Over the last few weeks, I’ve been putting together some 2017 Goals. I’ll share them here. I still don’t consider them final, and one should always be open to changing their goals, so if you have feedback or advice, I’d love to hear it. First, for those who don’t know me personally, a little bit about me.
Self-Actualization. It’s different for different people
Some people feel like they’ve found the meaning of life when they first make a big positive impact on the lives of other people. Others feel like they’ve found their passion on their first extended travel. Some people see the miracle of birth and are sure that raising children is the most important part of their life. Some feel best when they are meditating on or spreading religion. Me, I love improvement. I like making ‘progress’ – getting better – learning new skills (and information that I’ll benefit from knowing).
I like Improvement so much, I chose it as my career
I studied Mechanical Engineering in University. While at school, I got a job in R&D at a big factory in town. I was doing life testing and failure analysis of their product. I also did a bit of product development. The product I worked on was really big and took many months just to test it once.Changes and improvements came slowly and that job was boring. I also had a research job working sort of for the military (a strictly defensive focus, a type of passive bomb defense). That took over 6 months just to design and build the first test device.
After school I started my career in manufacturing, at a factory with a much quicker pace of production than that first one I worked at. I was in management for the a few years. It was mostly dealing with problems, problems caused by people.
Someone messed up….
We need to hire more people….
Two ladies got in an argument and one of them grabbed the other by the face…
The new supervisor crashed his car into the building….
Hey Travis, I have tickets to the Kenny Chesney concert next Saturday and the production line I work on on will be running but I’ve been working every Saturday and can’t I get this one night off?
I was not inspired by this work. As they realized how good I was at solving problem and improving things, they let me spend more time choosing my own focus. Soon, I had near free reign to investigate and solve problems I found more interesting (and that saved a lot of money). Or, at least it felt that way because the things they asked me to do were things I saw as fun. Like,
Why are we getting high product moistures without anyone being able to figure out the cause? What the hell is happening and how do we get it to stop?…
or things that people hadn’t really considered a problem, but that I wanted to improve, like:
We can only run that one product half as fast as the others. How much extra money could we make per year if we could use a second machine that’s normally idle and get the output from two machines combined before the next production step? [Millions]
Then I got a promotion and did that kind of work full time. And then I got a promotion to advise numerous factories on how to do it.
In the second half of my career, I facilitated the leadership team of my factory when it was time to set goals. I’d help them review the needs and challenges of the greater business, the factory’s current performance. We’d find which aspects of our performance we had the capability to improve, and that would make a big impact for our business. Then we had a bunch of other work we’d do and tools we’d use to make the goals actually come true. I liked this kind of work. It was interesting and fulfilling.
My own goals
I like learning things from work that are useful in my “real life”. And I like to actually apply them. One of the materializations of this is my habit of setting goals each year and tracking my progress vs them. I’ll typically do this:
- Decide Key Priorities (which areas I want to make improvement. Typical categories for me are Financial, Fitness, Social, etc.)
- Determine Goals.
- Measure/track the quantifiable goals. Make charts. Update them as the year goes on.
I expect to make a series of posts within the next 6-12 months about this kind of stuff, and one of them will have details and steps of how to set goals for yourself that are important, challenging, and motivating.
Here were my goals and results for the first half of 2016:
My goals for the second half of the year were not as formal. It was my first period of retirement and I spent the time traveling quickly, seeing friends and family, improving my diet and fitness, etc. Here’s what I have for 2017
It’s a lot of different goals. I would’ve tried incredibly hard to get a factory to make fewer, more focused goals. But since I’m only one person, it’s easier to control my focus and move in the direction I want. Since I don’t work now, I have a lot of time to spend on these. Below are details about most of the categories
Fitness and Health:
These are a little tricky for me now as I don’t lift weights in a gym, so I can’t use a measurable target like “Squat 285lbs 5 times. I’ve crafted a good strength training routine using bodyweight exercises (that I’ll share in a future post), so I figure if I just do it regularly, I’ll be strong enough.
The cardio-vasular goal is not an ideal measure. I was spoiled back when I was into bicycle racing. I had a power meter for my bike and a computer. So I could capture and analyze a ton of data. I could do all sorts of different fitness testing using the bike and power meter. I sold that power meter after I stopped racing. I don’t actually run very much, but running one mile on a track is a very repeatable test and has little noise. By comparison, seeing how far I can ride the bike in one mile is impacted too heavily by other factors than fitness – wind, whether there is any altitude gain, traffic or having to slow/stop at intersections, and the smoothness of the road. I might actually be able to run a 6:30 mile right now, so there’s a good chance I’ll reduce the target to 6:00.
I’m currently at about 12mm on the fat caliper.
This will be my first full calendar year of retirement. I saved up money while working and have some investment income from that. I should be able to live off that entirely, so maybe I should drop the “+hobby income” from the spending target.
“Hobby Income” is money from things that I consider fun. I started making shirt designs a few years ago and get some income from those. I haven’t made any new designs for almost two years, so I want to get back into that. I expect any income generation related to this blog to be slow developing and limited, but I put a small target for it anyways. Increasing my Instagram followers won’t create any income itself (Instagram isn’t monetized like Youtube), but having a lot of followers opens up the possibilities of getting deals with companies to make posts there that are also ads.
“Inner Happiness” stuff
Meditation is a good idea. I’ve had some good results in the past from meditating before sleeping (and getting very restful sleep) and using meditation to help with athletic competitions (when I was bike racing). I want to start general meditation now to become all zen and tranquil and what not.
Lucid dreaming, for those who haven’t heard of it, means to have dreams and while you are dreaming, be aware that you’re dreaming. Then you can control your dreams in fun and interesting ways. I’ve worked on this in the past, when I was dreaming about work too much, and made progress. I stopped dreaming about work, but didn’t get to having regular lucid dreams.
Things to Learn more about
Most of these are to help with skill development. A few are to add to my general knowledge. All of these will be fun for me, also. But none of them are purely for fun only. I expect that they all will also benefit me in the future.
Request for feedback
I started a first draft of these goals on the winter Solstice. I’ve added and taken away things. Having them written down has given me some more energy and excitement about doing things. If you have some advice/suggestions/feedback on the goals, I’d love to hear it. Everything on the list is there for a reason, but none of the specifics are sacred.
And.. do you make goals like this? What are your 2017 Goals?