Today, I’m starting a new Pick Four notebook. I’ve selected my four goals, committed, and written out a plan to achieve them.   Other than filling out the notebook every day, I don’t want to have a single day where I have to write NOTHING in capital red letters, this is something the notebook suggests and I find helpful to keep you accountable, because I accomplished nothing towards that goal. I don’t care about how small the task, at least it’s something. It’s a step in the right direction like a single sentence blog post to keep my goal alive.

Not everything needs to be huge, or perfect, it just needs to accomplished.  That’s really what the drip method is all about.

Small accomplishments everyday will eventually turn into something.

Thinking About Balance

Thinking About Balance

This week, I’ve been completing the pre work for my new Pick Four goals but I also want to have some side goals for the other areas of my life that I don’t want to neglect.  These side goals aren’t big projects that will take a considerable amount of time to complete each night but they are something to complete ever day that can help me become a balanced person.  

How do you create balance in your goals?

In the Pick Four notebook there are seven main areas to balance.  My main pick four goals represent Career, Financial, Social, and Mental.  The three side goals I’m creating represent the three leftover areas: Family, Physical, and Spiritual. Here are my three side goals to make me a more well rounded and balanced person:
Be Present –  Don’t play on my cell phone around our kids.
Create the habit of completing a nightly and morning routine.
Complete 5 minutes of meditation a day.

These are three goals I’ll complete each day without much extra effort like spending five minutes on my couch in the morning in mediation. putting my cell phone on the bookshelf when I get home from work and not touching it until our kids go to sleep, and creating a morning and nightly routine to help me get to work by 7am, meditate, and complete my other goals in the morning and help, at night, to clean up the house and prepare for the following morning.

Are your goals balanced?

Time Constraints

Time Constraints

Today, I’m thinking about my limited amount of time while I’m trying to come up with my four most important goals for my new Pick Four Notebook. I have four goals that I want to achieve but I also want to run a marathon for charity this spring. 

Every year around this time, I seem to bite off more than I can chew. I’m like most people I like new things, especially new goals. I look at the things I want to achieve during the year and think about how I could do this or that. Soon I’m taking on more goals than I can handle. 

In 2016, I don’t want to fall into the same trap. I only want to focus on four goals at a time. Even though there are many things I want to achieve. I know there are a few that I have to achieve. This set of goals is to achieve those goals I’ve been delaying so I can finally conquer them. Only then will I be able to move through my continuously growing list of goals.

I’m never going to get more time. All I can do is concentrate my time on the things that matter.

You can change

You can change

Quote of the Day:

Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.

– Euripides

 Yesterday, I began filling out a new Pick Four notebook because I feel the need to regain the structure of thinking about my four goals each night before bed and then reviewing my progress at the end of each week. 

I’ve been writing my goals out each day but the end of the year I like to reevaluate, look at what I’ve accomplished, and plan out my Pick Four goals and my BIG goals for 2016. I’ll write blog posts at the end of the year to recap my accomplishments in 2015 and what I failed to complete.  Then I’ll focus on what I want to achieve in 2016.

For the next few days, I’m going to the preliminary steps of the notebook to decide what are my four most important goals, why I want to complete them, devise a plan to achieve them, and figure out who I can ask for assistance when this process gets hard because it always does.

Here are my notes from the preliminary steps of the Pick Four Notebook up to the Dream List. 

First off…

There is no difference between you and the highly successful people you aspire to be.  You’re no different and your family, genes, and luck doesn’t make a difference. That’s just a myth.

Quote to live by:

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

This quote makes me feel like the goal in life is help others and give back. I want this to be one of my main themes of 2016.

How do you change? The answer is simple:

To change, do these three things:

  1. Small steps work.
  2. Consistent effort works.
  3. Group support works.

Set a goal, and in small, consistent steps, work to reach it. Get support from your peers when you start flagging. Repeat.
Understanding the nature of goals

Four goals, every day, reviewed every week.

The three incredibly difficult steps (which are surprisingly easy to describe)

  1. Accept that people following the goals process actually accomplish more. Your effort pays off.
  2. Choose from among the many things you say you want. Discover the few achievable goals you’re actually willing to work to achieve.
  3. Stick with the program. Do it every single day until you’re done or until you realize that you don’t actually want the thing you said you wanted.

Zig Ziglar

Listening to Zig Ziglar audiotapes changed Seth Godin’s life.  I’ve listened to these audiobooks before and I’m going to relisten them in the coming week.  This time I’m going to make sure to take notes and write about them here. Seth can’t recommend them enough and I have to agree with him. They funny, informative, and an excellent lesson in story telling from a master.

Proof that goals work

Read the scholarly paper titled, “Building a Practically Useful Theory of Goal Setting and Task Motivation – A 35-Year Odyssey.” This is optional but I recommend it because it reinforces the benefits of this program.

The main theme of the paper is, goals work. The paper’s key points:
1. Goals direct attention and effort toward goal-relevant activities and away from goal-irrelevant activities.
2. Goals have an energizing function. Goals create effort.
3. Goals affect persistence. Goals prolong effort.
4. Goals rally us to bring task-relevant knowledge and strategies to the problem at hand.


