A year ago I sat and wrote down a list of things I wanted to accomplish this year.
But unlike so many times before, I didn’t publish it or tell anyone about it.
In behavioural science, there’s something called the intention-behaviour gap and I wanted to reduce instead of widening it.
I only did 4 of those 15 things I was looking forward to in 2015, one of which required zero effort on my part.
So instead of telling the world, i.e. my mom on Facebook, I kept it to myself, thought about how to approach my goals and got to work.
What follows, is a review of those intentions and any failures and lessons I learned along the way.
Originally they were in no particular order other than how I came to think of them, I’ve since then grouped them in a way that makes sense to me.
Table of contents
The intention was to put me first sometimes and be okay with that—ugh, the word alone still makes me uneasy. Overall, a mixed bag of good and bad.
Meditate 2/week, 20 min body scan
I’m not good at meditating.
I understand the immense value of mindfulness and awareness and I think that it’s great but I struggle to sit still in that way. I meditated twice in January and then never again.
Is my power-walk to and from the office a kind of meditation?
My training was right on track for the London Marathon 2018 until I injured myself and had to defer. My twice per week became none per week. Four months later (in May), I slowly started getting back to running only to realise in November that I needed more recovery.
It’s been a frustrating running year and in comparison to last year where I ran 370 km, I managed 271 km this year.
Understanding that 16-year-old Carlos started smoking because he thought no one would like or love him—but he was the one who needed to love himself—has had the most profound effect on being able to choose not to smoke.
I haven’t smoked since July this year, barring the one-off cigarette and I’m getting better at catching which things remind me of those thoughts.
Gain 4 kg
Gained 3kg, yay! But mostly around my stomach, damn it. 😒
Get 2 new tattoos
I’ve started designing the next sleeve tattoo and it’s moving along at a comfortable pace. I’m in no rush as I’ve always let them take the time they need, it’ll be ready when it’s ready.
The intention was to spend more quality time with Lucien to nurture and grow our relationship. Overall, I think we have but I still feel profoundly underequipped to handle parenting and it’s something I think a lot about.
Go to the cinema with Lucien once per quarter
We’ve definitely been more than four times this year, seeing spectacles such as Avengers: Infinity Wars and disappointments—for me, not him—such as Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween.
Of the films we saw, Incredibles 2 stands out—I laughed so hard at one point tears were streaming down my face.
Do an activity with Lucien once a month
I’ve got a book titled Things To Do with Dad, the last Christmas present I got from Amanda, and Lucien has folded down every page of activity he would like to do.
We got off to a great start until I realised Rebecka and I couldn’t live together any more, I moved out, activities stopped for a few months, then we picked them back up. Then I moved again.
But I’ve also struggled to spend too much time with the book, something I guess will get easier with time.
The intention was to grow as a person, through experiences and learning new things. Overall, pretty good though my tendency to be unaccepting of detours get the better of me sometimes, i.e. I could have continued the vlog but changed the focus after my injury.
Travel abroad 3 times
In January I flew to Spain by myself and spent a weekend there with a friend and had the best run of my life.
In May I went to Finland to hang out with my mom and friends and even managed to see a medium.
As you’re reading this, Lucien, Katy and I are packing our bags to fly back to the UK, having spent Christmas in Finland.
Record and release vlog every 2 weeks until the marathon
This was too ambitious. Training for a marathon is hard work. Fundraising for one even harder. Learning how to and recording a vlog series about the journey to that marathon without any previous vlog experience, hardest.
I quite literally lost all momentum when I injured myself.
I have hundreds of notes of all the things I learned because of this though and I’ll need to review these at a later date.
We learn from failure, not from success. Bram Stoker
Run the London Marathon
Injured, deferred and ultimately pulled out of fundraising and running for EAAA to focus on why I run at all.
I still want to run a marathon someday, but it doesn’t need to be the London Marathon.
Read 4 books
Getting back into reading has been one of the most rewarding gifts of this year. I set myself an unusually realistic goal of reading 4 books, and read 16.
The intention was to expand my professional network and share more of the incredible things I’ve learned through my career as a designer and developer focusing on accessibility. Overall, without an action plan, I didn’t get much of this done.
Speak at 3 conferences
I sent out a couple of Call to Speakers but I can’t, in all honesty, say that I worked much towards this, which is why I haven’t spoken at any conferences this year.
Attend 3 conferences
I attended two, Camp Digital in Manchester and Fundraising Now in London, conferences and they were both spectacular, I met and talked to some great people and I came back inspired to continue making the web more accessible.
Write 6 industry articles
Well-researched articles take longer than people think. I wrote one article which hasn’t been published yet.
Create a passive income
This was an ambitious goal.
I have worked a lot on this one but have very little to show for it yet.
I want to create a sustainable secondary income where I’m like a ghost in the machine. I still have more work to do but it’s inching itself forward.
In hindsight, this was an ambitious list.
And the complexity involved with some of these things were massive, whilst others were small but recurring.
For 2019, I want to be even clearer with my intentions, think about their purpose, and make a plan.
But this time I also want to consider that some things take longer than others and adjust accordingly.
The effort required for some of these things are vastly bigger than other. Meditating for a total of 40 minutes per week doesn’t require as much work as creating a passive income.
Even though ironically I’ve worked more on the high-effort one.
I also want to be more mindful of the frequency of some of them and potentially move some into a, “Won’t do,” list to help me focus on the things that really matter.
As the new year dawns, I’m going to sit down to write a new list.
And you can bet I won’t tell anyone about that one either.