Ms ZiYou 2019

Yes, it’s that time of year when after reviewing 2018, I’m thinking about my plans and setting some goals for 2019. Truth be told, I’m a very adaptive and iterative type. And I fully expect in 2020 to have met some of the goals, decided some were no longer good goals and done loads of other things!

Nonetheless, let’s play the game. Here are some goals for 2019.

Start with the fun things

Yet More Travel

Ms ZiYou Travel

Lately, I’ve been all about the travel. And 2019 looks to follow the same trend. I’ve got trips already booked to Hungary, Moldova, Spain x 2 and the USA.

And guess who is going to fincon? Yep me. And I have found the best way to use those pesky Avios I had lying around that were going to expire by going to Hawaii (!). I’ll be sleeping in a hammock in the jungle and doing lots of hiking and swimming so it should be an awesome break.

Goal: Visit six countries including two new countries.

Stretch Goal: Spend less than £1.5k on travel.

Keep up the 汉语

I really do enjoy learning Chinese and want to keep it up but not stretch myself too much. But stretch myself enough that I actually do something!

Goal: Pass the first year of the Chinese Course.

Stretch Goal: Pass HSK4 Test.


I love volunteering and getting to help out non-profits. I need to continue making time to volunteer and prioritise board meetings in my calendar.

Goal: Keep volunteering on 2 boards and concentrate on adding value.


I love running and want to keep it up in 2019.

Goal: Run 2 marathons in the year.

Stretch Goal: Beat my PB in the marathon.


I’m loving blogging and moreover, I feel it really improves my writing ability and thought process. So I’m wanting to make sure this blog keeps going (I have paid for another year of hosting and done a self-move across hosting providers after all!).

Goal: Blog at least once a week.

Stretch Goal: Blog twice each week.

And the good habits

Keep working

Ms ZiYou working

I work freelance on a contract basis – so I can be let go at a moments notice. I need to to get my A game on and make sure my CV is up to date, and start making sure my contract will be renewed by continuing to be invaluable.

Goal: Keep in contract and bill as much as last year.


Life is getting more and more expensive – inflation is creeping up each year, with a lot of items increasing at more than inflation. So I’m happy to increase my spending a bit, but don’t want it to get too out of control.

Goal: Keep Spending under £24k.

Stretch Goal: Keep Spending under £22k.


And this is the hard one ironically. Not the investing in my non-pension part – that’s simple. It’s the reducing my pension contributions that will be hard. I am getting close to FI and given I cannot access my pension funds until 58 years old, I need to stop adding so much money to my pension. Truth be told I wish they reduced the allowance and made my decision for me, but alas I’ll have to do it myself.

Goal: Maintain non-pension and reduce pension contributions. 

Then the less good habits to rectify


This is all easy in theory and I know how to put it into practice – I just need to do it. Eat less sugar and more healthy food is all it takes. I already exercise a fair bit.

Goal: Reduce excess weight and get back down to a good racing weight for marathons.


So, I’ll start simple here and aim to read one book a week. Let’s see how that goes and if I manage to keep up. Additionally, I want to keep a record of what I read. Don’t worry, lots of it will be lighthearted trash.

Goal: Read at least one book a week and keep notes of what I have read.


I want to still enjoy the odd browse, but not feel I am losing time. I need to know all the latest twitter gossip, but not see all live tweets as they happen. More of a daily digest approach here. Additionally, I’m going to try and use my wasted time for this, like when waiting for the train etc. Or in a waiting room.

Goal: Reduce web-browsing in evenings and weekends.

External Motivation

As I mentioned before I want to reduce my need for external motivation and become more driven internally. Not sure how I am going to solve this one yet, but now I understand the problem in my head I feel I can start working on a solution.

Goal: Reduce dependence on external motivation.


As I mention a lot I am happily single. Over the years I have really changed as a person and what I look for in a man has changed. However, nowadays I feel like I should give dating a go and put my best self out there. So here goes. All you feminist, analytical and independent men that love travelling I’m looking for you.

Goal: Make a real effort at dating and go on at least 24 dates / meet someone worth keeping around.

