Category Archives: Goals

My 2024 Goals

Continuing another tradition, I’d like to post my 2024 goals, as a way to force some level of accountability. This year I didn’t set as many goals, and many of my goals are actually tied with helping others achieve their goals.

Spiritual Goals

I’ve had some success with spiritual goals that were very routine-based, like reading the scriptures cover to cover or going to the temple on a regular basis. They’ve been helpful, but I wanted to make things more meaningful this year.

  1. Return to the Philippines to participate in the Urdaneta Philippines Temple dedication: 14 years ago, the prophet announced they’d be building a temple within ~25 miles of three of the towns where I served in for half of my mission (Bayambang, Calasiao, and Binmaley). They finished construction late last year, and after a three week open-house period, they’ll be dedicating the temple on April 28th. I haven’t been able to make it back to the Philippines yet since returning home in 2002, and I’d love to go back and visit friends I haven’t seen in person for two decades. I’m not sure how I’ll be able to coordinate getting permission to participate in the dedication, but I think it’s an achievable and very worthwhile goal.
  2. Participate in gospel study daily, using the church’s Come Follow Me curriculum, marking all BofM passages that point to or testify of Christ, and all that discuss gospel principles or doctrines: This one is fairly specific, but is driven from something I noticed from the past two years. My goals of reading the books of scripture cover to cover ensured I was reading regularly, but I was almost never synced up with reading what my family was studying at home, my boys studying in seminary, and our ward studying at church. So this year, I want to stick to the church’s Come Follow Me curriculum, which is focused on the Book of Mormon this year, rather than just trying to read through at a steady pace. Also the marking of scriptures based on specific topics seemed like a way I’ve heard other people have gotten more out of study, so I wanted to try it.
  3. Help Jonny get his mission papers submitted: Getting his mission papers submitted this year was one of Jonny’s personal goals, and I wanted to assist him in doing so. He’s now about the age I was when I served, and he’s pretty excited about the opportunity.

Social Goals

I haven’t been as successful with my social goals, but I’m going to try again. Once again with things that are easily trackable, require consistent effort, and should be meaningful.

  1. Complete levels 1-5 in Pimsleur Spanish lessons: I was thinking about retrying my 2023 goal of visiting somewhere Spanish speaking for a weekend, but I thought this goal would also help ensure I get more comfortable speaking the language. The Pimsleur curriculum is primarily focused on guided conversation practice, and completing levels 1-5 (with ~30x 30min lessons per level) works out to ~75 hours of Spanish conversation, and will require me to complete at least ~3 lessons per week, so I’ll be doing the study pretty consistently. This goal seems both achievable, something somewhat challenging because it’ll take consistent effort over months, but also likely to make a difference in my confidence with the language. I’ll probably keep doing Duolingo study too, because that app is as addictive as crack, but may cut back a little on trying to stay at the top of the leaderboards.
  2. Invite neighbors, church friends, or other friends over for dinner at least 3x per quarter: This is similar to a goal I’ve had in the past, but with a little more increased frequency, and a slightly broader casting of the net. I’m also going to take better notes so I don’t lose track. To be clear, while I say dinner, it could be other meals, a party or other get-together, but something that we’re hosting at our place. I think this is a good way to get me out of my introverted little shell more often.

Physical Goals

Physical goals are ironically some of the ones I’ve had the most success with so far. This year’s goals are ones that will take consistent effort, but which I’m highly confident I can achieve. Since I may be done with both of these earlier in the year, I might decide to add a follow-on goal later.

