This New Year will be the same. And that’s a good thing.
Instead of setting new goals and resolutions for the year ahead, let me do something unique: keep doing the same things for another year!
I just have to pick the ones that benefit me the most!
2024 is for me the:
- 2nd year of daily tracking calories/nutrition, weight, and exercise
- 8th year of tracking expenses, income, and investments
- 10th year as a dad
- 11th year of running an American company
- 19th year of blogging, creating content online, and making internet money
- 22nd year in pursuit of positive expectancy (+EV) and financial freedom as an advantage player
- 29th year as an Internet user
- 45th year of life experience
Health, Nutrition and Exercise
Since I developed a condition in my stomach in 2022, I’ve been very aware of my nutrition and overall health. Gone are the days of eating a 3,000kcal breakfast or devouring 240g of chips followed by a huge 200g milk chocolate in midday!
After 400 days of tracking calories and weight, I feel healthier than ever. I admit I feel better than when I hit the gym for 2 hours every day! I‘ve come to realize that nutrition is the key factor for healthy living, followed closely by light exercise like walking.
My weight in September 2022 was 108kg.
Losing 40lbs in 2023 was (wait for it) game-changing.
I not only feel way more energetic than ten years ago, but I also look a lot better! I can’t stand watching me in any of my old YouTube videos compared to how I look nowadays on camera. I never expected to look better as I get older! It's funny what a difference losing weight makes, not only in improving life expectancy but also in looks!
And I’m not being subjective here. I’ve received many compliments from friends, not to mention attracting the attention of random women in the street! The last time that happened was almost 20 years ago - and I ended up married!
Dare I say that all this has made me feel younger? Well, I do!
And I bet I’ll keep feeling young in 2024, given I’m not going to give up tracking my nutrition and weight to keep my diet in control.
Tracking Expenses and Investments
I’ve thought about branding myself as the budgeting guy several times throughout 2023. As I considered the different paths I could follow in my online career (more on that later), personal finance, and specifically budgeting, always stood out.
For seven years, I’ve been tracking my personal and business expenses via YNAB. I’ve told too many times the story of how I came across that app, which improved my life significantly. The short version is I noticed the app on the Steam gaming platform back in 2016. Among thousands of games, the YouNeedABudget app was on discount.
I thought to myself, instead of throwing away my money on yet another game I would never play (story of my adult life), why not give this budgeting app a try?
And boy, did that change my life.
As an advantage player, I am used to keeping track of my performance very regularly.
But I had never been so methodical when it came to my personal finances. A simple Excel spreadsheet worked for me to track my finances.
Who am I kidding? I had only tracked my investments to that point! I had no idea what my spending looked like.
The budgeting app had been an eye-opener. It has helped me manage my family’s spending and plan for future expenses, like school tuition and trips.
Not only that, but I began using the app to track my business expenses, as well! Thanks to YNAB, I can compare year-on-year revenue performance and predict how much money I‘ll be spending next month. Another surprising benefit is keeping track of unpaid or expiring deals, which I would certainly have lost track of otherwise.
In 2024, I'll keep tracking my spending and investments as I continue my journey to financial freedom.
Becoming a dad ten years ago felt strange to me. If I’m being honest here, it hasn't been the best day of my life, and I didn’t feel enormous waves of joy and happiness. In fact, I didn’t feel anything when I first saw my daughter in the hospital, which confused me a lot.
Was I wrong in believing I was ready to become a father?
Yet, everything changed as I began knowing this new person in my life that I’d be responsible for during the next 18 years and would always be here for her until I die.
I began to care!
Coming from someone who would clearly state you shouldn't care means a lot!
In my 20s, I always said I would never get married and that I hated kids. People don’t change, they say. Well, responsible people do change, or maybe I was fooling myself into believing I wasn’t meant to have a family.
My wife, Zoe, often tells me that I’m the best dad ever. She’s obviously biased, though. Hopefully, one day, my daughter will feel that way, which is my ultimate goal in parenting, even if she never tells me so.
I don’t expect significant changes for my family in 2024, as the little one is still in elementary school. My main concern is whether I should be more vocal about parenting on social media or continue keeping my personal life away from the spotlight.
Solopreneur as a Web Publisher
Eleven years ago, I incorporated my company as a Greek citizen in the USA. Forming an LLC on the other side of the world isn’t as ground-breaking as it sounds. What’s ground-breaking is how many opportunities it has created for me, not to mention the money it has saved me and the reactions I’ve witnessed upon letting people know of my business.
If only I had a dollar every time I shared the story of the Greek taxman hearing that my company operates in the USA and not Bulgaria!
2023 would have been a record year for my web publishing business if it weren’t for ChatGPT and the general shift in the online world toward Artificial Intelligence. AI changes will be humongous, and we are already witnessing dramatic behavioral changes. Jobs are at risk, and the advice of “Adapt or Die“ is more relevant than ever before.
So, as people have begun using the internet differently and search engines like Google adapt to the new environment (I won’t say trend because AI is here to stay), I myself have to adapt to the new conditions if I want my business to survive. 2023 left a bittersweet taste for sure and has ended with a scare for me, as revenue plummeted compared to 2022.