First challenge: Only thing holding us back is us.

Second challenge: choosing what you want. Have to make choices. Choices are hard. Reveals what you care about. If you don’t care, it doesn’t matter. If you care, then you’ve just made yourself responsible for your future.

Tip: Be brutally honest.

Drip, drip, drip

Today and next few days I’m going to fill out my Dream List then create a plan to accomplish.

Image by Corey Keller

Pick Four: End of the Year

Too many goals, too little time.  If I could choose only four what would they be? These are aside from my daily goals that I wrote about yesterday.

1) Complete an hour of code.

Completing an hour of code doesn’t mean I only have to complete an hour on Free Code Camp, where I’m learning Full Stack JavaScript.  Why can’t I alternate between data science and full stack programming?

My version of completing an hour of code a day can include coding, or reading/learning about programming, technology, or data science.

2) Build my personal brand.

This can be the same as building a trail, which I also like to talk about on this blog.  This can include a lot of things but I really want to create projects, complete goals, and connect with as many people as possible so I no longer have to send out another resume.

3) Become debt free.

The goal is to create a plan to become debt free, implement, and stick with it.

4) Complete a speech every week until the end of the year.

I’ll see how the end of the year goes and then I’ll reevaluate this goal. One of my main goals for 2016 is to speak at other venues than my local Toastmasters clubs like a Tedx event.

What goals are you planning to complete for the end of the year or the start of 2016?

Wrestling With My Routine

For about the last week, I’ve been adjusting my daily routine and I’ve been struggling to decide which is the optimal time to complete my work.

At night, I can squeeze in more time and work but it seems like the work isn’t as good as the morning because there are moments when I almost fall asleep at my computer. I think I need to start making a cup of tea after the kids go to bed and gut it out. If I start around 10pm, I can get 2 or 3 hours of work done a night.

In the morning, I can tell myself to wake up at a certain time but actually doing it is another thing. The most I can get done in the morning is an hour, maybe two if I hustle. That means I need to go to bed right right my kids go to bed which is around 9:30, get about 6 hours sleep, and wake up around 4 or 4:30. After my morning work goals, I eat breakfast, shower, and get dressed to leave for work by 7:00. It’s a tight schedule.

I think I know what I need to accomplish but neither situation is optimal. I need to drink some caffeine and get a handle on my nightly side hustle work sessions, so I can accomplish what needs to be done and free up my mornings to relax, eat a healthy breakfast, prepare for the day.


Craft Beer

About 8 years ago, I tried my first craft beer at a Mad Max, outside of Pittsburgh. A friend, who worked at the restaurant asked me to try it. All I remember is that it was an IPA. I didn’t even know what an IPA meant back then. I was used to drinking the typical college kid beer: Miller Lite, Budweiser, and Pabst. Needless to say, I thought the IPA tasted awful, similar to the way my dad (a blue collar Strohs, MGD, & finally a Michelob man) would describe his first experience with a craft beer only a few years later. Unlike me, he never changed his mind.

Then I started my first job and I had a great boss. He was my boss’s boss and I sat in the cubicle right outside his office. I went to a few happy hours with him and some coworkers who were all craft beer fans. I started trying different things and realized what I liked and didn’t like. I only stayed in that position as a contract employee for about a year until I found a full-time gig but my love of craft beer started then. It didn’t become my beer of choice until a local six pack shop opened down the street from my house.  I started trying different things, a big deal in a state like Pennsylvania where you couldn’t buy a six-pack unless you were in a bar, and it allowed me see what I liked. I started with the typical seasonal beers like summer, winter, and Oktoberfest. Then I ventured off into other types like pale ales and my favorite IPAs. 

I don’t drink beer to get drunk anymore. Now you can find me buying any kind of crazy type of beer because I’m interested in the taste and how they got it to taste that way. I’ve been meaning to start brewing my own beer with a set my wife bought me but I never seem to find the time. It’s something I really need to remedy.

It’s the Golden Age of Beer.  Before it used to be looked at as the working man’s drink but now it’s the drink of choice for many.  This is probably because now more than ever the differences between beer and wine are so small.  Beer is similar to wine.  Good beer is evolving and can be stored for years to increase it’s quality.  That’s why I love craft beer.  It’s evolved beer towards a higher standard of quality and taste.  I got sick of all the beer I drank tasting the same.  I wanted something better, some variety, and not gimicky advertising.  

I should use Super Bowl commercials as a list of things not to try, atleast when it pertains to food, because I try not to eat at McDonalds, drink Pepsi, or grab a bag of Doritos as a snack. If I don’t do those things then why  should I drink their beer equivalents of Buderwieser and Miller products? I shouldn’t.

I want something brewed with care by people that actually drink good beer, and not be tricked by some ad agency trying to convince me that drinking their beverage either makes me a man or appealing to the opposite sex.  

Sorry, I can think for myself and I am choosing not to drink your Long John Silvers garbage water.