’m ok, could be better, just don’t like putting the time into it)
  • Estimating my time (I’m not bad at this, but I always forget to buffer something).
  • Breaking down tasks (sometimes I skip a step or miss something)
  • Testing (would like to get better at Unit Testing)
  • Building complex admin/backend plugins


  • Sales and “getting the gig” (I’m really good at the interview and having people trust me)
  • People skills
  • Listening and discerning solutions to problems
  • Getting specific (“And then what?…”)
  • Conflict and resolution
  • WP Theming and Simple Plugin development
  • Troubleshoot basic to semi-complex issues
  • Doing the work (getting things done)
  • I’m solid with WP flavored stuff: templating PHP, $wpdb, jQuery, file structure, etc. (at least, I think I am)
  • Ability to learn and think
  • I’ve already got some good, solid experience building, doing projects, and supporting products services.

Short-term Goals: 6-months

  • Make $50,000 from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2017
  • Lose 25 lbs of fat.

Short-term Goals: 12 to 18 months

These are pretty similar:

  • Make $100,000 from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018
  • Make $100,000 from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018
  • Keep off the fat (I have always gained it back)

How It’s Gonna Happen:

The financial side: (just the short term goals, the long term ones can be extrapolated)
My two main sources of work are toptal and Codeable. They’re both pretty good at getting me higher paying work. For toptal, my hourly contract rate is $50/hour, for Codeable, it’s $65.
At those rates, the financial goals are almost inevitable working 40 hours a week between July 1 and Dec. 31:
– at $50/hour, I can take off 7.5 working days and still meet the goal
– at $65/hour, I can take off about 33 working days (yeah, it’s nice to have a higher rate!)
So, the idea is to split between toptal and Codeable for right now, since toptal has more of a solid, consistent contract.

Time of during working days is for vacation and family time. They don’t like it when I work over holidays :-).

The fitness side:
Diet and exercise are the things I need to adjust. For diet, mostly if I cut out carbs and gluten, I’m good. Protein and lots of veggies have been the things that work for me in the past when I’m trying to lose fat.
Complimentary exercises include running and lifting heavy weights.
I’ve been there before and know I can do it again. I’ve just got to do it.



0 responses to “July Checkin, Goals Update”

  1. James Valente Avatar

    Awesome post! Thanks for the inspiration!!