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The 2019 New Year’s Resolutions

If goals aren’t a stretch goal, what’s the point? So here are 12 of them.

The Reading Goals: 

1) Fiction Backlog, 2) Non-Fiction Backlog, 3) Works of Trollope

I have tried to be more deliberate in my choices of books in the last few years, having more overlap to improve retention. Reading a wider set of books from the same author is a similar project.

Still, there is the accumulated backlog of the miscellaneous books piling up on shelves. Hundreds of them. I sorted them out to boil down to 23 fiction & philosophy books (goal 1), and 15 non fiction (goal 2). These are the books that really make me gnaw at myself each time I see them that I should have read them years ago. Having a visual reminder of any goal is useful, so I’ve cleared out two shelves and will move these left to right in time. The kicker: any book I don’t finish this year finally has shown itself not to be a priority to me, and it’s time to move on. I’ve lugged the Disraeli biography around after hearing it recommended by Niall Ferguson on C-Span ten years ago. I read Aurelius’ Meditations before, and Chua’s Battlehym before, but both seem more salient at this stage of life than before.

It really is time to finish the O’Brian seafaring novels.

There are plenty of other books that could go here, but these are the ones I just keep kicking myself for not reading. Russian and Civil War histories, and some noir fiction may have to wait til next year.

The third goal is to finish reading the Trollope Palliser novels. Can You Forgive Her, the first of the series was just OK, the second novel, Phineas Finn is better. Psychologically having them as part of one book in the kindle, and only seeing 21% completion after many hours of reading was a drag. I still enjoy it when reading however, just have to allocated the time. This should be a layup, the easiest of twelve goals. I want to get this done by the end of January – any extra time then or after completing other goals maybe I’ll dig into the Barchester chronicles.

Health Goals:

#4) 189 lbs, #5) 15% bodyfat, #6) Run another marathon

Tremendous progress this year, starting from May 17th, and got my weight down to 209, body fat to 25.x%. This seems high given the progress I’ve had but I don’t want to blame the scale. Whatever the correct number is, and while I’ve clearly gained strength in the month of crossfit, the numbers on the scale haven’t moved. Further weight loss has probably been impacted by going back to Edgeworth Club-amounts of alcohol and relaxing my keto-diet constraints (too many berries in yogurt? All the protein chips turning to glucose?).

From May through August the increase in health was metronomic. That was also the time I didn’t have a drop of alcohol. Correlation or causation? I hope just the former. The full set of strategies to achieve these goals I’m not sure of yet.

I am going to ignore any frustration and stick to a process, which includes more fasting – one of the achievements of 2018 I’m most proud of.

The sixth goal is a reach. I still have severe problems with flexibility in some of my leg muscles. I also think the way to reach this goal is not through a standard Hal Higdon plan grind but more of the cross-training and swimming. When the legs are good I’ll be ready to complete a marathon again.

Creative Goals

#7) 183 Blog Posts, #8) 3,650 minutes of meditation, #9) Complete a novel

With this post I’ll have posted every day of December. Posting daily is not something I feel passionate about in itself, but it is a proxy for shipping publicly creative product, to overcome a fear of failure. Simply getting the fingers to keyboard for non-work reasons is helping opening up the mind. The blog is also intended to be an archive of all these books to be read, notes that should be kept that I’d share with friends.

Meditation has been helpful…though not life-transformative yet. I’m only 657 minutes (according to the Waking Up app) in. What would a daily ten minutes do for a full year? If I miss a day, it is easy to add ten minutes to the self-timer in app. The testimony of other very disciplined and successful people about meditation is either dis-positive or a case of massive selection bias.

Completing a novel: this is where, in the words of Steven Pressfield, the Resistance has been winning. I get 30 to 40k words in and then wracked with self-doubt. There is no reason to be. Don’t even need to publish this. Just want to finish one. I wrote more confidently at age 8 or age 20 then I do now.

Work Goals

#10) MarginCaller.com, #11) A book for TriplePoint, #12) 25k creators on Woovit

Any idle speculations I do on entrepreneurship or investing should be placed at MarginCaller.com. I’m not sure about the specifics or even if this should be a goal in the top 12, should the energy be directed elsewhere, namely #12. This probably should have a concentration in gaming and technology rather than mere stock & commodity speculation. Instead of repeatedly giving advice about investing, I should summarize everything I know from when I spent way too much time on it.

TriplePoint needs a book. All of our strategies and tactics. We’re so far ahead of the competition and this would be the easiest way to have a lodestar to help organize and promote ourselves.

Woovit: this is the big kahuna. The one which the vast majority of time, treasure and frankly opportunity-costs will be spent on in 2019. The main goal is pretty simple. To get to 25,000 legitimate creators on, up from almost 8,700 this year. If we’re at product-market fit, we’ll get there. If not, there will be some hard choices ahead.

I am excited about this year.


Goals are less important than the processes to get there, and perhaps even what I am NOT doing. Those I will cover tomorrow.

Published inGoalsSelf-Improvement

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