I’m not big on holidays. They seem fabricated — an excuse to sell stuff. Thanksgiving is a big exception. So too are birthdays. I think everyone should celebrate birthdays in a big way.

For me this year, that means commandeering Get Rich Slowly to go a little off topic. I’m not writing about money today. I’m writing about personal goals and self-improvement.

Success Junkie
I’m obsessed with self-improvement. For good or ill, all my life I’ve been on a constant quest to become a better person. (And yes, there are downsides to this.)

Last month, Megan dropped me a line:

After reading yesterday’s post, I connected to The Road to Wealth is Paved with Goals, and then 101 Things in 1001 Days, the big list of goals you set for your 38th birthday. I know your project should have ended in 2009, but I never saw an update. I’ve since become obsessed with coming up with my own 100 goals, so I’d love for you to revisit this in a post and let us know how it turned out and why or why not it worked for you!

Ah, yes. My h-u-g-e list of h-u-g-e goals. I remember that. My last progress update to this list of goals was on 10 July 2009, 839 days into the project. At that time, I’d completed 37 of my 101 goals, including all of my financial goals. (Unsurprisingly, when you build your life around something, you tend to do well at it.)

In the four years since I drafted the list:

  • I met 46 of my 101 goals.
  • I’ve come close to meeting four others.
  • Sixteen of the goals are no longer important to me. (People change, and so do their priorities.)
  • Thus, 35 of my goals were left unfinished.

I suppose if I were to grade myself by school standards, I’d get an F. But you know what? I don’t feel like a failure for what I’ve accomplished. Far from it! When I look at what I’ve done in the past four years, I’m actually a little amazed. I’ve come a long way. There’s still a lot for me to do, but I’m proud of what I’ve done — especially in the past two years.

Ad Astra Per Aspera
But there are more things I’d like to do. Because I’m getting old, the idea of accomplishing 101 things in 100 days just isn’t that appealing. In fact, as regular readers know, I’ve moved from trying to tackle large lists of goals to focusing on just a handful of unrelated goals at any one time. I find I’m more successful this way. If I tackle one fitness goal, one financial goal, one household goal, and so on, then I don’t get overwhelmed. Still, because I’m always introspective this time of year, I decided to draw up another large list of goals.

As a compromise between ambition and moderation — and to celebrate my 42nd birthday — here’s a list of 42 goals I’d like to accomplish in the next 42 months. (Deadline: 25 September 2014.)

Financial Goals

  1. Develop an investment policy statement, and use this to guide my investing. On a related note…
  2. Rebalance my portfolio every year. I know it’s important to rebalance — but I never do it. (I’m putting the “passive” in passive investment!) I want to change that. Using my investment policy statement (which will set out my target asset allocation), I want to rebalance after tax season every year.
  3. Become semi-retired, by which I mean have enough saved that I can work only part-time while using the rest of my time to travel and attend to other projects.
  4. Avoid deficit spending. This should be easy. I’ve trained myself to spend less than I earn. It’s a habit. All the same, I want this to be an overt goal — something that I’m constantly striving for. If I continue to avoid deficit spending (as I have for six or seven years now), then everything else should take care of itself, right?

Fitness Goals

  1. Run a marathon. (I walked in 2009.)
  2. Run a 21-minute 5k. Ambitious. I ran my first 5k in 24:07 two weeks ago.
  3. Weigh 160# by 30 June 2011 — and remain at or below this weight forever. (I started at 213# on 01 January 2010, and weigh 171# now.)
  4. Reach “advanced” level for Crossfit Total. I can’t believe I have a weight-lifting goal. But I do. I want my combined shoulder press, back squat, and deadlift to reach a certain level. This is very, very ambitious. I’ll reach “novice” level tomorrow.
  5. Qualify for the regional Crossfit Games. Again, this is ambitious, but doable. In theory. I’ve been doing Crossfit for a year. My trainer and I have talked. In 2014, I’ll be 45, putting me in the Masters division. That gives me three years to get ready.
  6. Complete a one-mile swim.
  7. Get a second colonoscopy. Men in my family die young (before the age of 50) from cancer, so my present to myself on my 40th birthday was a colonoscopy. Whee! My doctor wants me to get one every five years.

Household Goals

  1. Purge all of the Stuff from the workshop and garage. I’ve made progress in my war on Stuff, but some of that just means I’ve shifted the battlefront from the house to the outbuildings. I need to dedicate a week to selling and donating the last of the Stuff. I just want it gone.
  2. Build an outdoor area for summer. First I wanted a patio. Then I wanted a hideaway tucked in the shrubs. Now I don’t care. I just want a designated place that’s shady and cool for us to gather with friends when it’s nice outside.
  3. Finish building the horseshoe pit. Five years ago, I started building a place for us to pitch horseshoes. Five years later, nothing’s changed. It’s embarrassing.
  4. Add new spigots outside. We have one outside faucet. It’s centrally-located, which is good, but we need more. I’d like to install two additional hose bibs — one near Kris’s flower garden, and one near the vegetable garden.
  5. Erect a hammock. I love to nap outside on a summer day.
  6. Organize my comic book collection. Have I mentioned that I’m messy? Have I mentioned that I collect comic books? Can you imagine what happens when these two qualities collide?
  7. Take off my shoes. Kris really, really, really would like me to take my shoes off when I come in the house. I do this most of the time — but not always. I’m not sure why it’s such a big deal to her, but it is. And I should try to respect that. Thus the goal.

Professional Goals

  1. Reach 100,000 RSS subscribers at Get Rich Slowly.
  2. Get 1,000,000 visitors to Get Rich Slowly in one month. This should be easy. The top month was 879,000. The top 30-day window is something like 938,000.
  3. Reduce my involvement in Get Rich Slowly. Yes, it’s true. I love this site, and I love the community. But I’m ready to work on other projects. I feel the need to grow. Does that make sense? So, I want to keep this site moving toward a multi-author format, as it has been for the past two years.
  4. Move all of my online non-financial writing to jdroth.com. I have stuff scattered across the web. I want to consolidate it under one roof. (Or onto one server, as the case may be.)
  5. Launch my New Blog. Last fall I wrote about having to give up the perfect domain name because somebody was parked on it and wanted too much money. I’ve had five months to think about this project, and remain just as passionate about the idea — even more so. Well, I caved. I bought the domain. My new site may never make money, but that’s okay. It’ll be awesome.
  6. Write another book. Writing Your Money: The Missing Manual was a learning experience. I’m proud of the book, and love hearing that it’s helped people get their finances in order. But it wasn’t the J.D. Book. Now that I know how to do this, I want to write Get Rich Slowly: The Book — or a book based on the new site I mentioned above.

Adventure Goals

  1. Go sky-diving. Tentatively planned for May. (This scares the crap out of me!)
  2. Go white-water rafting. I did this one summer in high school. It was awesome.
  3. Ride in a hot-air balloon. Apparently, there’s a Rick Steves tour in Europe (Croatia? Turkey?) that does this, and it’s amazing. I’ll settle for doing it here in Portland.
  4. Learn to shoot a gun. Kris — the anti-gun zealot — beat me to this, and it ticks me off.
  5. Journey to Patagonia. After watching last Spring’s installment of The Amazing Race, I’ve been dying to visit Chile and Argentina. Especially Puerto Varas.
  6. Journey to southeast Asia. Kris and I have decided that we need to travel to “difficult” countries while we’re young. We can do Germany and Australia when we’re 80. Southeast Asia would bring new elements to our travel.
  7. Do an extended volunteer/humanitarian project. I get a lot of grief — deservedly so — for not donating more to charity. Those who have been nagging me may be pleased to know that after our trip to Africa, I found a couple of causes I can get behind. Trent wants me to support Jump for Joel, while Chris G. (and Justin B.!) is pitching Charity: Water. But you know what? I want to learn more about Room to Read. In fact, if the organization is as great as it looks, I’d like to do some work for them.

