Got Resolve? 2018 Goals Revisited


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I’ve been thinking about this post off and on throughout the year, and considering how late in the year it is, I figured that I should get to writing one if it was going to happen at all. Of course, I'm talking about an official revisit to my 2018 goals, the ones I discussed at the beginning of the year in the post, “Got Resolve? 2018 Goals Dissected.” I’m glad that I waited to write up a draft. Looking at the notes I made throughout the year is great, and some may sneak their way into this post, but many of them feel incomplete. Now that I've gone almost a full year working to achieve these goals, I feel like I have a much better handle on what I've gained, what they taught me, and how I can build upon that next year.

Did I achieve my goals? Yes—absolutely. Although, there needs to be an asterisk added to that “yes” for the aid of a footnote. I was doing really well tackling my goals as of June, and I had gotten into a great routine to foster that momentum. However, a few things happened that caused the second half of the year to become quite a different beast than the first half. 1) My wife challenged herself to run a marathon after winning an entry. 2) My son did track during the summer instead of karate, which basically gave me less motivation or incentive to keep up with the practice. 3) I modified my original goals by increasing some of their minimum daily times and by adding more goals.

Why would I make my goals harder to achieve by adding more goals let alone increasing the minimum daily times? Well, quite frankly, I felt that if I were easily achieving my goals, then they should be harder. If I wasn't challenging myself, what was the point? How would I know my limits or what was an actual priority in the first place? That's not to say that at their core the goals were meaningless because I could actually accomplish them. Quite the opposite: They were meaningful enough to push further on with them. But, that was this year, next year may be different. I don't want to feel like I can't modify and evolve throughout the year and that I'm stuck in November with what I decided on in January. That’s not helpful to the big picture. I’m not going to be the same person six months later. I don’t necessarily want to be.

I do want to be flexible and allow myself to capitalize on the growth that I've had. I think that growth can easily be seen this year with the daily goals I've set in regards to physical health, which were: 5 minutes of stretching, 5 minutes of karate, 5 minutes of traditional exercise, 5 minutes of drumming, and 48 ounces of water. While some of those goals played a role more than for the sake of physical fitness, one can't deny that they all contribute to physical health by the mere nature of the activity. There's no doubt that drumming and karate are skills in and of themselves and that I wanted to learn a new skill in karate (with my eldest son) and to push myself further in an old skill, drumming.

At the midway point in the year, I increased all of those goals I just mentioned—except karate—to 10 minutes daily. I kept karate at 5 minutes because that is what the teacher wants the kids to do daily, and if I had to choose one, that is the goal that would get cut. I did get behind and grow a time deficit for karate, but I’m slowly making that up as my son and I are attending weekday classes again. I doubt the time debt that I’ve built up for karate will be worked down to zero by the end of the year, but that is certainly the goal if it becomes more doable.

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The rest of those physical health goals were increased to 10 minutes daily because that was more in line with what I was achieving. I was actually doing better than 10 minutes for each of those goals before June, but I didn’t want to make it impossible or too difficult either. I still had/have the mind frame that I want to make it so easy that it motivates me to do them in the first place, not intimidate me, especially when I get behind. I am a little behind on drumming. Among other reasons, it’s in part due to not being able to do that activity anywhere—I need my kit. I’m not going to make excuses, but there is still an explanation. On the other hand, running has become a priority since I’ve started a run streak. To count as an official run streak, it has to be a mile or more, so that is easily at least an average of 10 minutes per day when one considers I run more than a mile some days.

While all of these daily goals contribute to my overall well-being, and they do work together to have maximum gain, stretching and water intake have probably been the most noticeable improvements. Though I have noticed improvements in all of the areas my goals cover, stretching and water gets to the core of everyday well-being. I won't go on in length about the benefits and whys, but I can tell if my water intake has been lower over a period of time, or if I didn't stretch for a day or two. Keep in mind that I've been great about water consumption and stretching daily, but it can be easy to let the day(s) get away from me now and then. In the past, I would put up with aches and tightness and maybe medicate with ibuprofen. Now, I recognize it as not stretching enough. Same with water intake—I can sense the signs that I need to drink much more easily.

