2018 Goals – A Reflection

2018 Goals - a reflection

2018 is over! Adios, 2018. And with it, so goes my 2018 goals. But it’s not all fun in games. I set some ambitious goals. With it all said and done, it’s time to evaluate my personal goal performance.

Today, I’m going to outline how it all went down. What went well, what did not, and what I learned and take with me as I head into 2019.

Here we go.

What I Thought I’d Do, and What I did

Full disclosure, I literally stole this section from from the mid-year review.

Let’s take a stroll back in time to January for a few.

You’ll see that I laid out some goals for 2018.

They looked like this:

Blog Posts: 12 on the year (It might be 11 or 10, substituting a few infrastructural development projects for posts. But, long and short, 12 things.

Music: 12 songs, written, recorded, mastered, published and posted

Fiction Writing: 30,000 words published. I see these happening in 5,000 – 6,000-word segments. This comes out to 6 to 5 segments. #math

Language: This is masochistic – 300 hours of Spanish, 150 hours of Italian.

Reading: 52,000 pages.


It took me about 4 weeks before I realized that plan was crazy.

As I recorded on my sheet here:

As you can see, at the end of January I dropped the language to 400 hours of Spanish (no more Italian now).

I also dropped songs to 8, not 12.

Frankly, those first 4 weeks I was drowning. I knew that if I kept going at that pace, I was bound to eventually collapse under my own ambitions.
It’s fine to set aggressive goals, but they also have to be achievable. When you set goals across an entire year, the name of the game is motivation. Motivation comes when you achieve goals and hit deadlines. When you don’t, it goes away. Get too far back in the race, and you’ll be slogging home.

So guess what, I felt the slog and aborted. I haven’t regretted it since.

How’d it Go?

So, once the water receded, where was I? How’d it go? Here’s a blow-by-blow account:

Blogs – 12 for 12 – DONE!!!

Not really that challenging, to be honest. I have a few ideas about this going forward, but I’ll save that for my post about 2019 goals. The long and short is that I might have under booked this.

Blogs are easy, and should probably be the cornerstone of all this. I also cheated a little by counting small infrastructural changes to the website as blog posts. I’ll separate these into different categories next year.

Music – 8 out of 8 songs done – DONE!!!!

This was a lot of fun, but honestly, mid-year I was a little worried. Those first 4 were a slog. And it wasn’t because I disliked what I was doing. There was just a learning curve around the arrangement and technicalities of recording and mixing. I’ve done it before, but I guess I wanted to be a bit more professional. So, I spent many hours watching youtube videos, reading blogs, and tweaking the hell out of everything.

Luckily, as I specified in my mid-year review, I changed my approach for the last 4 of the year. I simplified by constraining my arrangements to a certain number of instruments per track. I also brought them under a thematic, structural, and aesthetic umbrella. (It became more of an album than singles). This helped. Mostly, it meant I didn’t have to make so many decisions. I knew what instruments to use and what the content of my lyrics would be. I  limited my decisions and it made a big difference.

Fiction – 0 out of 4 (AHHH) 0% complete

I tossed this overboard. I think in the mid-year review I said something about changing what I was going to write about. Then, at one point, I thought I was going to just do Nanowrimo. I don’t know. I just never really felt it. There was a time, years ago, when I got hooked on writing and did a ton, but that passion was not-revived in 2018. Considering all the other things I was psyched about doing this year, I let this one fall. Honestly, once I finally pulled the plug, I felt nothing but relief. And that sensation hasn’t faded since.

Sometimes you gotta say fuck it.

Language – 400 hours out of 400 done – 100%%%%%

Oh my god. This was brutal. So.much.work. I don’t know if anyone else out there has gone down this path, but it’s freaking hard to learn a language. I mean, think about it. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but 400 hours a year. That’s over 1 hour a day for a year. I was listening to it in my car. Working on flashcards and readings daily. Watching tv shows in Spanish. It was all-encompassing.

Funny thing, I’m still not where I want to be.

Sure, I know way more than I did on Jan 1, but I got more to do. A work in progress. I’ll tell you this much, I might drop that yearly goal down just a bit next year.

Reading 5200 pages! – 100% done



This was my first full year using this mode of goal setting in full force. All in all, I think it went great. I’m super excited with what I achieved. I felt enough flexibility to prioritize what I was feeling in the moment, but I still maintained focus on what I needed to do get done across the year.

I did learn a few things along the way.

3 Takeaways

1) Set achievable goals. Finishing up in late November has been great, but not because I have a month and a half off, but because I never really got into a situation where I felt the goals were fundamentally unachievable. We all have other things to do: kid, houses,  jobs. It’s not like I can just sit around and watch Netflix in Spanish for a billion hours a day. I think keeping goals firmly in reach is really one of the biggest takeaways. And a lot of that has to do with tracking how much I have to put in on a daily basis across the years.

2) Tracking! Tracking was super critical to me. I kept a constant focus on where I was, where I was going, what I had left. I tracked average time it was taking me to complete tasks (aka, 650 minutes for a fully produced song, 120 minutes for a posted blog). Nailing down those times helped in 2 ways. First, it gave me clear expectations of the amount of time I needed to finish a task. Second, it kept me from dragging on projects. Things like song writing and editing blog posts can eat up time if you keep fine tuning. Forcing myself to time constraints really helped me stay accountable.

3) Use of time. By virtue of the shear amount of stuff I set out to do, I really found that I prioritized what I valued in all facets of life. I didn’t watch a bunch of pointless tv or kill time staring at the wall. Instead, I used my time, and found myself committed to using it for what I wanted to do. Intentionality, living intentionally, is probably the best lesson I learned from this

Going Forward

All in, I’m excited about what happened in 2018, and I look forward to keeping it up in 2019. In fact, I’ll be releasing my news goals in about a week.

Onward and upwards.

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