This is my first official goal report. You can see it kind of like a behind-the-scenes tour of my goal progress for the past month (July 2020). I’ve never created one of these before; mostly because I didn’t think you’d care or find it interesting.
Plus, I don’t need any more opportunities to talk about myself than I already do.
However, in thinking about how to best serve you, I figured it didn’t hurt to give you an insight into what I’m working on. To give you a peek into what’s going well (and what’s not) when it comes to my goals. After all, we’re in this together so it would be helpful to share my side of things.
At the very least, hopefully, it will give you some ideas for goals that you can set in your own life.
Now, before we get too far into this thing, I want to mention that this post is an experiment. I’ve never done anything like this before and even the act of sharing my goals in an open manner like this is extremely vulnerable.
So, if you find this post valuable in any way, please let me know. Send me an email or leave a comment below. Tell me how this post benefited you and whether you’d like to see more of these in the future (ie. monthly goal reports, quarterly, bi-annually, etc.).
Ok, let’s talk about the structure.
Every single one of my July goals
First off, if you ever want to see what I’m currently working on, check out my Now page. There you can get a glimpse into my active goals. It’s regularly updated each quarter and serves as a place for what I’m working on right now.
This goal report, conversely, provides a look back. A postmortem of how the previous month fared. Of what things went well and what things did not.
With that in mind, I am going to share an update with you on every single one of my active goals for July (plus the ones that are on hold and why that’s the case). As you go through the report, you’ll notice that I set two kinds of goals – habit goals and achievement goals.
If you aren’t yet familiar with those terms, check out this post as I provide a detailed explanation for each there.
That said, you’ll probably be able to figure out the difference between the two just through context clues alone.
My philosophy has changed
My philosophy around goal setting has changed a lot over the years. At first, it was all about following my interests. If I wanted to learn how to surf, I would set a goal for it. Or if I wanted to learn the Python programming language, I would, again, create a goal for it and start pursuing it.
But… that didn’t quite feel like the right approach to take.
It certainly worked. But something was missing.
So I started to set goals that I felt would make me “successful.” I would set income-related goals and would dream incredibly big. I would then try to implement those insanely ambitious goals even though I wasn’t really sure how I would ever reach them.
And after coming up short again and again and again, I realized that wasn’t quite the right fit either.
Eventually, what clarified my thinking and helped me formulate my current philosophy on the matter was starting QuickBooost (what you’re reading right now). Because through that process of writing what I know, sharing and getting feedback from others (like you), and reading (a lot) on the topic, I have been able to refine my thinking and thus, adjust my perspective.
What I’ve come to realize
My current goal setting philosophy is simple – use it to attain fulfillment; create a meaningful life by focusing my time and attention in a deliberate way. Because there are a lot of aspects of life. There’s your:
- Health (physical and mental)
- A whole slew of relationships (spouse, parents, children, friends, etc.)
- And much more
So from that, I’ve come to realize that success isn’t about money. Or material goods. Or what you can share on IG. It’s not about what you can brag about. Instead, it’s about how you feel. About your ability to wake up each day and feel like you have a purpose.
To feel like what you do matters and to be excited when you go to bed at night because you get to wake up and continue living it the next day.
And that’s what I use my goals for. To help me direct my time across every area of my life so that I can live a meaningful, purposeful, fulfilled existence. To have a home that I love, a fulfilling career, meaningful relationships, and more.
Note the difference
Now, I need to point something out. There is a difference between happiness and fulfillment. Happiness is fleeting. It is laughing at a joke that your wife made. It is landing that big client you had been wooing for months.
Happiness is great, and I certainly love being happy, but that’s not my aim. Why? Because it’s momentary. Like eating a piece of chocolate and feeling great for seven minutes until the sugar wears off.
Instead, my target is one of fulfillment.
Fulfillment is sustainable. It is a feeling like what you do, who you are, matters. It means that, even when things are going poorly, you feel like you have a purpose. Take QuickBooost, for instance. I love working on QuickBooost but sometimes it doesn’t love me back (that sounded weird but I’m not changing it).
Sometimes things go really well – my traffic surges, I get record signs up for my newsletter, etc. Other times the opposite happens – traffic crashes, a launch I was excited about lands flat, you get it. Yet through those high and low points, there is meaning. There is a fulfillment underneath it all.
A feeling of purpose.
And it’s that feeling, fulfillment, that I continually aspire to and seek to maintain.
