Planning 2015 Goals with Beeminder
I spent 2 days planning goals for 2015 this year. I reviewed three previous years of previously set goals. There were highlights – three years ago my motorcycle was just a dream, my plans to hunt were a vague idea that I should sign up for a hunter’s ed course, and starting my own business was a very long term goal. I’ve achieved all 3 of those goals. This year I set some goals that I had set before and some new ones.
This is serious. I am trying to be as serious about my personal goals as I am about my job.
I tried to apply SMART criteria to my goals. I went to a local meetup to discuss my goals. I put myself through a 40-hour fast followed by a 4-hour isolation tank float during which I visualized myself executing my goals. I practiced setting an “implementation intention” where I tried to imagine exaggerated sensations around my goals – what achieving them might feel, taste, smell, and sound like. I challenged myself by imagining myself a month in the future, having failed a particular goal, and considering what my future excuses would be for failing that goal. When I could think of a good excuse, I made an action item or sub goal specific to resolving that excuse.
This is also the first year that I actually set business goals. By this time next year, I will be as serious about my career goals as I am about each client job I work.
This year I won’t be making the mistake of setting big impossible to achieve goals. I’ve had experience breaking my goals down into smaller chunks. For example, weight loss will not be one of my goals. I do have half dozen habits that I can track though and if I follow them then I am sure weight loss will result.
This year I also won’t be making any “every day I’ll..” goals. Consistency means setting goals that are achievable.
One of the things I’m most excited about is my new tracking app: Beeminder. For each goal I set, Beeminder sends me a reminder email in the morning. I respond to that email with any progress I’ve made on the goal. If I fail to achieve the goal after a certain period of time, Beeminder charges me $5. If I fail again, they up the fee to $10. The fee schedule is: $5, $10, $30, $90, $270, $810, $2430. My intent is to layer in different goals each month that will help me achieve my larger goals.
On January first I set up 3 new beeminder goals:
- Meditate 4 times per week
- Exercise 4 times per week
- Read 4 hours per week
They sound a little underwhelming, don’t they? Here they are again in less than 140 characters:
Daily Goals, per week: Meditate 4x. Exercise 4x. Read 4 hours.
— Justin (@recomphacks) February 16, 2015
The idea here is to take some existing habits and ensure consistency. By setting a goal that I can achieve for the entire year, I am confident that I’ll make these goals happen. In February, I’ll layer in a few more goals.