Yearly Focus

2024 Focus: Movements

Better every year. That is my goal. I believe that through focused effort I can keep improving and ensure my best years are still in front of me.

With that in mind, at the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. By being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split my attention.

More details about the process are in this blog post and you can review the results from past years here.

2024 Theme: Movements

This is the final year of my current sabbath cycle, a six year period where I am focused on preparing for my calling.

I actually said that last year was the final full year of the current cycle too, but have decided to shift my schedule back by six months so the sabbath rest lines up with a calendar year. So, I’m going to start the rest next Jan rather than this summer.

As I entered this six year stretch I wanted to focus on building skills that would help me with whatever came next in life, even if I didn’t know what it was. I had the belief that there are four generic skills that are highly valuable to do anything well;

  1. vision: seeing where things are heading, or could possibly head and what you can potentially achieve
  2. strategy: forming a plan to move towards a goal, given the circumstances, direction of movement, and potential application of resources that you can direct
  3. persuasion: convincing others to join or help you in that journey
  4. execution: completing the elements plan well and adjusting as needed until the goal is achieved

I wanted to spend time in this chapter of my life improving my proficiency at each of those generic skills as a way to better prepare me for whatever challenges I decide to take on in the future. This year I’m going to focus on the third point, ‘convincing others to join’, by learning from movements that have resulted in change.

My goal this year will be to learn more about a few very important movements, who the key actors were, what they fought for, what made them work, what separated them from unsuccessful movements, and how it is that the biggest changes always seem to come from a small group of people with a bold idea.

2024 Challenge: Launch a Free Community Workout

I am going to attempt to immediately put my theme into practice by trying to start a new local chapter a free workout group that I’ve been participation in for the past year. Calling F3 a movement might be a bit of a stretch given the magnitude of some of the other movements I looked at as I researched this topic, but this challenge seems like a good way to put my skills into practice and something that can reasonably be achieved within a year.

If you’re not familiar, F3 is the name of a men’s workout group. It is volunteer led and the mission is to plant, grow and serve small workout groups for men for the invigoration of male community leadership. At its heart are outdoor, peer-led, free workouts. It goes beyond that into leadership training, community service and self improvement. For example, last year we had an event where a group of us met at a park, walked to Costco, filled up our rucksacks with canned goods and then walked them over to the local food bank to donate them. There is something cool about it on multiple fronts and I’ve found myself getting more and more involved over time.

I recently noticed my neighborhood was the southernmost location in the Seattle area, which means anyone from the neighborhoods further south than me would have to drive quite a ways to join a workout. That is something I think I can fix by starting a new location.

My goal is to get a weekly workout going, grow attendance to a healthy number of locals and hand it off to local leadership to take over and continue running it. It sounds simple, but I’m sure it is harder than it sounds and that I’ll learn a lot along the way. Success would be something that can’t happen without me but that doesn’t need me to keep going.

2024 Habit: Invite Someone To Get More Involved in F3

I mentioned above that F3 was a volunteer led workout. That means that there are lots of things to do. I’ve found there is a bit of a progression from attending periodically, to attending regularly, to periodically leading workouts and eventually taking on larger leadership roles, like supervising locations or starting new ones (what I plan to do this year).

The habit I want to get into is every week, inviting at least one person to get more involved in F3. For someone that hasn’t been working out, coming to one workout is a great next step. For someone who has been attending workouts, leading one is a great next step, etc.

By getting into this habit for a year, I hope to be able to continue it, to always be thinking of who could use some encouragement to take a next step and to be brave enough to be willing to do it. The habit will likely extend beyond F3 as well to other places in my life, this is just a nice place to practice it.

2024 Exemplar: Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth was a part of two of the most important movements in United States history, the antislavery movement and the women’s rights movement. As I started looking for exemplars, those both stood out as places that should look to learn more, so I was glad to find someone that was involved in both. As I study some about her life, I’ll get to learn about each movement and some of the similarities and differences between them.

2024 Bucket List Item: Complete the Murph in <45 Minutes

My bucket list item isn’t always related to the theme, it is just something I want to cross off my bucket list that year. I figure if all else fails in a year but I accomplish a bucket list item, I at least have one thing to show for it.

For 2024 it is nicely related to the theme though. I want to finish the Murph workout in under 45 minutes.

If you aren’t familiar, the Murph is a fairly popular workout format, made popular by Crossfit, that consists of putting on a 20lb weight vest (or body armor) and then completing:

  • one mile run
  • 100 pull-ups
  • 200 push-ups
  • 300 squats
  • one mile run

The F3 group I workout with usually joins the Crossfit tradition of doing a Murph on Memorial Day. I plan to use that as a checkin point, but will also find another time to test myself closer to the end of the year and measure my progress. By attending workouts, including the one I’m trying to start, I should be able to get stronger and progress towards being able to accomplish that physically demanding goal.