This is kind of a follow-up post from the 2016 Goals post. In it, I talked about how this year when I was planning, I came up with mostly things that weren’t really goals, but more of directions or habits to form. Now, I ended up actually scraping some measurable goals out of that list, but I still wanted to write up something to go into more detail.
Again, fair warning, this is a mostly personal post, so it may not be interesting or have a very good flow to it. Read on at your own peril.
The direction I want to head should be pretty obvious based on the goals post, but I’ll go through them more clearly now.
Hustle and Efficacy
Easily the most important part of everything. I’ve wasted months and years not doing some of the things I’ve wanted to get done. I used to hustle more, back in high school and early on in college. Then I got kind of lazy as I got working. The daily grind wore me down. Lately I’ve been trying to get that hustle back, and it feels foreign. It feels like doing things through a haze. I don’t like that at all. Bit by bit I’m getting back into it, though. I can tell, somewhat from the reactions of the people around me. I’m getting those odd looks I used to get when I would work on things harder and longer than anybody else.
The second half of the hustle is efficacy. I’m not talking about efficiency. No, I’ve spent a lot of time on efficiency, and honestly it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I’ll take someone who will push hard and get something done in a few days over someone who can get it done in a day but is obsessed by efficiency. No, efficacy is more about capacity to get something done. Efficacy is more important and comes before efficiency. For example, let’s talk about the goal I have about getting Twitch followers. Well, if I’m most concerned about efficiency, I’d just buy them. Pay some service or something and bam, goal is met. No, I’m more concerned with finding the capacity and methods for getting those followers. Higher value followers who are more likely to come back. The list goes on.
So, the short version of this is that I want to keep driving towards my goals as hard as possible, and using effective methods. Simple enough.
Consistency has been a problem of mine in recent years. I’m not talking about dropping projects. My YouTube channel, for example. Being more consistent there might have helped, but I was jumping into an oversaturated market where you basically have to have the right connections or be incredibly lucky. It wasn’t worth the time I was investing. In fact, it was one of the things that kind of led me off track.
No, I mean keeping at things while I’m working on them. I mean when I do something every day, actually doing it every day. I mean keeping to a schedule. The only things that should pull things off the schedule are extenuating circumstances and things like being sick.
It doesn’t seem like I need to elaborate too much here. This is a major thing I want to focus on, but the concept is simple.
I want to make physical health a bigger focus this year. Last year I focused pretty hard on my health for maybe 2 months, and not sequentially. If I put in the time and maybe just build slowly instead of going hard and fast, I’ll be able to keep at it and see more long term results. I have something like a plan for this, as you’ll see below, but it just boils down to keeping at it. And not letting things boil out of control.
The second half of this is the mental side. Not ‘mental health’ in the traditional sense. I mean basically two things: keeping myself as sharp as possible, and keeping control over my emotions. They’re both pretty much just training. One is continuing to try new things, read, and study. The other is to keep from letting myself get riled up at things. This is, of course, going to be especially hard (and especially important) since it’s an election year. Election propaganda is designed to get you riled up, and that doesn’t accomplish anything. Being upset just leads to poor decisions and wasted time.
This is sort of a new one for me. I haven’t really made a point to drive towards this before, but I think it’s becoming important. I’ve worked from home for a number of years now, and basically every important thing that’s happened to me has been a result of doing more social things. My current job, for example, I got from meeting a guy (now a friend) at a bar completely randomly. Unfortunately, that place has closed down, and I don’t really have a place to go anymore.
There are three major points to this. First, I want to engage on social media more often. Right now, I’m pretty decent about talking to people one on one when I have them on steam or something, though usually I end up letting them contact me first. The purpose of engaging more is two-fold. First, I’m more likely to meet people who could turn into friends, business associates, or even well thought acquaintances. Second, the more I engage, the more people see me. Some, probably most of what I want to achieve requires me to have more contacts and better known. Either advancing in business or if I spin off into something entrepreneurial at some point require knowing people and being known by people.
But going after just popularity is shallow and people see right through it. I don’t want to see people as just numbers or a scorecard or something, I want to genuinely care about people, even if I can only do it for the extent of one or two tweets. That’s why my goals look the way they do, and why I have a lot of focus on engagement over numbers. At least once the numbers get big enough to be considered “invested.” People often ignore replies and retweets from accounts that look too small to matter, since they assume the person has a relatively new account and they’re just trolling. So, unfortunately, a score card at first (low value followers like businesses and ‘social media experts’ who auto follow back), then engagement.
