2011 Mid-Year Review: Developing A Better Lifestyle

Here is my 2011 mid-year review. Developing a better lifestyle is both current and for the future. Ultimately, we all want to have better lifestyles and hopefully the goals achieved through my online endeavors and personal finances will help get me there.  This section is also a catch-all section that doesn't fit neatly elsewhere.

I believe in five main pillars: 1) academics, 2) music,  3) athletics, 4) family, and 5) friendship.  “The Mental To Physical Connection For A Healthier Lifestyle” is very important to me.  Academics includes things such as work, entrepreneurship, writing, reading and building knowledge.  Music is what it sounds like, and also includes art.  While athletics includes sports and keeping physically fit.  I don't want to be the dumb jock, or the unfit and uncoordinated nerd.  I don't want to be the socially awkward, eccentric musician either, which won't ever happen because I have hardly any musical talent.

Family and friendship can really be lumped together to form the backbone of a good lifestyle.  It doesn't matter if you're rich, beautiful, or brilliant if you have nobody to spend your life with.  In fact, I'd rather be poor, ugly, and dumb and have people I care about than the former.


1) Dress better

I dress very simply because I love to feel warm and comfortable.  I used to always equate fancy clothes with being cold and uncomfortable.  As I looked into tailored clothes more closely, I discovered a whole host of beautiful materials which keeps one warm and looking sharp at the same time.  Several months ago, I went to a tailor and added a couple of well knit blazers, two suits, and seven dress shirts to my wardrobe, yet I’ve hardly worn any of the items except for the shirts! 

I haven’t even put on one of the suits yet to my dismay.  The entire ensemble wasn’t cheap and I’m not planning on letting that money go to waste.  I’m just too casual in the way I dress, which may be borderline inappropriate.  The goal is to dress well and come across as someone who doesn’t have much if that’s possible.  Every week, I will wear my blazers at least once and wear each suite at least twice a month.

I've worn my dress shirts and blazers I purchased from the tailor's 10X more this year than in 2010.  I've worn one blazer so much that I've had to re-sow four buttons already.  I've discovered a shoe cobbler to re-sole my work shoes twice too.  Before, I'd wear these really casual brown shoes because they are so comfortable, but now, I've decided to wear my stiffer, more styling shoes which look much better. 

I've replaced my warm up tennis jackets now with more appropriate workplace clothinh.  The warm up jackets are so comfortable because it's cold in the mornings.  But, I now just wear a nice scarf in the morning to complement the blazer.  It feels good to dress better and utilize what I bought at the tailor's a year and a half ago.

2) Take guitar and/or singing lessons at least once.

For my 2011 mid-year review, I will find some good references and get some lessons by golly!  After some encouraging comments from readers, I proceeded to record a couple more songs that day, when I only recorded 3 other songs all year: Landslide and First Day of My Life.  Each song took at least 2 hours to get right and record because of so many strumming/finger picking and singing mess-ups. 

However, it is immensely gratifying to practice like crazy to record a final product which you find good enough.  Guitar is an outlet that allows me to smile, cry, and do something completely different from the day-to-day norm.  Guitar also helps me cope with boredom when it’s raining and I can’t go out and play.  As a matter of fact, blogging also acts as the same way this winter!  Aim to record 5 songs.

I've recorded one song so far called “Small Town” by Pearl Jam.  Hence, I'm totally behind if I want to record 5!  The song only took about 2 hours to learn how to play and record and I'm happy with the results.  I've spent about 5 hours so far on Youtube watching guitar and singing lessons.  The “controlled scream” is next, because I can't hit the middle-to-high notes.  It's either a baritone or falsetto, and my falsetto is kinda embarrassing!  I love, love, love my guitar though.  Every time I find a song and pick it up, I am so happy!

3) Enter at least four tennis tournaments with the goal of winning one.

Part of the reason why I failed to achieve my tennis tournament win goal is because I only entered two of them!  Like dating, winning a tournament is also a numbers game.  The more I enter, the more chances I have to win.  In order for me to win, I need to stay healthy and fit.  As such, I will stretch at least twice a week, do yoga once a week at home for 20 minutes, stay under 165 pounds, and lift weights at least twice a month.  I hate working out with a passion, but I love to play sports and stretch, so that’s what I’m tilting my physical routine towards.