The last two official goals from my start in January of 2018 are reading and writing. I never changed the daily minimum times for these two goals because what they were seemed pretty reasonable. I toyed with what they actually meant throughout the year, maybe more of a premonition of how I could redefine or give more detail to them next year, but for the most part, I stuck to the basics.

Reading anything throughout the day for a minimum of 30 minutes was easy. There are a lot of various subjects and mediums to purvey. And, no, scrolling Facebook doesn’t count. However, my reading goal felt very rudderless and that has bothered me. I’ve read out of books, blogs, newsletters, articles, etc. I don’t have a problem with that, but I do want to feel like I’m tackling a deficiency in my life when I set myself a goal. I will read from those various sources regardless of whether I have a minimum time to fill; I wasn't challenging myself. So, next year, I will have a reading goal, and it will be approached differently.

Writing for 15 minutes daily wasn't as easy as I thought it'd be, and I've tried different approaches to help achieve that goal. It's not for the lack of inspiration or outlets, but mostly that it's hard to only write for 15 minutes or feel like starting is even worth the effort. Sometimes it takes that long to get the brain-machine loosened up and chugging in a state of flow. If you take into consideration the outside distractions I may run up against every single day, it makes the process even harder. Like I wrote in a prior post, I bought a laptop and backpack to make my writing more mobile without needing to do it on a phone. That has helped, but it’s not always convenient or possible to just go off and write as I wish. So, I've found that it is just plain easier (and much more efficient) to work with larger chunks of time. This should give you a hint about how the writing goal/practice will evolve next year.

I’ve recently started a new site called Notes.gs, and that will certainly help me achieve some type of daily writing minimum. I also journal occasionally, not as much as I’d like, and that counts toward my time as well. I will talk about my journaling in another post that is more appropriate, but the idea is that it’s things I write down for me and not for other people to read. It's not terribly deep and personal, it just has a different purpose. I’m also a long-time lyricist, though, it’s been a while since I've flexed that particular muscle. When/if that need or inspiration arises, lyrics are another outlet for my writing. My blog, Graham Sedam Writes, does take the largest chunk of my writing time. I’d love to expand my writing into other areas, but that’s pie-in-the-sky thinking as of now. Needless to say, I’ve got ample excuses to write. How I shape my goal and execute it will determine how fruitful the outcome is.

I mentioned adding goals in the middle of the year, but what are those? After I started using a Fitbit, I added the goal of 30,000 steps minimum per day. Soon after, I started my run streak, so that meant running at least 1 mile each day. Even though I've already made reflecting upon what I'm grateful for a habit, though not daily, I added it to my daily checklist to reinforce the habit. I had a similar thought process when I added writing in my "journal." I may not add an entry daily, but I have created a reminder.


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Other than the more obvious benefits I gained this year, what other dividends did I yield?

One thing leads to another, as they say. This was certainly the case with my goals. An arbitrary and vague goal of 5 minutes of exercise a day lead me to becoming a 5k runner with a run streak. Every one of my goals has helped me ask myself general questions such as: Can I do better? What more can I do? What’s important to me? What’s realistic? This general thinking gives rise to more detailed thinking and has leaked into other areas of my life.

I have achieved a greater sense of being able to accomplish just about anything if I have the focus and drive to do it. I could've replaced any goal on my list with something else equivalent, and my success rate would've been the same so long as it was something I was motivated to do. That's incredibly inspiring. It’s a confidence builder, and that can drastically change one’s attitude, perspective, and relationships.

Whenever I got behind on time or thought about how I wasn’t where I wanted to be, it was helpful to remind myself about what I had accomplished thus far and where I was at a year prior. Moments like those kept me going and still do. Forward progress is all one can realistically ask for. Every day, every year is a chance at moving in the direction that I want to.

Soon, it will be a new year and along with it a refreshed outlook on my goals. I can only imagine the transformative essence it holds.



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