A majority of my posts are related to self-improvement and/or New Year’s resolutions. How to make SMART goals, how to take baby steps and urging you and myself to actually do rather than just think, talk and write about doing.
So without further ado, the following is my list of 2018 resolutions. Some are easily measurable, like a number of times or a dollar amount. Some are not so easily measurable, like creating more and consuming less.
I began working on these over the summer while experiencing a high level of anxiety due to a number of things.
Here they are, not in order of ranking, but how they came to mind:
- Remain gainfully employed at the same or comparable position in a municipality within a forty minute drive from home.
- Invest another five thousand dollars into our daughter’s Bright Start 529 account. The accompanying goal was going to be to get to the one hundred thousand mark in total savings for her accounts, but as of today we have attained that. A dip in the market could put us below that number, but as of today she has over $100,000 combined in her two college accounts.
- Pay Ourselves First, making investments into my and my wife’s IRA with every paycheck or automatically every month as long as I remain gainfully employed.
- Self-publish two high-quality eBooks including a forthcoming book based on New Year resolutions. Publish an additional two shitty books. Just crank them out, list them for a buck and see if anyone buys them. I will not even use my pen name for those two, but a pen name for the pen name.
- Cover our son’s college expenses – tuition, room and board, food, private music lessons, books and some spending cash.
- Resolve our car situation, which at this point means disposing of my inoperable old Subaru.
- Pursue at least one new job, maybe two. This sounds easy peasy, but I have not seriously pursued more than two new jobs over the past five years or so. I did not get either one. The last two that I was offered, I declined.
- Be a better husband as measured by my actions rather than words.
- Be a better son, visiting my widowed mother at least one day in every month of the year if even only for an hour or two. Note: she does come to our house nearly every Sunday for dinner and a visit. I just do not go there.
- Take my family up nort to da U.P. for a vacation.
- Visit NOLA with my son in March (already booked).
- At least fifty-two good posts. This will be my final and 180th post of 2017. Admittedly, out of the 180 I would estimate having made about twenty-five or so good ones. I want to write far less posts and spend my time on more worthwhile ventures. I want my posts to be more informative and more widely read than my first two hundred or so have been. Fifty-two is an average of one per week, which should be enough.
- I must net minus fifty books. I aimed for this amount in 2017 and failed miserably. I cannot and will not fail in moving along fifty more books than I obtain in 2018.
- I would truly love to take twenty vacation days, like I accumulate in a year. I would settle for eighteen, which would be a new record for me. I must improve upon the fourteen that I am taking in 2017 in my twenty-fifth year of employment.
- Have at least one home improvement made. Not just fixing something broken, but doing something to improve our home like a new kitchen floor, having rooms painted, insulation or one thing that we do need to get fixed – a crack in the foundation.
- Unsubscribe from fifty things between my work email and my personal Yahoo! email accounts.
- Move along at least one dozen clothing items. No elaboration. Either I do donate twelve to the Salvation Army or I do not, but I certainly intend to.
- Print at least five hundred photos. I know that this is an odd resolution and a high number of photos, but I have not printed any photos since before 2010 and have at least 10,000 digital photos between my current phone, our cameras and on CD’s with photos from two prior phones.
- Get the cap on my root canal done early in the year. I gave up on dental improvements in late summer after tapping out my $1,500 in benefits plus paying an additional $900 or so on a root canal.
- Three or more beach days. The last two summers, my daughter and I have ventured to the beach only once. Pitiful considering that I grew up going a dozen or more times per summer.
- Weigh 195 pounds or less when I report fifty-two weeks from now. This does not seem like much of a goal considering that I have weighed exactly 200 pounds for the better part of the past several years. That is, up until weighing myself this week. I suspect that a combination of overeating since Thanksgiving and not walking during my lunch hours has led to me weigh 205 as of this writing. As with many former weights, I feel that I am currently at an important crux. A guy nearly six feet tall in his late forties could go either way. Not that being 195 or even 185 is exactly svelte, but going up over 205 to 210 or 215 is definitely not heading in the right direction. Like millions of other Americans, I have a goal of losing weight. I think that I will start tonight by foregoing a beer and doing a few sit-ups and push-ups before going to sleep.
- Sell my NUGT shares if I go up by $10,000. Writing this one feels somewhat foolish as I am currently down about $5,000 or $6,000. I do not know exactly how much I am down because I do not want to look. But not long ago, I was up by about $18,000 and woulda coulda and shoulda sold. I woulda coulda and shoulda repurchased shares when the price plummeted earlier this year after selling for a huge profit. But alas, I do not know what the stock market is going to do or any particular stock for that matter. I only know that if and when I go up by five figures next time, I am going to hit the sell button instead of thinking that it is going to continue going up higher. Boy, could I use that eighteen grand right now! Had I sold it, I probably would have put a few more grand down and purchased our new Subaru instead of leasing it and would most likely be at Disney World with my family right now.
Now for a few things that are not so easily measured:
- Strive to enjoy my life more. Worry and stress out about things less. I realize that I cannot be a “I don’t give a f*ck” kind of a guy, but I do not have to worry so much about every little thing including those beyond my control. Only my wife and I will truly know if I succeed in this somewhat.
- Become grittier. I will measure this with the Grit Scale as conceived by Angela Duckworth and will answer honestly both now and at the end of the year. I know that my grit score will rise if I succeed in the above twenty more measurable goals.
- Do not be afraid to try something new and fail. I realize that failing is counter-productive to achieving your goals, but when many goals are things that I would do automatically like continue working, going on vacation or getting rid of an inoperable vehicle, you must strive to accomplish some things outside of your comfort zone. What is not so easy is to start an e-commerce business or hit a specific income goal for my online publishing. That number is $500 in a month, which would please me enormously at this point in time.
- Create more and consume less. By the end of the year, I would have liked to have created more than one new income stream. It may be a new website, designing tee-shirts, selling my photos, recording podcasts for sale or delivering packages for Amazon, but I want to create more thoughts, words and income. I want to consume less hours watching TV, less cookies, less second helpings and less in general. In my case, less would be more. I would also write “consume less coffee,” but that would be an automatic failure.
I am striving to forget about unfulfilled promises that I have made to myself in the past. In 2018 I am going to work on accomplishing these resolutions one day, one week and one month at a time throughout the year.
You and I both have the dreams, talent and desire to fulfill our goals and resolutions. What we sometimes lack is the commitment when times are tough and things are not going our way. I certainly did not envision 2017 to have all of the pitfalls and challenges that have been thrown my way and my family’s way. But I do not just want to keep giving my wife and children the advice that us [our surname]’s always persevere. I do not want those words to ring hollow.
There is no time like the present to stop waiting for “someday” to arrive. We need to do things today! Granted, continuing at a job that I have had for over twelve years as a high-level resolution is hardly Earth shattering. But considering the precariousness of an economic development position in a community where many elected officials feel things are not progressing makes this a worthwhile goal. Forget about Middle Class Guy; if I lost my job, we would be among the millions of families struggling to get by day-to-day.
Meanwhile, in 2018, you and I both must try something different. Think outside the box. We need not remain afraid afraid to pick up those bright colored crayons and color outside the lines. Visualize your dreams in whatever way works best for you!
I have shared my goals and resolutions for this coming year. My hope is that in the list of twenty-one measurables and four not-so-measurables you may find some commonalities between what I hope to accomplish in 2018 and things that you can, too.