2018 resolutions: Mid-year checkin

We’ll officially hit the half-way mark for 2018 at the end of the week. This feels like a good time to reflect on the goals I set for myself back in January.

Quick recap:

  1. New fitness goals for a good cause.
  2. Start building something for the next ten years.
  3. Create for the sake of creating.
  4. Improve my data-crunching skills.
  5. Make things by hand.
  6. Track everything.
  7. More road trips south of the border.
  8. More workshops and presentations.
  9. Pay off the last of my student debt.
  10. Make time with friends and family.

So how am I doing?

1. New fitness goals for a good cause.

I participated in the Manulife Ride for Heart and Ride to Conquer Cancer earlier this month. They were amazing experiences. Especially the Ride to Conquer Cancer – I’ve already signed up for 2019.

As for the PWA Bike Rally… the Rally was my impetus for long-distance cycling this year. While I’m grateful for that, I had to bow out for family reasons. In hindsight, I think it’s for the best. A full five days on the road in August would be too much.

Caveat: While these rides were great to work towards, they weren’t enough to make a huge impact on my fitness – I’ve held steady around the same weight and body composition for the last six months.

So, heading into the second half of the year, I need to buckle down on the routines: Cleaner, leaner eating and regular strength training. I’ve started doing some yoga as well, which has been a very different but rewarding experience.

Status: 2/3 (66%)

2. Start building something for the next ten years.

At the beginning of the year I decided that working on myself would fulfill this goal. I intended to wrap all of my interests together and be true to the “authentic self”, using my site (this blog) as the platform for it.

I’ve since changed my stance. The things I’m interested in are discrete enough to be exist as separate projects. Four, to be exact, each with a different focus: Canadian makers; digital marketing; WordPress tutorials; and a sort of throwback digital arts project just for the fun of it.

I have a tendency to get overly ambitious, so while I do have big visions for each, I’m starting small. The TL;DR is “build four websites and post one new thing per week on each one”.

More to come on this!

Status: 15%

3. Create for the sake of creating.

I wanted to go heavy on content this year: podcasts, videos, streaming, illustration, photography, and a lot more writing. And while I’ve thought about most of these tasks a great deal, I haven’t executed on them – at least, not at the level I aspired to.

I’m still curating content on social media and sharing an almost-daily excerpt to my blog. But the creative work comes in fits and spurts.

So how am I going to get this back on track?

The original goal was creation without an endgame in mind – to just put something out there for the sake of it. But over these last six months I’ve learned that I’m much more likely to follow through if it contributes to a bigger initiative.

I’ve also learned that frequency has a lot to do with whether or not I’ll make good on a commitment. I’ve hosted monthly meetups for the better part of eight years, so that frequency works for me. But daily challenges, if they take more than a modicum of effort, are too much.

So I’m looking to the four projects of resolution #2 as the platforms on which I’ll create new things. These sites will require content, and the topics are diverse enough to let me try different formats and approaches.

Status: 20%

4. Improve my data-crunching skills.

This is picking up thanks to what I’m doing at work. I’m spending more time in Google Analytics and Google Data Studio, and I’m taking courses later this year on BI and data analytics.

Status: 20%

5. Make things by hand.

I have a laundry list of things I want to build around the house and craft projects I want to work on. But I haven’t started on any of it.

I’m a fan of the maker movement and supporting Canadian makers (shout out to Arts Market in Toronto). And I want to do more work with this crowd, learning about their work and telling their stories.

So that’s where I see my opportunity: The best way to connect with other makers is to become a maker.

Status: 0%

6. Track everything.

At the start of the year I was using Airtable to track a lot of my work, but I’ve since gone back to using spreadsheets. While spreadsheets don’t have the same level of flexibility as Airtable, I find it easier to get them up and running, easier to share, and easier to use.

(God help me, I’m even using Excel!)

What I haven’t done is set up new spreadsheets to track my creative work. So that’s the next step: As I roll into the second half of 2018, I need to map out my resolutions and the steps I’ll take to accomplish each one.

Status: 50%

7. More road trips south of the border.

This one is on the backburner, given the current political climate.¬†Instead we’re planning more road trips around Ontario, hitting up trails and small towns. We’ll be out near Grand Bend this weekend and plan to trek portions of Bruce Trail through the summer. Algonquin Park is also on the radar.

Note: I’m still doing mini-roadtrips when I’m down in the US for work. My trip to Arizona earlier this year included a short jaunt up to Flagstaff via Sedona and the Red Rock Scenic Byway. Last week’s stay in the Valley ended with an evening drive down Skyline Boulevard and Old La Honda Road.

Status: 50%

8. More workshops and presentations.

Presentations: I feel like these are keeping on track, mostly as a byproduct of meetups. Aside from our WordPress 15th Anniversary picnic at High Park, every meetup this year has had some presentation component to it.

Workshops: My original plan was to hold the first paid workshop in March, but I ended up bumping it back to June 5th. It went well, but there was a collective decision to make future ones remote so folks don’t need to deal with traffic or parking.

WordCamps: I held off on applying to speak at WordCamps due to scheduling issues. My schedule has opened up considerably for the second half of the year, however, so I’m starting to look at WordCamps (and similar events) in the northeast again.

Status: 50%

9. Pay off the last of my student debt.

Done! I pulled this off back in February. 

Status: 100%

10. Make time with friends and family.

I made a note in January that these things need to be scheduled in order to happen. The problem is that scheduling is easier said than done.

Weekdays are hard to swing. I work from home and am usually working until 6 or 7 at night. By the time I wrap up my day I don’t feel like going anywhere.

If I can squeeze in a coffee or lunch downtown it’ll be on a Monday – the rest of the week is packed.

That leaves weekends, or more appropriately, Saturdays. One of those Saturdays is always taken, at least in part, by a WordPress meetup. And Sundays are usually left alone because they’re the “home” days filled with chores, groceries, and other miscellaneous errands that inevitably gobble up an entire afternoon.

All that taken into consideration, the approach doesn’t change: Time needs to be scheduled. I just need to be more vigilant in scheduling that time.

Status: 35%

Average progress: 38%

All told I’m alright with where things are at. Sure, I have a ways to go to hit 100%, but thanks to setting the goals at the start of the year and keeping tabs on them each month, at least I haven’t abandoned my resolutions entirely.

My next steps:

  • Spreadsheets to plan out the rest of the year and track progress.
  • Follow the plan and get things done.

Here’s to the second half of 2018…!

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