Personal Goals

  1. Hold a gourmet potluck. Why is this still on the list four years later? I have friends. My friends like to cook. They like to eat. This one should be easy. on a related note…
  2. Compile a Friends Cookbook. I have friends. My friends like to cook. Most cook very well. I think a cookbook of our favorite recipes would be awesome. (I’ll provide the clam chowder recipe.)
  3. Complete (and maintain) the Indispensable Comic Strip Reprint Library. Not sure why I haven’t done this one, either.
  4. Learn Spanish. Kris is learning French. We agree that I should have a language, too. To meet this goal, I want to take at least one (preferably more) Spanish class, as well as complete the first three levels of the Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons.
  5. Take a yoga class. “You’re as flexible as a two-by-four,” my doctor told me in 2008. My trainer at the gym says I’d do much better, but I have no mobility. Yoga will help improve that.
  6. Work with Jolie to create two posters. I want to create posters featuring food rules and Crossfit’s world-class fitness in 100 words.
  7. Digitize all photos. And collect them in one place.
  8. Digitize all writing. And collect it in one place.
  9. Create a systematic archive of all my data. In addition to my writing and photos, I have maybe a terabyte of movies, music, and more. (I’ve been ripping my DVDs to hard drive.) I’ve started to gather this all into one place. I need to finish that process, including multiple backups.
  10. Go car-free for one month. I’m convinced that I can live without a car. I love my Mini Cooper, but I feel like there are just too many compelling reasons to give it up. I’d like to pick one month — probably in summer because, after all, this is Portland — to put my keys in the safe and just bike, walk, or bus everywhere…
  11. Kiss Kris. Last but not least, I want to be better at showing my wife that I love her. Because I do!

Now that I’ve made my list, it’s time to get started. The key, I think, is not to get overwhelmed, to focus on one thing at a time. And you know what? Maybe I can use some affirmations to help me get things done. (I kid, Sierra, I kid.)

Photo by Partick Hoesly.

118 Replies to “42 Goals in 42 Months”

  1. Nicole says:

    Starting with personal goal #11 sounds like a good idea. 🙂 Good luck!

  2. Katarzyna says:

    Great goals! The adventure ones sound like a lot of fun. Good luck with them all 🙂

  3. Jen_A says:

    Suggestion – and one that I have no personal interest in pursuing, but I’ve heard about and sounds like you might: combine your desire to travel to exotic locations and your desire to increase your charitable actions and go on a volunteercation kind of thing. You get to travel and see awesome things, and you also get to do projects to help the local people in need while you’re there. If you google “volunteer vacation” a lot of sites with information on it come up.

    Why is this not my thing? Because we give regularly of both time and money to local, national and international nonprofits, and because we’re homebodies. We like to travel some, but not a lot, and we have no desire to travel to the sorts of areas where people need volunteers to help them (like Africa, South America, Southeast Asia). I like reading about and hearing about others’ adventures in these regions, but they’re too far out of my personal comfort zone. So YOU keep going and telling us about your trips, and I’ll be sated on that front, and keep planning for our 2-week trip to Italy for our 10th wedding anniversary, which is about as adventurous as we get 🙂

    J.D.’s note: You’ve read my mind, Jen. Volunteer vacations sound like a great way to get started with this. The biggest barrier is that Kris doesn’t have a schedule as flexible as mine. It may be that I do a couple of these things on my own. It’ll be tough to be separated for a few weeks (or months!) at a time, but I think this could be good. I’m probably a couple of years away, but I can see myself doing something like this in the next 42 months…

  4. Meghan says:

    Is it your birthday? If so, happy birthday!! I loved this post, very inspiring. I set goals usually at New Year’s but I wish I took some time throughout the year to be more introspective and set aside some time to look at the bigger picture.

    J.D.’s note: Yes — today I am 42. According to the life-expectancy calculator I used yesterday, that puts me exactly mid-way through my life. I hope so! My birthday present to myself? Insomnia. Couldn’t get to sleep — then couldn’t stay asleep. Ugh. That means I can review comments before going to the gym, though.

  5. Kevin says:

    RE: Your mobility goal. I’d recommend checking out Magnificent Mobility (http://www.magnificentmobility.com/) by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson. Eric and Mike are well-known and extremely well-respected in their industry and have earned their stripes with, as they describe it, “our ability to prevent and rehabilitate injuries by identifying movement dysfunctions and addressing them with corrective programming that re-educates the body on how to move efficiently.” I’ve been following EC’s and Robertson’s writings and training suggestions for about 5 years now and do a set of mobility drills every day. The up-front price may seem a little steep at first glance at $50, but I’m a big believer in paying for value. They’re drills you can (and should!) use on a daily basis (bringing the cost down to < $0.14/day over the first year for those of you doing the math) and feeling a whole lot better on a day to day basis and reaching my goals in the weight room is worth the $50, imo. Just thought I'd share.

    J.D.’s note: Thanks, Kevin. I’ve been doing some of the Crossfit mobility workouts, and my trainer works with me a little, too. It’s a long-term project. My shoulders and left leg are especially tight.
  6. Terence says:

    I appreciate the detail with which you listed your goals. I attempted to do the same but it seems I have some work to do. This post inspired me to “review and adjust” my current ones…

    Keep up the great posts.

  7. Shane says:

    I was surprised at how many of these are on my own list but I’ll definitely be adding a few of them my list of goals! The adventure ones especially interest me. I think my life needs more life threatening events! 🙂

  8. Barbie says:

    J.D. thanks so much for sharing this with us. I’ve been reading here for a while now (at my mother’s insistence – she’s a smart lady) and keep reading because I really enjoy you and your contributers. This post really made me smile and started me thinking about what my goals are. At 31 years of age, I’m at a crossroads and have finally realized I’m in the driver’s seat, good or bad, and that I’d better open my eyes otherwise I’m going to crash. It’s good for me to see what others goals are – it gives me something to chew on.

  9. Judith O says:

    lol @ “Affirmations”… That was too funny… Good luck on all your goals.

  10. Jenn says:

    Happy birthday!!

    Great list of challenging but achievable goals.

    Starting in January 2011, I have concentrated on making one habit adjustment each month – dropping Diet Coke (a 4L/day habit) for water, flossing every day, and walking from the distant parking garage to the office. Each manageable by itself and after 30 days, pretty much on autopilot. But if I tried to do it all at once, I’d be nowhere.

    We don’t wear shoes in the house either. Once you stop (I didn’t until I was married and it bothered DH), it is weird to see others drag dirt all over their house everyday. So I can sympathize with Kris!


  11. Nicole says:

    Happy birthday! All the best people were born in March.

  12. Ruth says:

    You can scratch out #6 and #7 under Adventure goals in one trip (habitat.org – Global Village Program). I’ve been trying to get my husband to get on board for the past couple of years…he hasn’t bitten…yet.

  13. HollyP says:

    Happy birthday!

    As a fulltime worker bee with kids and a husband who works and goes to school, your list has me in awe! Ah, to have time to even ponder doing all those things! My gift to myself for my 45th birthday (the time when my husband will be out of school and settled in a new job) will be a list like this.

