It's the last week of December which means you are likely being bombarded with articles about New Year's Resolutions, how 92% of people that make them break them and how you can be one of the lucky few to keep yours. I have some thoughts on this below, but first I have a half-baked theory why many New Year's Resolutions fail. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think it has to do with the use of the word itself - resolution.
I've always associated the word resolution with "resolving" to do something, which for some reason doesn't sound inspiring to me, it sounds like something you do more begrudgingly.
I resolve to eat better. Or...I resolve to exercise more.
Just say those statements out loud and it sounds like you have a gun to your back.
Me, I prefer setting goals. Big ones. With numbers involved.
I'm gonna read 10 books this year. I'm gonna run 1,000 miles. I'm gonna swear 75% less during Dallas Cowboys games!
Each year, I try and do something that will stretch me. This past year it was something that literally stretched me. After decades of being on the scrawny side, I wanted to gain 15 lbs. I actually gained about 23. Gratuitous before and after photos below.
So, setting resolutions aside...what's my personal goal gonna be for 2016?
You're reading it.
In my career as a digital marketer, I've built a lot of websites and I've written a lot of blog posts. But over the past few years, I've made that subtle transition from maker to manager where I now spend more time managing the creative efforts of others than my own, at the potential detriment of my own.
It hit me this summer when I went to log in as an admin to change some things on our company's website only to find out my credentials had been revoked by my own team because they "didn't want me to break anything". Me, the boss.
WELL, HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW GUYS?!! LOOK WHO BUILT HIS OWN WEBSITE!! :)
Okay, sorry about that. Back to the goal stuff!
In 2016, I'm going to write at least 25 blog posts.
Why 25? One post every two weeks or so seems doable, but still challenging. I can put some thought into each one and make them a bit longer and less stream of consciousness, which I prefer to do when I write.
So. Some questions you might have (or maybe questions I have for myself) along with some answers.
Why the grand declaration about all this? Why don't you just start blogging?
According to the experts, there are three golden rules for achieving personal goals.
- Determine your goal (check - 25 blog posts this year).
- Tell a bunch of people about it (check - doing it now!).
- Set up consequences if you don't achieve the goal. This is where many people fail. They go a few weeks, then reality or the busyness of life sets in and they quietly slip away from the big thing they set out to achieve. To help me combat this one, I am going to use the services of stickK.
stickK is an online goal-setting platform that provides accountability for achieving your goals. You tell them your goal, give them your credit card info (gulp) and set the stakes to pay up if you don't achieve it. You can pay it to a friend, a foe or even worse, an organization that you personally hate (e.g. Planned Parenthood, NRA, etc.) So...
To help keep me accountable, I will pay $500 if I don't write at least 25 blog posts in 2016.
Furthermore, I will pay the $500 to my buddy Dave Parkhurst, who has known me for years and has promised to do something extremely awful with the money based on what he knows about me and my beliefs. He is devilishly creative and will probably find a way to funnel the money to ISIS or puppy murderers or something like that. Extra motivation!
What are you going to blog about?
Not totally sure. I turn 40 this year. My wife and I will hit 15 years of marriage. There are endless things happening at work that are interesting. So plenty of blog fodder.
Why blogging? What are you expecting to learn through all this?
I'm hoping to keep my writing skills sharp and learn a bit about the Squarespace platform (all their ads on the podcasts I listen to finally broke me down!). I also expect to be "tuned into life" a bit more when I know I have to come up with a new blog topic every two weeks.
But I'm also excited about the unexpected outcomes.
For instance, last year I expected to gain weight and strength by consistently hitting the gym. I didn't expect to build some awesome friendships out of it.
When I read 10 books in a year, I expected to get smarter but I didn't expect that one of the books would lead to me quitting my job and joining a startup.
When I ran 1,000 miles a few years ago, I didn't expect to realize how incredibly boring running was and how no human should ever be alone with their thoughts for that long :)
So, yes I expect to sharpen some skills through this, but I'm really more excited about the unexpected.
What's with the cheesy URL? thebenbacon.com? Really?
Sorry, my apologies on that one. There are probably hundreds of Ben Bacons in the world and by no means do I think that I am "THE Ben Bacon". I just prefer shorter URLs, I wanted something with my name in it, something easy to remember and this was the best available option.
Side note: I've become online friends with another Ben Bacon who lives in California, who also works in Marketing and appears to be a terrific guy. If anything, he is THE Ben Bacon.
Side side note: Everyone should find someone else out there with their same name and be buddies. A highly recommended experience.
What do you want me to do with all of this information?
I'm posting this a few days before the New Year. I want you to think about setting your own personal goal for 2016. Tell people about it, put some consequences in place. And see what wonderful things happen as a result.
Happy New Year everybody. See you back here soon!
For further exploration:
Maker vs. Manager - a terrific essay on time management, productivity and how to schedule chunks of time for creating while still being a manager.
Squarespace - if you're interested in starting a blog or building a website for your business or portfolio of work, check them out. Can't say yet if they're as good as Wordpress, Drupal or some other platforms out there, but so far so good. Very little learning curve to it.
stickK - the ultimate "put your money where your mouth is" website. If you've got a big goal this year, consider using it.
Way of Life - if you have some small daily habits that you'd like to track and improve (drinking less, exercising more, flossing, etc.) this is without a doubt the best app for it. The intro tutorial alone won me over with its UI and data tracking capabilities. I'm using it to track and increase the amount of time I spend on stretching/mobility.
What I'm listening to this week:
Each blog post I'll also share something I'm listening to lately. This is probably my favorite song of 2015 and a good listen for those making resolutions to get their butts back in church in 2016.