I think 2016 has been a rollercoaster of a year for everyone. We were reminded that people get old and die no matter how important they may seem to us. We realized that literally anyone can become President of the United States. But I wanted to analyze my accomplishments this year, and not just everything that happened in the world.
In 2015, I set some pretty ambitious but reachable goals. You can check them out, as well as the progress I made on them, in this post. For some reason, I did a great job measuring my progress, but then I never set new goals.
This last year I tried winging it a bit more. And it didn't really work out. That's why I've decided to focus a bit more on goal-setting in 2017. It was nice in 2015 to have specific things on my mind for me to work towards. In 2017, I'm going to be setting new goals and then working on specific ways to keep them on my mind throughout the year and hold myself accountable. For now though, I'm going to review 2016 based on my 2015 goals. I want to see just how far I fell short when I winged it instead of having concrete goals in place. Without further ado, my analysis:
In 2015 I set the goal to read 12 books during the year. I think I hit the goal. This last year I read the following books:
- Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
- The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
- The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
To be fair, I'm pretty sure there are at least one or two I'm forgetting about. Still, that's six fewer than I remember reading in 2015 and I'm pretty sure I forgot about one or two of those as well. In terms of learning, I did try out audiobooks and listened to several more podcasts. I listened to Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman during train rides across Germany and Poland. I highly recommend it because Nick Offerman's voice makes his book a lot more interesting. In terms of podcasts, I started listening to Startup and 99% Invisible. Both are pretty dang good. My previous experience with podcasts was limited to Serial, so this was a bit of a change. Great for long drives though. As I start commuting to work every day I think I'll be relying on podcasts quite a bit more.
My goal in 2015 was to memorize four songs on the guitar. I completely neglected the goal, and only played my guitar once during the year. This year I moved my guitar to a different spot in my room. I got my harmonica set out once, blew a couple notes, then put it back. I basically failed with music.
In 2015, I managed to lose 26 lbs to get from 255 to 229. I thought that was pretty impressive. This year I lost a further 17 to get to 212. The number isn't as impressive as the 26 last year, but I'm still pretty happy with it. I'm happier with my weight now than probably ever in my life.
In 2015 my exercise goal was specifically a bench press goal. This year that pretty much went away. My biggest accomplishments in this arena were learning to ski and snowboard at the beginning of 2016. I'm really looking forward to getting back out this year. My gym life has suffered a bit though. Because of back problems, I'm lifting much less than I was previously and not spending nearly as much time in the gym. Hopefully I can get that back up this year.
One thing worth mentioning is that I tried to accomplish a lot of the Apple Watch fitness app goals. Each day I would try to get 30 minutes of walking and other exercise in, burn 460 calories, and stand for at least a minute every hour. The app makes it kind of fun because you can win badges and stuff. I highly recommend it if you have the cash to get one. I think I will be depending on it a lot more as I start working in an office environment where I will probably be pretty stagnant throughout the day otherwise.
In 2015 I had the goal to attend the temple 18 times, and didn't get very close. This last year I think I'm even further from that number. I can only remember 5 specific times I went to the temple this year, other than times I went to take photos. This is one that I really need a goal for because if I don't specifically make time to go it rarely ever happens.
This is another one that was definitely affected. In 2015 I had the goal of reading the entire Book of Mormon in Spanish. I wanted to switch back to English for 2016, but I never really made any specific goals for it and as such never really made the time. I honestly didn't read much of anything in the scriptures, except for in church on Sundays.
Get a girlfriend
For the sixth year in a row, this didn't happen.
I wasn't nearly as diligent with my journal writing this year, so there may be a couple I'm forgetting. If my memory is correct though, I went on 32 dates with 20 different girls this year. I think I went on 36 in 2015 when I had the goal of 50. I think the goal helped me focus on going on dates a little bit, but this year I think I went out with more girls I really wanted to go out with instead of just focusing on going on dates because I told myself I would.
Blog Post Writing
In 2015 I wanted to write 26 blog posts. I wrote 2. This will be my 12th post of the year, so I did a lot better. I don't know if this one had anything to do with the goal itself. Mainly it was because I quit worrying about the length and quality of the posts. Seth Godin writes one of my favorite blogs, and some of his posts are long form, most are medium length, and some of his posts are only one line long. I decided to worry less about the format and started fleshing out ideas that I had. This next year I'll probably try to do that and write even more.