    Since my great-grandmother and all three of her children have lived past 90 (the “baby” of the family turned 90 last summer) in good health, I’m hoping I still have a few years to go before I hit middle age!

  14. Jen says:

    Happy Birthday! Good day — it’s my oldest son’s 20th today. But really, I’m not that much older than you are!

    Think of taking off your shoes as “passive cleaning.” There, don’t you feel much more proactive not bringing in dirt, lead dust, dog poop, little stones, and bits of grass to your house?

    Don’t worry, I’m messy too, but I like the kind of cleaning that only means having more comfortable feet in the house.

  15. Kit says:

    These are great goals. About the “no shoes” thing, you should try to comply with this. 80% of the dirt that comes into your house comes in on the soles of your shoes. Ultimately, you’ll be saving quite a bit of money by prolonging the life of your flooring.

  16. Another Kate says:

    Happy birthday! I turned 42 myself just a two weeks ago. Sometime along the working-motherhood route, I stopped plotting out long to mid-range goals, though like you, I am a self-improvement junkie, so I have a “things to work on list” that I’m always referring to (and adding to)… as well as a “to read” list and “to teach my child” list, etc., etc. — my life is dominated by lists. I like your “42 things in 42 months” idea and may copy it myself.

  17. Kelly M says:


    If you’re interested in learning Spanish, I’d encourage you to check out the Fluenz program (which is similar to Rosetta Stone in some ways, and at a similar price point, but has a different philosophy). I’m currently working on their second level of Spanish and can’t say enough good things about the program. You can read reviews of both on Amazon and do a trial of each one on their respective websites. Fluenz definitely works with my learning style.

  18. Tracy says:

    Maybe it’s just because I just celebrated my 37th b-day in March that this resonates so much, but you have inspired me to go home and write down my list of goals. I tend to have 20+ goals swirling around at all times and start many, but never quite complete them all. Having read many times that the most successful people write down and visualize their goals before they achieve them should be even more reason for me to get them in writing.

    Happy belated birthday and thanks for the inspiration!

  19. Judy says:

    Great goals, love the last one – very sweet:) And the car free for a month.Good luck!

  20. R S says:

    lol to Household Goal #7! Did Kris grow up in a shoes-off household? I did, so shoes inside would drive me batty!
    Curious, what are your barriers to this? Holey socks? Stinky feet? Stinky feet seem to be my friends’ barriers.
    My barrier to wearing them inside is that I hate cleaning, love sitting on my feet, or putting them up on the couch/tables etc. 🙂
    Good luck!

    J.D.’s note: Barriers? I didn’t grow up in a house that took off shoes. Of course, our house was a pigsty. (Seriously, it was a pit.) Now, though, I agree with the idea, but I’m not good about following it 100%. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I think, “I’m going out in 20 minutes, why take off my shoes?” And sometimes my feet are cold. But it’s important to Kris, so I’ll try to comply.
  21. Sara says:

    I still don’t understand how to rebalance a portfolio. I get the concept, but just not how to do it literally. I cannot find a “rebalance” option in my portfolio — is it a two step process of “sell” and “buy”?

    J.D.’s note: Great question, Sara. I intend to re-balance my portfolio after taxes are done. I’ll try to write up how I do it. Or maybe I’ll see if Brokamp wants to tackle it. (I’ve sort of been using him as a crutch for investment topics, though.) The short answer: Yes, selling and buying is a common way to rebalance. Another way is to just rebalance with the new funds you invest. Does that make sense? More on this topic in April!
  22. Suzanne says:

    Good food for thought. After your post about not getting things done because of the All-Or-Nothing mindset, I went out and bought The Now Habit. Great book to get you past procrastination and start getting stuff done. Now is a good time for me to come up with some goals!

  23. Shalom says:

    Happy Birthday!

    Your list is inspiring. I also use my birthday to take stock, and to set goals, but I have almost always set annual goals rather than long-term ones. When I turned 42 a few months ago, I set only 2 goals. Your list shows me that I have been thinking too small – thanks for broadening my view.

  24. Laura says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your goals – I love how you have them broken down by area/topic. IMHO that helps make them doable. I suspect time is the only reason you have these on your list – just as we have to budget/plan our money, ditto for time. The old saying, “You can have anything you want, just not everything you want” extends to time and energy for desired activities, not just to purchases. So you *should* feel good about what you’ve already accomplished!

    BTW, while I know this is primarily a personal finance blog, wealth is measured in many more ways than cash. So I think this is a great posting for “Get Rich Slowly” – another way of looking at our lives and how to make them richer over time.

    Many happy returns of the day to you!

  25. CF says:

    Happy Birthday! Also in my 40s, I have some similar goals myself (Crossfit Total numbers, Peru trip, Southeast Asia, digitize etc..). I’ll second Magnificent Mobility – Eric Cressey is incredible. It’s been a combination of his teachings and Crossfit that are preparing me for a “race” called Tough Mudder, which you may want to check out as well – sort of 1/2 marathon meets obstacle course. Good luck and thanks for the inspiration!

  26. Nancy L. says:

    I have friends who’ve worked on the Project 101 goals. I personally do something a little different. I set three “big picture” goals, and then every weekend, I try to move forward on those three goals. I call it my “Weekend 3”. Keeping the number at three makes it very manageable, and I don’t procrastinate as much as I used to because I allow myself to goof off after I’ve finished the three goals.

    Right now my three big goals are (1) Artistic – I have a new technique that I’ve been working on, so I’ve been doing projects with it, (2) Personal – I was working on some writings, but now I think I may shift to getting back into playing my bass guitar, and (3) Household – I’m still trying to pare down belongings and organize the household, so I usually have one task that’s related to that goal. The only challenge is when my weekend is already booked up. I still try to find three smaller tasks that can be done.

  27. Lilblueyes says:

    Happy Birthday, as always, great post! I have goals mentally but it would definitely help to write them down. And go back & make sure I am doing them.

  28. Nick says:

    I’m curious about that new domain! You ready to at least share the name yet?

    J.D.’s note: Not until the transaction has been completed. Domain transfer is in process…
  29. shash says:

    Happy Birthday, J.D.! –Loved this post and loved the goal list! I think your examples help all of us in a more concrete way to think about and write our own goals.
    Also, as a non-yoga person, who has only recently become a beginner yoga person– I have to say, “it’s awesome!”. It has helped my sleep, posture, overall mood, flexibility and handling of stress– not to mention the focus that a small amount brings— which in turn, helps me with achieving my goals. Maybe it might do the same for you. Regardless, good luck with all of your goals! I especially thing Personal #11 is VERY important! 🙂

  30. average guy, average age says:


    Be careful! This phrase jumped out at me:

    “Because I’m getting old…”

    (Maybe you meant “As I am getting older…”)

    For me the kind of thinking that says “I am old” can put many obstacles in my path. I’m 63, and I have been interviewing for a new job! And I might get it! (Two exclamations in a row.) Should I not go for a new job because I perceive myself “old”?

    No. Yes I have an age number, but “old” is too narrowing. For me.

    J.D.’s note: You’re right, of course. And inside, I *do* think of myself as “older”, not “old”. But I think it’s fun to say the latter as a self-deprecating tongue-in-cheek thing. I’m actually pretty proud of myself for having taken control of my fitness. I’m physically and mentally younger than I have been in years.
  31. Steve R says:

    JD — I would also like to digitize my DVD collection. Do you have a suggestion for what software to use?

