Setting annual goals isn’t a bad thing. Here are mine.

My personal goals for 2017 are at the bottom of this post.

I’ve set annual goals (or resolutions) every year since 2008 and I’m never going to stop.

My approach to personal goals is: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” To me, setting two goals and nailing both is worse than setting ten and checking off five.


Looking backward to look forward

If I’m doing fifty miles per hour down a windy road, I don’t make a habit of looking at the scenery behind me. But at the beginning of every year, it’s helpful to review where I came from.

It’s when I notice that I’ve been setting the same goal for several years and never check it off. It prompts me to reevaluate how I’ve been going about it, or if it should be a goal in the first place.

If nothing else, it’s a time to recognize all the things I did accomplish.

Here are the goals I set at the beginning of 2016, and how I did:

Myke’s 2016 Goals

#1. Read 40 books*.
C. I read 30. I’ll be posting a mini-review of my favorite books of the year. 2016 is when I learned how amazing it is to listen to (ahem, read) audiobooks while on the bike. I ride 8–14 hours per week; being able to spend 90% of that time also reading has been an amazing addition to my routine.

#2. Get back to basics with social media.
B+. The goal here was to simply participate on social apps more, adopting newcomers like Snapchat without being immediately dismissive. I feel I nailed the intent of this goal, which is to feel intimately comfortable with each social property. My favorite for the year: Insta.

#3. Conquer one item in my “Skills to Learn in Life” list.
A+. I actually conquered 3! All food-related:
- Knife skills. I took a class and have cooked dinner five nights per week since August 1st.
- Grill a hamburger to medium consistently.
- Cook a perfect steak. “Perfect” is in the mouth of the consumer. I like mine to be medium while Mary prefers medium-well. I spent a good part of a year figuring out how to do both across different heat sources (barbecue, stove, oven).

#4. Become a certified leadership (executive) coach.
A-. Done and dusted. Applied to and attended an accredited, life-changing, semester-long course. I am now a certified executive coach. The “minus” on the A is because I haven’t been practicing it outside of the course as much as I would like to. (If there’s an aspect of your life where you feel “stuck,” and want some judgement-free coaching, drop me a line.)

#5. Upgrade to category 2 in competitive cycling.
Fail. I just missed it, too. I needed 30 upgrade points to move from category 3-to-2. Objectively, I had a great racing season. I took 7th on GC in a stage race (no small feat considering my terrible time trialing ability) among some other top-five placings. It turns out I misread how upgrade points are applied, putting me at 24 points for the season. Luckily, they don’t expire. I need just 6 more points to officially upgrade to the elite level.

#6. Full-time intermittent fasting, starting in February.
B. Intermittent fasting can be considered skipping breakfast, which I did consistently throughout the year. I don’t give myself full credit for this goal, as a few breakfast meetings each month broke the streak. I plan to continue this practice; the morning caffeine hits a little harder, and I don’t find myself missing the calories.

#7. Don’t consume added sugar at least six days per week.
F+. Mary and I spent the month of November doing no added sugar. Outside of that, I did not pay particularly close attention to this goal, which was a real bummer. In terms of noticeable effect, I didn’t feel a change in mood, or food taste.

#8. [redacted] (this was: having a baby daughter, which I couldn’t announce at the time).
A+! Cheggity check! We have a beautiful baby girl named Alice Ann who is like a baby ambassador. She’s been an absolute joy from day one.

#9. Write one long-form post per month (posted on Medium).
D. The point of this was the schedule more than the quantity, so while I wrote twelve long-ish-form posts over the year, I went several months without writing anything.

#10. Capture the broad strokes of my day in a daily Snapchat story.
F. I didn’t do this at the level I was hoping to. Doing the same on Insta would have been acceptable, I simply didn’t make an effort to do it.


Myke’s 2017 Goals

Learning

  • Read 40 books.
  • Complete 20 hours of private flight instruction in pursuit of a Private Pilot’s License. I had a strong fear of flying for many years. This was mostly eliminated by obsessively watching POV flying videos on YouTube from creators like MrAviation101, Steveo1Kinevo and FlightChops. The next step in conquering this fear is learning how to fly myself. It’s right up my alley.
  • Conquer two items in my “Skills to Learn in Life” list.
  • Become a better storyteller*. Being “good” at telling stories is very subjective. This is a way to remind myself to practice the art of storytelling more.

Health & Fitness

  • Keep the following apps off my phone for an entire year: Reddit; Facebook; YouTube. I’m not a gamer. I don’t watch much TV. What do I do when I’m rocking a fussy baby to sleep? Consume “worthless” information. In the heat of the moment, grabbing the Kindle or picking up a book isn’t possible. But a window to the web is always in my pocket. Communities on Reddit and YouTube can be incredible resources for autodidacts. But with them comes a vortex of cat videos and clips from SNL. The temptation is too great. I will be removing any distraction-prone apps from my phone, and will actively be avoiding sites that serve no productive purpose. While I won’t explicitly block them from my browser, I will make it much harder to accidentally find myself on them. I’ve already taken the first step on Twitter by unfollowing almost everyone except for: 1) News outlets and 2) Executives at companies I own shares in.
  • Race 5 times. A far cry from last year’s 20 races. I’ve continued to train to be competitive at a category 2 level, but 2017 is going to be a busy travel year, and baby Alice takes precedence. If I can stay fit and throw down at a few races in 2017, I’ll be happy.
  • Crack 18:00 in a 5K race. I picked up running for the first couple months Alice was born because I could get a decent workout in less time. I’d like to sign up for some local races and stretch these abilities further in 2017.

Personal

  • Be more candid online*. I’ve felt an increasing pressure to be pensive when it comes to posting anything on the web. This is wrong-headed, and not my style. I hope to eliminate that pressure in 2017 by being more candid again.
  • Only capture videos. With services like Google Photos, iCloud Photos, etc. making hard drive space disposable, I no longer find myself worrying about taking up room on my devices. The camera quality of the latest iPhones are also excellent; a screenshot of a video is almost as good as a straight photo. I’ve found myself naturally taking short five-second videos more than photos, but I’d like to see what happens when I can’t take a photo.
  • Establish a regular coaching relationship. I’d like to put the skills I learned in 2016 to better use by working with execs who can benefit from coaching on a regular basis.

Business

  • Speak at a conference. I really enjoy speaking to groups, but haven’t had much of an opportunity to do so in a conference setting. I’m making a real effort to speak more in 2017, because what we’re doing at Localist is worth talking about.
  • Make two “80%” hires. A CEO’s job is to replace themselves. My approach to this has been to periodically look at what I’m spending 80% of my time doing day-to-day and hire a person to do it instead. I then reallocate that 80% to something else. These days, 80% of my time is HR-related. I’d like to get to a point where 80% is vision-related (sharing it outside the company, and evolving it).

*I hate setting goals that aren’t quantifiable. Otherwise, how do you know you’ve succeeded? That said, this is a way to remind myself to practice the goal more so at the end of the year I can say I‘ve made a noticeable improvement.