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.

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My 2018 goals

I set yearly goals as an exercise in focus, motivation, clarity, and purpose. I find that I also set them to empty my brain of all the random things I think about and want to do, someday, somehow.

It’s a cleansing feeling to get it all out of my head and onto a list. Plus, there’s a jolt of excitement in revisiting the list toward the end of the year and seeing what kind of person I was when I put the goals together. Did I really want to own a pet? What version of me thought winning a card tournament was possible?

No doubt there will be more curiosities from my list of 2018 goals when I review them later this year. But there’s also no doubting the good feeling I get from putting the list together regardless.

See previous years: 2013201420152016, 2017

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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

whoa-guys-neil-de-grasse-tyson

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 WordPress.org
  • 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 kevanlee.com
  • ✔︎ 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

Publish a Book, Build an App, Play the Piano: My 2016 (and Beyond) Goals

After sharing my full list of 2015 goals last January, I got a really amazing reply that caused me to reflect a bit on how (and why) I set my yearly goals. Here’s the key snippet:

I’ve reached a point where I want to do less, but do those things well. I’m a list maker at heart, and often I find myself unconsciously making a bucket list, and then feeling overwhelmed. So, I sit down and decide what are the three things that I MUST do this year. That pleases my soul.

Love it!

That’s set me on a bit of a different path for thinking through this year’s goal list. I’ve never been a very big stickler for completing goals at all costs. (As you will see below, I met less than 1/3 of my goals from this past year.) But I think there’s some real value in this mindset shift where it’s less about these milestones and targets and more about the journey, no matter where that journey takes you.

Overview: How I (usually) set goals

I do a version of Chris Guillebeau’s life list, which I explained in detail last year. The tl;dr version:

  1. Write down everything you might ever want to do ever
  2. Break it down into measurable goals with approximate deadlines
  3. Group things into 1-year, 5-year, and lifetime goals

Bonus: Write down stuff you want to stop doing also

Here’s a look at last year’s goals and what got done (and what didn’t).

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2015 year-in-review

How I did on my one-year goals:

  • Publish a book about my dad
  • Play a song by ear on the piano
  • Participate in National Novel Writing Month
  • Manage the family budget
  • Memorize the book of James
  • Visit Seattle (✓) – Yes! Spent a long weekend with friends there
  • Write something new every day (✓) – Grateful for the opportunity I have at Buffer that helped make this one happen :)
  • Exercise five times/week
  • Strengthen my faith once per day by reading, prayer, or meditation
  • Go vegetarian for one month  (✓)
  • Contribute to Edward Jones retirement savings (✓)
  • Get a picture published on the Yahoo weather app
  • Write Lindsay a poem
  • Create and publish an iOS app
  • Build a WordPress theme (✓)  – Here it is!
  • Build a Ghost theme
  • Take Demian Farnworth’s writing challenge
  • Observe the 7 sacred pauses
  • Follow the food guidelines in Anticancer
  • Take a parenting class (✓) – Loved it :)
  • Climb the hill behind my house or my mom’s house, watch the sunset
  • Finish reading Divine Conspiracy  (✓) – One of my favorites of 2015

A few 5-year & lifetime goals I managed to knock off, too:

  • Move to a new house in East Boise (2017) (✓) – Yes! Moved in November
  • Read 52 books in a year (2017) (✓) – 59 books!
  • See mewithoutYou play “Oh, Porcupine” (2020) (✓) – Saw them play (they didn’t quite play the song I wanted, but I think I’ll count it anyway)
  • Get a DNA test (∞) (✓) – Yes! Did a 23&Me test, found out I’m G2G

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New this year! The 3 things I MUST do this year

