Every year I publish a New Year’s post on my blog to keep myself publicly accountable for my goal achievement. This posts also acts as a nice little condensed yearly highlights list.

First, a recap of 2015. In a nutshell, I was a little too ambitious. Maybe it’s good to set your sights high? As a result of setting them too high and not having realistic expectations, I feel like last year was rough for me in terms of feeling accomplished, even though I accomplished a lot. Here’s my full 2015 resolution list, and where I went wrong (and right):

maya bay thailand

1. Travel to Asia & the South Pacific – This is the one goal that I achieved with flying colors! I spent a month in Asia, traveling as far north as Beijing and as far south as Bali, and almost everywhere in between. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. Check out some of my posts about it on my travel blog: World Travlr.


2. Buy a house and put a room on Airbnb – This was the goal that ruined the completion of the rest. I was way too determined to get a house with a high ROI (a fixer-upper), so I went with an 18yr old house that had been foreclosed 3 years prior. It had a pool that had become a pond infested with frogs, and every other problem a house can possibly have aside from the absolute worst issues (the roof was fine, no structural issues or health/safety problems). Thanks to watching too many episodes of Extreme Home Makeover, I had the expectation that I could easily remodel the house in a month or two. After all, I was only removing the carpet in 5 rooms and a hallway, putting down laminate wood floors, painting, and landscaping the front and back yard. Looking back, even if that really was all I needed to do, that alone would have taken 3-4 months, not 1-2. Add in 20 or so unexpected projects (and unforeseen challenges with even the projects that should have been quick and easy), and my house flooding in multiple places multiple times – and 8 months later the house remodel still isn’t done. It does look 100x better than it did when I bought it though. I should be very proud of myself, but since my expectations were so far off, the whole thing just feels like it’s been a massive time suck.

3. Become fluent in French – This goal I actually put a lot of effort into, but again, I had an expectation problem. I expected I could be fluent in a year (I wasn’t starting from a total newbie level) if I listened to language learning podcasts once a week and spent a ½ hour on Duolingo every night. I was also going to join a language “Meetup” and practice conversing with fluent speakers once a month. In reality, I only listened to podcasts once a month, only played Duolingo a few times a week for 20 minutes or less, and only went to one French Meetup (which was amazing, but I was the least-fluent speaker there). It’s going to take way more discipline for me to achieve this goal.

4. Start a non-profit – Ha, ha… yeah no. Didn’t even do a thing to work towards this one except buy a domain name. Oops.

5. Publish a book – More expectation issues. I worked really hard on this one. I wrote at least a few hours a week, sometimes hours a day. The main book I’m working on is still nowhere near complete. I definitely made a ton of progress on it though, and now I have a way more realistic expectation of how long it will take me to finish (another 2 years).

Although the biggest issue I had was improper expectations (maybe due to lack of research?), another big one was structure and discipline. Although I kept meticulously organized to-do lists, a lot of times I would get lazy, procrastinate, and skip the hardest, most important things on the lists in favor of the easier tasks. When all of the easier tasks were done, instead of switching back to the important big tasks, I would fill the rest of the day with what Tim Ferriss would call “work for work’s sake” or busywork. I would clear out my email inbox, or organize my closet, or read a business book. I would rarely switch off entirely and veg out or go do something fun – but I would procrastinate on the most important of tasks. After reading “Daily Rituals” by Mason Currey, I’ve determined that one way many successful freelancers and business owners have combated this problem is with strict daily rituals that they follow. Allotting a specific time each day for a task, in which nothing but that task is to be accomplished. So this is the #1 thing I’m going to try to achieve in 2016, to help combat my procrastination once and for all!

2016 book list reading list
2016 Reading List

So without further ado, here are my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions/Goals:

  1. Read at least 2 books a month on a wide variety of topics.
  2. Construct and follow daily/weekly rituals designed to help maximize my productivity.
  3. Do more yoga!
  4. Get to near-fluent proficiency with French & Spanish.
  5. Plan and save for a Caribbean sailing expedition and a Pan-American Highway expedition.
  6. Visit at least 5 new countries (Peru, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal).
  7. Finish the first draft of my book.
  8. Learn how to program an iPhone app and develop one.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? How do you intend to keep them?