in Administration, Self-Improvement

My Goals for 2013

On Monday, I shared my year in review for 2012. The past twelve months were a time of transition, and I’m happy with how my life has changed in the past year. Now, however, it’s time to look forward to 2013, to prepare plans so that life can be even better.

In recent years, I’ve consciously shied away from New Year’s resolutions. I’ve used a “one goal at a time” technique to achieve major changes. By focusing on just one thing at a time, I don’t get distracted, and I’ve been better able to achieve success.

I didn’t set any major goals for 2012, though. This was largely because I knew my life was going to be in a state of flux: I was in the process of getting a divorce, was moving temporarily to an apartment, and was preparing to leave Get Rich Slowly, where I’d been writing for six years. If I had a goal, it was to get through all of these transitions in a smooth and orderly manner. Which I did.

This year, though, I want to be more directed. And I’m willing to take on more than just one goal in 2013. As my discipline has improved, I’ve found that I have more brainwidth to devote to self improvement. I believe I can pursue more than one goal at a time, so long as the goals aren’t in the same parts of my life. (In other words, I can probably pursue just one fitness goal at a time, but I can pursue a fitness goal and a financial goal simultaneously.)

Here, then, are the things I aim to achieve in 2013.

Professional Goals

To begin, I have a handful of professional goals. Though I only have a few of these, they’ll dominate most of my time from Monday through Thursday of each week.

First, I’m going to fully develop More Than Money. Since retiring from Get Rich Slowly in October, I’ve enjoyed writing here, finding my voice again, exploring a variety of topics. But I haven’t found any regular rhythm. I’d like to change that in 2013. I want to build a community here as I share the vast variety of information I explore in my daily life. I want to help others to help themselves. To do that, I want to make this site more robust.

Second, I’m going to write a proposal for my next book. Though I’m proud of Your Money: The Missing Manual, I’ll be the first to admit there’s nothing unique about it. It’s a common-sense guide to managing your money. It’s not the “J.D. Book” that I wanted to produce. After two years of mulling it over, I know what the “J.D. Book” is: what it’s about and what it should look like. This year, I want to produce a proposal so that my agent and I can sell this book.

Next, I want to help produce the best-ever World Domination Summit. In July, we’ll bring 3000 people to Portland for a two-day event. As you can imagine, that entails lots of logistical challenges. Plus, we need to provide programming to engage this group. There’s a lot of work to be done over the next six months, but I want to make this conference something worthwhile for everyone who attends.

Finally, I want to continue to practice my public speaking. Last year, I spoke at three conferences. I already have three speaking gigs for this year. I’d be happy to do one or two more. But more than that, I want to improve my delivery. A lot of times, I feel unprepared for my talks, and I lack confidence. This year, I want to make sure that each talk is well-prepared and, most importantly, full of useful info for the folks in the audience.

Personal Goals

While I’m eager to tackle my professional goals, I’m actually keener to work on my personal life. My work has dominated my life for the past few years, and it was only in 2012 that I began to seek balance between the professional and the personal. I want to continue that work in 2013.

First up, I’m going to buy a house. It’s taken me a few months to prepare for the house-hunting process, but things are finally ready. I know how I’m going to pay for the place, and I know (roughly) where and how I want to live. Last week, I began looking at places in the Portland area. I’ve already seen a couple of promising properties. I’m hoping to have found a place by the end of January so that perhaps I can have moved by late March, before I travel to Europe.

Also, I’m going to do more volunteer work. Last year, I dabbled with volunteering. I did a couple of workshops about personal finance, for instance, and for nine months I was an English tutor for a woman from Spain. (Sort of. In reality, we became friends who liked to hang out twice a week.) In 2013, I want to find other ways to give my time and energy.

Next, I’m going to foster my friendships. I did a good job of connecting with friends during the first half of 2012, but as I got busier in the latter half of the year, I did a poor job staying in touch. I want to correct that.

And, of course, I’m going to re-dedicate myself to fitness. For the past few years, fitness has been one of my top priorities. I’ve learned how to eat right and how to make exercise a habit. As a result, I reached my peak level of fitness last July. But through a combination of injuries, travel, and a lack of focus, I’ve let my body go soft. I’ve gained about ten pounds, and I can feel my physical fitness beginning to fade. It’s not too late to put on the brakes, though, and that’s just what I plan to do. In 2013, I’m going to train for the Portland Marathon, reduce my alcohol intake, and pay more attention to healthy eating (including more fruits and veggies).

