2017 felt something like this.

Ten Rules for 2017 — Revisited

For the second year in a row, I wrote a “10 rules for…” post back at the beginning of the year. Doing so was a fun exercise to identify the types of things I wanted to accomplish, areas I wanted to grow, and the attitude I wanted to take towards 2017. Doing so in public helps a bit with the accountability aspect; here’s the recap.


#1 — Align Time and Passions

AKA spend more time on causes you care about.

Self-Assessment Grade: C

Top priorities I identified here were investing more of my time in renewable energy, climate change, and related environmental causes. I did a good job of better educating myself on the issues and had a few great conversations where I may or may not have ultimately changed an opinion, but I didn’t do as much here as I hoped when I set this goal. In 2017 I continued to be an advocate for solar (and will happily refer anyone looking to have a system installed to the team that put ours on the roof back in 2014), but oil drilling was also approved in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (this one hits a bit too close to home)… how much can I really do? My main solace is that economics will work out in favor of renewables in the long term.

#2 — Get Behind the Lens

AKA level up my photography work once again.

Self-Assessment Grade: A

Going back to read what I wrote at the beginning of 2017, I feel good about this one. I was pretty sure it was time to upgrade to full-frame camera(it still is), but the Canon 6D Mark II announcement was a disappointment, so for now I still have my trusty old Canon 7D. But I didn’t let that stop me — I took some of my best shots to date, improved my post-production skills, refined my workflow, took more photos in 2017 than in any of the years prior, posted a bunch on Instagram, and sold a few prints along the way!

#3 — Move Every Day

AKA work out in some way/shape/form.

Self-Assessment Grade: B+

The good: I started running a bunch and got pretty fast again! I haven’t been in this sort of cardio shape since my bike racing days, and I’ve enjoyed getting back to a sport that gives me a competitive outlet. Cascade Lakes Relay and Hood to Coast were a blast, and I’ve enjoyed fall/winter trail running in prep for the upcoming Hagg Lake 25K Mud Run.

The mediocre: I kept up the climbing and yoga, but at about half the frequency of what I’d like to be doing and haven’t kept a solid routine in either.

#4 — Drink More Water

AKA hydration is important. Duh.

Self-Assessment Grade: A

The 40 oz water bottle that constantly sits at my work desk has helped quite a bit here. Equally importantly, I’ve gotten better at reading my body’s signs of potential under-hydration before it becomes an issue.

#5 — Read More

AKA less online article perusing, more paperbacks.

Self-Assessment Grade: F

My goal was 1 book a month; I read 4 the entire year. In fact, I did almost the opposite of the subtitle for this goal. I couldn’t help watching Trainwreck 2017 happen in real-time. I feel informed, but little the wiser for it. To make this one work in the future, I need to learn to consume books pages at a time; I have a hard time getting a book started because I tend to be an all-at-once or nothing type of reader.

#6 — Write More Too

AKA put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, or ink quill to parchment…

Self-Assessment Grade: B-

I suspect had I met the reading goal above, I would have been inspired to write even more. That said, I managed to improve on 2016 and get some degree of writing done in 2017. There were several work blog posts, a photography survey, a number of cover letters related to my fall job hunt, and a daily 1-sentence relationship diary that will be an enjoyable future time capsule.

#7 — Grow the Network

AKA invest time in friends, old and new.

Self-Assessment Grade: A

A quick Google Calendar search for “coffee” returns 31 events in 2017 (and that’s not including the lunches)! The nature of those meetings was a good balance of give and take — some mentoring, and some being mentored. Some giving advice, and some receiving. Plus a good deal of just catching up! An unexpected fall 2017 job hunt presented the opportunity to reach back out to my network with an ask for help, and the response was so overwhelming that I was glad I started with a small group of contacts or I’d still be trying to get through the coffee backlog. Thank you all!

PDX Digital PM is going well, and I have help from a gung-ho new organizing team that came together in the latter part of the year.

I’ve also made a great group of friends from the run group that I joined for Cascade Lakes Relay!

#8 — Eat Well

AKA eat healthy, and have a little fun.

Self-Assessment Grade: B

✓ — Further reduce my use of supplements
✓ — Keep focusing on bumping up cholesterol levels slightly
Meh — Even more greens 
Meh — Even less simple carbs

2016 was still a bit on the mend from a rough 2015 gut health-wise, but 2017 was solid, thankfully. I’ve been a bit more lax than I’d like about eating some dairy and gluten; I’m better off without both. But overall I’ve been good about more protein/fatty foods and a balanced diet.

#9 — Leave the Phone Alone

AKA Diminish your phone’s influence on home routines.

Self-Assessment Grade: A-

Refreshing.

No phone in bed was pretty much a success! I broke out of phone-in-bed habits and now do so consciously and by choice (very occasionally). 2017 was also the year where I got back to my phone serving me, rather than being a slave to the phone. I don’t use it for social media besides Instagram (which feels more like intentional daily creative inspiration than a time-suck). It also doesn’t send me push anything outside of phone calls and text messages. Email and Slack get an unread badge icon, but every other app has notifications fully suppressed.

I can’t recommend giving it a try strongly enough!

#10 — Have Less Rules

AKA I cheated and there are only 9 rules this year.

Self-Assessment Grade: A

This one gets a grade because having less rules/goals/objectives and avoiding over-planning up front meant I accomplished some things that weren’t predicted but feel really good in retrospect. I remodeled bathrooms, traveled a bunch, had some inspiring adventures, checked off some more bucket list bands live in concert, wound up in a challenging and exciting new job, spent quality time building on a great relationship with my wife, and did a lot of ruminating on a new addition to our family expected not too far into 2018!


If you made it this far, I appreciate you reading this slightly self-indulgent self-assessment and year-in-review. Now for 2018…