BIG Goals of 2016 Review

These were my ten BIG goals for 2016.

  1. Write a daily blog post
  2. Give a speech every week
  3. Payoff our debts
  4. Create a side hustle
  5. Get involved in a community
  6. Complete Free Code Camp
  7. Publish a book
  8. Learn to play an instrument
  9. Raise money or give my time for cause I support
  10. Read a book every week

Here is a review of what I accomplished and what I didn’t accomplish in 2016.

1. Write a daily blog post

In 2016, I took a significant step back in my daily blog post goal. I wanted to write post every single day. At my six month review, I was only 26 posts behind schedule, but like many of these goals my performance began to fall off in the final few months of the year. There is always a number of things that can impact your performance but the bulk of my struggles to maintain my goals seemed to occur when my gym at work closed and then I changed jobs, and location, at my company. Daily exercise is one of the anchors in my life. Once that anchor was released, I began to struggle with consistency in other areas of my life. I recently fixed my exercise anchor and I think that’s part of the reason that I’m writing more often.

2. Give a speech every week

I was doing better than I could have imagined with this goal. At my six month review, I was right on target to complete this goal. When I switched jobs, I had to leave my Toastmasters club. I also took on too many Toastmasters responsibility and suffered from burnout. I didn’t attend a Toastmasters meeting for a few months until I went to club meeting at my new build during the month of December. I’ll probably get involved with one club in 2017 but I’m going to have a more reasonable speech goal of about a speech a month.

3. Payoff our debts

We’ve created our plans but this is a long-term goal that won’t be completed in a year.

4. Create a side hustle

I’ve been busy with other goals, new jobs, and all of the things I have on my plate. This is something I really need to do but I’m never going to achieve it by simply talking about it. 2017 is when I finally make this happen.

5. Get involved in a community

From my six month review:

“It’s funny how things happen in life.  When I first chose this goal I meant to get involved in the Pittsburgh Startup community.  Their events and locations have not been convenient to my schedule.  Though I did happen to become involved in a different community: Toastmasters.  Last year, I presented at the Fall Conference and this year I participated in the International Contest Speech Competition, completed my first year in club leadership at one club, helped start another club, earned two awards, and lead a breakout session at this Summer’s TLI Conference.”

I got too involved with Toastmasters and I suffered from some serious burnout around September and October. At that time, I took a step back from Toastmasters and got out of some of my commitments. I think I will get back involved because I like working on my public speaking. I just need to learn to say, “No,” to opportunities thrown my way.

6. Complete Free Code Camp

At my six month review, I was on Free Code Camps’ Random Quote Generator project and I’m still haven’t moved past that project. A month after this review, I began refocusing on Data Science and Python programming which I stuck with for the rest of the year.

I know I want to continue learning Data Science but I’m always drawn to Free Code Camp because I love the mission and the track.

7. Publish a book

This is the most disappointing goal from 2016. I have a lot of ideas for this book. I feel like I’ve writer a few good posts related to this book but in 2016 I struggled to make any progress on my first book.

8. Learn to play an instrument

I have nowhere to practice. The guitar is too loud to practice at night when the kids go to bed. I know this sounds like an excuse and really it is. I’m sure there is a way I could figure out some time to practice or buy an electric guitar with an amp so I could practice with headphones. In the end I have more pressing goals to accomplish but after writing a book this is probably the goal I’d achieve if I didn’t need to worry about earning a living.

9. Raise money or give my time for cause I support

As a charity runner during the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, I raised almost $500 and the Light of Life Rescue Mission Marathon Team raised over $120,000.  I personally didn’t raise as much as I would have liked but earlier this year I didn’t think I was going to do anything.

That was the only charity event I completed in 2016. I’m thinking about what I can do for 2017 but sadly I have other things that are more pressing.

10. Read a book every week

At my six month review, I was on my 27th book. Then I tried reading George Washington’s biography, A life. I still haven’t finished the thing and I think I ended 2016 by reading 30 books.


In the end it was a disappointing end of 2016. At least in terms of the amount of work I completed towards my BIG goals of 2016. After the first seven, or eight, months, I struggled to complete anything towards my goals. I feel the cause of this second half of the year breakdown was due to the lack of a routine and the loss of my exercise anchor. At the end of 2016, I spent a good amount of time thinking about the themes in my life that have led me to past success. In 2017, I’m planning to focus, not on hard goals, but process and direction. I believe focusing on my process, anchors, and routines will allow me to have a good deal of professional success in 2017.

Too low

Too low

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.

– Michelangelo

Yesterday, I was filling out The Five Minute Journal and the above quote was the quote of the day. This is the issue many of us face. I know I face it on a daily basis.

