Here we are, halfway through our current revolution. That’s right; it’s been 6 months since we flipped our Gregorian calendars and celebrated 2019 as a new year. In that time, we’ve celebrated an Equinox, a Solstice, and quite a few birthdays (including mine). Hopefully we’ve also made some progress against our goals, and reached closer to our dreams.
Since the calendar year is such a natural timeframe for short term goals, this midway point feels like a great place to pause and reflect. I’m often guilty of charging forward, head down, for months or even years at a time. So this year, I’m taking this moment to pull my head up, intentionally evaluate the past six months, and mindfully re-frame the next six.
If you follow my blog, you know that this year, as in several years past, I chose to frame my growth around three words, rather than any resolutions.
What you probably don’t know, because I haven’t publicly shared them before now, are the specific goals I set to help me remain focused on those words, and to measure my success.
The goals I set in January are:
- Read 50+ books
- Write 50+ blog posts
- Run 750+ km
- Save X thousand dollars
- Earn a Vice President title at Myriad360
Hopefully you can see how these goals tie back to my three words. Reading is one way to measure learning. Writing is one way to measure teaching. Running and saving money (along with reading and writing regularly) are ways to measure consistency. And earning a major promotion requires all three.
So how am I doing?
- Reading: 28/50 books completed – ahead of schedule
- Writing: 6/50 blog posts published – behind schedule
- Running: 69/750 km ran – behind schedule
- Saving: 0.65*X thousand dollars saved – ahead of schedule
- Working: Promoted to VP – ahead of schedule
Overall I’m ahead of schedule on 3/5 goals – that’s pretty awesome!
I do note that the 2/5 I’m behind on are significantly behind though. In my evaluation, the issue is consistency. While I recognize the progress I’ve made in this area, I must also admit that I have not met my expectations.
Why am I continuing to struggle with consistency?
I could give you the list of excuses. It would be all about the increased level of time and effort I’ve been putting in at home, at work, and in my volunteer positions. I’ve attended 8 conferences, presented at 2, hosted a workshop, obtained two certifications, defined and rolled out a comprehensive go-to-market strategy, helped orchestrate a merger, put more effort into my relationships, been more present with my kids, gotten engaged, and taken a vacation. Whew.
Yet even though all those things are true, they’re still excuses.
There is only one thing that’s really at the heart of my struggle with consistency: Mother fucking hang overs.
Ten to fifteen years ago I could drink all night, show up to work the next day, and do amazing work. Now, at almost 40, a night of drinking destroys my productivity for as long as 3-4 days! What’s worse, is that knowing this, I’ve kept on drinking. Let’s talk about the definition of insanity.
It’s harder than it sounds though – alcohol, and really alcoholism, is so deeply ingrained in our culture that not drinking is a revolutionary act. So I’ve become a guerrilla warrior in the fight against obligatory intoxication.
It’s only been five weeks, so I’m not quite ready to throw myself a parade or anything. I have made it through a NYNOG, a NANOG, an ITW, and my 20 year high school reunion sans booze though. And you know what I’ve missed? Absolutely nothing. Maybe I’ve been a bit less outgoing, a bit less of a clown for other peoples enjoyment. Although I did still end up in a wig dancing on stage at the Hard Rock in Atlanta with a group of amazing and beautiful colleagues I had just met that day…
I’ll go on a tirade about the consumerist cult of consumption later. For now let’s get back on track: 2019 goals.
Based on my first half performance, I’m going to need to make some updates to my specific goals. For the three that I’m ahead on, it’s time to raise the bar. For the two that I’m behind on, it’s time to reset to ensure they are achievable and not discouraging. And I’m going to add one as well.
Raising the Bar
Reading: Raise from 50 to 60 book goal. I’m using the word ‘reading’ loosely here. The vast majority of books I’ve completed this year I’ve actually listened to. Basically, Audible has changed my life. I love being able to “read” a book while commuting on the crowded subway. I’m getting a lot out of it too, and so I’ll crank up my goal to stretch myself in the next six months.
Saving: Keep goal at X thousand dollars. Even though I’m ahead of schedule I’m going to leave this one be. The reason is that I discovered a pretty large tax debt recently, and so all extra diligence around saving will be going to pay that off as quickly as possible. I still want to hit my target cash reserve savings, and I won’t be able to pay the whole tax debt this year – so this one is unchanged.
Working: Go for CTO! This has been a crazy year professionally. I went from ‘Principal Architect’ with 12 reports to ‘Director of Strategy’ with zero reports to ‘VP, Strategy’ with a different 12 reports in the past 6 months or so. I feel like my mandate is clear now though, and so it’s time to really dig into execution. While another major promotion in the next 6 months seems unlikely, I’m still going to raise the bar big time. My rationale is that I want to do this job so well that they have no choice but to give my the big title. While this is a stretch goal (to say the least) and a bit outside of my control (I can’t actually promote myself); I think aspiring towards it will inspire the right behavior in me.
Re-Framing for Success
Writing: Lower target from 50+ to 30+ blog posts. There are 26 weeks left in the year. One post a week plus the 6 I’ve already published would be 32. That makes 30 a bit of a stretch. That’s the point though – consistently writing, continually teaching. It’s time to step up!
Running: Lower target from 750km to 500km. My original math was based on running 3 km/day 5 days/week for 50 of 52 weeks (3*5*50=750). Using that same formula for the 26 remaining weeks (3*5*26=390) and adding in the 69 km I did managed to run so far would put the goal at 459km. I really want to jump start this habit as running contributes to a better state of mind as well as better fitness, and is a great way to demonstrate consistency. Which is why I’m stretching that up to a nice round 500.
Maybe I’m crazy for adding another goal. Probably.
In my defense, I believe that this one will help me achieve the others, and is really pretty lightweight: Meditation.
After re-reading Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior while on vacation a few weeks ago I’ve been toying with a meditation practice. I even attended a local NYC Shambhala chapter “Dharma Gathering,” which included some instruction and guided meditation. One of the things that was said is that meditation can help make space for your thoughts. This resonated. I’m always so go-go-go and my thoughts seem to stumble over one another and jockey for position.
Even in just a couple weeks of inconsistent practice I’ve seen/felt a difference. So I’m going all in. I’m also going to be gentle with myself. 180 days left in the year, so I’ll set a goal of at least 150 days of meditation. All I need to do is remember to sit and breath for five minutes each day. Sounds easy. I know better.
Updated 2019 Goals
Let’s take a final look at my six 2019 goals and then go get to work!
- Run 500+ km
- Read 60+ books
- Write 30+ blog posts
- Meditate on 150+ days
- Save X thousand dollars
- Earn the CTO spot at Myriad360