For the first time in my life, I’ve decided that maybe it’s not complete bullshit to define some goals for the coming year. 2017 provided many new insights, mountains of new ideas, and considerable growth. I’m not quite the same person I was back then.
But it’s not enough. I can’t stop here; I haven’t quite reached my intended destination, and I think I can enjoy the journey more.
My biggest progression is knowing with certainty what I want, nay need, to achieve in the next five years: I need to achieve a degree of freedom that being an employee cannot provide. There are too many goals and dreams and experiences that just don’t fit into evenings, weekends, and vacations.
In the past this freedom was always a far off wish, an unachievable dream, something that normal people just couldn’t do.
But not anymore. I have both a right and a left hook against this blasphemous belief.
Right hook: I have allowed my consciousness to be slowly been penetrated by the notion that this life of freedom is achievable. People have done it, are doing it. Thus, I can do it.
Plus, now I come in with the left and smash this fallacious belief that I am normal, and that I am (or should want to be) like everyone else. I am not, and have never been. Not on the inside, not in my core. I am different, I am unique and I am wonderful. Only by breaking down this mental barrier can I achieve.
Through this desire to change my life and improve my situation, I have set some pretty challenging goals to help guide me through 2018.
Below is the outline and summary of my roadmap for 2018, with explanations in italics.
1. $50k income from sources other than 9to5
Since joining the corporate world after graduating ten years ago, nearly all of my income has been derived from my corporate employer.
This needs to change. Personal goal #1 is the most challenging, as I have only foggy ideas about where to start and how to go about this. I missed the bitcoin craze! J Pursuing this goal is the activity which I most actively avoid. This is where I need to focus my efforts.
2. 50 Medium posts
This one is challenging, but not impossible. It’s less than one per week, which should be doable. Writing is cathartic, but without focus it will be fruitless.
3. Write and self-publish an e-book
This could perhaps contribute a bit to goal #1, but only if it’s good, which is yet to be seen. I have ideas for this, and even an outline with the first few pages of a manuscript, which could serve as the basis. I’m looking forward to this.
4. Record 8 songs and publish and EP
This is the one I’m most passionate about, and which could be the easiest to achieve. When I was in high school I led a rock band which played on average twice per month around Toledo, Ohio. For many years now though, I’ve tried to suppress how important music is to me, how large a role it plays in my life. This fall I purchased some recording gear (mic & interface) and have started doing some recording. This is my “easy” goal. This will be fun.
5. >=1 OD tri, >2 VD tri, >2 runs, 1 new race; set new personal bests
Three summers ago I got into fitness and started competing in triathlons (and the odd half-marathon). Over this past summer, it wasn’t really a focus. Too many competing activities: a small child — no desire to go swimming — a nagging hip injury — all kept me from training actively and minimized my interest in competing. This winter I will start again, and next year I will be in the best shape of my life — all whilst tackling some pretty intense goals. Although, it is only through discipline that I can achieve.
1. Uplift and support wifey and the chilluns in any way possible
This is the most important challenge, it can also be the hardest. It’s too easy to wish for more time for myself (as I spend an hour thumbing through facebook), wish for the kids to go to sleep, hope for another chance to get out on the bicycle, dread reading another book, avoid another discussion about what we should eat or what to watch or what we need to buy next. If these topics and activities are important to them, the conversation is important to me. I need to be encouraging and uplifting and patient and stand behind them more than I regard to be possible.
2. Look for the positive in everything the family does
Children are magical creatures, and my mrs is an amazing woman who does so much for me and for the good of our family. She keeps us all on track and moving in the right direction, and has the best intentions for our household. But in the mind-numbing day-to-day, it’s so easy to overlook these actions and how they contribute to my comfort and well-being.
3. Make acquaintance with two neighbor families
About two years ago, we moved into our house in a newly built section of our neighborhood — which means lots of young families. I’m terribly ashamed to admit it, but I haven’t had more than a passing exchange with any of these people who live so close. I’ve never brought a beer over to one of them — or invited them over for steaks. Basically, I’m a shitty neighbor. This year we will break down these barriers. We may not become best buds, but a beer in the street on occasion wouldn’t hurt any of us.
4. Call my sister twice a month
Over five years ago, I moved across the ocean and away from all that I grew up with. I have one sibling, a younger sister. When our parents die (and eventually they will), she will be my closest remaining relative. And she isn’t much of an initiator. A great responder, but never making first contact. If I call we can chat. If I write, she writes back. It’s not uncommon for us to go weeks or even the occasional month without communicating. I have neglected the importance of this relationship over the years, and I am half of the equation.s
Mottos and principles
Motto: do the hard thing
Benjamin Hardy says: “If it doesn’t suck, it isn’t worth doing”. My experiences over the past few years have only confirmed it. The easy challenges aren’t nearly as much fun and don’t provide much in the way of long-term satisfaction. So this year, given the choice, I will do the hard thing. Doesn’t mean to be stupid and stubborn, but I will stop taking the goddamned easy way out.
These are pretty self-explanatory and using them should help me make the right decisions over the coming year, and help me get to where I want to be.
1. Say yes, to good opportunities which advance my causes; say no to bad opportunities; avoid rash decisions and gut yes/no responses
2. Reduce consumption of all vices
3. Family first
4. Look for ways to give back
5. Try one new thing per week
6. Finish what you start
7. Journal every day
8. Go to bed early