2017 Goals

I am a checklist person, an overachiever, a doer, and setting my goals and intentions for the year is a much better option than making resolutions.  Yes I know that it is just an arbitrary period of time randomly assigned during the rotation of a big rock, but having a set time frame helps to monitor growth.  Here we go.

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

  • Ask for help: I am terrible at asking for help, and am too stubborn to admit that I need it.  A few weeks ago I got drunk and asked someone I barely know to explain a kind of embarrassing situation I found myself in and was ashamed.  Not because I had aired my dirty laundry, or that I basically sought free therapy, or that I let my guard down, but because I asked.  The other things don’t embarrass me, asking for help does.  I am probably going to have to move to a new apartment in a few months and I am already nervous about asking two of my closest friends, who I have known for over a decade to help me move.  That is no way to live life.  This year I will ask for help more often, and in more targeted ways rather than just crowdsourcing.
  • Get nervous: My favorite feeling in the world occurs during the moments before a fight.  Those few seconds where you know what you have done to train and you trust yourself, but the outcome is still uncertain.  I get this weird paradoxical sense of peace in those moments, and while I don’t fight anymore I used to get that feeling before going on stage before a big show.  Last year I only felt that way a few times and I miss it.  This year I will put myself in more situations that push my limits and test my meddle, because if you aren’t scared you aren’t doing it right.
  • Go from zero to one: I can learn to do anything.  It sounds arrogant, but I firmly believe that once I set my mind to something I can accomplish it.  I will never be world class at anything, but I can be at least average across the population, the key is getting started.  This year I will try more new things, see where I can take them and where they will take me.
  • Live uncomfortable: Last summer I suffered through a severe bout of insomnia, but the best night I sleep I got was on a camping trip where I crashed for 9 hours on an air mattress.  This wasn’t a quiet relaxing camping trip to the woods, it was at a beer festival on uneven brewery ground and my friends kept setting off an air raid siren 20 feet from my tent.  This inspired me to spend more time in uncomfortable situations.  I have been dabbling with cold showers, trying to sleep on the floor, and finding ways to make myself more resilient by adjusting my routines.  This year I will spend more time being physically uncomfortable and becoming more resilient in order to become tougher and better.

Love The Sound Of Silence

  • Less podcasts: I love podcasts because they are great for pumping my brain full of information during my downtime, but I think I went too far.  I have listened to thousands of episodes of dozens of podcasts and it is stressing me out.  When I don’t update my app for a few days and then there are 15 new episodes I get anxious because there is so much to listen to.  When I get all caught up I get anxious because there is nothing left to listen to.  It is a vicious cycle, so I am going to drop a few podcasts that I don’t really enjoy, and try not to pick up any new ones unless there is something that really sparks my interest.  This year I will listen to less podcasts and give my mind some room to process the information that is already in there.
  • More music: This sounds counterintuitive under a silence header, but I miss music.  I used to love it, but now I probably listen to less than one album a week.  I want to change that.  This year I will listen to more music, explore new bands, and broaden my horizons, I will also attend more concerts and support more local musicians.
  • More meditation: I have a pretty good meditation practice, but I want to get better.  I also want to spend more time in the isolation tanks and get some formal instruction on meditation rather than just teaching myself.  This year I will meditate more often and for longer periods using different techniques. 
  • Better books: I love books, but even great books aren’t great for everybody all the time.  I have a habit of forcing my way through a book even though it doesn’t interest me and isn’t enjoyable.  This year I will get better at walking away from books that just aren’t doing it for me, just because someone recommended it to me or it has been on my shelf for years doesn’t mean that I need to punish myself.