I’m always thinking about aiming lower. Why? Because lower is easier than higher. A three mile run is easy than six. A page of writing is easier than 750 words. A monthly speech is easier than a weekly speech.

We think we’re doing our selves a favor by setting our goals low. When it’s really a disservice because it doesn’t allow us to aim as high as most of us should.

Where are you aiming?

Photo by muvuca at Moeguefile.com.

My big ridiculous goal

My big ridiculous goal

If you listen to extremely successful people it seems they all had some type of crazy goal that motivated them. Gary Vaynerchuk wants to buy the New York Jets. Jim Carey wrote himself a check for a million dollars. Tony Robbins talks about creating big ridiculous goals in your life. One of his big goals was to own this castle on the California coast that overlooked the Pacific. He eventually bought that house.

Why set big ridiculous goals? Tony Robbins thinks most of us sell ourselves short. We compromise. It’s one of the reasons we lack the necessary commitment to achieve the goals we really want. It’s also easier to set compromised goals. Just because the goal is more reasonable to achieve doesn’t mean you’re more likely to achieve it. You could actually be less likely due to the fact that it’s not your main goal.

It has me thinking about the big ridiculous goals I want create in my life. I guess I should create one for each of my nine current themes

  • SPIRITUAL
  • FAMILY
  • PHYSICAL
  • CAREER
  • FINANCIAL
  • MENTAL
  • SOCIAL
  • TRAVEL
  • SELFISH

The one big ridiculous goal I know I want to achieve is that I want to be one of the crazy people signing up to take a flight into space with Richard Branson’s space company, Virgin Galactic. I want to be the type of person who has the type of decretionary money to buy a $250,000 ticket to space.

I’ve always been fascinated with space and I’m not going to become an astronaut the old fashioned way so if I want to go to space one day than it’ll need to be by financial success.

If I look at my above nine themes then I’d place that goal as my big ridiculous Travel goal. For my Social goal, I want to raise a million dollars for charity.

This weekend, I’ll be thinking about the rest. 

What are your big ridiculous goals? Figure them out, plan it, and get started.

Photo by Russel Ray at Russel Ray Photos.

Six Month Update: My BIG Goals for 2016

Here are the ten BIG goals I chose for 2016.

  1. Write a daily blog post
  2. Give a speech every week
  3. Payoff our debts
  4. Create a side hustle
  5. Get involved in a community
  6. Complete Free Code Camp
  7. Publish a book
  8. Learn to play an instrument
  9. Raise money or give my time for cause I support
  10. Read a book every week

Today, I wanted to give a brief update on where I am on completing each of these goals.

1. Write a daily blog post

I’m currently on post 162 out of 365, which mean 26 posts behind schedule. Not ideal but it’s something I can make up over the next six months.  That’s still a lot of writing over the past half a year.

2. Give a speech every week

I think I’m pretty much right on schedule with this goal. It’s amazing that I’ve been doing this almost every week since October of 2015.  All of my speeches have been during Toastmasters meetings, conferences, or contests.  For the second half of the year, I want to focus on doing more speeches outside of my Toastmasters clubs, either at other organizations or online.

3. Payoff our debts

We’ve set up a plan to achieve one of our main goals to pay off our debt which includes school, car, and mortgage loans.  It’s a long term plan but at least we created one.

4. Create a side hustle

I’ve concentrated on other goals at the beginning of the year but this is one of my main goals for the final six months of the year.

5. Get involved in a community

It’s funny how things happen in life.  When I first chose this goal I meant to get involved in the Pittsburgh Startup community.  Their events and locations have not been convenient to my schedule.  Though I did happen to become involved in a different community: Toastmasters.  Last year, I presented at the Fall Conference and this year I participated in the International Contest Speech Competition, completed my first year in club leadership at one club, helped start another club, earned two awards, and lead a breakout session at this Summer’s TLI Conference.

6. Complete Free Code Camp

I will not be completing Free Code Camp this year.  I don’t not have the available time or inclination to spend all my free time coding for over 800 hours.  I do plan to complete the Front-End Development Certificate by the end of the year. Currently, I’m on the Random Quote Generator project.

7. Publish a book

I have a number of random short chapters written but my plan is to have a completed manuscript by the end of the year.

8. Learn to play an instrument

I’d love to complete this goal but I can’t think of anywhere to practice that won’t wake up my kids either in the morning or night.  I’m not giving up but I need to spend some time thinking about how I could find time to practice.

9. Raise money or give my time for cause I support

As a charity runner during the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, I raised almost $500 and the Light of Life Rescue Mission Marathon Team raised over $120,000.  I personally didn’t raise as much as I would have liked but earlier this year I didn’t think I was going to do anything.  I’m still thinking about my plans for the end of this year and the beginning of next.

