On New Year’s Eve 1999, while the rest of the family counted down the last ten seconds until the ball dropped, I snuck down to my aunt’s basement.
At midnight, I cut the power to the entire house.
At that same moment, my cousin yelled out, “Oh, no! Y2K is real!”
People panicked, and someone blurted it out, “Oh my god, the planes!” because much of the world believed, among many of the possible outcomes of the Y2K bug, that commercial planes would stop working and fall out of the sky.
My cousin laughed as the power came back on with the click of the circuit breaker.
We let the congregation in on the joke.
My cousin and I laughed the hardest.
Everyone else found it slightly amusing at the moment, the real laughs coming much later in the evening and the next day when it was clear the world wasn’t going to end because clocks turned from 1999 to 2000.
Besides random technology dying, I had little to worry about in January 2000.
I’m 22, and single, college graduation is in the spring, and I’m already working a full-time job at a radio station.
My bills are minimal, and I’m living with my parents.
Much like anyone in this situation, it’s not apparent how good I’ve got it.
I had zero plans for my life.
Today is New Year’s Eve.
A calendar flip to 2020 is hours away.
Twenty years sprinted past.
I’m 42 and divorced (and still single). Writing is my passion, but passion doesn’t pay the rent.
I applied to over 40 full-time jobs in the past two months and got only one phone interview.
I’ve still got it pretty good. Now I’m more thankful for things in life.
I’m also older, wiser, and understand the importance of setting goals.
On December 31, 2018, I wrote down four goals for the coming year.
– Run over 1,000 miles
– Read over 12 books
– Earn double my income
– Write 450 new parenting notes
I ran 1,019 miles, nearly double my miles in 2018, and sliced 19 seconds off my average pace in just 14 more runs this year.
I ran an accidental half-marathon and ran an organized half-marathon in 1:46:14.
I ran a Ragnar at one in the morning through the woods in the pitch dark October night.
Goal #1 accomplished.
Of the twelve books read in 2019, I strongly recommend the following:
- Waiting for the Punch – I wrote a review about this book and still feel the same way. It’s the funniest self-help book ever.
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – A must for any runner.
- The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy – For any fans of the origins of comedy and the awful but loveable characters who do it for a living.
- Steal Like An Artist – This book isn’t just for artists. It’s for all creatives. Perfect for busting writer’s block, even though I think that bullshit.
- Atomic Habits – Making real change starts with habits. This book examples how to break bad habits and start new rituals.
Stepping back to look at my goal of earning double my income, I realize now that’s utterly absurd unless I work two full-time jobs or devised a way to add more hours to the day.
My income increased 25% and added some new clients, so I’ll mark that down as a moral victory.
Writing 450 new notes, well, I didn’t come anywhere close.
I need a total of 322 for the next calendar.
I’m hovering around the 300 number, which isn’t awful, but not close to my goal.
With 2020 here, I’m contemplating goals for the coming year.
Literally, hundreds are treading water in my brain, but I’ve settled on these four goals for 2020.
1. Run over 1,500 miles (which includes my first marathon, another Ragnar, and a Spartan.)
2. Read 24 books (I’m open to book suggestions, drop them in the comments)
3. Write 500 new parenting notes
4. Update this website at least once a week for 52 new posts in 2020.
I’m not sharing these wins and losses looking for a pat on the ass.
I’m putting these out to the world to encourage everyone to set goals for the coming year.
***I don’t care who you are, what you do for a living, or what you want to accomplish in the coming year, you should be writing down goals for 2020.***
Here’s some advice about goal-setting based on the hundreds of blogs, books, and podcasts I’ve ingested over the past few years.
Stick to just four major goals and make them diverse. Focus on different parts of your life.
Have a plan of action for each. Write down HOW you’ll achieve these goals.
Example – “My goal is to run over 300 miles this year. I will run one mile a day, every day, at 10am.”
Use numbers. Numbers have meaning. Don’t write meaningless phrases like “I’m going to lose weight.” Anyone can lose weight. Stop eating for a day, you’ll probably lose a pound. Done. You’ve lost weight. Write down an exact number. “I’m going to lose 15 pounds by June 30, 2020.”
Check your progress monthly. Get an accountability partner to kick your ass if you don’t do SOMETHING to work towards your goals.
Make the goals difficult but attainable. Take my goal for parenting notes as an example. I increased my total number of notes for the coming year even though I didn’t reach my goal last year.
Put these goals in order of importance. Duh.
If you want to set goals but don’t know where to start, or you just want some advice or motivation, I’m happy to help.
Send me an email at messagewithabottle [@] gmail.com, and let’s talk about the coming year.
Let’s make this year our Y2K – without the “planes falling out of the sky” hysteria.
Let’s flip the switch, eliminate the stuff that’s just not working, and kick off the “roaring 20s” with our best year ever.
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