How to Vanquish Your Goals With a Quick Quarterly Review

Do You Rate Your Goals for Continuous Life Improvement?

I wrote this post about 2017 goals in January on my site. I thought that since we’ve passed the first quarter of the year, I should do a quarterly review of how I’ve been doing.

Hopefully, this will inspire you to try to remember your own new year’s resolutions and decide to actually act on them.

You forgot about them on January 2nd right?

So, if you’re looking to actually commit to reaching any new goals this year let me show you my progress. Hopefully, it’ll kick your ass in gear.

The following items are the goals I had, my advice on reaching them if you have the same ones, and a review of how I’m doing.

1. Exercise More

The trick to exercising is:

  • Picking something you actually like doing. For me, that’s running and slack-lining.
  • Starting small in order to make it a habit. I started by running one mile regularly. I then increased it steadily until it became a real exercise.

My goal is to pick up yoga. I need something that helps my mobility and flexibility now that I’ve gotten my running endurance up.

I picked up hot power yoga and I’ve been doing it almost every week for the last couple months.

I like the power yoga because it feels like you’re actually doing exercise, not just stretching. My grade only gets a B- because I only go once a week and the only class I really like is at 6 am. I’m not a big fan of the room being stuffed shoulder to shoulder with sorority girls so I avoid all other times when they might be awake. Because of this, I don’t always make it to 6 am yoga, as hard as I try.

(Psssst…..I didn’t go this morning….don’t tell anybody…)

2. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is such a buzz word, but it’s an important one anyway.

Meditating for 10 minutes is a great way to get started, which is what I try to do every day.

The trick is not to worry and get mad at yourself if you miss a day or two.

Shit happens and life gets in the way sometimes. Don’t worry about it.

I’m almost a daily meditator now. Usually, I would skip the weekends for the most part and forget once or twice per week but this habit has become ingrained in my morning routine.

I can’t give it an A+ because I still only meditate for 10 minutes and I do forget the occasional session.

3. Learn More

I can’t stop watching TV so I’ve changed my TV habits to include at least one documentary each week. That way I get my TV addiction out of the way while learning something new.

I’m also highly addicted to my Kindle which is always stocked with business and self-improvement books (because I’m that type of nerd).

I recommend reading real books that help you learn something, instead of watching garbage reality TV. A well-written fiction book is just as good, but I tend to get my fiction from graphic novels.

Ever since the CW stopped putting their shows on Hulu I’ve stopped watching my superhero shows. Therefore, there’s nothing on TV I really watch.

Instead, I spend my time reading, writing and working on improving my business.

I still have a lot of documentaries to watch and I tend to read comic books for fun so it’s only a B+ improvement. Comic books are hardly educational, but they sure are fun to read!

4. Work Smart, Not Hard

In the last year, I learned that I am unable to do free work anymore.

I volunteer a lot for certain things but I try to stay away from intensive, long-term work unless I’m being paid to do it.

I simply have too many projects on my plate to give other people my time for free. The opportunity cost of doing one activity for free instead of working on your business is just too great.

Give free advice, but work for money. That’s my model.

I also heavily rely on using automated systems to run my business in the background while I do the creative work. It’s the key to working smarter, not harder.

I’m still busy as shit but I do make sure everything I do is something I really want to do.

I go by Derek Sivers model of whether I should take on a new project:

“If it’s not a fuck yeah! it’s a no…”

I’m doing more freelance work so it requires more of my labor so I can really only give myself a B grade. Although the work is not smart per say, it’s still fun work I choose to do.

5. Change Your Surroundings

I realized that working from home is slowly making me insane and depressed.

So I’ve committed to changing my surroundings at least twice a week to help me feel less isolated. Coworking spaces are great for that purpose. You can work on whatever you want and get the social environment of an office.

Yeah! I’m giving myself killer kudos for this one!

Not only do I regularly get out of the house now, working with a friend at a coffee shop where we keep each other on track, but I’ve also created a nice little outside office in the yard.

I wasn’t lying about my morning routine.

6. Help Others

I wanted to engage more directly with my audience last year because I was tired of the one-dimensionality of the back-and-forth email.

So I created a Facebook group for my Home Studio Musicians where we hang out, share tips and tricks and support each other.

I’ve been regularly engaging with my community and audience for the last few months. It’s been great to get to know my audience better and understand their problems.

It helps me create better content for them and makes me feel like I’m making a difference in improving their music.

In addition, I truly hope some of my ramblings on Medium help people as well. That remains to be seen as I’ve only been doing these daily posts for two weeks.

7. Don’t Forget the Positivity

I got a ton of hate mail for my single politically charged email in my career.

My favorite response to it was:

“When Emperor Trump invades Iceland, I hope you get thrown in a concentration camp for your views.”

What a doozy…I hope that dude gets lots of hugs and kisses.

There is a weird inverse ratio to the amount of positive and negative emails you get and which ones you remember.

You can get 100 positive emails telling you you’re doing a great job but you’re more likely to remember that one negative one instead.

My goal this year is to remember the positive ones more.

One way I’m doing that is creating a “Feel Good Folder” I label all my positive replies.

And promptly deleting the haters.

I’ve gotten better at killing people with kindness when they spew their jealousy and hatred onto my social media sites.

However, it’s not always easy to just delete a troll’s comment and move on. It tends to stay with you in a tiny way even if you reassure yourself that they are assholes.

8. Pick Up New Skills

I like picking up new skills. Last year I learned how to play the bass so I could go on tour with Laura and the Killed Men.

This year I’m committed to learning the piano so I can write more diverse songs.

However, I highly advocate hiring experts when you need them and not learning to do everything by yourself.

Yeah, I’m not to great at regularly practicing the piano I’m afraid. I have learned the basics pretty well to the point that I can play most chords, but my rhythm and finesse are severely lacking.

9. Cook More

Cooking is therapeutic for me so I’m committed to doing more of it at home.

It’s also less expensive than going out and forces you to plan your week better.

The biggest reason I think I like cooking so much is that it has a beginning and end, drastically different than most of my professional ventures.

I’ve really started improving my cooking skills. I now cook dinner about 4 times a week and every time I try to challenge myself with something new or different.

In addition, I’ve started batch-making salads at the start of the week so that I eat healthy, home-cooked salads at least a few times for lunch.

10. Be More Grateful to Others

In my Five Minute Journal (I talk about it here) it always asks you to write what you are grateful for.

To get out of the rut of just rewriting the same things over and over again, like “Liz” and “My dog” or “My health,” I took a play from Tim Ferriss’s new book, “Tools of Titans.

To avoid repeating yourself think about:

  • An old relationship that helped you, or you valued.
  • An opportunity you have today.
  • Something great that happened yesterday.
  • Something near you or within sight.

I practice the first one the most, so my journals are now filled with gratitude notes to old teachers, mentors, friends and family.

I really try to incorporate this into my journaling habit but I don’t always spend the most time on the gratitude part. I’m more interested in writing down what needs to get done and how my day will look like than brainstorming who deserves my gratitude.

Definitely needs some work.

What Goals Are You Going For?

That’s my progress so far this year. Have you done a quarterly review for your goals? Whether you have personal improvement goals, business milestones or other achievements you want to make, it’s a good idea to revisit them regularly to make sure you’re on track.

If you need help reaching them, check out my Medium article about it here:

The Easy but Powerful Process that Crush Your Huge Goals

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