10. Read a book every week

I’m currently on track with this goal, though some might think I’m cheating because I’m counting audiobooks. I’m on my 27th book on the 27th week of the year.

BIG Goal: Read a book every week

BIG Goal: Read a book every week

Last year, I felt I read much more than I ended up finishing. I started off the year on a role. I think I completed three or four books in January but then things started interrupting my reading time on the T. My commute on the T, which is what Pittsburghers call the trolley, is where I get most of my reading accomplished during the week. In the end I only read about eighteen books.  That was five less than 2014.

That’s disappointing but it’s not surprising.  My wife and I had our second child which has meant a lot of sleepless nights but that didn’t result in me taking the T to work any less. The biggest detriment to my reading was my writing.  Last year, I wrote more and published almost a daily blog post.  Throughout the year I experimented with different writing times.  I woke up early, stayed up late, during my lunch hour, and I tried writing during my commute.  I tried to write whenever I could.

This year, I’m making a point to only read on the T during my morning and evening commute.  I want to read more this year than I ever have in my life.  My other commitments will not take away from this goal.

Another thing that does take away from my reading time and my productivity in general is my phone and social media.  That’s why I’ve installed this Austin Kleon wallpaper as my lock screen. It is the feature image of the day.

My goal is read or listen to a book every week.  I’m usually reading three books at a time.  A business or non fiction book during my commute, an audiobook from my walk to and from the T, and a fiction book before bed.

This past week I completed, Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload by Mark Hurst. I’ll be writing my review later this week.

This week I’ll be completing, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot  by David Shafer, restarting, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink, and continuing to read The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis before bed, so my wife and I can see the movie on our January date night.

Each week, I’ll be writing a Bookbinge post about the book I completed the following week with the goal of complete fifty-two of these posts in 2016.

Now it’s time to read a book instead.


 

Photo Credit: Austin Kleon

BIG Goal: Learn to play an instrument

BIG Goal: Learn to play an instrument

My wife bought me a guitar over a decade ago because I wanted to learn. I haven’t  strummed more than a few notes on it. I’ve always regretted never learning an instrument as a child.

The other day when I was cleaning out our basement. I saw my guitar sitting in it’s case in the corner. I took it out and strummed a few cords. It felt like something I needed to add to my life. 

I’m like most people I love music. I love singing. I’m probably an awful singer but I don’t care. I’m always singing around the house. I’ve never been in a band. I’ve never had any training but it doesn’t matter. It makes me feel good.

As a child, my grandmother was always singing. She’d sing all day long. She’d sing so much that everyone called her,  birdie or Shirley Bird. It’s were I get it from. 

My wife used to, probably still, gets a little annoyed because I’m so cheerful and singing in the morning. On the weekends, I’ll usually wake up, turn on some music to a way to happy channel, and start singing and dancing while I make breakfast.

Before we had kids, most people would probably think this is weird but now that we have children it’s called being a good father.

All this is to say that music is a big part of my life and I don’t even know how to make any. It’s the same reason I learned to code. I wanted to know how to create the technology that runs out life.

This is going to be a difficult goal to complete. I have young kids and the only time to practice is after they go to be but then I’m trying to practice and not waking them up. In our house it’s not that easy. Maybe I’ll need to have to try to soundproof part of my house.

If I can get into the daily habit or weekly habit of practicing than maybe later in the year I’ll try to take some lessons.

This is the I’m finally going to be able to play my decade old guitar.

BIG Goal: Publish a book

BIG Goal: Publish a book

I made the same goal last year and I began working on two book ideas. This year I’m going to publish at least one of them. The book I want to complete is a book of life lessons titled, Dad’s Life Lessons.

It will contain about ten – twenty lessons with a picture I’ve taken for each one. Then I’ll to write a few paragraphs about each lesson about why it’s important.

In the end I want to print two copies for my kids and place one in each of their rooms.

Why?

A number of times, I’ve written about losing my father.  It’s made me think about what my kids would know about me if I passed away today.  I don’t have anything written down for them, other than this blog and my notebooks. Most of that writing isn’t really geared towards them.  They would only know me from pictures, videos, and what others would tell them.  I want this book to explain to them what I think is important, how to live your life, and what I wish for them in the future.

Each lesson will be something I’ve actually said to them.  They’ll be a mixture of both funny and serious. I hope one day they’ll read this book and it will help them understand what this crazy thing called, life, is all about.  I hope it will make them laugh, think, and one day share the advice with their children and the other people they love.

I also hope I’m around to see it happen and we can talk about the book.  I hope they never have to use this book as their only resource to find out what kind of man their father was when they were too young to know me.

If that is the case, then at least I’ll know they have this book that contains a little bit of what I want them to know.

That’s why I’ll be publishing this book by the end of the year.