On Monday, I shared my year in review for 2012. The past twelve months were a time of transition, and I’m happy with how my life has changed in the past year. Now, however, it’s time to look forward to 2013, to prepare plans so that life can be even better.
In recent years, I’ve consciously shied away from New Year’s resolutions. I’ve used a “one goal at a time” technique to achieve major changes. By focusing on just one thing at a time, I don’t get distracted, and I’ve been better able to achieve success.
I didn’t set any major goals for 2012, though. This was largely because I knew my life was going to be in a state of flux: I was in the process of getting a divorce, was moving temporarily to an apartment, and was preparing to leave Get Rich Slowly, where I’d been writing for six years. If I had a goal, it was to get through all of these transitions in a smooth and orderly manner. Which I did.
This year, though, I want to be more directed. And I’m willing to take on more than just one goal in 2013. As my discipline has improved, I’ve found that I have more brainwidth to devote to self improvement. I believe I can pursue more than one goal at a time, so long as the goals aren’t in the same parts of my life. (In other words, I can probably pursue just one fitness goal at a time, but I can pursue a fitness goal and a financial goal simultaneously.)
Here, then, are the things I aim to achieve in 2013.
To begin, I have a handful of professional goals. Though I only have a few of these, they’ll dominate most of my time from Monday through Thursday of each week.
First, I’m going to fully develop More Than Money. Since retiring from Get Rich Slowly in October, I’ve enjoyed writing here, finding my voice again, exploring a variety of topics. But I haven’t found any regular rhythm. I’d like to change that in 2013. I want to build a community here as I share the vast variety of information I explore in my daily life. I want to help others to help themselves. To do that, I want to make this site more robust.
Second, I’m going to write a proposal for my next book. Though I’m proud of Your Money: The Missing Manual, I’ll be the first to admit there’s nothing unique about it. It’s a common-sense guide to managing your money. It’s not the “J.D. Book” that I wanted to produce. After two years of mulling it over, I know what the “J.D. Book” is: what it’s about and what it should look like. This year, I want to produce a proposal so that my agent and I can sell this book.
Next, I want to help produce the best-ever World Domination Summit. In July, we’ll bring 3000 people to Portland for a two-day event. As you can imagine, that entails lots of logistical challenges. Plus, we need to provide programming to engage this group. There’s a lot of work to be done over the next six months, but I want to make this conference something worthwhile for everyone who attends.
Finally, I want to continue to practice my public speaking. Last year, I spoke at three conferences. I already have three speaking gigs for this year. I’d be happy to do one or two more. But more than that, I want to improve my delivery. A lot of times, I feel unprepared for my talks, and I lack confidence. This year, I want to make sure that each talk is well-prepared and, most importantly, full of useful info for the folks in the audience.
While I’m eager to tackle my professional goals, I’m actually keener to work on my personal life. My work has dominated my life for the past few years, and it was only in 2012 that I began to seek balance between the professional and the personal. I want to continue that work in 2013.
First up, I’m going to buy a house. It’s taken me a few months to prepare for the house-hunting process, but things are finally ready. I know how I’m going to pay for the place, and I know (roughly) where and how I want to live. Last week, I began looking at places in the Portland area. I’ve already seen a couple of promising properties. I’m hoping to have found a place by the end of January so that perhaps I can have moved by late March, before I travel to Europe.
Also, I’m going to do more volunteer work. Last year, I dabbled with volunteering. I did a couple of workshops about personal finance, for instance, and for nine months I was an English tutor for a woman from Spain. (Sort of. In reality, we became friends who liked to hang out twice a week.) In 2013, I want to find other ways to give my time and energy.
Next, I’m going to foster my friendships. I did a good job of connecting with friends during the first half of 2012, but as I got busier in the latter half of the year, I did a poor job staying in touch. I want to correct that.
And, of course, I’m going to re-dedicate myself to fitness. For the past few years, fitness has been one of my top priorities. I’ve learned how to eat right and how to make exercise a habit. As a result, I reached my peak level of fitness last July. But through a combination of injuries, travel, and a lack of focus, I’ve let my body go soft. I’ve gained about ten pounds, and I can feel my physical fitness beginning to fade. It’s not too late to put on the brakes, though, and that’s just what I plan to do. In 2013, I’m going to train for the Portland Marathon, reduce my alcohol intake, and pay more attention to healthy eating (including more fruits and veggies).
Through all of this, I’m going to relax. At the end of 2012, I started seeing a therapist. I didn’t have a purpose at first, but after a few conversations it’s clear that there are a couple of things I can work on. Number one? Tranquility. I need to learn to be calm, to go with the flow, to be present in the moment. “I want you to learn how to self-soothe,” my therapist told me at our last session. Sounds like good advice!
Finally — and most importantly — I’m going to continue building my relationship with Kim. I’m happy to have found a partner who supports me emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally; and I’m happy to be able to do the same for her. I’m excited to see how our relationship grows now that we’re leaving the early “get to know you” phase.
The Bottom Line
Obviously, these aren’t SMART goals. The aims I’ve shared aren’t all specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timed. However, for most of these goals, I do have private, concrete objectives.
Really, though, I’m aiming for a change in process, in the way I think and act. To me, the details are less important than making lasting behavioral changes. I want to build good habits that last a lifetime.
What about you? What are your goals for 2013? What do you hope to accomplish in the coming months? How do you decide which goals are most important? And how do you decide how to spend your time when pursuing more than one goal at once?