Through all of this, I’m going to relax. At the end of 2012, I started seeing a therapist. I didn’t have a purpose at first, but after a few conversations it’s clear that there are a couple of things I can work on. Number one? Tranquility. I need to learn to be calm, to go with the flow, to be present in the moment. “I want you to learn how to self-soothe,” my therapist told me at our last session. Sounds like good advice!

Finally — and most importantly — I’m going to continue building my relationship with Kim. I’m happy to have found a partner who supports me emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally; and I’m happy to be able to do the same for her. I’m excited to see how our relationship grows now that we’re leaving the early “get to know you” phase.

The Bottom Line

Obviously, these aren’t SMART goals. The aims I’ve shared aren’t all specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timed. However, for most of these goals, I do have private, concrete objectives.

Really, though, I’m aiming for a change in process, in the way I think and act. To me, the details are less important than making lasting behavioral changes. I want to build good habits that last a lifetime.

What about you? What are your goals for 2013? What do you hope to accomplish in the coming months? How do you decide which goals are most important? And how do you decide how to spend your time when pursuing more than one goal at once?

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  1. I’m excited that one of your goals is to focus on More Than Money. I enjoy your voice and am continually disappointed with the sporadic posts! Good luck with all your goals in 2013. How will your goals change if you land that job you mentioned? Or is that now off the table?

  2. I, too, am excited about your goal to focus on More than Money and look forward to reading more about how you’re achieving your other goals.

    At the beginning of the summer I started a “face your fears” challenge with myself, doing small things that really bother me like going through the car wash, speaking in front of a group (did that twice), hiking by myself and going to a prison (claustrophobia–the locked gates and doors issue)–to take dogs that the prisoners train for the local shelter. I want to continue with trying to push myself to say “yes” to things I fear rather than letting fear get the better of me.

    One of my new favorite volunteer activities is tutoring adult students who are new to English. Most are Spanish speakers, followed by African and Eastern European immigrants. I’m trying to learn Spanish online (Duolingo) so that I can communicate a bit better. I mean, how do you define the word “life” to someone? Luckily, she had a translator app on her phone because I was coming up empty.

  3. Great set of goals you have there, JD!

    Can I ask why your first personal goal is to buy a house? From your 1/27/2010 article: “But knowing what I know now, I might even be inclined to rent.”

    Perhaps living in NYC has jaded me to the American Dream of buying your own home, but perhaps things are way different in Oregon.

  4. J.D.

    All of these goals sound realistic and attainable! And good luck on your house search. I hope that you find exactly what you want…and for the right price. I know what you mean about having to learn how to relax. I am always going at 1000% all of the time….to the point where I occasionally collapse and have to sleep an entire day to catch up.

    My goals for 2013:
    -Try not to be so hard on myself
    -Continue writing
    -Try to be more patient and present with my two young children
    -Continue the rapid debt payoff of my only debt that is left- my mortgage

    I hope that you have an awesome 2013!

  5. I think it is good to have multiple goals in different areas. I set 13 things I want to accomplish in 2013. I can plan and anticipate end dates for many of them, like finish my dissertation (#1), make a quilt for my bed, pay off loan, etc. In some ways those are easy goals for me.

    I also have the eat healthier and find better rhythm in my day goals, and they are not measurable as written, but are reminders for me that I do need to put some energy to those areas, so I don’t sacrifice too much in the pursuit of the concrete goals. One goal I will need to plan and prepare for is to run a 5k – I have said every year that I will, and I want to do it this year, really do it. If anyone has advice – please share!

    Good luck with your goals! I look forward to your building this community here.

  6. Great goals JD! Mine is to take classes that will move me closer to a career that I’ve been thinking about for almost a decade. My first class starts on the 22nd of this month. I’m scared & excited!

  7. For me the golds in the 2nd to last paragraph

    I genuininly believe you can change the way you feel by changing the way you think. Taking out the bad habits that we form without evening realizing it, habits that are both our actions and our thoughts.

    Looking forward to following your journey

  8. Hi JD – Former Get Rich Slowly reader, and I just discovered your blog over here. (Embarassed to admit I’ve more or less entirely stopped reading GRS since you retired).

    On the tranquility, have you heard of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction? It seems like it would be right in that goal. I call it “evidence based meditation” (since I’m a health care researcher, so am very attuned the evidence base for various things).
    Here’s one website and of course Wikipedia.


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