    J.D.’s note: Are you on a Mac? I use Handbrake for Mac. Once I figured out how to use it, it was a simple matter to backup each movie to my hard drive. Then I just put the DVDs in a box and tuck them away.
  32. Michele says:
    Happy Birthday JD, however as to your goal to go sky-diving, all I have to say is, there is no reason, ever to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. That philosophy has kept me alive for 48 years. probably 40 more.
  33. pantafants says:

    It’s gonna be hard to travel to Australia when you’re 80 and you wanna scuba dive in the great barrier reef! You should probably add that to the places you want to go to while you’re young.

    J.D.’s note: You know, I’ve never done scuba before, but you’re right. I think it would be awesome to do it at the Great Barrier Reef. I’ll move this up on our list. Thanks. 🙂
  34. secret asian man says:

    This might be a bit meta. I have a similar quantitative, OCD, attitude. I realized that I was spending more and more time checking off tasks, clicking through sub-goals, and generally living in a more and more task-driven

    My life was as cluttered by tasks.

    So, my new Goal #1, which I use to reference all my other goals:

    1: Have less goals. Minimize and right-size the scheduling of my life. Be willing to hit “defer” on the ones that don’t really matter.

  35. Charlotte says:

    This is great JD! How about travel goals? This is a big category for us. We list how many trips and where we plan to go.

    My husband and I review our goals every December. We categorize them too and even put time frames – short-term, long-term etc. We also create separate goals for personal improvement. We review our progress and change some things either throughout the year or on the next “session” in December.


    Have a good birthday celebration! Did Kris take you out for breakfast?

    J.D.: Ha! No, Charlotte, Kris didn’t take me out for breakfast. (And it cracks me up that you know enough about us to be able to joke about that.) We’re going out to Pok Pok for dinner on Sunday.
  36. Courtney says:

    Happy birthday!! And in the theme of yesterday’s post, maybe look for a yoga studio Groupon? I’ve been doing yoga for about 2 years and LOVE it. It’s my example of conscious spending – a studio membership is $1000 a year, and while I could certainly do yoga at home, I find that I’m very sporadic about doing so and can tend to be a little bit lazier about it when I do roll out my mat. I love the sense of energy and community when taking a class and typically go at least 5 days a week.

  37. liz says:

    I searched high and low for a poster with the Food Rules on it – let us know when that happens and I’ll be the first to buy one!

  38. MutantSuperModel says:

    Happy Birthday 🙂

    I really like the charity you’re looking at. I am very interested in education and literacy charities. As a matter of fact, my dream is to duplicate the Children’s Literacy Foundation (www.clifonline.org) in South Florida. There’s a Master’s Degree in Communications for Social Change at the University I work in. I’m really considering it.

    I admire you a lot for the way you set out your goals even if you don’t meet them, I think this (laying them out) is the most important part.

  39. Lyn Thorne-Alder says:

    Happy Birthday! And a wonderful idea!

    I’m turning 35 in < a month and not really thrilled about it; a 35-in-35 might be the way to become less mopey about the whole thing.

  40. A Argandona says:

    Yes, do visit Puerto Varas! It is in a beautiful lake district in Southern Chile. The landscape is breathtaking, and food is great.

    Peru is located farther North in South America. It is famous for Macchu Picchu (Inca city) and other interesting places to visit, but you will not find Puerto Varas there.

    J.D.’s note: Yikes. Total brain fart. Sorry. I mean Chile, of course. I’ll change that.
  41. Michael says:

    Re: Swimming 1 mile

    I’m trying to swim 100 miles this year. I have never been a swimmer. The first time I went swimming this year, I could only do 8 lengths of the pool.

    Yesterday I swam two miles (144 lengths).

    You’re already in good shape so you’ll probably have a better start than I did. You just need to swim 2-3 times a week and you’ll be at a mile in no time.

    Tip: I find it helpful to do 8 lengths of crawl followed by 2 lengths of backstroke. It gives me a tiny rest every 10 laps and helps me not lose count!

  42. Ariane Lee says:

    Happy birthday!

    Wow, you really got a large list of goals.
    You could also seek someone who can help you handle with your professional goals so you can have more time with your adventure and personal goals. Just make sure to entrust someone who got the skills and who you can trust the responsibility.

    Wish you fulfill all your goals in life!

  43. A.J. says:

    Michele – seems the solution to that is to jump out of a really crappy airplane, no? 😉

  44. Amber says:

    Happy Birthday.
    Now I am off to have a mini panic attack thinking of all the things I want to do and will never have time to do. Seriously though, good luck.

  45. J.D. Roth says:

    Here’s a little post within a post. It’s all about goals.

    As you know, I’ve been doing Crossfit for about a year. Crossfit is an exercise methodology that tries to combine all sorts of fitness domains: strength, agility, speed, flexibility, and so on. We do a heck of a lot of weight lifting, but we do other stuff, too. Every day, each member of the gym does the same workout. The great thing about Crossfit is that a good trainer will scale the daily workouts to the skill level of each athlete. So, for instance, when I first started last year, I couldn’t do a push-up. Or squat with weight. Or do a pull-up. Instead, I did modified versions of these things. A year later, I can do each exercise “as prescribed”.

    Anyhow, every year, there’s a competition for Crossfit athletes called the Crossfit Games. Its goal is to find “the fittest people in the world”. I’m not one of those, but along with thousands of others, I’m participating in the sectional competition. It’s a good learning experience.

    The first workout for sectionals involved double-unders and power snatches. A double-under is jumping rope, but instead letting the rope pass under your feet once, it has to pass under your feet twice. For the purposes of this workout, a power snatch just means lifting a weight over your head any way you can get it there. So, the sectional workout was to do the following as many times as possible in ten minutes: 30 double-unders and 15 power snatches with 75#.

    The first time I tried the workout, I managed to do two complete rounds plus 20 double-unders. (Meaning I did a total of 80 double-unders and 30 power snatches.) This isn’t very good, and I know it. But it’s a start. And a long way from where I was last year. Going into this morning, I was in 652nd 676th place in the Northwest region out of 709 athletes. Like I say, not very good.

    For the past week, I’ve had a goal of repeating this workout. I know that I’m physically capable of doing much better. I’ve done 30 overhead anyway in about 3-1/2 minutes. I can do 20 double-unders in 30 seconds. In theory, I should be able to do four rounds of this workout no problem.

    So, this morning I tried again. I blazed through my first thirty double-unders in less than a minute. And I finished the first fifteen snatches in about the same. (So, I finished the first complete round in less than two minutes.) But it took me 3-1/2 minutes to finish the second round. And I never finished the third. My final score this time was two complete rounds, plus 30 double-unders and 10 power snatches. I improved my score, but not by a whole lot. (I’m now 611th 652nd out of 709 athletes in the region.)

    Afterward, I talked with my trainer and my friend Dan about my performance. I was bummed. I wanted to do better. I knew I could do better physically. But it was clear that mentally, I just wasn’t there. I’m not sure why.

    This is how it is with many goals. You have the skills necessary to meet them, but there’s some mental component that holds you back. This is true with physical goals, financial goals, intellectual goals, and more. These mental barriers are invisible, but very very real.

    I’m not going to try this workout again — I have Crossfit Total scheduled for tomorrow, and that’s going to take a lot out of me — at least not for the Crossfit Games. But I’m not ready to leave it be. I know I can do four rounds in ten minutes. So, I’m going to keep working at it on my own time. One of my goals is to get four rounds.

