2017 Year in Review & 2018 Goals

2017 Year in Review & 2018 Goals

Dustin Lien
January 15, 2018

This is my 4th consecutive year doing these year-in-review posts, and I always start with this disclaimer:

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.

Every year for the past couple of years, I’ve chosen a theme phrase or word. In 2017, my theme was “Level Up.” Let’s review and see how I did with that, and set some new goals for 2018.

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


2017 was my first full year of sustained entrepreneurship (I quit my corporate job in July of 2016).

The goal I set for 2017 was to take my startup company FitFly to $5k+ in monthly revenue. I ended up making the decision in July to shift more focus toward my email marketing consultancy Jump Influence, and close down FitFly. It was painful, but it was the right thing for me to do.

I’ve noticed the past 4 years, not once have I accurately predicted how the year would play out, and each year my goals have shifted. I’m not judging myself here, just an interesting observation.

2017 Business Highlights and Lowlights:


I closed down FitFly in July of this year. It simply wasn’t moving forward enough after 15 months of working on it and putting money into it to be sustainable. Plus I found myself losing interest in the product, and the revenue was nowhere near what it needed to be. It’s hard to know when it’s time to double down on effort or when it’s time to quit, but after some time has passed now, I stand by my decision, and I’m happier and more successful for it.

Jump Influence

One of my friends and someone I consider a mentor, Noah Kagan, gave me some advice that really helped me move forward with business this year—”Swim with the current instead of against it.”

As I started the year in January, I was realizing how scattered and unstable my consulting had been in 2016. I was working for different rates on completely different types of projects, using completely different types of skills. It was all marketing related, but difficult to brand myself as an expert in any of it because I was all over the place.

With that realization, I branded my consulting services under the name Jump Influence, and focused exclusively on offering email marketing services and courses. This led to a breakout year of focus, excellent results, organic referrals and new customers, and my best year yet of income. I won’t drag on about the formula here in this review post, but if you’re interested in getting paid for your expertise by clients you love working with, check this out.


This was the first year I really got started with being interviewed on other people’s podcasts and writing guest articles for media publications.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Interview on Noah Kagan Presents
  2. Interview on the Rich20something Podcast
  3. Interview on the Side Hustle Show
  4. Article on The Goodmen Project

I’ve really been enjoying sharing my stories and my expertise in select areas. Looking forward to doing more in 2018.

Business Goals for 2018

  1. Launch The Unleashed Life podcast, and grow it to 1,000+ listens per episode
  2. Launch the new DustinLien.com (done) and grow the email list to 10,000+
  3. Write my next book
  4. Launch the Consulting Mastery program and help 50+ students


My relationships goal for 2017 was to work more efficiently and set boundaries to separate work and play. I give myself a 6/10.

I’m kind of ok at this point in my career to be working more than I’m playing. I still get plenty of rest and feel energized, so I’m going to run with it while I can.

2017 Relationships Highlights and Lowlights

This year was a big networking year for me, and it showed with business results. Personally my wife and I had another great year of marriage and friendship, and we met many new friends we’ve grown to know well and enjoy spending time with.

Relationships Goals for 2018

  1. Keep meeting awesome people, deliberately
  2. Seek out mentors for book publishing and public speaking

Health and Fitness

My goals for 2017 were to experiment more with what the body is capable of, and to pay more attention to the quality of what I’m eating and drinking.

2017 Health and Fitness Highlights and Lowlights

I was a 6/10 with quality of consumption—energy was lower than I’d like, so I’m still working on that. For experimentation of capabilities, I did a vertical jump workout program that was pretty cool, and helped with my basketball skills.

I also have been experimenting with lucid dreaming, which is where you become aware that you’re dreaming and gain control over certain aspects of it. I’m getting pretty good at triggering it, and now am experimenting more with how I can use it to gain insight into my subconscious needs and barriers.

Health and Fitness Goals for 2018

1. Eat with the purpose of creating and sustaining energy throughout the day
2. Increase my bench press, squat, and deadlift to combine to at least 1,000 lbs. while maintaining a body fat percentage of less than 10%


My goals for 2017 were to continue to foster growth of the youth group at church, and to seek more opportunities to serve in leadership roles.

2017 Spirituality Highlights and Lowlights

I continued volunteering with the youth group until I was offered a part-time staff position as children’s ministry director (infants through 5th grade). I’ve been serving in that role now since August helping out once per week and then coordinating volunteers and kids programs on Sundays.

I also took my first class toward a master of ministry leadership degree, and it was incredible. I don’t have any plans to use the degree vocationally, but it can’t hurt to grow in biblical knowledge and practical ministry and leadership skills, so I’ll be continuing with classes in 2018.

Spirituality Goals for 2018

1. Grow deeper in relationship with God through focused prayer time and study

2. Maintain or increase the practice of daily meditation for calming of anxiety and stress management

Theme for 2018

My theme for 2018 is “Unleash.” It’s the perfect word to describe the process of breaking free from any metaphorical chains holding me back or slowing me down. As an entrepreneur, as a husband, as a leader, as a friend, as a man—nothing’s going to stop me now.