So as you navigate through my goal report, keep that in mind. The goals I set for myself are deliberately chosen to help me either attain or maintain fulfillment in my life.
Resources for you
If goal setting is a new concept for you, or if it’s something you’ve struggled with in the past, please do not feel like you’re in this alone. I’ve failed a lot over the years (you can read about some of those experiences here) and I know how it feels to come up short.
It’s not fun.
So, I’ve created numerous resources to help you work through it – like my goal success course which I’m a biasedly huge fan of. I also have numerous posts on goal setting which you can see here; of which I highly recommend you read these three in particular:
- How To Achieve Goals That Are Seemingly Impossible
- Tips For Reaching Your Goals (In An Unpredictable World)
- Why You Keep Falling Short Of Your Goals (And How To Fix It)
And for any specific questions, you can always email me (yes, that’s my real email) as I would love to help out in any way I can.
With all that covered, let’s get into my goal report for July 2020.
*Note: The goals below are listed in no particular order.
My Goal Report For July 2020
- Revise five older posts for QuickBooost
- Complete two books a month (physical or audiobook)
- On hold: Take a trip at least once every other month
- On hold: Go to a concert, club, or music festival once a quarter
- Take my daughter on a date once a month
- Go on a date with my wife once a month
- Go to the beach twice a month
- Improve my home in at least one way each month
- Prepare my daughter for the world in at least one way each month
- Practice speed reading twice a month
- Do 50 kettlebell swings a day, four days a week
- Contact two people a day, five days a week
- Fast for 24 hours, once a week
- Experiment: Do not take a food cheat day for two weeks
Revise five older posts for QuickBooost
My July goal for QuickBooost was to revise five older posts. I wanted to lengthen some of my existing content and make them each more detailed and actionable. So I got to work and completed the fifth post this past Monday, 8/3.
Yes, the goal ran over slightly into August.
Yes, that’s totally fine. Flexibility is important when it comes to goal setting.
One of the things that went really well with this goal was that I created several “freebies” and other downloadable types of material that you can use to enhance your learning. They were really fun to make and readers seem to be enjoying them so far.
Something that proved challenging though was determining how long each post would take to complete. Originally, many of the posts were around 1,500 to 2,000 words. After adding in all the changes that I wanted to make though, the revised posts came out to around 4,000-5,000 words – considerably longer.
So determining my timeline for this goal proved to be challenging (which is why I ended up finishing it in August).
That said, here are the posts I revised in July:
- Do You Really Need To Use A Goal Tracker? Yes. Use This One.
- How To Be Productive – 22 Habits Of Highly Productive People
- 10 Best Personal Development Books Of All Time (Must-Read!)
- How To Achieve Goals That Are Seemingly Impossible
- 62 Productive Things To Do When Bored At Home (A Must!)
Complete two books a month (physical or audiobook)
This goal has been going really well. I’m a notoriously slow reader, but nonetheless, set out this year to complete at least two books a month – something I had tried in the past but had come up short on. I’m happy to say though that as of July I’ve completed 29 books and am on average completing four books a month.
For July, in particular, I completed five books:
- 7/9 – Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (Audiobook)
- 7/11 – On Writing Well by William Zinsser (Physical book)
- 7/19 – Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell (Audiobook)
- 7/26 – Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Physical book)
- 7/27 – Hooked by Nir Eyal with Ryan Hoover (Audiobook)
I love reading and am really excited by the number of amazing books I’ve been able to read this year because of my goal. So from the perspective of what’s going well, I’m really pleased with how things are progressing.
The glaring downside though is the monetary cost.
Between buying numerous physical and audiobooks, price is becoming a factor. And while I often ask for Amazon or Audible gift cards as gifts for my birthday or other such holidays, I’ve already burned through my annual Audible subscription and will soon be out of Amazon gift funds.
So, one thing I’m going to be looking into in the future is using the app, Libby, to get books for free through the library. Hopefully that will help curb some of the expenses associated with reading.
By the way, if you want to learn how I’ve been able to read so much this year, I wrote up a post on it that you can read right here. You can also see every book that I’ve completed this year, here.
On hold: Take a trip at least once every other month
For obvious reasons, this goal is on hold at the moment. When things return to normalcy, I have a long list of places that I want to visit, but until then, there’s not much going on with this goal.
So the good news is that as far as July goes, I had one less goal to plan and accommodate for.