    To me, it’s this quality that allowed me to finally pay off my debt despite stumbles along the way. It’s what keeps me writing, despite stupid mistakes (like writing “Peru” when I mean “Chile”). I know so many people who are afraid to pursue their goals because they’re afraid of failing or of coming up short. I used to be that way, too. But you know what? I’ve learned to say “fuck it”*. Who cares if I fail? Who cares if I come up short? The important thing is to try. It’s like what Robert wrote about saving on Wednesday. Even the person who saves a little bit will have more than the person who never saves at all. That’s true with pursuing goals, too. The older I get, the more I believe that living a happy, fulfilled life is all about being a doer instead of a talker.

    So, that’s a very long comment (or a post within a post) to say something very simple: Set goals. Try to meet them. If you come up short, get up and try again. And, most of all, enjoy the process.

    * (Sorry for the vulgarity there. I try to keep GRS clean, as you know. But that’s really what I say to myself when I’m trying to break down my mental barriers.)

    Addendum: It looks like my pal Mac has posted about not being afraid of failing over at Get Fit Slowly this morning.

  46. Kris says:

    Great list! I really like the idea of laying out multiple goals with a longer timeline – I set five goals for 2011, 3 are on track 2 aren’t, but that’s OK.

    I have my 39th birthday coming up shortly too, I may have to look at a project like this. DH is working on a “bucket list” himself, similar idea…

  47. Ely says:

    JD, you are 900 kinds of awesome. Thank you for this spectacular post & the follow up above.

    What do I want to accomplish by the time I’m 40?
    I want a fat emergency fund.
    I want to do 10+ pushups & pullups with ease.
    I want to go back to Scotland.

    And now I think I want the financial & time flexibility to do Crossfit. It’s not worth the $200/mo now, but maybe in 3 years I’ll be in a better place money-wise. It sounds so great when you talk about it; fully functional fitness, coaching, group goals… sounds like something I could use.

  48. Kristia says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I turn 42 in September and I love the idea of 42 in 42. I’m going to start thinking about my list. Very inspiring post. I started reading GRS in 2008 and it was been really neat to watch you grow and evolve in so many aspects of your life.

  49. Des says:

    RE: Rebalancing –

    Does *anyone* know why people say to rebalance once a year? The only statistics I’ve seen on the benefit of rebalancing said that it typically hurts portfolio performance. Granted, I read those stats on the internet, so I take them with a grain of salt. However, I have asked this question on a number of PF blogs and no one seems to have an answer, everyone just parrots the “You’re supposed to rebalance once a year” line without offering any evidence that this would be beneficial. I would be interested to see any such evidence if you do an article on how to rebalance.

    J.D.’s note: Great question. I don’t know the answer. I’ll do some reading so that I can give you an (semi-) educated reply in April, when I write this post. Sound good?

  50. Ash says:

    I think this is a great post for GRS. It’s about having a balanced life, which is a part of the goal. After all, WHY are you getting rich slowly?

    Anyway, I’ll have to write my goals down. I used to try to do too many at once and failed them all come mid-year, but I think if I tackle them one or two at a time it will work better. I dropped everything for piano earlier this year and I’ve made it farther than I did in the last four. Now that I know I can do it, I have to figure out how many goals I can balance without losing it. 🙂

    Happy birthday JD! Hope it’s a blast!

  51. Ian says:

    Have you checked out 43things.com? It’s all about setting and acheiving goals – I’ve done 17 in the last 2 years and it’s amazing!

    They’re awesome and help you track your goals as well as get ideas, tips and encouragement from others doing (or who have done) the same goal(s) as you. I was wondering if that’s why you picked 42 or if that’s an age thing.

    Hope it helps & I have some of the same goals at 28 years old, so I guess I’m ahead of the game 😀

  52. Joan Concilio Otto says:

    Happy birthday, J.D.! I am inspired to start my own list of 30 goals to reach by the time I’m 30… which is 1 year, 8 months and 4 days from now. I can totally do that.

  53. Erica says:

    Oh this is awesome! I don’t think I knew about your “101 goals in 1001 days” post before now.

    I love this idea. I’m going to start my own list today.

    Also, kudos for doing CrossFit. I’ve tried it before and it is HARD WORK.

    PS – Happy Birthday, J.D.!

  54. mapster says:

    Happy Birthday!

    Two days ago, I turned 35. I’ve found myself on a self – discovery and self-improvement journey these past couple of years. But, I’ve been floundering. Lots of “I shoulds”, “I wannas”, and “Maybe somedays” without much follow-up or thought put in to the process. I like the idea of a 35 in 35 list, with thought behind it and how and why I’m going to try to reach that goal.

    Thanks for another stellar post designed perfectly to get my mind kick-started and thinking more deeply, instead of just passing thoughts along the surface.

  55. Meredith M says:

    I agree with others who say that taking off your shoes in the house reduces the amount of dirt on the floor and thus the amount of cleaning and maintenance. If your feet get cold, why not buy a pair of house shoes? My husband wears clogs with sturdy soles that stay inside the house (or for quick trips onto the porch to get mail) — best of both worlds.

  56. retirebyforty says:

    That’s a lot of things to work on. Good luck! Happy B day too. 😉
    I think I do better with a smaller list. A huge list just looks too daunting, but I suppose I should create a master list.

  57. Tanya says:

    A friend and co-worker has been making seasonal goals with her family; she and her husband and young children make a list of things they’d like to do to enjoy each season. Last summer their many goals included having a squirt gun fight and having a hot dog roast in the backyard. These kinds of lists help them savor each season instead of finding themselves at the end of summer saying, “Oh yeah, we meant to do that but we were busy.” It also builds great memories together as a family. I love the seasonal goal idea.

  58. Bella says:

    Happy Birthday!
    Great post, It was worth clicking on the extended version. I know you wrote a couple weeks ago about having a little notebook that you keep everything in. I recently purchased a little notebook, that I keep in my purse, that has my financial, artistic, health and home goals for the year. For my financial and health goals, I put things I thought were reasonable for a year, and then one or two ‘stretch’ items. For my artistic goals, I put 25 things. which averages to a little over two weeks per goal. I find that when I have a nice to do list like this, I can pull it out when I am tempted to derail myself (spend money or calories when I don’t need to) and when I find myself with ‘down time’, it’s much easier to refocus and get the things I want done.
    Although this is year one, so we’ll see if I still like it next December.

  59. Suzanne says:

    You re-balance your portfolio because as one asset increases (usually stocks) it becomes a higher percentage of your overall portfolio. Most of us want our ratio of stocks to go down over time so that when we retire it will be a more conservative portfolio. If you let the stocks (or more aggressive assets) continue to rise, it will become a riskier and riskier portfolio.

  60. Bella says:

    I almost forgot – I HIGHLY recommend trying out a power yoga class. It’s a high powered class that I think you’ll find aligns nicely with your weight lifting and cross training. You’ll learn focus and breathing techniques that will help in your weight lifting too. I think they have core poweryoga in portland, ususally the first week is free (but it goes up pretty steep afterword), maybe you should talk to your crossfit gym about bringing in a couple yoga clases a week.

    J.D.’s note: Thanks, Bella. I’ll check it out. Our CF gym wants to bring in yoga, but it needs to grow the member base before that happens. I should find something in Sellwood or Milwaukie to try in the meantime. Or, as Kris keeps telling me, I could join her for her yoga DVDs…
  61. kick_push says:

    might be weird but i don’t write down my goal until AFTER i’ve reached it.. that way i have a list of what i’ve accomplished instead of what i didn’t

  62. Marcie says:

    Thanks for publishing this. As I read it, I got excited about the prospect of setting goals for myself . . . and was even motivated to leave a comment.

