I think too many people let life passively happen to them. Sure, sometimes life does come along, smack you in the face and force you to change, but it doesn’t happen as often as you think. You need to change things for yourself. People often over-estimate what they can do in a day (I’m very guilty of this) but vastly under-estimate what they can accomplish in a whole year.
The idea in taking time to think about and formulate goals for the new year is to create a road map for yourself— it’s not a rigid daily schedule, but a broad outline of what matters to you and what you hope to achieve in the next year. It’s not meant to be done in January and tucked into a drawer until December. You should check in regularly, review, adjust and ask yourself if you are making progress.
They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. ~ Andy Warhol
Personally, for me, the idea is not to make bland resolutions that fade by Valentine’s Day. I want a plan of action based on what matters to me and how I want to live my life. To do this, each goal should be specific and measurable. How else will you know if you are making progress?
This isn’t a written in stone. If you hate it or priorities change, change the plan.
The best way to make big things happen? Create a habit of doing a little bit every day. These daily practices should be a ritual. What’s the difference? They should be special, almost sacrosanct to you. Even the parts you dislike. You need to give in and accept it to make the change stick.
I like to aim for 75% achieved. think that’s a good percentage. If I constantly hit 100% of all my goals, I’d be aiming too low. Aim for the moon and at least you’ll end up in the stars.
Goal: Become more flexible
As long as I can remember, I have never been flexible. I aced everything on the Presidential Fitness Test in sixth grade except the sit and stretch. Utter failure. I am not ever become a limber pretzel, but I can do better and I think (hope) that will help my knee arthritis and keep me as active as I’d like to be into the future.
Required Actions: Do a set of daily 10 minute foam rolling and stretching exercise. Find a way to incorporate yoga regularly into my workout routine.
Goal: Run 3 5K’s and do 3 sprint triathlons
I’m still figuring out how to train and compete with the arthritis. What hurts it? What helps it? When can I push it and when should I rest? Racing and competing is an important motivation for me, so I’m keeping some races on the schedule, but trying to stay realistic. I’m hoping some 5K’s and short tri’s will help scratch that itch.
Required Actions: Monitor the knee and sign up for the races when I’m feeling good. I’ve already done one 5k and spoken to friends about doing a few triathlons.
Goal: Doing a HIIT/strength workout once a week
As a runner, by instinct, I despise strength work. I’d rather be running. But as someone that ran themselves into arthritis, I know the folly of that approach. I’m hoping a regular strength routine can both head off further injury and also help me continue to run with the arthritis
Required Actions: Go to the gym once a week. I already have the gym membership and I roped in a friend to do it with me.
Goal: Bike at least 2000 miles & swim at least 50 miles for the year
I’m not putting any running goals pressure on myself besides the handful of races. I am going to put some biking and swimming goals out there to force myself to cross-train consistently and not put too much pressure on my knee.
Required Actions: Swim at least one mile per week. Bike at least 2 hours per week.
Goal: Meditate for at least 3 minutes a day.
Becoming more mindful and deliberate has been on my list for a few years and this is a prime example of trying to reduce the friction as much as possible. I’m aiming for 3 minutes. That’s a very small nibble. If that came become a regular habit, I may up the daily practice to 5 or 10 minutes. But let’s start small.
Required Actions: Make the 3 minute practice a part of something larger and important to me that I do regularly. Do it as part of my fitness cooldown or do it as part of my regular 30 minutes nap.
Goal: Publish 2 books
This is one of the big ones for 2018. If I fall down on this one I’ll be disappointed. Part of 2017 was resuscitating my fiction writing. I’d like to publish two new books this year. One will be a short story collection of mostly previously written material. The other one will be a new and final book in the trilogy I started 5 years ago.
Required Actions: Get website up and working. Edit and revise short stories. Write novel. Publish ebooks.
Goal: Write 125 blog posts for mikeswindow.com
Reviving this blog last year has brought me a lot of joy and helped making writing more of a regular habit. It’s also helped keep my skills in web design, blogging and social media up-to-date. It’s also been really fun. Otherwise, why bother. I want to challenge myself in 2018 with continuing this practice by writing at least 125 new blog posts. That’s an average of 2-3 per week.