The bad news though is that I wasn’t able to really do anything for this goal, besides experience the occasional bout of wanderlust. In other words, this goal’s on hold until further notice.
On hold: Go to a concert, club, or music festival once a quarter
Same deal as above. Just like with travel, all activities like this are on an indefinite hold until it’s safe to get back out there.
In the meantime, I continue to build up my Spotify playlists. *It’s not part of my goal. It’s just fun.
Take my daughter on a date once a month
July, just like every other month this year, was a lot of fun regarding our dates. My daughter is less than a year old and she continues to grow more amazing each day. So to have (at least) one outing a month where it’s just her and me doing something unique and fun has been an awesome experience.
In July, we went to a local park and had a picnic. There was a lot of giggling and screaming – oh and my daughter seemed to have a good time too (dad joke).
Really the only downside was hoping she wouldn’t leak through her diaper or cry too much. Which, thankfully, she didn’t.
Go on a date with my wife once a month
With everything still being fairly closed, my wife and I have been doing a lot of picnics this year in lieu of going out to movies, clubs, and restaurants. July was no different. With the grandparents watching our daughter, my wife and I were able to enjoy an ocean-view picnic while sampling some takeout from a local restaurant.
As far as what’s going well with this goal, it’s great to have something to look forward to each month with my wife.
The downside, if you can even consider it a downside, is just needing to be extra creative with the kinds of dates we have. Like doing karaoke in our living room – which reminded me of just how bad at singing I am.
Go to the beach twice a month
Speaking of the ocean, I was sure to visit the beach at least two times in July. Sometimes I would go for a run along the shore. Other times I would relax on the sand with my wife and daughter (being careful to keep our distance from other beach-goers).
As someone that lives in Southern California and recently moved closer to the beach (though still not too close), it feels like my duty to visit the beach often. And it’s a duty that I gladly undertake.
Regarding what went well with this goal, simply just being there, enjoying the beach, was great. As far as any challenging aspects were concerned, the hardest thing with any goal, and this one is no different, is just making time for it.
So the act of planning out when I would visit the beach was the most difficult aspect, but even then it was a very minor inconvenience.
Improve my home in at least one way each month
When we moved into our current home in late 2019 it needed a fair amount of work. So each month my goal is to tackle at least one home-related project. For July, that involved hanging up picture frames throughout the downstairs.
I’m not going to lie, this goal and the next one I’m about to mention are chores.
They are normally painful and I really don’t enjoy doing them. However, it goes back to what I was saying earlier about creating a fulfilling life. I may not like to spend my weekend hanging picture frames, but I will love my home even more once they’re up. It’s a tradeoff that I’m willing to make.
So what went well with this goal? The frames are on the walls!
The downside is that… ummm… well… if you ever happen to take the frames off the wall you will find a lot of holes from nails where I messed up. That, and this little project that I thought would take me an hour, took me about three hours on a Saturday and another four on a Sunday.
I’m not super handy, but I’m getting better.
*Note: You can see some of the frames behind me in the video on this page.
Prepare my daughter for the world in at least one way each month
That sounds kind of impressive, doesn’t it? Like: Woah, what a thoughtful thing to do! It’s not. Basically it just means baby-proofing things, or getting our daughter into swim lessons, or other such mandatory requirements.
For July, it was researching the right type of college fund to open.
What went well was that I got it done.
What didn’t go well was, just like for my home goal above, mustering up the motivation and making the time for it was a challenge. I got it done, but to be honest, this goal and the home one are my least favorite to do.
However, I know they’re really beneficial long-term so I make the effort and power through the minutia.
Practice speed reading twice a month
Ah, good! Back to goals that I enjoy. This goal actually pairs nicely with my other reading goal above and it’s part of the reason that I’ve been able to read so much lately. Again, to learn more about my experience with reading this year, check out this post.
There are two main obstacles that I run into with this goal.
The first being my attention. The practice of speed reading is somewhat dull and you find yourself zoning out easily. The problem with that is that by losing focus, you’re basically not benefitting from the practice at all.
So being in an environment where I can focus is crucial.
The other snag I run into is making time for it. The practice itself takes less than 15 minutes. Because of that, I often find myself pushing it off to another day because it requires so little time. For example, I think: Oh, I can do this during any 15 minute period this month. I’ll do it later then.
That kind of thinking results in a form of procrastination where I put it off but still get it done – just at the last minute. So for instance, I practiced speed reading in July on:
See how I put it off till the end of the month? Not ideal. So moving forward I’m going to do a better job spacing the sessions out.