In summary

And here we have my goals for 2019. I’m quite happy with these goals; comprising more fun goals than bad habits I need to break. I’ll report back as we go through 2019 …. some goals I’m sure I’ll pass others are going to be a bit more challenging.

Over to you

  • What are your thoughts?
  • What are your goals for 2019?
  • Do you also often revise your goals?

Thank you for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter or contact me privately.

26 comments on “Goals for 2019

  1. I’m impressed with your travel budget I think I spent twice that and that was using avios for my big trip to the USA over Xmas and my dad using points for the hotel and half the domestic flight . Is that OK just flights and accommodation or spending money and activities as well? If it includes that then I’m way out!

    1. Hey FBA – on the travel budget, it includes flights, accommodation, travel, entrance fees, activities – it doesn’t include food or drinks as I figure I’d be eating anyway and usually self cater most meals. But then again I’ve also included day trips in the UK in that figure so that probably balances out the food and drinks.

  2. Blimey. Good luck on your search for a man too.. Most of fully paid up members of the patriarchy but are also able to follow clear simple instructions so I’m sure you’ll whip him into shape soon enough

    1. Thanks Ermine – the structure of the train ride always used to make sure I got my reading done, nowadays I just need to use plain old willpower.

      And I do read fast – but I don’t usually read heavy tomes or anything really complicated.

  3. I managed to read one book a week last year, it was a super fun challenge, though I read almost half the books in the last 3 months so definitely need better consistency this year. I’ve also got a notebook with everything I’ve read, which is good because I already look at it having forgotten some of the books I read last year… Good luck!

  4. 1/ All looks doable. Good luck! Humorous subgoal for your “reading” section: read at least two books titled “Playing with Fire” in two different genres; start in a few months so you can fit in the documentary by Scott Riekens. Please don’t blame me if any of the non-documentary titles affect where you look for dates! 😉

    2/ I go with quarterly goals, not annual ones. They aim at larger outcomes which fulfill my purposes in life. For instance, one of my 2019Q1 goals is to pay the student account in full, to keep my older daughter on-track for graduating college debt-free. Another for 2019Q1 is to get back to meditating a half-hour each day. Running a marathon is slowly bubbling up the “someday/maybe” list — thanks for reminding me of it!

    3/ I chose a quarterly rhythm so I don’t have to revise my goals. I revise my plans constantly, though, as Things and Life happen while striding towards those goals. Three months is long enough to make serious progress, and short enough to make timely adjustments. Works for me.

    1. Hi Joseph – Thanks for reading and commenting. I do like that idea of reading books PLaying with Fire… sounds very doable, there are many many choices. Watch this space for progress!

      Quarterly does sound sensible – and I’m a firm advocate of people doing a marathon if they want to give it a try.

  5. Good shout on the web browsing front. My productivity has definitely declined since I started a Twitter account for this blog. On the one hand I’m more “on the pulse” with new trends (I used to be about 6 months behind). But on the other hand I’m not sure being on the social media pulse particularly enriches my life.

    I also wonder about stashing too much into my pension and having a disproportionate amount of my money tied up too late in life. But as I have sweet FA in savings at the moment (by FI standards at least) it’s a worry for another day!

    1. Hi FF – yes twitter can take a lot of time.

      And getting the balance between a pension to maximise tax efficiency and non-pension savings is always a tricky question. There is no right answer, just going with what feels best for you when it comes to the time to make the decision.

  6. Hi Ms. ZiYou, I’m so impressed with your longgg list of goals!!! Wow. Good for you! My only goal for 2019 is to meditate more regularly. I always feel so much better when I do it consistently, but I’ve noticed that I then get complacent and eventually stop altogether 🙂 and then back to square one. I want to integrate it into my life better.

    As a fellow feminist SINK lady, I’m excited to hear about your dating adventures (if you’re willing to share). I find most men I meet are so threatened as soon as they figure out I’m almost retired and quite good with money. I’m about 10 years older than you, so maybe in my age group it’s harder to find a non-traditional male. Or maybe it’s me 🙂 Anyway, curious to see if you have the same experience (hope not). Best of luck!!