Required Actions: Continue the popular Saturday posts and write 1-2 other posts per week on my interests.
Goal: Write at least 5000 words of fiction a week when I’m working on a project
This goal is specific to fiction, so I can’t use blog posts or other content toward this goal. But I’m also not going to force it when my attention is on other projects, either. When I decide to write the novel or revise the shorts, I’ll aim for a 5k weekly word count. I’ve found daily to be too much pressure, but aiming for a weekly goal, where if I miss a day, it doesn’t tank the week, is a more helpful carrot.
Required Actions: Aim for 1k a day for 5 days. Anything else is gravy.
Goal: Write 25 blog posts for treadnut.com
Treadnut.com was part of last year’s side hustle challenge. It’s a long-tail play of SEO-focused content around a niche, here namely treadmills. I’ve got some content up, but need to continue to post to keep it fresh.
Required Actions: Write and publish 2 new posts per month.
Goal: Host 5 gatherings with friends. Attend 5 gatherings with friends.
I’d be perfectly happy hanging with Michelle or by myself most nights. I enjoy all my friends, but as an introvert, my default option is a book and the couch. I am challenging myself to go out there more and host more in 2018. Easier said than done with everyone’s schedule.
Required Actions: Set up some firm dates with friends.
Goal: Be a more positive parent
By default response to people or attention is to often turtle up and close myself off. I’m much more comfortable reading a book alone or typing away on a keyboard than talking and sharing.
Required Actions: Give positive reactions and responses. Be thankful and helpful. Pay attention to family. Choose kindness over frustration.
Work / Side Hustle
Goal: Sell 500 items at Kick & Cadence
Kickandcadence.com is the runner’s swag shop I’m setting up to learn more about running a business, commerce and social marketing. I’d like to sell 500 items from the store in 2018. That’s a scary number for me starting out totally cold with no awareness, but let’s see how it goes.
Required Actions: Get the store up and running. Set up active social media channels. Spread the word. Make some sales.
Goal: Sell/download 500 books
Ideally I’d love to sell 500 books outright, but given how few people know about my author persona, I’ll be happy to have 500 downloads or sales of the books.
Required Actions: Get the website up and running with the free book as a lead gen tool. Run some Facebook and Amazon ads. Write more books if possible.
Goal: Add 500 people to my email lists
According to what I’ve learned, email is still the best place to consistently get and hold people’s attention. I’d like to get my lists started with 500 people.
Required Actions: This would be for Kick & Cadence and my author site. Get lists and campaigns set up in MailChimp. Make sure I have a compelling offer or giveaway to get people to sign up.
Goal: Read more than 50 books
This one is almost a gimme. I love to read and getting back into fiction I can completely justify reading as much as I possibly can as reading more is the best way to becoming a better writer.
Required Actions: Read a book for pleasure once a week.
Goal: Read 6 biographies
Last year, my goals was to stretch my reading appetite beyond general and genre fiction with 12 non-fiction books. I fell short, but it was a good exercise and prompted 2018’s goal. Read (or listen to) 6 biographies.
Required Actions: I’ve already decided on Chernow’s Hamilton and Grant books, plus Isaacson’s Ben Franklin one. So I need to pick 3 more and request from the library or purchase them. I think I may purchase them to give myself more accountability to read them.
Written out that looks like quite a list. But many are daily, lifestyle goals, like working out and reading, with the intention of making consistent habits. Others are one-offs like the social nights out. There are really 4-6 big items that I hope to focus on most like writing and the websites. It doesn’t feel overwhelming. It feels like a challenge. Game on!
So, go. Make your own goals. Just start. Lower the friction or resistance to starting by making it smaller (just meditate for three minutes – really helped me get going). Create barriers to doing your usual distractions (take Facebook off your phone). Just get started. You’l be amazed at what you can accomplish in a year.