I haven't entered one yet, so that's a complete fail.  However, the SF Tennis Open is this August and my club tennis tournament is in September, both of which I'm definitely in, so that will be at least two.  I'm 4-1 in my USTA league and we are going to the playoffs.  What I have done is stay fit.  I have a professional hitting partner who also does physical training.  I play tennis 2-4X a week, yoga once a week, bike twice a week, and go hiking at least once a week.  The great outdoors is a big reason why I live in San Francisco.  I feel good and people I don't see for months ask what I've been doing to stay in shape, so that's nice.  I also feel younger as well.

Consistent physical activity has been incorporated into my lifestyle for the past three years now, and it never feels like I'm working out.  My goal is to just be a better tennis player and in order to achieve this goal, I have to practice and eat right.  I get home from work so many times at around 9pm because I've been hitting for a couple hours with the guys.  There once was a time I'd always just itch to rush home to work on the computer.  But that can wait until later now. 

Related: Some Things Money Can't Buy: A 5.0 USTA Rating

4) Trend towards vegetarianism

For my 2011 mid-year review, I really want to eat more vegetarian. The diversity of food I eat is mind boggling and often times unhealthy.  Just last week I had Korean BBQ, Peruvian Ceb(v)iche, dry-aged prime rib, Singaporean Chili crab, Toro Sashimi, In N’ Out Burger, Burrito Mojada, Roti Prata, Shabu Shabu and Indian Mee Goreng! 

A lot of the diversity is because I love all types of food and I live in a city which allows for such pleasures.  Furthermore, I often take clients out for meals and try to keep things flavorful, which often means unhealthy.  As a result, I plan on making one day a week on average an all vegetarian day.

Thanks to Sydney at Untemplater, I've been totally trending towards vegetarianism.  I've started having thoughts such as “poor chicken” or “poor cow” before I eat, which has steered me to eat less meet.  I've had many a day of only vegetarian food and it feels great.  My mindset is slowly shifting and I am encouraged!

I believe in the corny phrase, “your body is your temple”, and I always take off my shoes when I go into any building.  So much disease is due to eating too much sugar, process foods, and red meat that I've really tried to tone down such intake.  I haven't drunk soda in at least two years and even my beloved cookies, lemon meringue pie, and cupcakes have lessened in frequency. 

5) Rediscover golf

When the downturn hit, I decided to give up golf and just focus on tennis. I couldn’t break a 10 handicap (got down to 10.1 and ricocheted higher) and I felt golf just took too long and was too expensive.  It’s a shame because all of 2007 and most of 2008 I was enthralled with the game.  I got some second hand Mizuno MP-50 irons that just felt so buttery.  I found my driving swing again, and could regularly smack it at least 260 yard on a flat hole.  Most importantly, my father has also rediscovered golf in retirement, so I’d love to spent my free time on the course with him.

I played golf with my dad twice this year and loved it!  It's kind of hard on my lower back, but it was so enjoyable spending time with him and experiencing the beautiful land again.  My good friend joined a country club in the south bay, and I plan to go golfing with him once a month.  It only takes 3hours to play at his club vs. 5 hours on public courses, so I am totally game and thankful!  After not playing in a year, I shot a 85 and 83 with my dad.  I'm back!

6) Remember my dreams

There once was a time where I would dream frequently and remember many of them.  I’d fly across the city, go on crazy adventures, and meet interesting people.  Perhaps one of the downsides of getting up early and quickly is that the “kick” happens too quickly.  It’s in those snoozing waking hours where one seems to remember most of their dreams, and I simply don’t snooze at all because I wake up automatically by 6:15am.  We sleep about 1/4th to 1/3rd of our lives.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could be awake in our dreams?  If you haven’t watched the movie Inception, please go watch it twice.  It’s now my favorite movie.  I’ll be doing a lot of research on increasing my unconscious memories.

I have a whole list of all my dreams this year!  As soon as I wake up, I type it into my mobile phone.  There have been some crazy ones that have been very enjoyable.  It's a fun way for to enjoy more of life since we sleep so much.  Who doesn't love to fly over cliffs and do crazy things?  Dreams are magical!

7) Take all six weeks of vacation.

