Goals Set, Goals Accomplished & Goals for 2017


For the last two years I’ve done something unusual, I’ve not only set goals but also set out to accomplish them. I’ve also achieved most of them. The funny thing is two self-improvement writers, Mike Cernovich and more recently Roosh V have spoken negatively about goal setting. That’s okay though as what works for me, doesn’t work for everybody.

Before getting into it though, I think it is worth observing that the main problem with goal-setting, especially around the new year is the way you go about it. For example, if you need to lose weight, you shouldn’t wait to what is really an arbitrary time, you should start immediately. You also shouldn’t just say my goal is to “lose weight” because you aren’t being specific. Like if you lose 500 grams over the year, you’ve technically achieved the goal but given the way weight fluctuates, you really haven’t achieved anything. What I am doing is setting myself multiple goals over a year that are realistic and doable. I have not achieved all and because of this I am going to prioritise my failures into the new year.


2016 Goals:

1. Lose an additional 5 kilograms or replace the equivalent amount of fat with muscle. As part of this I will run at least twice a week (12 kilometre minimum) and weight train at least twice a week.

2. Run a second marathon in under five hours.

I believe I was just over 80 kilograms when I wrote that and I initially gained a couple more on a trip back to Australia in January. I’m now between 74 and 75 kilograms and was as low as 72 kilograms. I did keep up weight training twice a week at least but my running fell back to about once a week and I didn’t do the 12 kilometre runs. I did run five yesterday and ten just this morning so I think overall, I can consider this accomplished.

The second was not accomplished as I didn’t even sign up for another marathon. I ran a half in January but decided early on that I wouldn’t have the time to go to the gym and do regular long distance running. I do have a family and as such, thing inevitably get in the way. I do intend to do another full marathon though and I have a half marathon at the end of January.

3. Read at least one good book a month.

I did a lot of reading this year and I’ll hopefully have time for a separate post on this. This was much more than accomplished. Reading shouldn’t be considered work though and that’s why next year I’m setting myself some more involved and heavy novels to get through.

4. Finish writing at least one of the books I began writing over the last few years with an output of at least 2000 words per week. 

I totally failed in this and that’s why it is number one for 2017. In my defense, I did set a a later goal of updating this blog once a week but I feel that’s just me trying to avoid the main goal. I have been writing but I really need to challenge myself and stop making excuses. I actually need to work even harder as the little progress I did make was set back in a computer reformat.

5. Write at least two articles per month for Another-Castle.com.

As I’ve written, Another Castle closed back in November but I do believe I achieved this anyway as I was writing three or four some months. I’ve only done two for Heroes of Play, three if I include a collaborative article. I’m quite happy with this. It was also another goal that allowed me to put off 4.

6. Work towards passing N3 Japanese proficiency in December and begin formal weekly study.

Didn’t happen at all. If anything I’m probably less proficient than when I passed N4 last year. I do hear it every day but I have literally not studied at all this year – even informally. This is something that I’m debating whether or not to make a goal again. It is one of those things that I feel an obligation to do but have little to know passion for.

7. Spend more time with my wife and children. 

This I can say is a hard one but something I’ve definitely done. Indeed, it has got in the way of the other goals but that’s not a bad thing.

8. Continue to minimise my alcohol consumption. 

So I had many long, dry periods this year. I did not drink during Lent as part of my Lenten discipline. Then I was dry from early May until early August. August I had drinks on five occasions while back in Australia. September and October were my worst months but the last time I can remember having a drink was on the day Trump was elected. I’m now planning to stay dry through to the end of Lent at least and maybe longer. This will see me through to April. So for at least half of 2016, I did not drink at all which is definitely a big reduction.

This and the one above are of the arbitrary kind that I warned about at the beginning but I did accomplish it. With that said, I think I made up for it a bit too much in the other months so I will make this something I continue to watch in the new year.

9. Convert to Catholicism

This is not one I can force but I believe I’m well on the way. I attend mass weekly and a lot of my reading this year has been devoted to learning about the church and practices. It is probably wrong in some way to call this a goal as the right to receive communion seems more something that should be earned. While I want to be a full member of this church, I want to let it happen when I’m ready.

10. Love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind. 

Very difficult to do but it will continue to be a goal. As with wisdom making you feel more ignorant, the more I work towards this the more unworthy I feel. Anti-Christians would be delighted to hear such an admission but I’d rather be striving to be better all the time than to give myself up to my passions.

So I’ll give myself 6/10 for 2016. Not bad but could be better.

Now for 2017:

1. Finish writing at least one book as I set last year. Perhaps I should go for two as punishment. 

I have nearly finished reading Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and a little anecdote I read recently did give me pause:

“A friend who writes books remarked that painters like painting but authors like “having written.” I suggested he stop writing, for his sake and the sake of his readers.”

I think this is very important. A lot of my worst writing has been when I’ve been reluctant to write like having to write a review for a game that’s neither particularly good or bad; just mediocre. I have enjoyed writing this book so far and I assure any readers, I am enjoying what I’m doing now. So I’ll have to make sure I’m passionate about the writing I am doing or as Taleb observes, it won’t be worth anyone reading.

2. Make Southern Rainbow into an e-book. 

Last year I received an old book (1982) by an author named Phyllis Piddington. As far as I can tell it had only one printing but the interesting thing about it is that it’s a ficitonal account of European settlement in South Australia. What is most interesting though is that I found out about it because it was made into a Japanese animation called Lucy of the Southern Rainbow around the same time it was published. The book itself is very good and I’d love to see it available to more people. My copy cost quite a lot so I have made initial efforts to find out who owns the copyright. I made an inquiry to the original publisher and they had no record of a current copyright and suggested it had reverted to the author’s estate.

This is not a project I expect to profit from in any way, I’d just like to see it more widely available. If I ever go back to formal teaching, it’s also a book I think I could make good use of.

3. Prepare for and join the Australian Army.

As I mentioned way up above, I have to change my exercise regimen next year. This is the major reason I need to. The defense force has a useful mobile application for this that I’ll begin using after I have run the marathon next month. Apart from that, I have a lot of thinking and researching to do.

4. Read at least one good book a month including War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov.

I have this problem with my reading in that I tend to gravitate towards polemics in non-fiction and adventure novels with my fiction. There were plenty of high brow books on my read list this year but I think I can do better than I have. I bought a whole lot of books this year that I still haven’t read and War and Peace has been on my shelf for years. It’s time I got to that. Like I’ve said, reading a book shouldn’t ever be considered an achievement but I will try to put good books before some other simple pleasures.

5. Buy only five video games for the entire year of 2017.

Fittingly at number five and what should be very helpful for number four. I play a lot of video games as my side-projects and initial reason for beginning this blog should indicate. As such I think it’s time I slow down a bit. I also collect a lot of games and this year I decided to sell off quite a few to break the obsession. As anyone who collects anything can relate, you tend to start collecting in other areas and it eventually never ends. I’m glad I’m not into antiques or first edition books or I’d be on the street dragging around some very heavy boxes.

This is quite a strict goal in that even if a game costs a cent, it counts. The only exceptions are freebies. I’ll see how this works but this might be one I set year to year to keep my focus on more productive projects. I am conscious of the dilemma of being overly strict on my relaxation time and as unlike most people I generally don’t watch television or sit about idly when I have free time. I also get a lot of community and friendship out of gaming so it does seem to be a healthy hobby for the most part. I just need to be mindful of letting it consume too much time and money.

6. Work towards passing N3 Japanese proficiency. 

This was six last year and it’s six again. I will be back in Australia much of the year so study will be a good way to keep the skills I have at the very least.

7. Run a second marathon under five hours. 

I don’t want to give this one up and I’d like to do it while back in Australia. Having done it once, I want to make sure I can do it again.

8. Continue to minimise my alcohol consumption. 

I’m on this now and I must continue it.

9. Maintain a disciplined diet and exercise at least three times a week.

I maintained this throughout the year but I did slip at times so I’ve decided recently to cut a few things from my diet. I have a habit of drinking sweetened iced coffee daily so the other day, I finished the last of it and now drinking hot black most mornings. It doesn’t mean I’ll never have it, just that I’ll learn to do without it. I want to reduce dairy out of my diet and continue to eat oatmeal daily. Bad habits began creeping back this year so I’ve got to keep them back.

On the exercise front, I had a minor but lingering arm injury that prevented me from really pushing forward with weight training. I was also honestly not pushing myself as hard as I should have been. I’ll be working to maintain my gains but will have to get a good program going later this year. As I’ll be leaving Japan, I’m going to renew for one month after it expires in January and then let it lapse for March.

10. Love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind. 

Can’t give up on this one.

So these are my goals for the new year. I’m overall pretty happy with what I’ve done in 2016, even with failures and setbacks, I’ve improved in mind, body and soul. I can’t say whether I’ll do this again at the end of 2017 but I think I’ve covered areas that need to be addressed and that at the very least, I’m on a good path.

This ended up a lot longer than I expected so there will be a few mistakes and I may make some changes on a re-read.

If I have time, I may have one more post before the new year but this will honestly probably be it.

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