Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

Goal 5: Blog Consistently

13 Jul

Blog man

Blogging is helpful to me as a personal writing exercise and also allows me to engage others in more meaningful online communication than tweets and status updates.

I’ve decided to “really start blogging” several times, but haven’t followed through. So far with this Second Jon blog, I’ve blogged at least once per day for a few weeks. I think I can keep this up (especially now that I have more control over every aspect of my blog having left blogger.)

Goal 5 on my list is to blog consistently – 300 blog posts by my next birthday.

  1. Attainable: So far, so good! I’m averaging more than one post per day.
  2. Meaningful: Improves writing skills, may allow me to connect with friends/strangers online in a more meaningful way.
  3. Difficult: It means coming up with something interesting to write about every day.
  4. Quantifiable: 300 blog posts over 365 days.

Current Progress: 18/300 (6%)

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Goal 4: Handwritten Letters

11 Jul

Mail BoxesI love racing to the mailbox every day. Like the cheesy host of Blues Clues, I want to shout “Mail Time!” I love the idea of getting something in the mail. Unexpected, handwritten content from a friend.

But it’s been years.

We all gave up on handwritten letters and turned to less-personal email.  Now I eagerly await email but am met with impersonal newsletters and advertisements just like my physical mailbox. Then we gave up on email and switched to depend on 140 characters of SMS text messages, twitter, and the slighly-longer Facebook status updates.

Do I know more of you now with status updates than I would have through written correspondence? Doubtful. Now I may know more about where you are and what you ate for dinner – but that’s not who you are.

Our Rotary PhoneIn some respects, I’m among the most tech-savvy of my friends. I’m a software engineer. We own a robot vacuum (or two). We have more computers than people in our house. In other ways I’m a luddite.  I’ve got a reel lawn-mower with rotating blades and no motor. A rotary phone that I’ve re-wired is our main house phone. We have no microwave.

Technology has transformed the world, saved lives, enhanced business, and extended relationships. Damage in all of these areas has been done as well. Lives have been ended, businesses have been shut down, and relationships shallowed.

Technology is best viewed with a healthy skepticism.

And that’s the reason behind my 4th goal for this year. I am going to write handwritten letters to friends and family – specifically those I’ve lost touch with.

Current Progress: 0%

  1. Attainable: This is 2 or 3 letters each month. That should be attainable.
  2. Meaningful: Improves writing skills and relationships.
  3. Difficult: The time commitment, writing skills, and learning this ancient art of letter-writing will all add difficulty.
  4. Quantifiable: I’m shooting for 30, but it depends on how many names and addresses I can come up with.

Goal 3: Finish Every Book I’ve Started

07 Jul

Stack of Books

My third goal for this Jon-ese year is to finish every book I stared (with the intention of finishing).

After I made this goal, My Wife reminded me that I had agree to read the first book of two series. In each I read the first chapter. Two late additions to this list:


Posted in Books, Goals


Goal 2: French

03 Jul

Rosetta Stone FrenchNeither my job nor an educational requirement nor my cultural context demands that I learn other languages, which makes language-learning an entirely self-motivational task.

I purchased Rosetta Stone French a few years ago, and recently restarted it.  I’ve got 3 levels of French and would like to accomplish two of them my the end of this Jon-ese year. If I can swing it between my other goals, I’ll work on the third level as well.

Current Progress:  12.5%

  1. Attainable: I lowered my goal from all 3 levels because that would have required more than 1 lesson per week. I can do this.
  2. Meaningful: Improves mental health, keeps me learning, and will allow me to use French in some situations some day.
  3. Difficult: The time commitment is definitely going to be difficult on this one.
  4. Quantifiable: When I’ve completed 2 levels of French with all exercises completed at 90% or higher, this goal will be complete.
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Goal 1: P90X

02 Jul

This falls under the category of physical health.

I know someone who is trying hormone therapy with a 500 calorie per day diet. While the plan promises quick results, I’m more interested in results plus a lifestyle change.

P90X workout logo

We purchased the much-hyped P90X workout videos earlier this year because going to the gym has become more difficult due to parenting two kids. While the hype (P ninety eeeeexxxxxxxxx!) and self-promotion gets a bit silly, it’s a very tough workout that can be done at home without expensive equipment. The whole program is 90 days (surprise!) and we got through a few weeks of this earlier this year and saw results – now it’s time to start over and see it through.

Perhaps the secret is to treat one’s self like a recovering alcoholic and just take 1 day at a time. I do that 90 times and I’ve accomplished this goal.

In addition to improving my health, this will also improve my appearance, which impacts people’s perception of you all over the place.

  1. Attainable: I’ve seen some pretty crazy before and after pictures people have posted of themselves online – if they can do it, I can do it. Plus, I’ve already done part of it before.
  2. Meaningful: Improves physical health, which is important to me, my wife, my kids.
  3. Difficult: Seriously, it’s a strenuous 60 to 90 minute daily workout program.
  4. Quantifiable: I’ve accomplished this goal when I’ve completed all 90 days of the workout program (rest days are part of it, so it’s not 90 workouts)

Current Progress: 2/90

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New Year, Old Goals

29 Jun

Rather than New Year’s Resolutions, a few friends set resolutions based on their birth year instead of the calendar year. I’ve decided to try this out.

2010 Birthday Cake

I evidently turned 7 this year.

I’ve decided that this year on the Jon-ese calendar is going to be a big year. There’s plenty of people who have created a “30 while 30” type of goal list, and they tend to fall into a few categories I’m trying to avoid:

  • Insignificant goals

    “Pay for the person behind me at McDonald’s”

    You won’t find me at McDonald’s, but this is still a silly goal. Sure it’s a nice thing to do, but I don’t want to set my sights on goals that require zero energy, a few dollars (if any), and no time.

  • Impossible goals

    “Write a best selling novel. Then host a television talk show. Then write a screenplay that is produced into a movie.”

    While these goals may be noble, they’re totally impractical. Perhaps you could submit a novel for publication, but you can’t control whether it’s best selling, or when it gets published.

  • Meaningless goals

    “Fly a kite.”

    Unless you have an irrational fear of kites, what’s the point? I’ve never held a tarantula, and I could go to the Butterfly Pavilion and hold one, which would be cool but not terribly meaningful to me.

  • Unmeasurable goals

    “Be a better dad.”

    You can’t quantify that. Goals should be measurable. “Spend 20 Saturdays with my kid doing something fun just for him” is a better goal.

That brings me to what kind of goals I do want:

  1. Attainable (can be done)
  2. Meaningful (makes me a better person in some way)
  3. Difficult (requires effort, time, money, and/or planning)
  4. Quantifiable (I can check it off when it’s done)


As I thought about what I should have on my goal list, I realized I’ve got a lot of goals already to get started with that I’ve never completed. This is the year to get them done.

One of my goals is to blog more often (Yes, I need to quantify this), and another is to track my progress. So feel free to subscribe and follow along. (I’ll be blogging about other things as well.)

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