2010 was the first year I did and boy did it feel great!  I’m also glad to see the world didn’t fall apart while I was away, which is a silly notion I used to have.  I plan on continuing my path of visiting one or two new foreign countries a year so I can visit 60 before I die.  I’m shooting to travel to Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Peru (went as a kid and don’t remember), Australia, New Zealand, Greece, or the Galapagos Islands this year.  If you have any thoughts on where I should go, or recommendations of what I should do, please let me know!

I've taken three weeks off this year and am planning a two week cruise around Europe this fall to see 6 new cities/countries I've never been to before.  I've actually got a post upcoming that are basically my notes to help decide between two cruises.  I do feel some guilt taking so much time off, but you know what?  I've worked at my firm for over 10 years and that's the time I get off every year, so why not!  I just got to buy the tickets and make the commitment! 

Work makes me appreciate travel and vacation so much more than if I was just retired or traveling around permanently.  It's a great feeling that while on vacation, one is still earning money from their company, and totally taken care of in terms of health care, insurance, and so forth.  I love being able to come back from an adventure and be productive again.  It makes me wonder if I can ever truly be a permanent traveler or one of those lifestyle blogger types.  Instead, I'm probably going to figure out a system where I can work and take 8-10 weeks off a year (2-2.5 weeks off every quarter).  Then, I could probably just go on working forever. 

8) See my parents four times instead of the usual one or two times a year.

My parents are globetrotters and they are hard to track down sometimes.  We will use Skype more often and check in at least once every two weeks.  One of the reasons why I started this site is so that my parents can check in on me, any time, wherever they are.  They can read some of my thoughts, and comment whenever they want and I will respond.  Mom and dad, if you are reading this, come visit me at least twice a year please.  Thanks!  There is no other resolution more important than this one.

I've seen them twice so far this year, and will definitely see them one more time by year end.  I'll make the goal of four times if they come visit me in San Francisco.  We shall see!  Skype has been very helpful and I should probably log in more and check in on both of the.

New Goal: Be An Online Entrepreneur

For my 2011 mid-year review, I have a new goal. Set a date for when I'd like to hang up the boots and go online full-time. In “The Best Place On Earth“, I write Feb 18, 2018 as my date for which I plan to accumulate X amount of dollars, and build Y amount of consistent income online . 

It's super exciting to write down a target date and just go for it!  With a 6.5 year window, I'm pretty confident I'll be able to achieve what I want in my career, save X amount of money, and build an online business that will be more than enough for a family of four to live on.

This is a crazy goal to revisit now that it's 2021. I've just been updating all my old posts and it is AWESOME I had this goal back in on July 18, 2011! I ultimately ended up negotiating a severance in April 2012 to work on Financial Samurai for good.

By February 18, 2018, my online income surpassed my total average income in banking. Further, my son was 10 months old then. Time flies!

Wrap Of 2011 Mid-Year Review

If we each do this same exercise, I bet we'll all be amazed with how busy we are and what we've accomplished.  Blogging is great this way as it allows us to review our past. 

The second half of the year still feels daunting because there's so much to do.  It's important I don't get distracted by random things such as social media, games, and petty differences.  Every time I do feel I'm getting distracted, I think about my earlier retirement goal that puts me back on track.

Hope everybody has had a great 2011 so far! How is your 2011 mid-year review?

Related posts:

2011 Mid-Year Review: Personal Developments

2011 Predictions

5 Hits And Misss For 2011

For more resources check out my:

Financial Samurai has been online since 2009 and is one of the most trusted and largest independently-run personal finances today.

Readers, how are your lifestyle goals so far?  Are you reaching and breaching your goals?  What are some goals you need to work on?

Photo: Mexican fisherman boat off Isla Mujeres by Sam, 2010.

26 thoughts on “2011 Mid-Year Review: Developing A Better Lifestyle”

  1. I am so glad you take dressing better as a priority. Once you get in the habit it is so easy to maintain. You made the comment that you want to dress well but not come off wealthy.

    I would recommend Lands End stuff. It has that midwest work ethic build in to every items of clothes, but not pompous and opulent. Could you walk into a soup kitchen wearing Lands End and feel comfortable serving food, yes…that is one of the litmus tests I use.

    I was really broke once in my life. It was really hard but it changed me and the way that I look at the way I dress and how I keep my house. I tend to ask myself if the poorest person in the world were to come and see my house, would he (or she) feel comfortable in my house?