My life list for 2016

Here’s my giant list of things I’d like to do, updated for 2016

  • Publish a book about my dad
  • Learn to play the piano
  • Build an iPhone app
  • Do the 7 Sacred Pauses
  • Give to charity: Pets, brain cancer, Seattle Pacific University
  • Volunteer at the local animal shelter
  • Memorize the book of James
  • Play more board games
  • Visit Seattle
  • Kayak the San Juan Islands
  • Go whitewater rafting
  • Get a Master’s degree in something
  • Exercise daily
  • Pray/Bible/meditate daily
  • Build a draft board with Evan for a Madden game
  • Ski more
  • Mountain bike more
  • Go through dad/son activity books with Evan
  • Build a robot using an Arduino board
  • Be a one-car household
  • Attend a Presbyterian church regularly
  • Play on an organized sports team (e.g., city league)
  • Start a game/sports night
  • Try curling
  • Hike the Foothills
  • Contribute to retirement
  • Pay off the house in 10 years
  • Get a Polaris ATV
  • Write Lindsay a poem
  • Build a WordPress theme
  • Build a Ghost theme
  • Read 52 books in a year
  • Play bridge
  • See more concerts
  • Write stuff on my website
  • Take a parenting class
  • Get a health checkup
  • Get a blood test
  • Find a doctor
  • Play in a card/board game tournament
  • Find and follow an English Premier League soccer team
  • Write Boise State stuff again
  • Make a password that’ll change my life
  • Make lunches for Lindsay and Evan
  • Keep my cactus alive
  • Update Evan’s website with pictures/quotes
  • Monetize my blog
  • Meet the neighbors
  • Do intermittent fasting more consistently
  • Try a meal replacement mix for a month
  • Attend a U.S. soccer game
  • Visit Switzerland with my mom
  • Spend a month each summer in a new place
  • Ski at 20 new places

Take the overall list and break it down into measurable goals with an approximate deadline.

  • Publish a book about my dad and have it appear on Amazon (2016)
  • Play a song by ear on the piano (2016)
  • Build an iPhone app and have it appear in the App Store (2016)
  • Do the 7 Sacred Pauses every day (2016)
  • Give to charity: Pets, brain cancer, Seattle Pacific University (2021)
  • Volunteer at the local animal shelter (∞)
  • Memorize the book of James (2016)
  • Play Cosmic Encounter with a group of friends (2016)
  • Get Thai food in Seattle (2016)
  • Kayak the San Juan Islands (∞)
  • Go whitewater rafting (2021)
  • Get a Master’s degree in something (∞)
  • Be active more days than I’m not (2016)
  • Build a draft board with Evan for a Madden game (∞)
  • Ski Sun Valley (2016)
  • Ride my bike into downtown Boise (2016)
  • Go through The Dangerous Book for Boys with Evan (2021)
  • Build a robot using an Arduino board (∞)
  • Be a one-car household (2021)
  • Listen to 10 sermons from First Presbyterian Hollywood (2016)
  • Play on an indoor soccer team (2021)
  • Start a monthly game night with friends (2021)
  • Join a curling club (2021)
  • Hike the Foothills (2016)
  • Contribute to retirement account (2016)
  • Be on pace to pay off the house in 10 years (2016)
  • Get a Polaris ATV (2021)
  • Write Lindsay a poem (2016)
  • Build a WordPress theme (2016)
  • Build a Ghost theme (2021)
  • Read 52 books in a year (2016)
  • Win a game of bridge against real people (2021)
  • Play Rook at least once (2016)
  • See Underoath in concert (2016)
  • Write an article per month on kevanlee.com (2016)
  • Take a parenting class (2016)
  • Get a wellness checkup (2016)
  • Get a blood test (2016)
  • Find a primary physician (2016)
  • Play in a Hearts tournament (2021)
  • Know the score of every Crystal Palace game (2016)
  • Write a weekly Boise State football article (2021)
  • Make a password that’ll change my life (2016)
  • Make lunches for Lindsay and Evan (2016)
  • Keep my cactus alive for the entire year (2016)
  • Publish at least one picture/quote to Evan’s website each week (2016)
  • Earn $1 from my personal website (2016)
  • Know the names of all our immediate neighbors (2016)
  • Do intermittent fasting more consistently (2021)
  • Try a meal replacement mix for a month (2016)
  • Attend a U.S. men’s soccer game (2021)
  • Visit Switzerland with my mom (2021)
  • Ski at 20 new places (∞)

One-year goals: This list gets reviewed a few times a year, and I create next year’s goals each December. I break this list down into further specific categories. Some of mine are Writing, Health, Business, Friends, Family, Service, Travel, Income, and Giving.