Make Good Art

  • Create daily: I heard someone say that they may not write every day, and they may not take photos every day, but they certainly take time to create every day.  This year I will take at least a few moments to knowingly create something every day.
  • Write good jokes: My material is boring.  All my jokes are about beer, and my terrible dating skills, and coffee, and Vermont, and these things are my life but it doesn’t make them interesting.  This year I will write more poignant material that makes more of an impact.
  • Paint better: Painting is a fun new obsession of mine, but I am terrible at it.  Aptitude doesn’t determine how much you enjoy things, but we all like to bask in the glory of the things we do well.  This year I will paint more, take classes on painting, and watch Bob Ross on Netflix.
  • Write more:  Inspiration is patchy, routines make writers block go away.  The only way that you can get better at writing is by writing, and I need to do more of that.  It doesn’t need to be good or even be published, but it needs to be words on a page.  This year I will write more, write better, and finally learn what an Oxford comma is.
  • Have independent thought: I love quotations, and I litter them in a lot of my writing.  Even if I am not directly quoting I put in a lot of “Easter Eggs” of song lyrics or album titles.  Much of my writing is littered with paragraphs that quote both dead philosophers and punk songs and it is stupid.  A few people might get either of the references but nobody gets both and it sounds forced and weird.  I also hate spitting out an amalgamation of other people’s thoughts instead of having my own ideas or phrasing.  This year I will quote less and be quoted more.
  • Either learn to use Twitter or get off it: I hate Twitter, but it does seem like a useful tool.  Who am I kidding, this year I will delete Twitter.

If It Isn’t A Hell Yes Then Its A No

  • Make less money: This sounds counter intuitive for a New Years Goal, but I make extra money for working overtime, which generally isn’t fun.  Hopefully cutting down will help me reform my workaholic lifestyle.  This year I will say no to as many overtime shifts as possible and I won’t feel guilty about it. 
  • Buy less: I want to fight against my own consumerism.  I own a lot of things and have upgraded a lot of my basic stuff, I don’t need more.  Needing the newest gadget or impulse buying something that may be worthwhile without doing research has always been a weakness for me.  This year I will put sincere thought into the things that I purchase and will only place Amazon orders once every 2 weeks in order to cut down on impulse buying.
  • Make friendships great again: I have been neglecting a lot of my friends and I miss them.  I have also been putting up walls and not letting new friends in.  I need to be a better communicator and reach out to more of my friends, but it cannot be unilateral, I also need to be there and respond when others reach out to me.  For new people I often hide behind the veil of time.  Just because these people haven’t been with me for a decade doesn’t mean that they have less to offer.  This year I will reach out to one of my longtime friends each week, I will also try to have a meaningful conversation with a newer friend each week.  I will be open and responsive when people reach out to me.
  • Burn some bridges: Not all friendships are worthwhile and sometimes you need to cut negative and toxic people out of your life.  I have always been good at burning bridges and over time have figured out which ones I need to burn in order to light the way.  This year I will not waste as much time on people who are a negative influence on me, and will be straightforward enough to address the issue head on rather than passively shying away from it.  I probably won’t be able to do this without seeming like an asshole, but if someone is toxic to me then why should I care what they think.

Quantified Self

  • Get smaller: This year I will weigh myself every weekday and track my progress.  Tracked with MyFitnessPal.
  • Walk more: This year I will continue to walk 5 miles a day for as many days as possible, “I don’t feel like doing it” is not an acceptable excuse.  Tracked with Fitbit.
  • Eat better: This year I will eat better and track my calories more frequently and will try to get better at portion control.  Tracked with MyFitnessPal.
  • Drink more: This year I will try to expand my palate by trying new beer styles and branching out from old standards.  Tracked with Untappd.
  • Get on stage: This year I will get on stage 100 times, and make more money than I did last year.  Tracked on my wall calendar.
  • Formalize the best routine: This year I will experiment with little habits and see what works the best for me.  By getting a checklist of 5-10 things that help me win the day I will be able to weed out bad days and make myself more productive.  Tracked with Habits.

Some of these goals are specific, others are general.  Most of them are long term habit changes that won’t happen over night, but I mark any progress as a success.  I know that it isn’t realistic to achieve them all, but as long as I try to make myself a little better every day then this year will be a success.  Happy 2017.

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