Helping Creative People Create

6 to 30 – Full Description

I realized on October 15, 2012, that in exactly 6 months I was going to be 30. It was a scary day.

I reflected on all that I had wanted—maybe expected—to accomplish in my twenties, and my list had come up wanting. So, I decided to make a big list of things that I’d said I would accomplish and hadn’t yet, and knock them off over the next 6 months. As I started to make a list, I found that there were things I hadn’t yet realized that I wanted to do, as well. This made for a very, very big list. It was turning into quite a daunting endeavor.

But after I got into thinking about the planning of how it would all work, it became clear that many of my seemingly unrelated goals were intertwined.

For example, when I run more frequently, I also think more strategically. I sometimes have my best ideas while I’m doing housework like the dishes. These unrelated tasks were actually more related than I believed.

When you start to become disciplined in one area of life, it becomes contagious to other areas.

Methodology

When you’re trying to make some major changes (which many of my goals required), you have to do three things:

  1. Make it public
  2. Make it trackable
  3. Make it simple

Studies show that if you can do the above three things, you’re exponentially more likely to achieve your goals and changes. So, in my case I’m a) publishing the goals here and updating readers, b) tracking the results and progress of each of my goals c) in a simple way (a daily text log and weekly review of progress).

Here’s the nuts and bolts of how it works for me.

I have a list (below) of all of my goals that need to happen before April 15, 2013 (with the exception of one, more on that later). I didn’t really start officially on them until a month later, because I wanted to really plan and test each goal for a month to make sure that I could actually do what I’ve set out to do. So I officially started in on these goals on November 15, 2012.

How I do this (for now ) is I have a spreadsheet that lists the key areas of my life that I’m wanting to improve (Faith, Family, Health, Relationships and Finances) and each has a column. Each days has it’s own row, and then I go through and track everything that is a positive step towards working towards one of those goals. If I’m doing something positive every day towards each of these goals, then success will be made.

I’ll also have a private Tumblr blog that gives me a place to freeform how each day went with things like running, overall tone of the day, what worked, what didn’t, etc.

The approach isn’t perfect, and I’m sure I’ll be tweaking how I track things, etc., but the methodology is the same: tracking all of the positive things I’m doing each day and working towards my goals. (Hat tip: Zig Ziglar)

Oh, and I’ll be providing monthly updates on LifeDev as well.

The Goals

Finances

I’m not doing to share all of the goals or all of the specifics of them with you, for the sake of some privacy into our marriage.

  • Eliminate credit card debt. We’ve flirted with this on and off, but if there’s no real urgency to make it happen, I’ve found that debt likes to stay around.

Health

  • Lose 25 pounds.
  • Run another marathon (this will actually take place after April 15 by two weeks). I’ve run two already, but they were 9 and 10 years ago. Time to get back on the horse.

Relationships (family, marriage)

  • Spend at least 7 hours of non-working leisure time with family weekly. I’ve been very into work, and it’s taken a toll on my girls.
  • Hang out with close friends at least 1x per week.
  • Contact old friends I’ve gotten out of touch with. Mainly high school and college friends I’ve just lost contact with.
  • Spend more time with extended family by visiting at least once per month with each. This is in-person visiting, not phone calls. I should add, this doesn’t include family out of state.

Personal Projects

  • A redesign/rethinking of the LifeRemix network. I haven’t touched the design since we launched in 2007, and it shows.
  • A redesign of LifeDev. Another redesign I’m very much looking forward to doing.
  • Blog at least 1x per week on LifeDev. I’m excited to get back into writing consistently on this site. I may end up writing more or less, but I just need to become consistent first.
  • Improve signup conversions to LifeDev. This is really important for the site moving forward.
  • At least one song written and recorded and published here. GULP. I recorded a demo about 10 years ago, and I fell in love with the process. I’ve always dreamed of recording a full album, but life happened. Now I just need to finish one song, to get the ball moving. Also, publishing it here scares the daylights out of me, but whatever.
  • Gentlemint updates improved and pushed at least 1x per week. Just to make sure things are constantly moving on the site.
  • Double signups on Gentlemint. Audacious, but doable. I’m excited about this one.
  • Another project hackday and turned into a viable service. It worked pretty well the last time.
  • Project X completed. (Can’t update this until after the first of the year.)

Progress

I’ll be adding links to my blog updates below to show all the progress that’s been made.

Initial post

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  • Stacepps

    Great post! Thanks! Can you post an example of your goal tracking table? I would live to use it!

    • It’s pretty simple, really. I just have a column for each aspect of life I’m trying to improve, and then down the page I have marked each day. When I make forward progress on it (no matter how small) I make a quick note of it.

  • I recently took a 7 month break at the start of which I had lot of ideas of what to fill the time with. In the end I quickly reduced the personal projects area to just two – redesign my blogsite and write and publish my first book. It’s a tough call between getting some focus and setting targets that don’t push us enough. I’ll be interested in your progress but I think a little thinning on the personal projects might be needed. Or you could prove me wrong!

    • Ah nice. Yeah, it would be much easier to have less, but we’ll see how it all shakes out :)