Last year, I made the change from vague, idealistic resolutions to specific, quantitative goals with the hope that I would be able to hold myself more accountable throughout the year. I kept a whiteboard next to my desk with each resolution listed, the total number needed, and the current number accomplished. And you know what?
It actually works.
The idea of a tangible goal combined with the ability to physically keep up with my progress kept me motivated throughout the year to keep making an effort. When it was December and I knew I was 5 hours short of my “Volunteer for 50 hours” resolution, I planned one weekend to go in both days to make sure I got it knocked out. If my goal had been to work out, have a more positive attitude, or any number of other typical resolutions, would I be able to know where I stood in December? I’m not so sure.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
- 15 Books: Even though I’m recycling this resolution, I’m upping the goal from 12 to 15. If I hit it last year without reading for roughly half a year, I ought to be able to hit it again. As a side goal, I want to make at least three of the books nonfiction.
- 12 Parks: It was no coincidence that I asked my dad for a new sleeping bag and my mom for a South Carolina state parks pass at Christmas. There are 47 total state parks and I was originally gunning for half. But when I stopped to do the math and realized that would be a trip every other weekend, I figured I’d dial it back a bit. I may not make a camping trip out of each one but I want to try and hit at least one different park a month.
- 12 Races: As stated last year, it can’t be a true New Years Resolution list without an exercise goal. Since I struggled with last year’s goal of 350 miles, I thought I’d change this up. I had a hard time making 6 miles a week but I didn’t have any problem doing the Cooper River Bridge Run, a trail race at the Whitewater Center, the ROC Race, and the Turkey Trot. As a side goal, I want to make at least two of these 10Ks.
- 10,000 Dollars: My professional/adult goal for the year is to save $10,000 (excluding any contributions to 401K, IRAs, etc). Saving is always a good habit to get in to. But also, this will better prepare me for any life change that may need to be made down the road – a house, a new truck, meeting a girl, a third-life crisis. Most “experts” tend to agree on having three to six months’ expenses saved. Since I err on the side of conservative, I’ve always set a goal of trying to have a year’s salary in the bank. This gets me closer to that.
- 8 Months: I want to get rid of cable. I pay roughly $100 a month for an Internet, cable, and phone bundle. The problem is that I don’t have a home phone (Time Warner said my bill would go up if I canceled that service… because that makes sense) and I don’t feel like I watch enough TV to justify the cost. This would give more incentive to do other things (like take my weekend trips to parks) as well as help accomplish the resolution above. But since I’m a college football junky, I’m allowing myself a possible 4 months of cable come Fall 2014.
- 2 Projects: This is my “go big or go home” goal. After my 2010 trip across the country, the idea was to get two books out of it: a coffee-table book full of all of my pictures and a novel/memoir documenting my trip. I had started the photo book but never got far into it. All I’ve done for the written book is talk about it. By the time 2015 rolls around, I’d like to have the picture book completely finished in hand and a rough/first draft of the story.
You ready, 2014?