    This last week, I started using Evernote. I created a “Financial” notebook to keep track of my financial stuff – advice, check list, goals, etc. What I realized is most of the goals I’d written down, I’d achieved. I started with paying off my credit card with the interest rate went up to 29.95%, so thousands of dollars got repaid pronto and even though it seemed impossible when I set the goal, I only missed my deadline by 14 days. Not too bad.

    What I further realized was the places where I was stagnating . . . not automating my savings or setting up my Roth were things that never made the list because paying off my debt, saving my first $1,000, then funding a 6-month emergency fund already seemed like they were too much.

    It’s time to set some new bench marks for myself, so here goes:

    1. Set up automated savings each month starting April 1.
    2. File my taxes by April 15
    3. RUN Bay to Breakers on May 15 (50 days from today)

    Thanks for getting me started.

  63. brooklyn money says:

    Happy B-day, JW! I used to live in Chile so hit me up for tips when you are trip planning.

  64. marva says:

    one of your best blogs:)

  65. pH says:

    JD – Too many individual comments to read before I post this, but YOU ‘DA MAN!

    a) Happy Birthday!
    b) Love the goals – had to ‘borrow’ a few for myself; although I’m proud to say that we have a few of the same goals already
    c) Running a Marathon will be awesome – I went from a non-runner to finishing the marathon in < 5 hrs (4:58:41 to be exact; hitting my goal) in 22 weeks… if *I* can do it – you TOTALLY can.
    d) Ever consider a triathlon? Maybe even the ironman? that'd take care of most of your fitness goals! ha!

    Enjoy crossing these challenges off your list!

  66. Charlotte says:


    JD – Pok Pok is a good choice.

    I joke about breakfast because my husband is like Kris. I like going out for breakfast (or eating in) but he only likes tea or maybe a cookie before lunch. I want a full breakfast. I like those breakfast all day places…lol

    He took me to Besaw’s (great place!) on my last birthday. Now I have to wait for my next birthday…

  67. 20 and Engaged says:

    Inspiring as usual. I think I should come up with a 20 by 21 list. You rock JD!

  68. Robin says:

    Inspiring post – I think I will come up with my own list of goals to hit by the time I’m (ahem) 50. I have a few years to go luckily. One of mine is to hit all 50 states by the time I’m 50 and I have most of them down, just missing some Southern states and the Dakotas.

    BTW – I’d start with the last goal and repeat. Daily.

  69. kristine says:

    To help with digitizing all of your photos, I recommend “Nickel scan” or some service like that. You send them all your photos and they will scan the front and back then return them along with a dvd. It might go against your nature to pay for something like that but it was worth every penny to us. It would have taken hours and hours and hours for us to scan them all in! It helped us declutter a lot! Good luck with your goals.

  70. Eileen says:

    I am so happy to read this. First, I support the multi-author format (but love JD best!) because of the excellent point you made about readers needing to hear from people at different stages, and with different styles, or personal finance. Also, your goals are S.M.A.R.T. and are a good reminder to me that I have strayed a bit from my big-ass list of 2011 financial goals…but only the ones that were ill-defined or totally unrealistic. Part of my slacker attitude is that I haven’t been reading GRS every day anymore. This will change! Reading this every day is a good, short thing I can do on the bus each morning and it guides whether I will have a day or spending or saving. Onward!

  71. Bobbi says:

    Glad to see a colonoscopy on your list. Sure, nobody DREAMS of getting one, but my husband’s routine colonoscopy last year revealed a very small, stage 1 cancerous tumor that was successfully treated with an outpatient surgery… no radiation or chemo required. We don’t want to imagine the outcome if he’d skipped his routine exam and this was discovered years down the road. Good for you!

  72. Jessica the hedgehog says:

    Happy Birthday, J.D.! I hope your day today is a great one, and that the upcoming year is filled with much happiness! 🙂

    I’m really digging your goals (many of them are along the same line as my husband’s and my goals!) and I love how they’re spread over a wide swath of life. I’m looking forward to reading along as you tackle them.

    Under your adventure goals, you mentioned hot air ballooning. And while I’m not positive about the Rick Steves part, I do know that hot air ballooning in Cappadocia (around central Turkey) is extremely popular. The landscape of Cappadocia is other-worldly and it’s a wonder to hike through it. And when you float over it? It’s even better! That’s where we did our hot air balloon ride back in 2005, and it was definitely a one of a kind experience! (If you need some extra daydreaming material, you can find our story of that day here.)

    For extended (international) volunteering, we volunteer for an elephant sanctuary in Southeast Asia. But, it sounds like your interest lies more in organizations that focus on the two-legged variety (rather than four-legged-with-trunk variety!). Last September, I had the opportunity to meet the founder of a non-profit called Edge of Seven that does humanitarian work around the world (she’s mostly been focusing on Nepal lately). Their focus is on working with local communities to improve the lives of local girls. I had a really good feeling about the founder and her work, so if you’re in search of a fulfilling volunteer opportunity, that might be a fun way to go!

    J.D.’s note: Yes, Cappadocia. That’s the place. Some folks on our South Africa trip had done this with a Rick Steves group, and they raved about it. They said it was one of the best things they’ve ever done. And yes, again, to The Edge of Seven. This is perfect. It’s exactly the sort of thing I want to support (though I’m not opposed to helping with an elephant sanctuary, either). Of all the goals on my list, finding a way to fuse volunteerism and tourism is perhaps most important to me. I want to see the world, but I want to help the world, too.
  73. chiefcaba says:

    @shoes goal

    Same issue – I’m a shoes wearer and slippers just don’t cut it.

    Solution that worked for me: Buy a comfy pair of shoes and never wear them outside. They are my inside shoes 🙂

  74. Amanda says:

    Hi J.D., a funny note about your goal to take off your shoes. It’s Canadian custom to take off your shoes when you walk into any household. I never knew that it would be any different south of the border, but this is not the first time I’ve heard of this. Not sure why it’s different up here but of course I agree with your wife that shoes should be taken off at the door!! heehee

  75. El Nerdo says:

    Oh, damn! Happy birthday dude! Get to working on item #5 of the household goals right– well worth it! And it goes great with the comics– especially, say, Sandman.

  76. Steve says:

    Good luck with all your goals. I have been to Argentina; I also want to go skydiving. Once you get into the habit of taking your shoes off inside, you’ll eventually wonder how it could be any other way (especially when you see how much dirt and gunk piles up in your shoe-removal area).

  77. Steve says:

    Also, ever consider a triathlon? Since you want to swim and run you’re 2/3rds there.

  78. chacha1 says:

    Happy Birthday, J.D.! You are quite the inspiration.

    I will be forty-*cough* this year so I guess I need to start coming up with a nice neat statement of goals myself.

    re: yoga: could not be more “pro” this for you. Good thinking.

    re: scuba on the Great Barrier Reef: don’t sweat the scuba. All the best stuff to see in the ocean is either at snorkel depth (20 feet or less) or at 100+. I have this on good authority from a scuba instructor. 🙂 Once I heard this I quite happily threw in the must-learn-scuba towel.

    Re: shoes off: the easiest way to make the transition is to put a little bench inside the door you most often use, with a little box underneath it to hold your outdoor shoes, and a little hook on the wall to hold your house slippers.


  79. Pamela says:

    I read this post early this morning and have been thinking about it ever since. I’m feeling ambivalent.

    On the plus side, your goals hit a great balance. And you’re right, setting goals is the best way to actually achieve something.

    But part of me rebels against the constant pressure to improve ourselves. What is the balance between being the best person we can be and saying we’re ok as we are?

    I don’t know and that’s why a post like yours stops me in my tracks.

