New Years Goals: Carpet time

Last year I did some guest posting on my brother’s productivity blog, including listing my goals for 2011:

Goal 1: Exercise 4 times per week
Goal 2: Write 4 posts per week
Goal 3: Make $10,000 from a personal business idea
Goal 4: Write 150 pages of a novel
Goal 5: Develop the behavior of planning and accountability

So how did I do? Well, like most people’s resolutions, I did well for awhile.

Goal 1: Exercise 4 time per week – I worked on this one off and on through the year, but I can’t say I ever got up to 4 times per week, even at my best. Do I have excuses? Sure. Do they make me feel healthier? No.

Goal 2: Write 4 posts per week – I did pretty well on this for a good part of the year. The trouble is my focus changed considerably during the year. Once I got a full-time job I just didn’t have the motivation to keep up on that goal. I combined my blogs into one at one point, too, and this became my “general” blog rather than focused on business. I probably averaged 2.5 posts per week, even with getting a new job, moving to another state, and setting up in a new house. All in all, while I didn’t meet my goal, I feel pretty good about this one.

Goal 3: Make $10,000 from a personal business idea – Nope. I made a lot more than that by just getting a job. Goal 3 was always intended to be a proactive step while either looking for a job or waiting for my existing business to finally start paying off. I got a job, and that rightly took precedence. That’s not to say I haven’t kept working on this goal. I’ve just had to significantly change the parameters of what kind of business idea I can realistically work on. I think I’ve finally found that idea. More on that some other time. I’m considering this goal a success in intent if not in the letter of the law.

Goal 4: Write 150 pages of a novel – Ding! Did that one in spades, even if I didn’t necessarily stick to my plan. Participating in this year’s National Novel Writing Month did the trick, and I’m actually closer to 200 pages and still going. Yay me!

Goal 5: Develop the behavior of planning and accountability – I made some headway on this one, but I really need to do better. I found a reasonable planner, and I found a desk job where I can have my planner in front of me all the time. But I haven’t really developed the habit of using it to full effect. Or even greater than 50% effect. I’ve largely been in fire-fighting mode ever since I moved to Utah, and while I know I could have been more effective, I’m grateful to have survived the past six months at all. I still need more work on this one, but I have made some progress.

All in all, I think I’ll look at this more from the perspective of “what did I accomplish” rather than “did I satisfy my goals verbatim.” In the latter I’d have to call this year a general failure, and I don’t feel like it was a failure. A lot of very positive things happened this year; some of my making, and some I just grabbed onto for dear life and rode them out. So I prefer to focus on my accomplishments.

Quite frankly, my circumstances changed so significantly throughout the year that I really should have revised my goals to coincide. I didn’t, so I’m not going to get too upset about not accomplishing goals that became largely obsolete. In trying to keep up with my goals I learned a few things about myself, which is probably as much or more important as achieving those goals. So let’s take a look at some of those:

– I consciously know that exercise is good for me, but I regularly put other things ahead of it as being more important. That’s still not good, but at least I know that I’ll need to address that if I’m ever going to be successful at that goal.

– I enjoy writing. Even when I felt I no longer had anything to say on the stated topic I still wanted to write something. Readership is nice, but if I don’t get any comments or feedback I don’t really care. I will write regardless.

– I enjoy owning and running a business. Even though I have a full-time job now that makes considerably more money than my business (it wasn’t hard to improve on it, frankly), I really, really miss working in my business. I wish I could be more involved, but I’m glad we’ve found some ways I can still contribute.

– I may finally be mature enough to be a writer. Not a blogger, but a fiction writer. Perhaps if I ever become a professional writer I’ll become a better blogger. But the things that make a good blogger are not necessarily the things that makes one a good writer of short stories or novels. I’m currently neither one, but I think I have a better chance with stories or novels.

– I don’t think my problem is a lack of organization and discipline. At least not my main problem. I find when something matters and/or I enjoy doing it I will do it. I forget things more than I should, but those things tend to be less important anyway. That I forgot something at the store and had to make a second trip (or leave it for my wife next time she goes that way) really doesn’t make that big a difference in the long run. I’m getting the most important things done.

– There is a lot to be said for being in the moment or being spontaneous. Some of the best experiences I’ve had with my family this past year have come from putting aside “the plan” and just going and doing something with my kids. It was hard at first. I get anxious about things I’m not getting done when I had planned to do them. But I think I’ve also been using my “to do” list as a way to avoid my kids. But once I started setting it aside and putting them first I found the rewards were well worth it most of the time. My blog doesn’t give very good hugs. My kids do.

– I still need to figure out a form of exercise that I will do. I can feel my health declining. Part of it is the Holiday Goodie Death March that began at work at Halloween and continues unabated. I have a tin of cookies waiting for me at work. It was given me by a co-worker, so I can’t just say “I’m sick of cookies” and throw them out. Or can I?

So that’s my evaluation of my goals and progress from last year. I’m going to sit on this for awhile before I decide what my goals will be for this year. See you soon!