While I was serving as a missionary in Chile, I worked every day with goals. We would set goals each month for the number of people that we wanted to help teach about Christ, and then each week, we would set shorter term goals that would help us to reach those goals. Every day we would set even shorter term goals about the number of people we would talk to on the street, and the number of people we would invite to learn more.

Since returning from Chile, I’ve lost the goal orientation that served me so well. I decided that this year I want to return to that.

Who I want to be

With regard to setting goals, Preach My Gospel, the manual that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gives to missionaries says

You must understand your purpose and know how effective use of time can help you fulfill this purpose

I decided that before I could really set any goals, I needed to think a lot about what is important to me, and who it is that I want to become. I realized that there are really six categories in which I want to improve:

  • Intellectual
  • Physical
  • Spiritual
  • Social
  • Financial
  • Travel

I thought about where I am right now and where I want to be in each of those categories. I think just thinking about it made me realize exactly how much room I have to improve.

The goals

After I had figured out where I want to improve, I had to figure out the actual goals. In each area, I thought about the specific steps that would take me along the path. When possible, I broke those down into even smaller steps.

I made sure to stick with SMART goals that would be objectively measurable. Saying I want to save money is great, but saying I want to save $1000 is even better. Normally I would throw a deadline in there too, but since these are all assumed to be goals for this year, the deadline is 11:59pm on December 31st.

Making them happen

After I had the goals figured out, I told people about them. Having goals written down is great because it forces us to keep them in mind. I’m planning on even making a poster so that I see them all the time. By telling my friends and asking them to check with me to see how I’m doing though, I will have even more external motivation. It’s a lot easier to ignore ourselves than it is to ignore someone else that we really care about.

My Goals

All that being said, I want to publicly announce all of my goals for the year. Feel free to send me an email or a tweet to check up with me. I could use all the motivation I can get.


My whole life I have loved to learn and grow my knowledge. As a child I loved reading, and I loved tinkering and figuring out how to do new things. I taught myself to write HTML in 7th grade, and figured out how to code better things in high school. I feel like my learning has begun to plateau though, so I really want to jumpstart that process again.

Read 12 Books

I realize this doesn’t seem too daunting over the course of a year, but I can only think of four books I’ve read cover to cover in the past year. Before college I loved to read, and I feel like I’ve noticed a drop-off in my overall intelligence as I’ve quit reading. Ideally I will hit way more than 12, but this is the goal. I’m going to ask my friend Nick to verify this, as we’ve talked about books a bit in the past and he seems to enjoy reading as well.

Memorize 4 songs on guitar

I used to really enjoy playing guitar, but lately haven’t made any time for it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve tried playing a new song since 2010. It’s about time that I try picking it up again. I’ll ask my friend Sean to verify this one since he’s also into guitar.


This last summer I began lifting weights again for the first time since high school. While I was living in Chile, I began to have back problems and was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. Since I started lifting weights and improving my diet, I’ve noticed that the pain has all but gone away. Because of that, I really want to make physical fitness a major part of my life for as long as I’m alive.

Lose 30 lbs.

I currently weigh 255 lbs. My favorite weight that I’ve ever been at was in high school when I weighed 200. I don’t think that’s very reasonable to attain in a single year without a very drastic diet and exercise plan though, so I’m going to aim to get down to 225 by the end of the year. I’ll be having my friend Cory verify this goal for me, as he’s my regular gym buddy.

Bench 315 lbs.

Bench press is the main comparison of strength between guys. Even though it may not be the best method of comparison, it has become the gold standard. My current max on bench is 265, and I’d like to get up to 315 by this next year. I’m not sure exactly how realistic this goal is to be honest. I increased my one rep max by 80 pounds from 185 when I started lifting in May, but that might just be “rookie gains,” making it harder for me to grow as quickly this year. I will find out though, and again Cory will be checking in with me on this. And spotting me.


Since returning from Chile, I feel like I’ve neglected my spiritual life to some extent. I’ve continued attending church services every week, but I’ve quit doing some of the little things that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to do during the week.

