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2021 Goal Retrospective

I’ve been doing yearly retrospectives on my yearly goals for awhile now. My belief in incremental improvement being the key to achieving anything great life has only been strengthened as time has gone on. Here’s my review of last year’s goals and my thoughts about what I can change going forward. What Worked Focusing on just two habit changes for the year is the right balance for me. I think of a habit as a recurring behavior I want to change, as opposed to a specific one-time event or project completion. I implemented the two habits I targeted. Setting goals that are just hard enough is really critical. I set a couple goals that were just enough of a stretch that I felt like I could push and get them across the line…

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2020 Goal Retrospective

Another year, another yearly goal retrospective. This year included a grab bag of curveballs, most notably COVID. Although there was a lot of loss this year, I’m blessed to be able to say this year was really good for me and my family. Without further ado, here’s the retro! What Worked Not doing the quarterly reviews and focusing on the monthly reviews. In this season of life (young kids) quiet/focused time is precious and it’s not possible to spend too much time planning together (or individually) for that matter. Small, specific goals that created a habit or helped figure out a workflow worked well. We should continue to pick key habits and work on them through a focused goal…

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2019 Goal Retrospective

I’ve been doing retrospective’s on my yearly goals for a couple years now. Although it’s a little late, I wouldn’t want to break the habit (plus, I’m trying to open source my thinking). Let’s go! What Worked Creating a distinction between habits and goals. I have a separate “habit document” where I document habits that are important to me. Setting a goal to kickstart a habit. Habit-goals shouldn’t be all, or even most, of your goals for the year but having one or two habit-goals can be really effective at changing behavior. It was useful to commit to an action (like hiring a personal trainer) to force building momentum for a specific habit…

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Life Categories for Your 2020 Goals

Each year my wife and I go through a review process where we set goals and habit targets. We’ve been doing it for five years and it’s amazing to see the progress we’ve both made. It’s also been powerful to set joint goals that we can work on together. I’ve found it helpful to think over the "categories" of your life. A couple of years ago I wrote out my main life categories¬†and it’s time to update that list: Spiritual Marriage Kids Health Intellectual Work Adventure, beauty, and fun. Intentionally pursuing outdoor adventure and just-for-fun activities with friends is a new thing for me…

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Why You Should Open Source Your Thinking

Open source software (OSS) has transformed the technology landscape. I can’t imagine any software company build without OSS at the core. What makes OSS magical is the serendipity of how it’s created. Someone throws an initial idea on the internet, and if others have the same problem, they join in and organically refine and improve the original idea. Others silently lurk into the project, start using it, and run into some bugs or edge cases which they report (and sometimes post a fix for). Before you know it, there’s a robust piece of software that has been tested under a variety of circumstances by experts around the world. Amazing. Blogging has similar properties…

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Habits, Systems, and Scripts

I’ve been ‘auditing’ various areas of my life. After being obsessively focused on work for a long time, it’s been helpful to think deeply about the habits and pre-written scripts that I’ve developed across a bunch of areas of life. In most cases, the habits I’ve adopted over the years are a function of taking the path of least resistance than an intentional choice. Here are some things I’m looking at: Information Consumption (news, email, podcasts, reading, etc) Exercise Eating Prayer Marriage Friendship Thinking through what I want from these categories, where I’m not satisfied, and asking ‘why’ multiple times until I get the root cause of the delta has been insightful…

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The Feeling of Fast

Momentum is a powerful force. Once you are moving it’s easier to get keep moving. If you’ve already crossed off an item or two on a less-than-ten-item todo list, you’ll be able to get the rest of the tasks done faster. The perception of speed is sometimes more important than your absolute speed. I’ve found that the “feeling of fast” creates the momentum that drives effective execution. It’s worth spending the time and money to optimize various aspects of your work & life in order to create a feeling of moving quickly. For example: A faster computer or phone reduces friction and makes it feel like you are getting more done…

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2018 Goal Retrospective

Every year I enjoy doing a retrospective on last year’s goals. I believe there is value is "open sourcing your brain": your ideas may help someone and you may get invaluable feedback to help you improve. ¬†There’s also a strange sense of social accountability created for myself that helps me ensure I improve this year. So, with that in mind, here we go! What worked Doing something small to move a goal forward. Once you see progress you’ll be motivated to dig into the goal more and make progress. Reduce friction on goals which you are not naturally motivated to achieve. For instance, if you want to drink more water everyday, buy a water purifier to make the water taste better. Scheduling time on Sunday to work on goals…

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2017 Goal Retrospective

I love yearly goal planning with my wife. It’s been an awesome practice that we started years ago thanks to The Best Year Ever program and the promptings of David DeWolf. It’s truly changed our lives: it’s amazing to see how many big, important goals you can hit each year if you have focus and clarity at the outset of the year. I try to do a retrospective in most areas of my life, but I especially enjoy doing one in regards to my yearly goals. I’ve found identifying and implementing small, incremental improvements to important aspects of life to be incredibly useful…

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7 Categories to Help Guide Your 2016 Goals

Results follow clarity, and clarity comes from clear definition. Writing is the best way to clearly define your thoughts (one of the reasons you should start a blog!). Here are my goal categories, in order of long-term priority. Explicitly defining these categories has helped me during my goal planning process to identify which categories needs the most attention this upcoming year, and ensure that my goals align against these categories: Spiritual Marriage Health Intellectual Financial Work Relationships This ordering doesn’t mean that work won’t come before my intellectual life (i.e. reading, conferences, learning, etc)…

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