Work Optional – Your Money or Your Life for the Modern Pragmatist

If you write, read, or even dip your toe into the financial independence space, then you’ve read Our Next Life. In only a few years of existence, Tanja Hester’s blog has rocketed from a brand-new site to Rockstar Finance mainstay to 2018 Blog of the Year. Tanja has become a major community builder in the personal finance space and has launched a podcast (with plans for another) and hosted her own conference.

On top of all that, she has a new book coming out today! The book is Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way. I’ve read it, and I wanted to share a few thoughts.

As a note: Tanja is a friend, I’ve been reading her work for a long time, and she sent me a copy of the book. I make no claims of being unbiased. 🙂 That said, I fully believe and stand by everything set forth below.

Continue reading “Work Optional – Your Money or Your Life for the Modern Pragmatist”

How to Plan Your Life

2018 has been a pretty big year.

New baby. New job. And lots of introspection and self improvement.

Around the blog we’ve been focusing on a different subject each month and learning everything that we can in order to try to live a happier, wealthier, more productive life.

Because we’ve covered so much ground, I wanted to take some time to review rather than plowing through to a new topic. Learning new things is great. But it’s tempting to learn them, move on, and forget them.

Because these are all things I want to incorporate into my life on a permanent basis, it is worth doubling back to revisit, both as a reminder and to measure how I’ve done.

Today we’re going to start by reviewing our January topic: life planning. Continue reading “How to Plan Your Life”

Better Life – Third Quarter Update

2018 is a year of self-improvement.

I’m spending each month exploring a different area of life and figuring out how best to improve and optimize.

As of the last quarterly update we had covered life planning, personal finance basics, time management, the science of happiness, money and happiness, and health.

Since then, we’ve added philosophy and happiness, investing and the economy, and relationships.

Let’s check in for the third quarter update. Continue reading “Better Life – Third Quarter Update”

Better Life – Second Quarter Update

2018 is a year of self-improvement.

I’m spending each month exploring a different area of life and figuring out how best to improve and optimize.

So far we’ve covered life planning, personal finance basics, time management, the science of happiness, money and happiness, and health.

We’re halfway through the year, so it’s time for a quarterly check in. Continue reading “Better Life – Second Quarter Update”

Better Life – First Quarter Update

I’ve dubbed 2018 the year of improvement.

Each month we are exploring a different area of life and figuring out how to be better.

In January we explored life planning. February was for personal finance basics. And March was all about time management.

I am sharing as much information as I can learn about each topic. However, at the heart of the project is an experiment in applying everything that I learn to myself.

The end of March marks the end of the first quarter of 2018, so let’s check in. Continue reading “Better Life – First Quarter Update”

My Better Life

Today we have the final article for life planning month. This will be a look into what I am implementing right now.

Maybe you’ve noticed, however, that it is no longer January. You also may have noticed that there were no posts last week.

That’s because I had a baby. Well, my wife did most of the hard work, but I was there.

I don’t know if anyone’s ever noticed this before, but taking care of a newborn is exhausting. The little guy needs to eat every two hours. I’m not a great sleeper, but I do tend to prefer sleeping for more than two hours at a time.

Planning a better lifeSo here we are. We’ll finish off January today and then start February (personal finance basics) on Thursday. Assuming I can stay awake long enough to write another article by then.

For now, here’s how I am implementing the lessons we’ve learned this month. Continue reading “My Better Life”

Plan Your Better Life

I set out to make 2018 a year of intentional improvement.

Here at the blog, that is manifested in devoting each month to a different theme. We’re looking at all different angles of life and how to make it better.

Map out your life planTime seems to be moving quickly and we are coming up on the end of January, which is life planning month.

To close out, I want to run through the things that we’ve learned and the action steps we can take as well as the steps that I will actually be taking in my own life. The former will be the subject of today’s post, while Tuesday will be a discussion of the latter.

I hope that you’ll share your takeaways and any action steps that you plan to take. We can keep each other accountable. Continue reading “Plan Your Better Life”

Set Goals That Scare You

We ended last week talking about fear.

While we were specifically focused on our natural fear of change, we studied the idea of fear as a whole.

Don't let fear hold you backFear makes a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective, but can be overbearing in the modern context.

There are still times when being afraid helps. Our fight or flight instinct helps us get out of the way of an oncoming train or lift a car off our child.

But there are times when our fear is harmful. Our natural instincts can prevent us from introducing ourselves to someone out of fear of embarrassing ourselves. This in turn can prevent us from forming a relationship that leads to lifelong friendships, career boosts, or other improvements in our lives.

To make sure fear doesn’t prevent us from living our best life, we need to get better at examining and overcoming it.

We need to set goals that scare us. Continue reading “Set Goals That Scare You”

Making the Leap

Welcome back to life planning month here at Optimize Your Life!

As a foundation, we’ve learned how to live a better life. We’ve learned who we want to be. We’ve figured out what we want to do.

For practical steps, we’ve learned the importance of balance in our planning and we’ve learned to set smaller goals.

But what happens when a small change isn’t the answer? What do we do when we need to consider a big change to our lives?

A path to a better lifeMaybe the best way to get more balance in your life is to get a new job. Maybe the best way to save more money is to move to a different state with a lower cost-of-living. Maybe you’re considering going back to school to increase your earning potential. Maybe you’re debating whether to expand your family and have a kid.

These aren’t small changes. They aren’t easily translated into daily habits.

They’re also scary.

When approaching big decisions like these, how do you analyze the risks? How do you weigh the pros and cons?

Today we dive into these questions. Continue reading “Making the Leap”

Set Smaller Goals!

Most people don’t stick to their New Year’s resolutions.

Stop setting goals that are too large!Have you noticed how crowded the gym is every January? Try comparing your January experience at the gym to your June experience. It is night and day.

Last month I could go down to the gym at any hour and use any machine without waiting. This month all of a sudden the place is hopping.

Each month for the rest of the year it will get less and less crowded until we start over next January. We see the same thing play out every year.

People set ambitious resolutions every January and then gradually drop them all over the course of the year.

There are a number of reasons for that (including failure to set good goals) but today I want to focus on one particular problem. Continue reading “Set Smaller Goals!”