Goals for 2019.

Every new year, I come up with ambitious new goals to pursue … then forget about them as soon as February. But! I like to think that the act of goal-setting, anytime, allows the goals to seep into my subconscious where they drive my secret unknown behavior all year long. Because when I happen upon my annual goals sometime in November, they never seem all that alien. In fact, I’ve typically accomplished several, unbeknownst to me.

With such a limp-and-loose approach to goal follow-through, I like to think that it affords me some flexibility to how I go about setting my goals each new year.

You can see previous years here: 20132014201520162017, 2018.

This year, I’d like to exercise my right to experiment again. My new-to-me process: 

  • Step One: List all the things I might like to do.
  • Step Two: Get specific about each thing. Turn them into SMART goals
  • Step Three: Place each goal into a bucket: One-year goals, five-year goals, forever goals.
    • NEW! Step Four: Place them into category buckets: Health, Career, Side Projects, etc.
    • Step Five: Choose the 1-3 most important goals of the bunch. Work on them first.
  • BONUS: Create a More of / Less of list.

So without further ado, here’s what I came up with for 2019 goals and dreams.


tl;dr – My two main goals for 2019

1. Submit three book proposals

Elizabeth Gilbert has this notion of honoring our creative ideas because, if you don’t, they’ll leave.

I agreed to enter into a contract with the idea. We would work together. We shook hands on it, so to speak. I promised the idea that I would never fight against it and never abandon it, but would only cooperate with it to the utmost of my ability, until our work together was done.

I feel like I have a few ideas for books, and I wouldn’t be doing the ideas justice if I kept thinking about writing about them rather than simply doing the writing. So off we go!

2. Record 10 episodes of a new podcast.

I love trying new things, especially when I remove any expectation of them needing to be wildly successful. Such is this. I’ve been curiouser and curiouser about podcasting lately, and it’s evolved from happy-go-lucky entertainment to direct challenge of my ability to create things. So here I go! I have the equipment from previous stints on the Buffer podcast, and I have no shortage of ideas. 


My process

1. List all the things I might like to do.

  • Write another book
  • Start my own business
  • Run a blog like I used to do
  • Start a podcast
  • Read five long books
  • Re-read some of my favorite books
  • Plan a trip outside the U.S.
  • Ski 20 times a year
  • Pay off the house
  • Build a WordPress theme
  • Submit a WordPress theme — that they accept!
  • Memorize the book of James
  • Meditate daily for 28 days
  • Practice the seven sacred pauses
  • Play in a card game tournament
  • Monetize a blog
  • Make my own game
  • Visit Japan, New Zealand, or Iceland
  • Own a dog
  • Volunteer somewhere
  • Eat less sugar
  • Be an Instagram star
  • Be a LinkedIn Influencer
  • Create a new blog
  • Get back into photography
  • Get better at the piano
  • See the eye doctor
  • Get a wild hairdo
  • Live until I’m 100

2. Get specific about each thing. Turn them into SMART goals.

  • Submit three book proposals to 50+ literary agents
  • Get 1 paying customer to a new product I’ve built
  • Publish 12 new articles on a brand new blog
  • Publish 13 episodes of a podcast on iTunes
  • Read five long books
  • Re-read 10 of my favorite books
  • Plan a trip to Iceland
  • Ski 20 times a year
  • Pay off the house
  • Build a new WordPress theme
  • Submit a WordPress theme — that they accept!
  • Memorize the book of James
  • Meditate daily for 28 days
  • Practice three of the seven sacred pauses every day for 28 days
  • Compete in a card game tournament
  • Earn $100 from a blog via Carbon Ads
  • Create a game that some (not related to me) plays all the way through
  • Own a dog
  • Volunteer my time to help empower young people
  • Eat no processed sugar
  • Get 10,000 followers on Instagram
  • Become a LinkedIn Influencer
  • Take 500 photographs in a year
  • Play a song by ear on the piano
  • Have an eye doctor appointment
  • Try a new haircut (color or style)
  • Track daily exercise 4x per week