Attend the temple 18 times

We are asked to attend the temples of the church regularly. Last year my unwritten goal was to attend every other week, and I didn’t come anywhere near to that. I’m going to adjust my goal for this year down a bit. I’ll have my parents verify this one with me.

Read the Book of Mormon in Spanish

This goal will serve two purposes. I considered listing it under intellectual as well. My Spanish speaking skills have deteriorated in the two years I’ve been home, and I think reading in Spanish will really help to keep my vocabulary and grammar in decent shape. I’ll have my parents check in on this as well.


These goals are a bit more personal. Specifically they have to do a bit with social media and expanding my reach there, and also with relationships and dating.

Get a girlfriend

This goal is perhaps the most embarrassing to actually admit. I haven’t officially been in a relationship since 2010. Part of that is that I have so much else going on, but a lot of it is just me being an idiot and holding out if I see the slightest thing that might be wrong. This one I don’t even need to have anyone verify because I have plenty of people asking me about it all the time whether I want them to or not.

Go on 50 dates

I figure if I want to get a girlfriend, I need to do things to get there. Ideally a lot of these dates will be with the same person, but I figure I will try to actually go on 50 dates. This should keep both of these goals at the top of my mind too. I always talk to my roommates about dates.

Write 26 blog posts

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I really enjoyed getting published by Beehive Startups, and I had planned to continue writing for them and for my own blog. I haven’t really written much since then though. My goal is to have at least 26 entries in here by the end of the year. I’ll have my friend Logan check up on this one. He’s a bit of a social media guy, so he’ll understand the goal.

Post 50 photos on Instagram

I almost made a category called artistic for this goal and the next. I really want to improve my photography skills. I’ll be taking a photography class at BYU this semester, so hopefully that will help a bit. I know that the biggest thing will just be practice though. Posting 50 photos will require me to make time to actually shoot photos, and I think it will also force me to do more interesting things with my time than just sit around the house. I’ll also have Logan check up on this one.

Get 100 likes on a single Instagram post

I’m still not completely sold on this goal. I feel like it’s a little bit vain, and there isn’t a huge point to it, but I would love to increase the number of followers I have and the number of people that are seeing each of my photos. I think by expanding my reach, I’ll be able to gain a better following to help with other projects in the future. Again I’ll have Logan follow up on this one.


I’m terrible with finances. I tend to blow through money pretty quickly because I don’t really care much about it. I know it’s something I really need to improve on though, especially if I’m going to be graduating in a year.

Save $2300

I know this seems like a random number, but it has some personal significance to me. This would effectively triple the amount of money I currently have saved, which is kind of sad. I think I’ll have my dad follow up on this once, since he acts as my account/financial advisor.

Raise $10k+ for a business venture

This one I really don’t know about. I love entrepreneurship, and I’m always starting new projects. Last year I was in an entrepreneurship lecture series, and an angel investor came in and spoke to us. One thing he told us is that it’s great to make money on your own, but what’s even better is to partner with an investor and make them money too. Not only do you gain money, but you also gain a great relationship. I’ve never raised any money before, but I realize $10k really isn’t too much compared to what a lot of companies raise. The only problem is finding a project that’s viable enough to be turned into a money-making company.


I love to travel. It goes hand in hand with photography, but I love visiting new places and discovering things I haven’t seen before.

Visit 8 National Parks

Since I was really young, my family made a habit of visiting National Parks. My mom’s family lives right outside Yellowstone National Park, so I’ve been through the park many times throughout my life. I always thought it would be really fun to be a park ranger there for a summer. My dad’s family lives right outside Zion National Park, so I’ve been there pretty often as well. This last summer I took my grandma and my sister Becky to Glacier National Park in Montana. We didn’t get to spend nearly as much time there as I would have liked, but it was definitely the highlight of my summer. This year I want to visit eight different National Parks. I’m going to buy a National Parks pass, and hopefully the money I spend on that will further incentivize me to hit this goal. I will have Becky follow up with me on it.

The End

Are there any categories you think I missed? Any goals you think I could improve on? Have questions about the process? Leave a comment below or email or tweet at me and I’ll see if I can get you an answer!