    Maybe my goal has to be to live my life awake to every day without setting so many goals?

    Thanks for making me think.

    Hope you’re enjoying a great birthday!

    J.D.’s reponse: Great point, Pamela. I think the key is to be happy with who you are, but look for ways to improve. Happiness and success aren’t a destination — they’re a journey. So, I’m proud of who I am and what I’ve done. But I see that I can be and do more. You’re right, though, that it’s important not to let this quest for self-improvement lead to added stress.
  80. Hunter says:

    This list is motivating me to re-visit my goals and commit to what I want to put into and get out of life. Thanks for sharing.

  81. Pat S. says:

    Awesome. Congratulations on the goal setting and followthrough.

  82. Sara says:

    Sunday will be my 22nd birthday. My present to myself is a condo (which I’m getting for a song – I just found out my offer was accepted last night at 10 pm – I <3 my realtor).

    My other present to myself is "22 goals in 22 months," which will put me at the end of 2012 more or less. A lot of the stuff I wrote down are things I've been wanting to do but circumstances have been preventing them (namely living with a roommate who I adore but is both a bad and good influence – situation to be remedied soon, see above).

  83. Sandy says:

    Happy Birthday! Mine was this week too. One thought: Maybe you should consider learning the same language as Kris so that you can talk to each other. It’s so much easier to keep up with a language if you can speak it at home with family!

  84. mapster says:

    “Hi J.D., a funny note about your goal to take off your shoes. It’s Canadian custom to take off your shoes when you walk into any household.”

    Canadian here, and I disagree. Winter, or muddy weather, yes. Summer…not always. I actually have a great aunt who would not let us take our shoes off at her house if we weren’t wearing socks. She had white carpet throughout. Her reasoning was that the oil from your skin dirties the carpet worse and is harder to clean than vacuuming up the dirt.

    At my house, people can do whatever they’re comfortable with (hard floors throughout), though I DO get grouchy at my husband if he carries snow in then I step in it with bare or sock feet.

  85. Tim says:

    Great list. You may have seen this already, but a good read re: your Chile goal.


  86. Jia Jun says:

    Awesome progress J.D.
    Soon I would like to write my 101 lists of things to do too. 😀
    It’s gonna be awesome to achieve goals one by one, like an adventure game. 😀

  87. Susan says:

    Happy Birthday JD!
    I highly recommend sky diving at least once. I did it about 10 years ago and have a great photo of my tandem jump. I now always use that experience when I face something hard to do or scary. I just tell myself, heck I can do this, I jumped out of a plane! I can do anything!

  88. RJ says:

    My 42nd birthday is next week. You’re making me look like a slacker. Happy Birthday JD! 🙂

  89. Happy birthday! It was your post that you mentioned above that got me started on my own list (and blog.) It’s been awesome ever since and skydiving isn’t scary, it’s great! I think you’ll love it once you’re back on the ground!!! Good luck on the goals!

  90. Bridgette says:

    I know some people think that after a certain point you should be satisfied with who you are. I don’t think of setting goals as trying to be a better person but as a way to live a fulfilled life. I had the standard goals of college, get married and have kids but was never offered any other alternatives. When I graduated and started working my whole focus has been on work and I lost the momentum that young people have of learning something new and growing. I have since learned that in the adult world you are responsible for keeping your life exciting and for learning new things. It is not a given. For example, I ran track in college, participated in special interest clubs, and traveled for the heck of it. But for the last 6 years, my main focus in life has been work. I have fun and do new things but I didn’t see myself moving forward in my personal life. I am only 30 and this site has helped me to realize that you don’t have to settle for the status quo. I am responsible for the direction my life takes. By the way, since reading this blog over the past few years I have paid off like $20,000 of debt, everything except for student loans and my mortgage and reading what other people have done in their careers has helped me to be confident in my decision to leave a job that was not a good fit.

  91. Debt Donkey says:

    This is an awesome way to keep focus and aim high. You inspired me to do my own list. Good luck with your goals!

  92. Steve-Personal Success Factors says:

    Why is it that seeing someone else’s goals in writing is so inspirational? I personally go through a goal setting process every single year, and it’s made a huge difference in my life. I’m starting to think that a bigger goals list might be helfpul, since I usually keep my number of goals to about 12 per year.

  93. saro says:

    My answer to yoga was this:


    She’s awesome, low-stress, not judgey or gimmicky.

  94. Blackstar says:

    Happy Bday. This site has been something to look forward to- beyond financial advice. How refreshing to see you declare goals that enhance your livelihood beyond money. Heart. Soul. Inspiring to know you are growing and maturing in Life and having the risk to do other things that are just as meaningful and keep Life interesting……

  95. Rob Ward says:

    Hey JD,

    In regards to Taking a hot air balloon ride, if you crew for a local company a few times you should be able to get a free ride (as opposed to $200 or whatever the going rate in Portland is). crewing is lot of fun and you get to meet lots of awesome people. Hot-air balloonists are known for being a bit crazy…though not as crazy as skydivers!

    To change the topic completely…if you want to consolidate all of your data in one place, check out Drobo (datarobotics.com). They are a bit pricey but they give you lots of room to expand how much space you need. They also serve as a back up (as long as you have multiple drives installed).

  96. olga says:

    Goals are what drives any individual, as well as society, anywhere. Your mix is fun and real. You know, the SMART way by abbreviation:) Like, for example, I want to buy a house outright, but it may take a awhile, so the goal has to be breaken into smaller pieces. As for Crossfit – it’s a really great system. Hope in general people who get into fitness will set goals too – because just “go out and jog” usually simply vanishes rather quickly.
    p.s. thanks for pointing to a site with CF tests. Now I have a goal to get from advanced to elite, and I had no clue I was close!

  97. Anne says:

    JD – It’s interesting you say you are PROUD of who you are. But that’s not the same thing as being just plain happy with who you are. They are very, very different statements.

    J.D.’s response: True. But I am happy, too. To me, the happy is contained within the proud. (This isn’t always the case, I know, but it is here.) I’m only truly unhappy on a daily basis when I have to much to do, and though that happens, it doesn’t happen a lot. Overall, I’m very happy.

    I’m inclined to side with Pamela on this. There’s value of letting of goals. Or at least some kinds of goals.

    I also think it’s odd to equate throwing a dinner party with learning a new language.

    J.D.’s note: ??? These aren’t equivalent things, but they can both be goals, right?

    I try not to set goals that have nothing to do with who I am at this moment. If I can’t make the time this week to enroll in a language class, I don’t see a desire to learn a new language as something that can be considered a goal. Wants always outstrip resources. Whether the resource is money or time.

    I make new year’s resolutions for goals I can achieve over the next year but start right away. I try not to think further ahead than one year (except my professional life and my finances). Even my financial goals are usually based on things I am doing right now. Overpaying my mortgage etc…. Personal desires aren’t goals until I put something on my calendar and start.

    This is why I always end up starting my new years resolutions in December or November. Because if you really want to do something, start doing it! If you want to go whitewater rafting, call a company and book it. If you want to throw a dinner party, start calling your friends.

    If you can’t prioritize the time or the money, is that really a goal?

    J.D.’s note: I see the differentiation you’re making, and understand how it might be useful in your life. But to me, this is drawing and unnecessary distinction. Yes, it’s still my goal to learn Spanish, even if I don’t have a concrete plan for it at this very moment. It’s not any less of a goal just because the time horizon is further out than, say, running a marathon. I don’t have any concrete details about how I’m going to volunteer, either, but it’s absolutely a goal for me right now. Maybe one of my top goals. In fact, just last night I grilled a woman over the work she’d done overseas. I’m gathering information. I’m deciding my priorities. Just because I don’t have an action plan, doesn’t mean it’s not a goal! 🙂

    I really think if you fill up your life with wishes for some day, even if that some day is in two years, you miss the chance to be completely happy today.

