Update on my 2013 goals: The good, the bad, the unknowable

6233679473_64338dd3a6_mLast fall, I blogged about the performance review I wanted to give myself at the end of 2013. I had a few professional and personal goals that I wanted to accomplish this year. While the year is not yet over, I have a pretty good sense of what’s definitely happened, sort-of happened, and is unlikely to happen.

On the professional front, here’s what I said in October 2012, with an update on each.

“Successfully support the publication of my two upcoming ebooks (What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend, and What the Most Successful People Do at Work), and the publication of the paperback compilation of all three in the series.”

At this point last year, big chunks of the above weren’t actually written. I wrote them all, and they all came out and sold thousands of copies, so that’s good. I’m not sure what “successfully” supporting them means, though. None of the additional ebooks approached the success of the original before breakfast one. I did get to do fun stuff like go to London and San Francisco to talk about them. And the excerpts of the ebooks that ran at Fast Company enabled me to get my current gig writing for them. This new job is a nice addition to the year that I didn’t foresee at all.

“Write a novel draft that I’m happy with. I’m figuring out an accountability system for this, because this is my big goal for the year.”

Mostly done, but oh the slippery words of “happy with!” I have a novel draft, all 90,000 words of it. At this point last year, I didn’t have much of that at all, so in that sense, I accomplished this goal. I’m doing another major revision, and then I think I will declare myself “happy with” the darn thing by the end of this calendar year. On some level, a novel is never finished. It’s only abandoned.

“Nail a good idea for a longer narrative non-fiction work (likely something business/economics).”

Mosaic will be published by Portfolio/Penguin in 2015!

“Double the readership of this blog.”

If that was my goal, I probably should have picked a specific traffic level I was doubling from. What was my average traffic in October, 2012? I’m not sure. Oh well. I do know that readership is up. So is my social media presence — a nice side effect of the Fast Company gig.

I also blogged about several personal goals for 2013:

“A trip to Disney World with extended family (already planned for March) and a summer trip to a national park somewhere in the western part of the US (suggestions welcome! We will have a 6-year-old, almost 4- and almost 2-year-old at the time).”

We did go to Disney and had a great time. We also went to the Seattle area this summer, and saw Olympic National Park, and Mt. Rainier National Park. I took a number of vacations in 2013, including those, 2 weeks at the beach, and a trip to Japan. It was great. I hope 2014 is similar! We’re already looking at a long weekend in California wine country in May, an extended family beach trip in the summer, and potentially a Brazil trip in the fall.

“Run 1000 miles. That’s 20 miles a week, which should be doable. I’m three weeks into a regular Friday morning 6-mile gig with a new running partner that’s going great. This morning we ran on a trail by the river with the gray sky making the red maples and yellow oaks look positively brilliant.”

Ah…My running partner and I did keep running together many a Friday, which added a social component to my running that made it a lot more fun. My family also joined the YMCA in 2013, which made weekend winter runs quite doable. I had a good system in place. I did! But I know I haven’t, and won’t, hit 1000 miles this year. Even worse, I don’t know how far I’m off because, due to frustration at multiple illness and other things this fall, I stopped recording my runs. I’m running when I can, and I’m enjoying it when I run, and I guess that over time I’ll get back into the habit of taking it seriously. There will be a year of 1000 miles, but it was not this year.

“I have some philanthropic/volunteer goals I’m mulling about, but haven’t quite decided what I want to aim for yet.”

I never did wind up spelling these out, and — probably not coincidentally — I haven’t accomplished anything groundbreaking on this front. I continue to serve on the Board of Directors for the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus. I joined the board of the Princeton University Press Club. I am a mentor-editor for the Op-Ed Project. I did a bit of volunteering here and there with my kids’ schools.

I’ll be spending some time over the next few weeks thinking about my goals for 2014. If you blog about that same topic — what you’d like to say in your end-of-year performance review (personal or professional) — please post a link. In the meantime, how did you do on your 2013 goals? Did you make 2013 goals, or do you cringe at the whole concept?

14 thoughts on “Update on my 2013 goals: The good, the bad, the unknowable

  1. You’ve accomplished a lot!! Congrats!!

    My major goal was to start a business. I know it wasn’t specific in terms of a dollar figure, or number of clients, etc. I have laid the foundation for that, but still working towards accomplishing that specific goal. I’ll definitely set more concrete ones for 2014.

    I’m a runner also, and had a goal of running 3x per week, which seems to be super easy! Ha. But, I’ve run about 1-3 times per week this year. I’m not training for a race, but just wanted to keep up the momentum!

    Love the idea of performance review. I need to step back and reflect on what I have and have not accomplished.

    1. @Jennifer – The concrete goals are certainly easier to judge if you’ve done, and may be more motivational to aim for. Sometimes when I don’t set a specific goal it’s because I don’t really want to do something! I know I did want to run 1000 miles, and I didn’t make it happen. Here’s to a firm business growth goal in 2014!

  2. i will have to look back at my blog, because i have NO IDEA what my goals were for 2013. i have to admit i was AWESOME about flossing until i got pregnant (may) and then it made me want to throw up 🙂

    it sounds like you have done beautifully with yours overall! also, SO impressed at your travel. i am so looking forward to our family being a little more ‘portable’ in a couple of years!

    1. @sarah – I don’t know, one kid sounds pretty portable to me! Airfare for 5 starts to get pretty ridiculous. But what that’s somewhat pushing me toward is longer trips. Weekends aren’t worth it.

      Flossing will happen again soon!

      1. oh, annabel is totally portable. (and i am i guess . . . until week 35 or so . . . but i have NO vacation b/c it’s all going to maternity leave). but 2 under 2 (and i think 2 under 3) will be NOT so portable. 🙂

        1. @sarah – yeah, that is the complication sometimes of starting a new job pregnant. But you’ll get more vacation the next year…

    1. @Sarah – you should! I find it has a focusing effect. Wonderful things happen every year whether I make goals or not, but I like to have things to aim towards.

  3. I always end up making these ridiculously long lists of goals and resolutions that will be impossible to accomplish. I need to figure out how to dial that tendency down a bit. Of course, I have the same problem with my daily to-do lists so maybe I’m just a lost cause!!!

  4. I’d like to say that “great minds think alike” as I wrote a very similar post yesterday, sharing an update of MY goals for 2013. I believe success is looking back and seeing what you accomplished, how you grew, and what you learned, not necessarily what you marked off a list. Who knows what the year will hold, but having goals helps you focus and gives you something to aim for – and that’s always a good thing.

    http://www.carriesbusynothings.com/2013/11/in-retrospect.html

    1. @Carrie- excellent post. I think one needs to strike a good balance between goals and flexibility. It’s good to have goals, but I’m not going to beat myself up over the ones that didn’t happen. Because some awesome stuff I couldn’t have anticipated has happened too!

  5. My main goal was to adjust to being a new mom, and I think it’s gone pretty well. I think I’ve found a good balance of work, mom and personal time that’s sustainable until I have another kid and everything gets crazy again.

    1. @Chelsea- eh, I think 0 to 1 is a much harder transition than 1 to 2. You change your life completely with 1. Add a second and it’s just fewer available hands and less down time…

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