My Goal List: 2014-2015

Below is a list of everything I am currently working on, with the longest running goal extending through May 2015.  Many are very easy, and it is my belief that by sprinkling many easy and attainable goals that compliment your bigger ones, you’ll keep a steady stream of success flowing that builds your confidence to the bigger, seemingly impossible ones. 

In order to motivate you, and keep myself accountable, this list will become the table of contents for the next several months of my life.  I’ll be updating the blog often with statuses and lessons learned for each goal and then linking to them here.

Building the List

This list started with 1 goal.  And it was a big one: to travel around the world with my wife on a RTW ticket.  I accomplished this goal last year by raising the total number of points necessary for 2 tickets to travel 35,000 miles around the globe.  But, we can’t leave until March or April of 2015, so I have lots of time to prepare as well as become increasingly impatient.  This list was built around preparing for that goal, and while it may seem like a stretch at times, each one plays a small part in it.  Also, all them work together to make sure I’m not obsessing over the RTW ticket every day J.  So what do you want to do in a year or two from now? Solidify that goal by setting smaller ones that build up to it.

My Daily Baseline

26 years old as of this year.  Married for 2 years, so all the same responsibilities that come with that.  I own 2 dogs, have a mortgage, and am a consultant from 9-5 Mon-Fri and almost never get to work from home.  For the first 2 years of my career I was so exhausted after work I literally added 20+ pounds as I became addicted to eating out and watching TV every day for 2 years.  Over the course of 13 months, my wife (also a consultant) and I might have cooked 15 meals at home.  This horrible lifestyle lead to two very unmotivated people, so tired from being tired that we spent most weekends laying around the house as well.  Then I decided to change that! And thus the list was born.  So no, I’m not a full time blogger, free to roam the world and get paid to gloat about it.  I’ve just decided that I’m not going to let 40+ hours a week define my whole life!

The List

  • Read More
    • Finish The Leadership Moment by Michael Useem
    • Find a read a good stategy book about Go
  • Win a game of Go against ‘sensei’ (buddy who taught me how to play)
  • Take 30 cold showers
  • Bike to and from work (32 miles round trip)
    • 11 mile circle route
    • Bike to closest train station (11.3 miles)
    • Bike to and from closest train station (22.6 miles)
    • Bike to work (16 miles)
    • Bike to work and from train station (27.3 miles)
    • Bike to and from work (32 miles)
  • Don’t come in last in two 5k’s
    • Atlanta Ridiculous Obstacle Course 5k
    • Atlanta Color Vibe Run 5k
  • Learn to read and write basic Japanese
    • 46 Hiragana
    • 46 Katakana
    • 425 kanji
  • Learn to lead Alaskan glacier expeditions
    • Reduce daily food consumption
    • Leverage bike commute to increase endurance
    • Complete paperwork/payments/medical
    • Procure equipment
    • Arrange flights
  • Increase social opportunities
    • Increase SABG Meetup group activity
    • Cultivate Reddit Atlanta FB group
    • Checkout backpacking meetup group
  • Lose weight/save money for RTW
    • Eat more homemade food
    • Drink homebrew or free beer only
    • Save $10k
  • Travel around the world for 2 months
    • Visit friends in Germany
    • Visit Thailand, Istanbul, Norway, etc
    • Go on a safari
    • Sleep in an ocean hut in Maldives
    • Live in Japan for 3+ weeks
    • Camp in other countries
  • Have more Weekend vacations
  • Learn Mindfulness Meditation

You Don’t Have Any Problems.

20140225-113955.jpg

I’m a consultant.  Basically, I work with clients to make their work easier.  It’s pretty technical, but at a high level I simply solve problems.  Except in consulting, you’re not allowed to use the word ‘problem.’

Each firm has its preference.  Some prefer ‘opportunities for improvement’ others sub-out the word with ‘challenge.’  It sounds corny, but you will be corrected each time you slip up and say the p-word, until you find yourself auto-correcting new hires.  And the strange thing is, after a couple of years this language-washing begins to seep in and change the way you look at the world outside of work.

So when I came across one of today’s top post over at /r/meditation, I was surprised to find a new way of looking at defining problems.  /u/thebeachboys posted an interesting quote, which surmises that problems in fact do not exist.  Allegedly, there is only reality and our expectations of it.  What we perceive as a ‘problem’ is merely a moment when the two contradict one another.  For example: I may say that a dead car battery is a problem, but according to this quote it’s merely a contradiction between my expectation (to go to work) and reality (I can’t leave the house).

What a soothing thought.  I enjoyed this quote because it always helps to identify ways to step back, and see that while something could be a source of stress, it doesn’t have to be.  Instead the consultant in me starts to identify paths that will sync back up reality with our expectations.  Luckily, I’ve gotten a lot of practice doing this for others, which makes doing it for myself a little easier.  But despite this advantage, I am neither immune to problems, nor the stress that follows suit. 

One thing that I find in my work is that every client thinks their challenges are unique and unsolvable (this is why consultants are hired after all).  But after a few years, usually the only thing unique about them is the arrangement; I’ve likely solved all the individual pieces several times before.  So you can imagine my surprise when encounter my own challenges, but low and behold insist to myself that they too are unique and unsolvable. 

My biggest challenge right now?  I want to travel.  I don’t want to take a vacation.  I mean I want to travel for months at a time.  I want to climb mountains, to sleep in huts, to speak new languages, to eat food that scares me, to set my destination with whim and circumstance rather than compass and PTO days.  I want to have so many stories to tell that my kids and grandkids hear new ones every day.  I also want children, and to offer them opportunity and stability.  Things I never got.  So I went to school, got a great job, and then got a better one.  And now my reality is one of stability and comfort, despite my wanderlust– despite my expectations of how my life should be.

So when I found myself using the excuse of ‘uniqueness’ to justify its inability to be solved, I was reminded of the clients I’ve helped throughout the years.  I was reminded that if it were anyone else giving me this excuse, I’d be able to see through it and identify a path that syncs up the two as best as possible.  So I’ve started taking steps to break free of my excuses, (the CST challenge being the first big one) and see the opportunity behind them.  I’ve yet to really solve it, but I’m getting there.  For now I’m saving, and will soon have enough to cash in my RTW ticket next year that will give me a taste of the reality I expect for myself.  For now I’ll practice patience, excuse control, and budgeting. And more importantly, I’ll stop letting this (and other ‘problems’) become a source of stress.

What challenges are you trying to solve right now?  If ‘none’ is your answer, then you likely still consider them to be problems, and they’re only weighing you down.  Get rid of them.