3. Place them into timeline buckets: one-year goals, five-year goals, forever goals.

One year

  • Submit three book proposals to 50+ literary agents
  • Publish 13 episodes of a podcast on iTunes
  • Read five long books
  • Re-read 10 of my favorite books
  • Build a new WordPress theme
  • Submit a WordPress theme — that they accept!
  • Get 10,000 followers on Instagram
  • Become a LinkedIn Influencer
  • Play a song by ear on the piano
  • Have an eye doctor appointment
  • Track daily exercise 4x per week

Five years

  • Get 1 paying customer to a new product I’ve built
  • Publish 12 new articles on a brand new blog
  • Plan a trip to Iceland
  • Ski 20 times a year
  • Pay off the house
  • Meditate daily for 28 days
  • Practice three of the seven sacred pauses every day for 28 days
  • Earn $100 from a blog via Carbon Ads
  • Try a new haircut (color or style)

Anytime

  • Memorize the book of James (∞)
  • Compete in a card game tournament (∞)
  • Create a game that some (not related to me) plays all the way through (∞)
  • Own a dog (∞)
  • Volunteer my time to help empower young people (∞)
  • Eat no processed sugar (∞)
  • Take 500 photographs in a year (∞)

4. NEW: Place them into category buckets.

Writing

  • Submit three book proposals to 50+ literary agents
  • Publish 12 new articles on a brand new blog

Personal brand

  • Get 10,000 followers on Instagram
  • Become a LinkedIn Influencer

Side projects

  • Get 1 paying customer to a new product I’ve built
  • Publish 13 episodes of a podcast on iTunes
  • Earn $100 from a blog via Carbon Ads
  • Create a game that some (not related to me) plays all the way through

Finance

  • Pay off the house

Health

  • Have an eye doctor appointment
  • Track daily exercise 4x per week
  • Eat no processed sugar

Faith

  • Memorize the book of James
  • Meditate daily for 28 days
  • Practice three of the seven sacred pauses every day for 28 days

Fun & Hobby

  • Build a new WordPress theme
  • Submit a WordPress theme — that they accept!
  • Take 500 photographs in a year
  • Play a song by ear on the piano
  • Try a new haircut (color or style)
  • Read five long books
  • Re-read 10 of my favorite books
  • Plan a trip to Iceland
  • Ski 20 times a year
  • Own a dog
  • Volunteer my time to help empower young people
  • Compete in a card game tournament

Like last year, I’ve chosen three main goals and a series of smaller goals.

My success rate last year: 68%

Here is everything I said I was going to
… and what I actually did.

Not too shabby!

Main goals

  1. Post 25 articles to a new blog
  2. Be a guest on 25 podcasts
  3. Record a song on the piano

I did write 25 articles, but they weren’t on a new blog. They were on this blog (the one you’re reading).

I was a guest on 16 podcasts, mostly inbound requests. Halfway through the year, I realized that I’d rather advocate for new and original and different voices to appear on podcasts rather than my voice.

I got really good at playing a few songs on the piano! I didn’t record anything, which is more for technical limitations than piano-playing ones.

All the rest of my goals

I completed the ones in bold. I didn’t do the ones in regular text.

One-year goals

Five-year goals

  • Cook every recipe in Salt Fat Acid Heat (2023)
  • Give 10 percent of earnings to charity (2023)
  • Play in a card game tournament (2023)
  • Make money from a blog (2023)
  • Go whitewater rafting (2023)
  • Go skiing with Evan (2023)
  • Pay off the house (2024)
  • Visit England (2023)

Anytime goals

  • Own a dog (∞)
  • Be good enough at photography that I can shoot a football game (∞)
  • Volunteer at the local animal shelter (∞)
  • Kayak the San Juan Islands (∞)
  • Start my own magazine (∞)
  • Ski at 20 new places (∞)
  • Visit Iceland (∞)

Bonus: To-stop-doing list

  • Don’t eat refined or processed sugar

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