As for meat space? Well, I’m going to try to find some places to be more social. Maybe a bar (though I’ve looked, most nearby aren’t really the right environment), maybe some kind of interest-based meetup or club. I’m not sure on what exactly, but I’ll find something. I have a writing club that I go to occasionally. I’ll make a point of going to that more regularly.
First things first. The list I’m going to put down below is way too big for habit forming. It’s more of a pool to work out of.
The old idea is that it takes 30 days or so to form a habit. Also it takes about the same amount of time to break one. The other conventional wisdom is that you should really only work on one habit at a time. Working on more than one divides your effort or willpower too much. I think that makes sense, so I’m planning on only focusing on one or two at a time. Probably just one, but some of these are harder than others, so we’ll see.
There’s a lot of overlap here too, so categories get challenging.
End goal: Increase what I get done by 100% and the importance and results by 10x.
- Act first – Don’t spend any time in distracting actions like gaming, messing around on reddit, etc until I have my list for the day complete.
- Even more, try to achieve that extra 20%
- Sleep – I have a bad habit of poor sleep management. I usually fool myself into thinking that I’m doing things at night (like writing this post, for example) and being effective. However, I’m not. Not getting consistent and regular sleep leaves me tired during the week and getting less done over all. Even when I get enough done, I end up doing lower quality work.
- Forego weekends – Due to #2, I tend to sleep off weekends and I’m super ineffective. Also sports and social stuff. And games. Maybe, MAYBE I can get a single day off if I’ve been super effective the whole week.
End goal: same as hustle. Also, being more consistent with the tasks I do (seems redundant to mention this).
- Have a calendar – Keep a calendar including the things I’m supposed to do every single day. Calendaring is something I used to do and I was much MUCH more effective back then. I want to maintain a google calendar style calendar, something I can hand off to someone else to manage once it makes sense. Every minute of every day should be scheduled, except perhaps details at work, since work varies.
- Have a morning routine – My mornings are completely dependent on when I get up. Sometimes I don’t even go to bed at a reasonable time, so I end up not really having a morning. This should be pretty simple to pull off once I have a consistent sleep schedule. The point of a morning routine will be (aside from normal hygiene things) finding and executing on whatever set of things help me to be the most effective during the day. I have an idea of what to do here, but I need to fix some other things first.
- Regular journaling and logging – There’s real value in pounding out a couple pages of thoughts right away in the morning. I’ve done it before. So I want to do that again. Basically priming the brain pump. The second half of this is the daily and weekly planning, ending each with a log of what I got done that day. Right now I don’t have the data necessary to track down what things I need to change. I expect the reviews to change over time as I get this figured out. The key is that neither the morning nor evening parts should take very long. Quick data logging is useful. Spending too much time is a waste.
- Removing unhealthy foods – I like bad food. I like good food too, but bad food is too easy. This one I want to start out just taking out the worst stuff one by one, then I can move towards just more home cooked food, and less pre-prepared food.
- Remove all pizza permanently. I have a bad weakness for pizza, and it makes me feel terrible since I hit it way too hard.
- Remove fried foods in general. Cheese curds, fries, etc. Some of these can come back in moderation when I get a handle on things. Maybe. Maybe not.
- Find the next weakness and remove it. Probably fast food of any kind.
- Remove soda – I probably have an addiction to soda. Addictions are weaknesses, and frankly I should be drinking more water anyway.
- Remove caffeine – Again, this seems like a good move in the long term. Should help out with the sleep schedule and so on as well. The one exception I’ll leave here is tea. Tea is very low caffeine, and unless it starts to feel like an addiction later, I think that tea is fine.
- Exercise every day – Even if it’s just 20 minutes a day. Something, every day. No matter what.
- Mindset control exercises – I mean, you could call it meditation, but that has too much of a spiritual aspect. It’s not just that either, it’s also keeping a control on my emotions in the moment. Full on stoicism isn’t my goal here, just to keep the destructive emotions under my own control.
- Daily social media engagement – Not as a marketing tool, but as a relationship generating tool. Maybe marketing sometimes too, but not as a focus. The second part of this is that I don’t want to waste time here either. Just like the exercise, at least daily contact. Doesn’t need to be randoms, can just be friends or acquaintances.
Not sure I have other social ones, specifically right now.
So it’s a pool. Not necessarily a “I want to get this done this year” or anything. These are just a list to start with, as these things can change over time.
So what do I start with? Well, I’ve already started with: remove pizza.
At the same time I want to sort out my sleep schedule. Those seem like the best starting points. After that, we’ll see. I may or may not post updates on this. It’s not as easily tracked as goals, but the results should be visible to at least myself, and likely to most of the people around me.