  • Publish a book about my dad and have it appear on Amazon (2016)
  • Play a song by ear on the piano (2016)
  • Build an iPhone app and have it appear in the App Store (2016)
  • Do the 7 Sacred Pauses every day (2016)
  • Memorize the book of James (2016)
  • Play Cosmic Encounter with a group of friends (2016)
  • Get Thai food in Seattle (2016)
  • Be active more days than I’m not (2016)
  • Ski Sun Valley (2016)
  • Ride my bike into downtown Boise (2016)
  • Listen to 10 sermons from First Presbyterian Hollywood (2016)
  • Hike the Foothills (2016)
  • Contribute to retirement account (2016)
  • Be on pace to pay off the house in 10 years (2016)
  • Write Lindsay a poem (2016)
  • Build a WordPress theme (2016)
  • Read 52 books in a year (2016)
  • Play Rook at least once (2016)
  • See Underoath in concert (2016)
  • Write an article per month on kevanlee.com (2016)
  • Take a parenting class (2016)
  • Get a wellness checkup (2016)
  • Get a blood test (2016)
  • Find a primary physician (2016)
  • Know the score of every Crystal Palace game (2016)
  • Make a password that’ll change my life (2016)
  • Make lunches for Lindsay and Evan (2016)
  • Keep my cactus alive for the entire year (2016)
  • Publish at least one picture/quote to Evan’s website each week (2016)
  • Earn $1 from my personal website (2016)
  • Know the names of all our immediate neighbors (2016)
  • Try a meal replacement mix for a month (2016)

Five-year goals: This list gets reviewed once a year and contains some of the “big things” you hope to do in the near future. Note that as some of the goals on the one-year list are completed, other goals from the five-year list shift down.

  • 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: This list gets reviewed once a year and includes everything that you want to do, but either don’t have a timeline for or will take a long time to accomplish.

  • 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, 2016

The best way to stop spending time on unnecessary distractions is to make a “to-stop-doing list.” This is better than a to-do list, because it helps you see what’s bringing you down. Your to-stop-doing list is exactly what it sounds like: a list of things you simply don’t want to do anymore.

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

The Life List of Radical Goals: How to Set Goals for the New Year

For the past four years—ever since I read Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity, in fact—I have created a life list of radical goals.

These are goals that I am eager to accomplish in the coming year or the next five years or at some point, any point, ever. I write down anything and everything that I might ever hope to accomplish or experience, and then I set a plan to reach these goals some time soon—maybe in the coming year, or maybe the next 20 years. The point isn’t so much “when.” I’ve found it just as useful to reflect on the “why” and the “what” of these goals. Knowing what you want to do is a huge step toward someday doing it.

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The 2014 year in goals

Before I get to the present, let’s take a look at the past. The following were my one-year goals for 2013.

  • Compete in a Hearts tournament. Nope. Have you ever tried finding a Hearts tournament? Impossible.
  • Participate in National Novel Writing Month (✓). Participated, did neither finish nor fare particularly well.
  • Get organized, live simply (✓). Removed a lot of clutter. Gave a lot away. Still have a lot more to remove and give.
  • Manage the budget. Check transactions monthly. Nope.
  • Read Positive Discipline: Zero to Three Years (✓).
  • Have a game night/afternoon with friends at least once a month. Nope. Played more board games on the iPad though.
  • Write a book – any book (✓). Wrote an e-book that I can’t remember the name of right now.
  • Attend a Steelheads game. Nope.
  • See Scott and Hannah (✓).
  • See Nicholas (✓).
  • See Joshua and Lori. Nope.
  • See Casey and Alyssa. Nope.
  • Wish lanterns on the beach (✓ sorta). We did wish lanterns in the back yard, almost burned the neighborhood down.
  • Ask for at least one gift from KickStarter (✓). Bought myself a gift from Kickstarter: $3 for Coin Age, a map the size of a business card that someone turned into a game.

And here’s the to-stop-doing list of 2013:

  • Working. Still working on that (see what I did there?).
  • Watching movies / TV shows I don’t like (✓).

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Now, onto 2014… Continue reading