Post regularly to Instagram
I tried to post 50 times in 2015 and did 32. This year I had no focus and posted only 27 times after going the first 3 months of the year without. This is one I want to get a lot more consistent with. I experimented quite a bit with my photography this year. I was finally able to get several good shots of the Milky Way this summer, and I tried out some video content as well. I'd like to continue experimenting a bit.
In 2015 I wanted to get 100 likes on an Instagram photo for the first time. I ended up getting five photos past the 100 mark, with one getting 125 likes. This last year I really improved on that. A photo I posted at the beginning of December got 300 likes, and 5 of them got over 200 likes. I have some ideas for growing that even more.
This year was not good for my savings. I took a trip to Europe this summer and settled for a slightly less stable job that would be flexible with my trip. I ended up not making as much money as I would have normally, and wasn't able to set aside as much money as I would have liked. As a result my savings are actually a bit lower than they were at this same time last year. However, I'm about to start working full-time, and I plan to immediately begin saving and should have more money set aside by the end of January than I have ever had saved in my life.
I hoped in 2015 to raise money for a company I started. I've completely given up that goal. I was naive at the time in thinking that was the only way to start a company. If I were to start something now, I would avoid venture capital as much as possible. I think if I make goals around this now, it will be more around releasing products or sales or other things that actually matter instead of capital raised.
Visit National Parks
I set the goal to visit 8 parks in 2015 and made it to 6. This year I had no goal and made it to Arches, Grand Teton, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. I think a large part of this one was having the goal last year forced me to plan trips to parks instead of to other places. This year most of my outdoor time in the winter was spent skiing and snowboarding instead of trying to go to parks like I did last year. Then in the summer, Justin and I discovered how close the Uintas are, so we went there several times when I might have pushed to go to National Parks instead. I think in the future, goals will revolve around camping trips or exploring/photography expeditions instead of specifically trying to go to National Parks. The one upside of the goal was that it made sure I got my money's worth out of my National Parks pass. If I remember right each visit to a park costs $25 so I got my money's worth this year too (the pass costs $80 so anything more than 3 visits makes it worth buying). Plus my pass got the recreation fee in the Uintas waived so that made it worth it too.
In 2014 even though I hadn't set the goal I really began flossing and only missed one day in the entire year. In 2015 without setting a goal I began keeping a journal on my phone and wrote every day after January 17th. This year I was trying to think of something equivalent but couldn't come up with anything. I didn't really build any new great habits. In fact, I kind of failed in that I quit with the journaling. I was perfect on the year until the day I left for Europe. I don't know if it was the super long flight throwing off my sense of what day it was, or just that our days were so long I was falling asleep right when we got to bed at night, but for some reason I completely quit writing. I tried to start up again in October and again at the beginning of December but it never stuck. I need to get that going again. And hopefully find some other great habits to start.
Overall I think that having goals was definitely beneficial. In some ways skipping out on them this year gave me a bit of a baseline to see what I do without any goal in specific I'm aiming for. This way I can set some goals for 2017 that will allow me to really grow from that baseline and continue to become the person I really want to be.
Several of my biggest accomplishments in 2016 were things that I wouldn't have really had goals around:
- Learning to ski and snowboard. January through the end of March were filled with countless hours of shredding the gnar, and loving it.
- Learning of the proximity of the Uintas. In total I went out there three times this year, and loved it every time. I'm hoping to get out there even more this next year.
- Trip to Europe. It was a definite highlight of my year. I finally made it to places I've been wanting to go for a long time. Now I'd like to return and focus a bit more on each place instead of doing the whirlwind tour and visiting everything in one trip.
- Going to BYU football games. I traveled to Arizona for the season opener and that was a blast. Most recently I traveled to San Diego for the bowl game, and that was just as great. As long as I can find friends who are willing to make such trips with me, I'd love to continue following BYU football around the country.
- I graduated from BYU. This is most definitely my biggest accomplishment of the year. It took me five years and five changes of major, but I finally completed my degree and my minor. I'll be starting a full-time job on January 11th and I couldn't be more excited about it.
I think 2017 is going to be a much greater year than 2016 has been, and I'm looking forward to seeing exactly what I can accomplish during another year. Be on the lookout for another one of these posts with my goals for 2017, probably this Sunday. I'll also be looking at building a little site to track my goals so that will probably be pretty cool.