    1. Hi FF – I love that goal to meditate more, I really should try meditating sometime. Good luck with making it a consistent practise – I know sometimes it’s really hard to find the time to fit everything in.

      Yeah – I’ll probably share my dating adventures on the blog…I think! And yes, loads of men seem to be rubbish with money – it’s hard to find those that are solvent, never mind those who actually save.

  7. While I keep detailed plans of things to do (for work and personally) when it comes to new year’s resolutions, I try to pick one concept to reach towards. One year, I picked Joy b/c I wanted to focus on bringing more enjoyment into what I did every day. One year, I picked Simplicity b/c I felt like I was consumed by a lot of busy work. This year, I picked Light b/c it has several meanings that resonate with what I want to focus on now — Light as in Levity and feeling more fun and free; Light as in Bright and going for more clarity; and Light as in not Heavy and aiming for more vitality and wellness. Thank you for sharing your list of goals — I love getting ideas and inspiration from others. My 2019 is all about Light.

    1. Hi Caroline – thanks for reading and commenting.

      I love your idea and picking something simple. Light sounds like a great goal for 2019 – I’m sure with all those meanings you can make it as simple or complex as suits.

  8. Good range of targets Ms ZiYou. I’m impressed that you’ve thought about some of them enough to even have stretch goals!

    Also a good mix of taking out bad things and adding in good things.

    Interested that you’ve put keeping your CV up to date on the list. It makes perfect sense but worrying about that side of things and selling myself is one of the major attractions to hitting FI.

    I was talking to someone about internal vs external motivation earlier in the week. I’m not sure what it was a few years ago (possibly age) but I stopped caring about what others thought. The thing that really motivates me (beyond ‘happiness’) is that self-actualisation level from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I want to be the best me I can be and I’m much happier doing that than trying to impress others. Good luck!

    1. Hi Caveman – thanks for reading.

      When I get to FI I too will be glad I no longer have to keep my CV up to date or look for other work – but until then it’s a necessity.

      I also really like Maslow lately – self actualisation is where it’s at.

  9. Hey Ms ZiYou

    Those are awesome goals!

    As part of your training to reduce excess weight, perhaps you might consider some weight/strength training to go with all that cardio you already do from your running, just to mix things up a bit?

    I would love to do the one book a week goal, although some of my books are 800+ page tomes so hard to finish in one week (although you’re a fast reader so perhaps possible for you!). I use Goodreads to track my reading and find other books to read – it’s free to join and you can set your reading goal on there too.

    I’ve mentioned previously but good luck with the dating and finding that non-traditional man – sadly, if I date guys my age, there’s more chance of them being traditional/verging on dinosaur so I think I need to go down the toy-boy route haha! Too much pressure though, if I set myself a goal, so bravo to you.

    1. Thanks Weenie. Yeah I really should do some more strength training, all I do is bodyweight and yoga occasionally. But I hate gyms and never go. Although I do have some kettlebells at home.

      I fully approve of your toyboy rationale. Ouch at the dinosaurs on the dating circuit.

  10. An extensive list of goals there 🙂

    Particularly impressed with the reading one. If I managed 1 book/month I would be pretty happy with myself.

    The external motivation one is interesting. I’ve always pegged myself as an “internal” kinda person, although saying that I decided to start a blog then plaster my “achievements” all over it so not sure if I’m kidding myself?

    I definitely fall into the “not giving a sh!t” what people thing category that caveman talks about above though, and have been for many years… Age definitely play a part but it was maybe when I turned 30 I really stopped caring all that much.

    Good luck with the goals and finding a Mr ZiYou!

    1. Thanks Andy – let’s see if we manage to find a Mr ZiYou 🙂

      I do have a tendency to read quickly and get absorbed in books….commuting really helps with that.

      Yeah, I so want to be internally motivated, but yeah blogging isn’t really a good indicator of internal motivation is it?

      Generally I don’t care what people think, but I do realise that to get along in society I have to pretend to care and modify my behaviour!

What do you think?