  98. Jeff says:

    Never let anyone make you feel guilty for not donating to charities as much as they do. “Do what works for you.”

  99. Leah says:

    My feet get cold too, so I understand the shoe thing. But shoes really do bring in a lot of dirt. In my house growing up, I was the designated vacuumer for most of the house. Of course, I’m also allergic to dust. thanks, mom, for making my chores vacuuming and dusting — I think she thought I’d be more conscientious since having dust around bugs my nose.

    Anyway, my solution is this. I take off my shoes when I come in the house (less dirt and less need to vacuum/sweep). Then, I put on a pair of house shoes/slippers. These are slip ons so that I don’t have to worry about too much tieing and untieing. My feet stay warm, the floors stay much cleaner, and we’re all happier for it.

  100. Leah says:

    wait, where’s the “edit comment” button? I realized I want to add more. (okay, it showed up again after I posted this comment. Weird.)

    Re: learning Spanish, this time. Have you ever tried the Pimsleur method? I taught myself basic Dutch using this method, and it worked really well. I found the CDs at the library, so learning was free for me.

    I also really like Coffee Break Spanish. I used to speak Spanish well, but years of not practicing have me rusty. The podcast seems fabulous for beginning learners and is pretty decent for me to practice and acquire a bit of new vocabulary.

  101. Someone else's wife says:

    Dude, start with the last one. It will make all the others so much sweeter.

  102. elena says:

    Happy Birthday, JD!
    Thanks for sharing your updated list. Fun to read your road map.
    I actually printed out your list of 101 things way back when and was looking at it recently while trying to figure out what’s next for me.

  103. KS says:

    Happy (belated) birthday and many happy returns. Very motivating to see these. I’ve let all of my goals go as I plan for and execute a house sale/job change/international move, but reading this list was motivating. Maybe I’ll go for 1 or 2 :).

  104. Jadzia says:

    After spending all weekend trying to convince my husband to do something, anything (i.e., look for a job) so that I will not lose my house from the bills that my uninsured pregnancy are about to deposit on my door — I cried when I saw J.D.’s “take my shoes off” and “kiss Kris” entries. It is very touching to see J.D. resolve to do the first just to show her respect — and the second to show his love. Respect and love are just foundational.

  105. Thierry says:

    There’s no place on earth easier to travel than SE Asia. Been doing so before and now for the past 4 months and I’d say it’s even easier than living in Europe 🙂

    Either way, Good Luck!

  106. Eric F. says:

    Regarding Household goal Take off my shoes, here’s a tip: take the responsibility of keeping a neat and clean floor.

    Yes, that’s right, pick up that broom, mop and Dyson to keep it clean. You will understand why it is important to remove your shoes 😉

  107. Eric says:

    I am about 950 days into my 1001 days. I’ve got 79 done and will be pretty close to finishing just about all of them!

  108. Amber @ Blonde & Balanced says:

    What an awesome, inspiring post! I love how you can take a topic that could be mundane, redundant, or dry and make it into a post that inspires so many (just look at the comments!).

    And happy belated!

  109. Amber @ Blonde & Balanced says:

    And in reply to Eric’s tip on taking off your shoes, try this, too: take note of the floor at the next restaurant or public bathroom you’re at. Then think about tracking that yucky stuff into your house. I often sit on the floor, and sometimes I even lay or nap on the floor (especially in the living room in front of the TV) … and I don’t want to be drooling on the gunk that was trampled in from some dirty restaurant bathroom. 🙂

  110. imelda says:

    Love this post! Even though I am decidedly distancing myself from self-improvement, this was fun and inspiring to read. I haven’t read through all the comments so sorry if this is redundant, but I have some suggestions:

    1. Have you read ‘Leaving Microsoft to change the world’? By the founder of Room to Read, and a fantastic book.

    2. If you haven’t bought Rosetta Stone yet, don’t bother — Livemocha.com is essentially the same thing, and completely free. (at least check it out and compare!)

    3. On taking off your shoes: I moved to Japan last year and this has become second nature to me. It really makes ZERO sense to wear shoes indoors. I don’t know if Kris does most of the cleaning? But not wearing shoes inside dramatically reduces the amount you need to wash floors. Hint: here in Japan, everyone wears slip-on shoes to make life easier, since you have to take shoes off EVERYWHERE (schools, offices, temples, homes, etc).

    4. Travel to SE Asia: I think a lot of old people travel to SE Asia if they are in good health, and they get a real kick out of it. I kind of think maybe they need the excitement of exotic destinations more than younger people do.

    5. Skydiving: do it!!! I did it last year after wanting to for nearly my whole life. I hated it, but I’m glad it’s done.

    Good luck, and happy birthday!!! 🙂

  111. Valvanera says:

    I can understand that you want to visit the Patagonia, I’m planing to drive to Tierra del Fuego and Fin del Mundo (in the argentinian Patagonia) too. But if you decide to visit Perú first, you wont’n regret… Perú is an incredible place to visit and has many things to see. And off course, feel free to contact me for anything you need, I’ll be really happy to help you.

  112. Mighty says:

    these are great goals JD! You just inspired me to come up with a similar set of goals!

  113. Kristen says:

    Love your goals! And I just got back from Patagonia yesterday….it really is amazing.

  114. Ely says:

    Rebalancing reduces risk. It helps you automatically buy low and sell high.

    Here’s what happens: You own Stock A, Stock B, Bond C, Other Investment D, having one quarter of your money in each. Over the course of a year, Stock A goes through the roof; stock B lags; Bond C stays the same and OID goes up a little. Now your balance is messed up; you have 50% of your money in Stock A, 30% in D, and only 20% in everything else. When you rebalance, you sell some of the hot stuff (sell high) and buy some of the not so hot (buy low) so that your overall allocation returns to 25%ea. This protects you if A crashes down the road; you’re only 25% invested instead of 50% or more. It also helps you out when B recovers, since you bought a bunch while it was cheap. Basically, it keeps you from having too many eggs in one basket should the worst happen, assuming you’re sufficiently diversified in your investments.

  115. radman says:

    Just had to mention something from this post. Your comment “Because I’m getting old, the idea of accomplishing 101 things in ….”. Come on, give me a break. Do you honestly think you’re getting old? If that’s the case then I think you’re hanging up the towel too soon! Believe me when I say there’s a lot more to come which you will enjoy if you keep an upbeat mindset.

    Best of thoughts. Radman

  116. Shannon says:

    Crossfit…I need to get back into this, and I love it; but, it is so expensive!!

  117. Maggie says:

    I like your list. It’s inspirational. It’s food for thought for making my own list.

    Thank you!

  118. David says:

    Thank You Sir for sharing your personal bucket list above. I also have a list, and made some good progress by prioritizing my list. That means going through and mark with numbers starting at 1 for the most important goal. My Top-Goals are: Finding a new employer in my home-country or abroad. Learning butterfly stroke in order to look better. Creating a family. Being better in playing piano.
    There is one thing in your list i find particular disturbing, and that is the colonoscopy. I believe that health is the one thing you cannot buy. You decide. If you are afraid of cancer, i advice you to study on Kriss Karr, a cancer survivor. Else, try vegetarian diet for 30 days. Thank you!
    Happiness forever!

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