With the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. I believe that by being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split that energy across many different goals.
I detailed my 2018 focus here (read that first if you want more context). Here is how I’m progressing.
2018 Theme: First Principles Lifestyle
Another quarter of big decisions. After deciding where we wanted to live long-term earlier this year, I spent Q3 searching for my next job and evaluating a lot of very different options. In the end, a very tough decision came down to a number of first principles about what was most important to me. I will detail that decision more sometime soon.
2018 Challenge: Profile 12 Families (w/ Kids) Living Intentionally Different
I kicked off my first two interviews in the 3rd quarter of the year. At this point I would need to average one per week to complete this challenge by the end of the year. While that could happen, I probably wouldn’t be happy with the quality of it. What is more likely is that I will get started and depending on how much I enjoy it, either take a low score or carry this challenge into next year a bit.
One thing I’ve been thinking about is the format. An e-book was my first idea, but now I’m leaning more towards using this content to build an online community of sorts. I think there are a lot of people that would be interested in this content, but also interested in connecting with other people and getting advice about how to execute on the ideas they are reading about.
Having built online content hubs and communities before, I know there is a lot of value in them once you can get them spinning the right way, but that initial work is really hard.
2018 Habit: Daily Devotions
For Q3 my bar raised from 4 days a week to 5. Meanwhile I only completed this habit 36 times as compared to 37 the prior quarter. I plateaued in the face of a rising goal, meaning my results are overall worse. I only completed the target number in 3 of the 13 weeks as opposed to 7 last quarter and 9 the previous.
Another change I noticed last quarter is that I only practiced this habit in the morning 50% of the time, as opposed to 70% during the previous quarter. I’ve noted previously that I find the morning to be a more impactful time and so the fact that I haven’t been good about making time in the morning, before my progeny wake up, is having a major impact on quality and quantity.
As a result of that analysis, I am going to call an audible and change my target number this quarter in order to encourage the originally-intended long term behavior, in light of new data from the past 9 months. Instead of increasing the target number to 6 a week, I am going to drop it back to 4. I intend to be able to complete that more than the 9/13 I did in Q1, which would put me at around 50 completed days for the quarter, which is a 50% increase over where I started in Q1. I am also going to look to have >75% of those be in the morning – this is a new qualitative measure I’m adding for effectiveness sake.
2018 Exemplar: John Muir
After maxing out the renewal limit of the local library twice and only getting to page 27 in John Muir’s biography, I’ve realized I’m probably not going to finish it this year. As a result, I’ve changed course. I’m instead going to learn about him through a few documentaries.
I’ve been concerned that my exemplar item was devolving into ‘read a biography about this person’ and that I wasn’t doing well at that anyways, so I’ve decided to put some more structure around the practice. I’ve come up with a set of questions to help me understand what motivated that person and what practices they put in place to help them be successful at what they achieved. The template also includes an actionable item where I put one of their practices in motion and evaluate how it went.
I am already hard at work on completing this year’s Exemplar Review for John Muir based on information from some videos put together by PBS & the U.S. National Park Service. I hope this new format will prove more effective and also allow me to broaden the range of who I can chose as an exemplar.