Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. I’ve been wanted this to be my first post after my birthday and it just took a lot longer than expected to get it all set up.
Calendar Year & Fiscal Year.
For the past couple of years, I’ve started to see my birthday more than just a day to celebrate, but actually more like New Year’s Day in that I spend that time evaluating how the past year went, and my plan for the next 12 months. It helps that my birthday is halfway into the calendar year so when the actual New Year’s Day comes around—the traditional time where people evaluate their year—I just use it as a halfway point to keep myself on the course to accomplishing my goals for my fiscal year.
Be intentional about the future.
This is my third year of writing out my goals for the year, and I believe I’ve benefited tremendously from it. I had heard about making a yearly “growth plan” for a while before, but it wasn’t until I read John Maxwell’s “15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” that I finally sat down and thought about what I truly expect to change in the next 12 months.
Now there have been many elements of my plan that I don’t feel like were constantly on my mind; guiding me on a path towards my goals, but I know just writing it down and putting myself in a mindset to focus intentionally on what I hope to achieve in a frame of 12 months produces this shadow that would linger in my subconscious and I think helped me make more proactive decisions had I never exposed myself to those kind of questions.
Fiscal year 24 in review
Ok I’ll just give an abbreviated version of this years growth plan since the document itself is over 2500 words and I like to keep these posts at short read.
Improvements made this year:
Daily diet tracking via MyFitnessPal
15 minute shower
Doubled reading speed
At least tripled amount books read
Started Knowledge Logging (I’ll wrote a blog post about this later)
Enhanced Habit-building program (Shhh, it’s my secret project)
Started a blog
Started muscle gain (not just weight gain)
Went on a solo (as in apart from family) vacation to NYC
Learned to cook meals from scratch
Cut out soda during week days
Embraced the Reductionist (not quite minimalist) lifestyle
Cut out most tv and movie consumption (not giving up Suits though!)
Reduced internet usage on iPhone during the day.
Created early draft of life goals.
Accepted to Northwest University
Developed a more intentional savings plan
Follow my budget better
What is interesting about this year compared to last year is that I didn’t create that many daily habits, but I achieved more in wholistic projects. I can see how the habits I made from last year affected what I accomplished this past year. An example would be how I had worked on having a fruit/veggie smoothie on a daily basis, and also worked on tracking my food intake. I think those helped me decide to make a commitment to reserve my beloved Dr. Pepper for the weekends and just drink V8 or water during the week.
That is why I believe in the power of habits: they are the foundation of all our decisions. If we can change something about us daily, we can build on that until we’ve completely transformed ourselves to do things we previously thought were impossible.
Looking ahead to next year.
This took a lot longer than I thought it would, but decided to break my future goals into four categories: Learning, Growing, Influencing, & Fitness/Health. I then broke those themes into subcategories and I asked myself to define what success looks like in these categories.
While I was struggling to get myself to imagine what I hope to accomplishment, I had a fun thought exercise: What if you were to meet your future self that lives 365 days in the future? They are still very similar to you in appearance, but they are distinctively different. What do you hope to find different about your future self? I did that and here’s what I wrote:
“If I just open a stream of consciousness, I’d say the version of me that is celebrating his 25th birthday (WHOA! Hold it right there! I’m going to be a quarter-century old next year!!!) would be: Using the habit building system daily, and is guiding others through the system as well. He would be blogging at least twice a week and has built a steady group of readers. He would have bulked up to 175 lbs. and is benching over 250 lbs. He would either have an established foundation of Spanish or has begun the process to learn Spanish. I think he would have established himself in the community at NU and would have started building momentum on innovative social ideas. He would be taking John Maxwell’s advice and plan out the next month out ahead of time. He will have taken time to learn Excel and used that knowledge to revamp the habit-building system.
In order to immerse himself into the community, I believe he would have found a way to shake of the timidity and the passive approach of waiting for others to bring him in and was proactive at making connections.
He would have found a way to balance school, work, personal development, social interaction, fitness and health. While still taking 18+ credits, he will still be reading a book a week (even if primarily through audiobooks) and continue to expand the Knowledge Log Database.”
Just for accountability and as an example for anyone who would like to try this out, here are my goals for this year:
-Read one audiobook every week.
-Read one physical book every month(on average).
-Write down all highlighted notes from books read during the year.
-Highlight the best notes from each book.
Write down notes from sources other than books.
-Stay on pace to graduate by 2016
-Maintain a 3.5 GPA (Min. 3.0).
-Make connection with professors.
-Expand on Speed Reading
-Blog twice a week.
-Keep under 500 words.
-Focus on telling the story of change.
-Set up a budget towards social projects
-Invest in at least 10 projects through Kiva
-Get over 25 people to loan through Kiva.
-Keep $20 in my wallet at all times to give to a person in need.
-Start a Life Group. (either on the theme of personal development, or social investing).
-Get back on the habit-building plan
-Reestablish a habit in using the GTD system.
-Make God a REAL priority again.
-Devotions daily, and actually ponder it daily.
-Wake up to the first alarm.
-Compare planned to actual execution of daily plan
-Minimize worthless browsing time.
-Continue to be investing >20% of paycheck.
-Stay under weekly budget
-Track expenses immediately
-Workout 5 days a week.
-Build up endurance from bike riding and swimming weekly.
-Bench 250 lb.
-Deadlift 450 lb.
-Get below 10% body fat percentage.
-Get some sleep! like, at least 6 hours a day, GEEZ!
Oh, and still be up by like 3:30AM.. So learn to be in bed by 9:30pm
-Solidify the fruit/veggie smoothie habit so its a daily occurrence.
-Lower sugar and sodium content.
-No more fast food. (ok, at least only once a week.)
I hope you notice that all these goals are very much actionable and with further details, they’re measurable. I’m going to make a goal to “Be happier”, because, well, there are many reasons for that example in particular (science stuff) but you can’t effectively measure that. Also I have a secret project that I’m working on that helps take these goals and turn them into direct actions.
Don’t let another day fade into oblivion! Realize that every day is a new opportunity to change not only your life, but others as well! Contact me if you want to know more about any of this I’ve talked about, since I kind of skimmed over a lot of deep details.
“Ending Global Poverty” — Stephen C Smith
“Give and Take” — Adam Grant
Life verse: “But a generous man devises generous things and by his generosity he will stand.” -Isaiah 32:8
Life Mission Statement: To be intentionally focused on providing opportunity and adding value to others.