2015 Year in Review & 2016 Goals

2015 Year in Review & 2016 Goals

Dustin Lien
September 14, 2015

This is my second year doing a year-in-review post (you can read 2014 here if you fancy), and it’s interesting how vastly different this year was compared to last year.

Just so you know, these reviews are really for my own introspection and reflection on what went well during the year, what didn’t, and what I want to accomplish the next year. I’m making it public because I think people might enjoy reading it, and possibly learn from it.

That being said, some of it won’t make sense to you why I’m sharing it, but that’s because it’s mostly for me.

There are 4 main areas I’ve reflected on: Business, Relationships, Health & Fitness, and Spirituality.


This year went so far off from what I planned, but I learned a valuable lesson: Recognize when something’s not working, and have the courage to alter your plan (or even throw in the towel and move on completely).

2015 Business Highlights and Lowlights:


In January I announced The Low-risk Online Business Challenge where I set out to build a low-risk business from scratch that makes at least $1,000/month within in 6 months.

One of my goals for 2015 was to start a business in the fitness world because it’s a big strength of mine. Pun intended. So I used this challenge to launch MuscleFeed, which is a site that promotes exclusive deals on awesome fitness products.

I worked on it for almost 3 months, then stopped (don’t worry, the story doesn’t end there). I felt the need to finish the book I had started writing, Blogging for Authority, so I paused MuscleFeed while I focused on the book for the next 3 months.

After the book launched, I dove back into MuscleFeed with a new urgency, and it’s going pretty well so far. I set a goal in the middle of August to grow the total audience between Instagram, Twitter, and Email newsletter signups to be over 15,000 combined by January 1st. It’s December now, and I’m proud to say I hustled and hit that goal!

Revenue is about $350/month right now, and growing, so I’ll be hitting 2016 hard with getting that number up to $1,000+/month. Best of all, it’s a very low-maintenance business model with almost no customer service or financial risk at all.

Blogging for Authority

I wrote and released my second self-published book, Blogging for Authority, and boy did it flop! I made a fatal error that I was blind to at the time, but now I can see it clear as day. Nobody asked me to write this book.

Furthermore, I wrote it without any input from the audience, so the whole book and everything in it is based on my assumptions of what people want to learn. I stand by the quality and information in the book 100%, but it’s kind of like trying to sell a gym membership to someone who never expressed interest in one. You might know how valuable it could be to their health and livelihood, and the equipment might be top notch, but they just never asked for that. So now you put a bunch of time and money into building a nice gym that you can’t sell memberships to.

The experience was definitely eye opening, and a reminder to always validate before diving in head first.

Site Heroes

I launched and closed a new business all in the span of a couple of months, and here’s why.

The concept of the business was a membership site with 24/7 access to professional Web Developers; unlimited website updates and small tasks starting at $69/month.

I still think the concept is great, and it could be successful, but after the first month I realized that I was chasing success so hard that I forgot the whole reason I want more business success in the first place—to make a meaningful impact doing something I love. And let me tell you, doing website updates and maintenance for cheap customers is not something I loved. Eventually I could have outsourced all that stuff, but it wasn’t exactly thriving from the get go, so that was that.

Business Goals for 2016:

  1. Grow MuscleFeed to $1,000/mo in revenue

That’s it. One Business Goal this year. When I hit it, I’ll set another, but one thing I learned this year is that I can’t accomplish everything at once, and there has to be a main individual focus. I spent a year and a half working on Strategic Sauce, but I was trying to do too many things at once, so not much got accomplished. With MuscleFeed on the other hand, I worked on one goal for 4 months: Grow the audience to 15,000 people, and I hit that, and it’s meaningful. I accomplished about 50% more in about 1/4 of the time because I focused on 1 goal.


2015 was my first full year of marriage (married June 2014), and I’m happy to say I haven’t screwed it up yet ;). It’s been great, and I’m looking forward to another year of it.

My wife Jacqui and me on our anniversary cruise to Mexico

My relationship goals for the year were very much centered around being more present in the lives of close friends and family. I was such a hermit in 2014, but for 2015 I feel good about the amount of time I made sure to spend calling my brothers and parents, and just making the extra little efforts to make it to birthday parties or casual hangouts.

Relationship Goals for 2016:

  1. Make an effort to be more helpful around the house so my wife doesn’t have to do everything and can relax more

Unfortunately this goal was a 2015 goal of mine that I don’t feel like I accomplished, so I need to put focus back on it and make time each day to be thoughtful and help out.

Health and Fitness

My main goal for health and fitness this year was to pay closer attention to my nutrition and shed a little more body fat to get closer to a competition-ready physique like I had in 2013-2014.

I was very consistent with getting to the gym 5-6 days per week, which I’ve been doing for almost 10 years now, so that’s definitely woven in to my lifestyle at this point.

I kicked up my nutrition pretty good as well, and decided to schedule in a physique competition in January 2016 to give myself some extra motivation. I 100% feel great about fitness this year, but overall health could use some work in areas other than nutrition.

Health and Fitness Goals for 2016:

  1. Successfully compete in at least one physique competition
  2. Work on scheduling my days better to get adequate sleep


This was a good year spiritually for me. I set goals to continue attending regularly and volunteering at the church, and I feel good about what was accomplished.

My wife and I both played in the church band about once/month on average, which has been great. We also led a Bible study group for young couples for 6 weeks in September/October which was awesome to have the opportunity to do.

I do feel like there’s more for the community I want to do next year in addition to further stepping up involvement with the church.

Another goal for 2015 was to try meditation. I did try probably 15-20 times, and it was ok. It’s not something that stuck in my routine even after being consistent with it, so I’m not going to force it.

Spirituality Goals for 2016:

  1. Step up involvement and leadership in the church
  2. Give back to the community in 1 big way
  3. Spend a little time daily in prayer and introspection

2015 was another good year with some momentum that I’ll carry into 2016. I wish you well in 2016, and I hope to have a positive impact on you in some way.