Do 50 kettlebell swings a day, four days a week
For the last decade or so, I’ve enjoyed cardio much more than strength training. In fact, I’ve done pretty much no strength training since my late-teens. However, I know this kind of exercise is important and I wanted to make it more of a priority.
Part of the reason I avoided weight lifting in the past was that I wanted to look trimmer and lose weight.
Putting on muscle felt like it would result in the opposite of that aim. However, I’m now at a point where I want to be a little more toned. I’ve been at my ideal weight for some time and feel like I’m ready to get stronger – so I started this goal.
It’s nothing flashy. I only use a ten-pound kettlebell (it’s all we had) so it’s really low weight compared to what most people recommend starting with.
What’s going well is that I’ve been doing it. Since I started this goal in March, I’ve yet to miss a week. It’s also served as a gateway to me doing other forms of strength training as well. What’s not going well though is the result. I’ve noticed that my weight has increased along with my thigh and waist size.
It’s been kind of demoralizing.
However, those are the areas of my body that the kettlebell swings work so I’m chalking it up to that. Additionally, I’m no longer doing weigh-ins. I’m only checking my measurements and I only do that once a week. The measurements, more than my weight, will reflect whether or not I’m getting the results I want.
On the plus side, I’ve heard that my biceps are looking a little more “muscley,” so that’s something.
Contact two people a day, five days a week
I read a book earlier this year that I highly recommend to anyone interested in relationship building. Here’s a link to it. Basically, it’s all about how to strengthen existing relationships and create new ones.
It was a really actionable read and left me feeling inspired.
So I created a list with all my various relationships on it and each day (Monday through Friday) I go through it and contact at least two people. And then when the month ends, I do it all again. What’s going well is the number of:
- Old relationships I’ve been able to rekindle
- Existing relationships I’ve been able to enrich
- And new relationships I’ve been able to create
The biggest hurdle to this goal is, you guessed it, making time for it. Because reaching out to two+ people each day may not seem very time consuming, but on day 25 there’s a lot of texts and emails going back and forth.
Overall though, July went well and I’m happy with the conversations I was able to have.
Fast for 24 hours, once a week
I’ve experimented with fasting in the past and wanted to bring it back into my life. So I added this goal into the mix at the end of June and have not missed a week. Generally, I will stop eating at 6:30 PM on a Sunday and then won’t eat again until 5:45 or 6:00 PM on Monday.
So it’s not technically 24 hours, but I count it.
The upside is not having to deal with making food or spending time on meals. The downside is, obviously, the hunger. But each week I’ve gotten better at curbing the cravings.
Experiment: Do not take a food cheat day for two weeks
The way I handle my personal nutrition is through calorie counting. I normally do five or six days on with one or two days off where I then eat whatever I want.
What I’ve noticed with time though is that those two days (and even sometimes three), turn into binge eating marathons of donuts and pizza. Which is delicious and everything, but I know it’s not good for my health and it could be contributing to the weight gain I mentioned earlier (although it’s likely not the case as this form of eating is something I’ve done for years, whereas the weight gain pretty much started as soon as I began doing the kettlebell swings.).
All that to say, I wanted to do an experiment to see how I would fare from no cheat days for two weeks – both physically and mentally.
The first week I still ended up cheating one day and the second week I ended up cheating two days. So, it was a bit of a blunder. However, I did learn that what I crave isn’t the donut, it’s a break from the yogurt.
Especially during these more restricted times.
So from that realization, I no longer take “cheat days,” I take “variety days.” And on those variety days, I only eat foods that I wouldn’t normally eat. They can be healthy or not. I don’t care so long as they’re different from my regular food routine.
So far, making the switch has proven helpful. I’ve experienced less binge eating while still feeling like I’m getting the food break that I need.
Did you find this goal report helpful?
That’s it. Those are all of my goals as of July 2020 and where I stand with each one. So let me ask you… did you find this post helpful? Would you like to see more of these types of posts in the future? And if so, at what frequency (monthly, every other month, etc.)?
Please let me know! You can either leave a comment below or send me an email (yes, again, it’s my actual email).
Whatever I can do to help you achieve your goals, I’m all for it.
If this post has left you excited, energized, or motivated for your own goals, that’s great and part of the reason I created this thing in the first place! If you need help with your goals, again feel free to reach out to me or take a look at these resources:
Here’s to August!