    Hence, although I love my 4″ heels, I only have 4 pairs. I do not need anymore and more shoes would simply be wasteful.

  2. Hi Sam,

    Great update. Re: Controlled Scream research, check out Maynard Keenan of Tool, he has some good technique on the controlled scream.

    Good luck and don’t scare the neighbors!


  3. It’s funny that you mention dressing better – although I didn’t write it down as a personal goal, I am trying to do it. Nicer khakis – better dress shirts. It hasn’t gone unnoticed either. They saying goes, “Dress for the position you want”, so that is what I’m doing!

    1. Indeed. The issue is, i got to the position I wanted 4 years ago and started really slacking in my clothing. It’s like getting a beautiful woman and then letting yourself go b/c you got her already. Can’t take things for granted!

  4. Hunter @Mapblog.net

    My goals are more of financial and learning goals. I need to add some more variety.

  5. From KrantCents:

    It is interesting you bring up music and playing the guitar. I played the piano when I was very young and thought someday I would like to return to it. This summer, I am auditing a Geometry class to refresh my math skills and pick up another credential. Taking a class first thing in the morning is stimulating and energizing.
    My wife started including vegetarian dishes once a week. I probably could become about 80% vegetarian. I like seafood and chicken too much to give it up entirely. Since it is summer and I am sort of off (not teaching),I am cycling 6 days a week. I hope to keep this up in retirement well into my eighties.
    Travel will always be important to me. I have been on about 5-6 cruises, but I would prefer to stay in individual countries and travel around.

  6. I know you mentioned they travel a lot, but where is home base? If you are in San Fran…are they even in the US?

    1. Who is the “they” you are referring to Evan. My parents? They live in literally three different countries throughout the year. In essence, they could be be the OG digital nomads.

  7. Untemplater

    Wow great job Sam. I need to get back into a weekly yoga routine myself too. I always feel great afterwards. That’s awesome you want to eat vegetarian one day a week and I’m flattered I’ve motivated you to try that out. :) I stopped ordering duck and rabbit dishes (never had rabbit actually) because I think they are the cutest animals and I feel bad eating them. And I also stopped eating Asian dishes made with sharksfin too because of the large number of bad fishing practices. Besides that though I always feel good and healthier when I eat vegetarian and vegan foods.

    That’s awesome you have six weeks of vacation! I’ve heard Greece and the Galapagos are must sees. All of your choices sound like a lot of fun! -Sydney

      1. You’re very welcome. Sweets are so tempting! I ate a lot of vegan cookies during my 7 day challenge. I finally stopped buying cookies but I ended up replacing them with chocolate. :)

  8. Eating vegetarian: much easier than you think.

    I thought it was boring for about a week, but then I realized that previously I would eat chicken and beef almost all the time (I don’t eat pork anyway) before. How boring is that!?

    I can have black bean burgers, chickpea cutlets, soups, hummus, mexican dishes, many strange lasagnas, bean-balls (vs meatballs) with a huge variety of seasonings.

    Cheese and yogurt are still unfortunately delicious and addictive.

      1. I’m not a veg – I still eat meat if that’s the only protein option served.

        I started cooking with beans more often and it followed naturally, although previously I was only having meat at about 1/3 of my meals. I’ve been working at it for a few (4-6) months and it’s so much simpler than I expected.

        Your carbon footprint will go waaay down too ;)

  9. Invest It Wisely

    I would wish you good luck, Sam, but I don’t think you need it! You have the drive and the skills to see it through.

    Inception is one of my favorite movies too, and I have to ask, do you have an Asian background? I think of Korea and leaving one’s shoes at the door wherever you go.

    1. Thx Kev. We shall see. People who meet me say I remind them of Shaquille O’Neal. With all the gunk and crap on coy sidewalks, not taking off one’s shoes at home is kinda gross.

  10. Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    Good to read that you are maximizing vacay time and time with the folks. That is after all why we work so hard for. How many years will you be shaving off of your initial retirement goal by hanging it up in 2018?

    1. I’m striving for your 3 months a year mate! If I got 3 months off a year, I would probably never retire.

      2018 is actually one year more than my initial goal of 2017. Giving myself a buffer just in case I love working forever :)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *