At the beginning of 2016 I wrote about my focus for the year. I’ve posted a few updates throughout the year but want to take some time now to do a final review.
2016 Goal: Write 50 Blog Posts
Self Grade: 10/10
I was able to, thanks to a heroic effort in December, meet my goal of writing 50 blog posts.
Though I hit the target number, this isn’t an ideal way to do it. Part of my reason for setting goals like this is to set a habit that I view as positive. I believed that if I focused on writing posts for a year, I would get used to the process and continue doing it for years. The best way to do that is likely to have some regularity to it, rather than a huge spike at the end to hit the total number. Because of that rush to the finish, I am somewhat burned out.
To avoid that in the future, what I might do is explore setting up cutoff points so the target is evenly dispersed and I can not make up for past misses. If I had broken last year’s goal up to one post per week – I would have hit 29 of 52. Perhaps I would give it some flexibility though by breaking it up by month of quarter – that way I would have some room to absorb busy periods or particularly difficult to write posts.
Finally, incase you missed any (or don’t believe I wrote 50) – here they all are:
- 2016 Focus: Goal, Theme, Challenge & Exemplar
- Experiment: Family Feedback
- Health: Finding My Limits
- Setting Goals – How I decided on 2:37 for My Marathon Target
- Increasing Our Standard of Living
- Benjamin Franklin Types of Things
- Is Clinton Support A Gender Issue?
- How Are You Liking Seattle?
- COR 40L Waterproof Dry Bag Backpack
- The Bike Counter
- In America Today
- Thoughts Before My Marathon Debut
- Race Report: Jack & Jill Marathon
- Two Steps
- 2016 Focus: Mid Year Update
- Product Management & Collective Action Problems
- Passing My Athletic Peak
- Measuring Maturity Development
- Roots and Fruit
- Thinking Of Our Possessions Less
- Response: The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
- Achieving Goals
- How We Use Time: Consuming, Processing & Producing
- Parenting Is An Exercise In Discovering Gratitude
- How We Use Time: Investing, Enjoying and Giving
- Should We Work?
- Run a Sub 2:37 Marathon – Training Plan
- The Chief Bottle Washer
- Running a “Marathon”
- Planning A Goal
- S.T.O.K.E.D. – Six Minimalism Tips
- To The New York City Marathon
- What Makes A Great Rivalry?
- How Could This Happen?
- How The Kroleski Family Does Toys – Our Rotation Process
- Getting Rid of A Collection
- Measuring My Health
- Adding Efficiency Through Business, Government and People
- Team Loyalty In Sports
- Problems and Profits
- Yearly Focus – v1.4 Release Notes
- Today We Worship Our God(s)
- Steps I’m Taking To Get Sick Less
- Three Day Per Week Marathon Training Plan
- Race Report: New York City Marathon 2016
- The Day I Didn’t Run
- 2016 Focus: End of Year Review
2016 Theme: Health
Self Grade: 6/10
I wrote three blog posts about health this year – one about why it was important to me, one about how I quantified it and one about steps I was taking to improve an aspect of it. All of those are the culmination of a good bit of thinking on the topic.
I would have scored myself higher had I read more on the topic from external authors. I was really synthesizing more than pulling in new information and I think I should be doing more than that for my yearly theme.
2016 Challenge: Run a Sub 2:37 Marathon
Self Grade: Failure OR 9/10
My fastest marathon this year was 2:42:23, which was ~5.5 minutes short of my goal. So using a binary scale I would have to mark this a failure.
I’m ecstatic with the results of this year though. The reason I do these yearly focus challenges is to get myself to focus on something. I believe that by doing less, I can do those things better and achieve results that are exponentially greater than the sum of what I could achieve by splitting my focus.
In terms of setting focus, this was a monumental success.
At the beginning of the year I had never raced a marathon and it had been close to a decade since I was in good running shape – since I would have called myself a runner. I wasn’t completely sure I could get into this kind of shape again – that I could train like this – that I could avoid injury.
I am proud to call myself a runner again. I succeeded in focusing on it this year. I ran three marathons total, Jack & Jill, Big Sur & New York City – finishing in 1st place, 37th place (top 1.5%) and in the top 4% respectively. I ran a 4th of July 10k in my wife’s home town and won that as well. I also locked up KOMs (the fastest time) on a couple of Strava segments in my area. In total I ran 1,627 miles – straight through the midsoles of five pairs of shoes.
Here is a picture of all the shoes I wore through the year and the medals I got. Funny that the medal for winning Jack & Jill is smaller than the participant medal. The 4th of July race didn’t have a participant medal, only one for winning my age group.
I also had one of my most exciting running incidents when during a late night run I was attacked by an owl. I was actually on the local news as: ‘Greg Kroleski Attacked by Owl While Jogging’. Success.
All of this and I would still call my time commitment ‘manageable’. I ran or cross trained on 183 days total, exactly 50% of 365. Across those days I spent a total of 214 hours running. When you add in time for getting dressed, showering, stretching, etc. I would say my average amount of time invested per day was ~1 hour. That seems like the high end of the reasonable range for a yearly challenge.
All in all, this was a model year for me in terms of setting focus without overdoing it. I am going to be doing some thinking about how I can repeat this in future years.
2016 Exemplar: Benjamin Franklin
Self Grade: 4/10
The original intent of the exemplar category was to learn more about what made that person tick and then implement a few of their practices. My focus was really split across the items this year and so this was the item that got the least attention.
I am about 100 pages away from finishing the lengthy Walter Isaacson biography and feel that I have a pretty good sense for who Ben was. The thing I did not get to do much of was implement his practices. If I had more time, that is where I would have spent it.