My goal for 2024 is to keep the business working at 2020 levels (40% down from 2023) unless I figure out a way to improve performance once again without trying to beat AI. Machines will win, of course, so picking their side is wise.
Internet Money as a Content Creator
As a backup plan for my primary business endeavor, I became a lot more active as a content creator in late 2023. Contrary to popular belief, Internet money doesn’t grow on trees. Usually, hard work helps you reach those low-hanging fruits. With a bit of luck, I might reach out for branches with bigger fruits.
For years, I made the same mistake.
I have been relying on a single income stream for far too long.
I knew the time would come when I would have to supplement my income somehow. Content creation had been in my mind all along. Given how much I enjoy writing, taking pictures, and filming videos, resurrecting my personal brand was always a no-brainer.
Being a blogger for almost twenty years means I have seen first-hand how the content-creation industry has changed over the years. I bet my multi-year experience will come in handy. People are still looking for dinosaurs, after all!
In the current fast-paced world of Tiktoks, Shorts, and Reels, my unfair advantage is my age!
I do have some ideas for my business to cover the lost ground. So, why not share what I’m doing as a solopreneur on social media, and perhaps other like-minded people will find something valuable as I share the experience and knowledge I’m acquiring in 2024?
In addition, I’ve invested too much money in filmmaking gear. I always considered that money as "investing back into my business." It's time to reap some rewards.
I’m dying to make use of that in a meaningful way. Creating content is something that I genuinely enjoy and can become a side-income stream that will recoup some of that investment.
Besides, being a human in the online AI world feels great!
Advantage Gambling and Financial Freedom
Throughout the last 21 years, casinos kicked me out for counting cards in blackjack, bookmakers have limited my stakes, poker's golden era has ended, and betting exchanges no longer serve sports traders from my country. With so many obstacles in my advantage gambling career, it makes sense to continue watching the gambling world from the sidelines.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have my eyes and ears open to any gambling opportunity.
I don’t ever expect to come back as a poker player or active sports bettor in my life. I prefer making use of my gambling experience to business and even content creation, no matter how peculiar that may sound.
Yet, gambling for a living has taught me many transferable skills, like money management, discipline, and spotting opportunities. No wonder I’m always pursuing positive expectancy or +EV (Expected Value) in gambling and anything that can turn a profit. I'm sure you've noticed how many things look similar between different industries.
At the same time, 2024 is the fifth year of my ten-year project to become financially free, which I announced in 2020. I’m quickly running out of time, while the needle hasn't moved much.
However, what if it takes me 15 or 20 years? I bet I’ll enjoy the journey more than the destination. At least, that's what multimillionaires I'm listening to keep saying.
Besides, I don’t plan ever to quit doing what I’m doing.
Make the New Year your Best Ever
As you can tell, I'm nothing special. I'm just the average Joe, doing the same stuff over and over again.
Ok, maybe you didn't beat the casinos or run a company overseas. But tracking your weight, being more aware of what you're eating, and keeping a close eye on your finances isn't rocket science! These simple tasks quickly add up, and their compound effect can be seen in the long run.
Remember, it's a long game. Those who keep doing the same things usually win.
Just pick things that winners pick.
Occasionally, try something new. I feel more willing to do that when my life is in order. I feel lost if I continuously keep trying new stuff without first coming up with a clear plan. It's better to have an ascending line with a few random peaks than a horizontal line with sudden spikes.
I've been a victim of that. Just look at my social media.
I post one image on Instagram. Then, a week later, a video carousel. Then you don't hear from me for six months. Then, I post a reel.
Who can't tell I'm lost here?
The same goes for anything, like personal finance.
Zoe began tracking her expenses. She was excited at first. Then, she missed a few payments. She spent an hour to correct that. The following month, she missed a few days. Eventually, she quit budgeting after a few months.
"What's the point? I know where my money goes," she told me.
The point, my dear, is that you stay true to your word. You are consistent. And you do the thing you said you would.
If she did the budgeting thing for a year, day in and day out, I'm sure she would come to a different conclusion. Like, look how much money I spent on bags and shoes that make no difference in my life! Or how about I could save up for my mortgage payments and invest at the same time? Or I could save that much money every year if I didn't buy groceries and cleaning tools without checking prices.
She might also pick up another habit now that she has proven she can track her spending for a whole year. Self-confidence can be powerful. We just have to put some fuel to it to kick in.
On the other hand, we all have our demons. We all feel shit sometimes. At least, I have.
I've noticed work has helped me overcome my dark thoughts. Now that I'm writing these lines, I don't have the time to think pessimistically. In fact, I'll feel very happy once I hit the publish button.
I'll feel way happier, though, if I hear that this block of text has been useful to someone. Arnold recommends being useful. Creating content online not only makes me happy, but it also allows me to become useful to a stranger out there.
I spent most of my 2023 wondering what I should talk about online. Then I heard of the 2-year advice.
What did you accomplish or generally do in the last two years?
Share that. Write about that. Communicate that.
It doesn't have to be two years. What did I do or learn in the last two months, two weeks, two hours? Write about that.
So, that's how I came up with this article. I wrote down what I've done in my life. Why would anyone listen to me? Why would anyone trust me?
It's because I've done that. Over and over again. And these things worked for me. I hope they work for you, too, this year.