Health, Memory, and More Instagram Followers Than Coolio: Everything I Hope to Do in 2017

For the last several years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), I’ve set yearly goals. I’ve not been great at achieving them, but I sure do enjoy setting them. Most recently I shifted the goal-setting rules so that there were only one or two main goals that I’d aim for each year and then a bunch of smaller ones that I wouldn’t feel too bad if I didn’t meet. Here’s what the list for 2017 looks like.

1. Log 7,500 highly active minutes on my Fitbit

I’d love to focus on health in 2017, no matter what form that takes: more weights, more cardio, Whole30, Crossfit, mud run, America Ninja Warrior, etc. In general, being active will be a great outcome, and my Fitbit can tell me how I’m doing. It tracks activity, which is anytime my heart rate gets above 100. And 7,500 minutes this year would be 30 minutes per day (minus weekends) — a very doable goal, even if I’m way behind come September and need to run a half-marathon.

2. Memorize the book of James

I used to memorize stuff all the time, and I haven’t done as much lately. Fortunately James is one of the shorter books of the Bible (and one of my favorites), so I’m hoping the memorization muscle is still there. Like riding a bike?

3. Get 10,000 Instagram followers


Today: 106 followers. You can follow me here.

(I’m motivated not so much by ego — I don’t think, at least — but much more by curiosity. How do people get so many Instagram followers? What’s the key to Instagram growth? Can I figure it out?)

(Oh, and technically Coolio has 22.4 Instagram followers, so to top him, I’ll have to really  go above and beyond.)

The rest of my goals are split into things it’d be neat to achieve this year (2017), things that would be neat to achieve anytime in the next five years (2022), and things I’d love to achieve anytime (∞).

One-year goals

  • Send at least five emails to the newsletter list I’ve built from my website
  • Learn 10 new songs on the piano
  • Ski Sun Valley
  • Subscribe to a sermon series on Soundcloud
  • Write Lindsay a poem
  • Build and ship a WordPress theme that people can download at
  • Come up with 3 new passwords
  • Keep doing the 7 sacred pauses, daily
  • Find a professional mentor and chat monthly
  • Listen to an audiobook / e-book with Whispersync
  • Complete a Treehouse course
  • Bike the foothills x1
  • Finish a Gomix course
  • Write the first chapter to three new books
  • Get published on BuzzFeed
  • Attend a concert

Five-year goals

  • Give to charity: Pets, brain cancer, Seattle Pacific University (2022)
  • Go whitewater rafting (2022)
  • Go through The Dangerous Book for Boys with Evan (2022)
  • Win a game of bridge against real people (2022)
  • Play in a Hearts tournament (2022)
  • Do intermittent fasting more consistently (2022)

Anytime goals

  • Volunteer at the local animal shelter (∞)
  • Own a dog (∞)
  • Kayak the San Juan Islands (∞)
  • Ski at 20 new places (∞)

Bonus: To-stop-doing list

  • Eat refined or processed sugar (w/ one cheat day each week)

And if you’re curious how I did last year, this is a recap of how things went:

One-year goals:

  • ✔︎ Publish a book about my dad and have it appear on Amazon
  • ✔︎ Play a song by ear on the piano
  • Build an iPhone app and have it appear in the App Store
  • ✔︎ Do the 7 Sacred Pauses every day
  • Memorize the book of James
  • ✔︎ Play Cosmic Encounter with a group of friends
  • ✔︎ Get Thai food in Seattle
  • ✔︎ Be active more days than I’m not
  • Ski Sun Valley
  • ✔︎ Ride my bike into downtown Boise
  • Listen to 10 sermons from First Presbyterian Hollywood
  • Hike the Foothills
  • ✔︎ Contribute to retirement account
  • ✔︎ Be on pace to pay off the house in 10 years
  • Write Lindsay a poem
  • Build a WordPress theme
  • ✔︎ Read 52 books in a year
  • Play Rook at least once
  • ✔︎ See Underoath in concert
  • Write an article per month on
  • ✔︎ Take a parenting class
  • ✔︎ Get a wellness checkup
  • ✔︎ Get a blood test
  • ✔︎ Find a primary physician
  • ✔︎ Know the score of every Crystal Palace game
  • Make a password that’ll change my life
  • ✔︎ Make lunches for Lindsay and Evan
  • ✔︎ Keep my cactus alive for the entire year
  • ✔︎ Publish at least one picture/quote to Evan’s website each week
  • ✔︎ Earn $1 from my personal website
  • Know the names of all our immediate neighbors
  • Try a meal replacement mix for a month
  • ✔︎ Win a chili cook-off

Five-year goals:

  • Give to charity: Pets, brain cancer, Seattle Pacific University (2021)
  • Go whitewater rafting (2021)
  • Go through The Dangerous Book for Boys with Evan (2021)
  • ✔︎ Be a one-car household (2021)
  • Play on an indoor soccer team (2021)
  • Start a monthly game night with friends (2021)
  • Join a curling club (2021)
  • Get a Polaris ATV (2021)
  • Win a game of bridge against real people (2021)
  • Play in a Hearts tournament (2021)
  • Write a weekly Boise State football article (2021)
  • Do intermittent fasting more consistently (2021)
  • Attend a U.S. men’s soccer game (2021)
  • Visit Switzerland with my mom (2021)

Lifetime goals:

  • Volunteer at the local animal shelter (∞)
  • Kayak the San Juan Islands (∞)
  • Get a Master’s degree in something (∞)
  • Build a robot using an Arduino board (∞)
  • Ski at 20 new places (∞)

To-stop-doing list 

  • ✔︎ Check the mail every day
  • ✔︎ Shop in real stores
  • Eat sugar

Do No Harm

donoharmWe have achieved most as surgeons when our patients recover completely and forget us completely.

^^ Henry Marsh

I was really interested in this one with my family’s history of brain surgery in particular. The stories did not disappoint — all super interesting and very inside baseball. Dr. Marsh’s outlook didn’t quite resonate as strongly with me, which is to take nothing away from the cool stories here.

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Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity

ignore-everydobyPut the hours in, do it for long enough, and magical, life-transforming things happen eventually.

^^ Hugh MacLeod

This is a pretty smooth and direct inspirational book for anyone looking for a creative burst. The ground-breaking bits for me were the reminders about getting work done and on taking advice from others (Hugh’s advice on advice: don’t take it). A couple nuggets and gems below.
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How to Run a Side Project When You Don’t Have Time for Side Projects

I’m beyond thrilled to have had the chance to write for the Trello blog. Big thanks to Lauren and the team for letting me ramble on about how I approach side projects.

Content Tips for Busy People: 30 Content Marketing Tips You Can Implement in an Afternoon

I really wanted this to be a 30,000-word guide to content marketing.

#1 on Google.

1000s of social shares.

Linked to by Copyblogger’s Brian Clark!

And the more and more I thought about it — and the more and more I’ve been amazed at the 30,000-word content marketing resources currently out there — I came around to this one small thought:

What’s the best way I can help you have the biggest impact on your content today?

For me, I tend to get my best, most actionable insights in bite-sized snippets. One of my favorite newsletters is from 500 Distro, a newsletter called #DistroSnack where each daily email is bite-sized — 50 words or less, plus a GIF. So …

I would love to help you, today, in 50 words or less, plus a GIF.

It might not be an email newsletter series (yet), but it is a post that you can skim and grab a nugget, or bookmark and revisit. Actionable snacks galore. :)

Thanks for the chance to share these tips with you. Thanks for reading!

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A Framework for Understanding Poverty

understanding povertyBeing in poverty is rarely about a lack of intelligence or ability.

^^ This!

I’ve never thought enough about poverty — what it’s like for people, how they get there, how they get out —  so I’m grateful for the lessons in this book and how they’ve opened my eyes to the challenges of poverty.

Loved: The sections on hidden rules, “could you survive in poverty,” and the amazing empathy and perspective shared for those who are in poverty.

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We Are All Weird

we-are-all-weirdWe don’t like the advertising that’s not for us, not about us, not interesting to us. But talk to me, directly to me, about something relevant and personal, and I love you for it.

^^ Seth Godin

I might need to make it a personal calendar appt to read a Godin book every six months. Poke the Box was great, this one’s rad, too.

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7 Solid-Gold Copywriting Tips for Growth Hackers

Big thanks to Brian and the Autopilot team for letting me ramble a bit about my favorite copywriting tips. I’ve already found myself going back to this post for the info on customer development questions. Guest posting = Evernote!

Positive Discipline A to Z

Positive Discipline A to ZMaking sure the message of love gets through is the greatest gift you can give your children.

^^ Positive Discipline

This is the parenting style that we’ve chosen to raise our son, and we are completely and totally sold out for it. The quote above really says it all: “Making sure the message of love gets through.” This book in particular is about specific solutions to common parenting problems and how to approach them from a positive discipline mindset. Super helpful and actionable. (If you’re new to Positive Discipline, I’d recommend starting here.)

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Several Short Sentences About Writing

several short sentencesEverything you notice is important.

Let me say that a different way: If you notice something, it’s because it’s important.

^^ Verlyn Klinkenborg

I’ll read just about any writing book I can, and I tend to have a pretty short list of ones I find worth marking up. In Several Short Sentences, the several short sentences are a very literal thing as the way Verlyn Klinkenborg writes breaks up sentences into their own line and there’re no chapters to speak of in the book. It was a fun read, and I found plenty of good takeaways and encouragements here to heartily recommend giving this one a look.

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