  1. Help James and Peter prepare for the Bolder Boulder 10K and run it with both of them: Both Peter and Jamie set goals to run the Bolder Boulder 10K this year. Peter ran with me last year, and after the 9.5km point when I told him he could go ahead at his own pace, he left me in the dust. In spite of only joining me for one practice run. So I’m pretty confident he’ll do fine, but this year, I’m trying to help him train enough, and have things like a way of carrying his phone, so I can let him just run at his own pace, and really show us what he can do. Jamie just wants to be able to run the whole thing without stopping to walk, so I’m going to run with him at a nice steady pace. I’m not trying to set any new speed records, unless Jamie is up for it. Just maintaining the capability for myself, and helping them prove to themselves that they can do hard things too.
  2. Get back under 175lb by my birthday: I’ve never set an explicit weight loss goal before. In 2020, I just set the goal to use the Noom app for six months, and see where it got me. In the end, I got down to just under 170lb. Over the past three years, I’ve inched up a little, with my worst weigh-in after Christmas being up around 186lb. I know I can get back to 175lb without trying that hard, so long as I’m consistent, and it would help a lot of other things. Basically, I just have to try a little. And if I’m steadily exercising and prepping the boys for the Bolder Boulder, I have a feeling I’ll likely surpass this one by a decent margin. So while this is an easy one, it’s still worthwhile and meaningful.

Intellectual Goals

I decided to stop trying to set a blogging goal. I’ll either have time to rejuvenate that skill, or I won’t. I decided to focus my efforts a little differently this time.

  1. Learn how to use my Snapmaker 2.0’s rotary 4th axis, 40W laser, and dual-print head, and design and make at least two items using each process: as I mentioned elsewhere, I upgraded my Snapmaker Original to a 2.0 this last fall, right before I got laid off. During the two months I was freelance, I had a chance to start using the module, and made some parts using each of the three basic capabilities — single-nozzle FDM 3d printing, 10W laser cutting, and CNC routing. But I have a lot of other upgrades that I’ve either not tried at all, not figured out all the way, or barely started scratching the surface with them. I’m especially interested in seeing if I can figure out how to do color metal marking of Stainless with my 40W laser, and dual printing of a graphite or glass reinforced nylon with dissolveable support structures using the dual print head.
  2. Help teach each of my boys one or two skills that they want to learn: With my youngest three still in home school, and Jonny preparing for his mission, I wanted to work with each of them on one or two skills that they wanted to learn — either one I’m already good at, or one I’m learning with them.

Anyhow those are my goals for 2024. Do you have anything you want to try to achieve this year?

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Filed under Goal: Learning Spanish, Goals, Philippines, Uncategorized

2023 Goals Accountability: The Good, the Meh, and the Ugly

Following my tradition from last year, I wanted to share how I did with the 14 goals I set for myself. I had some success, some of which were very fun, some partial successes, and some goals I completely failed at.

The Good…

I had five goals that I succeeded at all the way:

  1. Physical Goal #1: Get to the point where I can jog a 10K: This was the first goal I completed, when Peter and I ran the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day (5/29) last year. About a month earlier, I was starting to warm up, planning on doing the 10K at the end of the summer, when a friend who knew about my goal had asked me if I had ever run the Bolder Boulder. That race was only barely over a month later, and I wasn’t certain if I could get ready in time. But one of our investors at Gravitics had gone from being in shape for a 5K to running a marathon in only a month, so I figured getting ready for a 10K might be possible. I got a heart rate monitor watch so I could do the aerobic threshold running that a friend had told me would help me build my endurance the best, and then started running almost every day. In the end we did it, running the race non-stop. My time wasn’t amazing, right around 1hr 30min, but that was me running non-stop for 1hr and 30min! Anyhow, given that three years ago, I couldn’t make it a quarter way around a track without wheezing, I’m pretty proud of this one.
  2. Spiritual Goal #3: Attend the temple with Tiff at least once per quarter and with the boys at least once per quarter: I finished this one in late October on 10/26/2023, shortly after getting laid off by Gravitics. We had managed to go somewhat consistently, but once I was laid off, I started going more frequently. All told, it was also a great experience.
  3. Intellectual Goal #1: Cook at least one new recipe per month, with at least on recipe this year from each of the six inhabited continents: This was probably the funnest goal. Some of the non-international recipes weren’t particularly memorable, but it was fun trying out cuisine from all over the world. I’ve posted some of the recipes here like the Indian Butter Chicken and Naan, the Peruvian Pollo a la Brasa and Aji Verde Sauce, but we also did Ratatouille and Honey Garlic pork chops from Europe, Tourtière (a French Canadian meat pie), a spicy Kenyan Chicken Jollof Rice dish, and finished up by doing an Aussie Burger, complete with roasted beet root, and a New Zealand Jelly Slice for dessert on 12/15/2023. This was one of my more unusual goals from last year, but I’m glad that I chose it.
  4. Intellectual Goal #3: Finish at least two significant crafts projects (making things that involve multiple components that weren’t a premade set from someone else): I actually didn’t think I was going to make it, having not really done anything for this goal at all through the first ten months of the year, but I actually had three cool craft projects that I wrapped up in November/December. The first one I can’t show many pictures of because it was for work. But right before I got laid off by Gravitics, I had completed a major proposal effort, so I rewarded myself by buying a Snapmaker 2.0 3-in-1 3D printer, with a lot of upgrade modules. When I got laid off, I thought at first that maybe I should return the printer, but when I realized I had paid for it on my credit card, and if I returned it, I’d only get back about 2/3rd the price, and then have to keep paying for the other 1/3 without ever having used the machine, I decided to keep it. A few weeks later, a friend of mine whose startup was moving asked me if I still had the printer. Apparently their printer was already packed up, and they had a short-fuse project for a client that needed parts designed and 3d printed. In the end, I ended up making almost as much off of that project as I would have from two months at Gravitics, and ended up designing, and printing 9 parts (3 from PLA, but most of them from Nylon), and machining about another four pieces from G10 fiberglass boards. It wasn’t perfect, especially since I hadn’t had a chance to really dial in my printing parameters before jumping into it. But the client was able to assemble the system, and run the tests they needed, and I got to learn a lot about my printer. The other two projects were Christmas presents, one a drawing board for Jamie (that included a riveted on clipboard clip), and one a water color palette for Tiff (that we bonded in about two dozen metal water color pans). We finished this one on 12/23/2023.
  5. Spiritual Goal #1: Read the New Testament and Book of Mormon cover to cover: I finished this goal on 12/26/2023. This was probably my fourth time all the way through the New Testament, and probably my 34th or 35th time through the Book of Mormon in English.

Those were all the goals that I completed all the way. Many were fun adventures, others just the result of trying to be consistent. Now on to my partial successes…

…The Meh…

I had another six goals that I at least made headway on.

  1. Physical Goal #2: Finish getting my 5K race time down under 30min: Of my partial successes, this one was the one I came closest to achieving. In the fall, after we got back from summer vacation, I started training again for doing a 5K over Thanksgiving, using a training routine from my Polar Pacer heart-rate monitor watch. I figured that two months would give me enough time to get ready, and we decided to sign up for a race out in Springfield, OR again (the same place I ran my first real 5K race two or three years ago). In the end, I set a personal record, but missed my target with a time of 30min 26s. Given that any further 5Ks I ran would be at much higher altitude, and that the weather was rapidly shifting to winter, I realized I likely wouldn’t be able to get this goal completed this year. But I at least came pretty darned close. And a personal record is still a personal record.
  2. Social Goal #3: Invite neighbors or church friends over for dinner at least 2x per quarter: I didn’t keep good track of how often I had done this, so I don’t know for sure how well I did, but I think we only had people over maybe 5 or 6 times this year. Still likely better than if I hadn’t set the goal, so worth celebrating as a partial.
  3. Social Goal #1: Take Tiff on meaningful dates at least 1x/month: We had some good dates/activities this year, including a 20th anniversary trip to Hawaii in August. But once again, I didn’t keep close track of this goal, and am pretty sure I probably only had about 8-9 of the months where we went on at least one date, and I’m not sure if all of them were particularly meaningful.
  4. Family/Home Goal #1: Do at least two home or yard improvement mini-projects per month: I did do a lot of mini projects over the year, but probably nowhere close to 24 of them. And I didn’t keep close track of it. But some of the things we got done included setting up new shelves in the garage and basement, getting a food storage area setup downstairs, fixing two of our sofa chairs whose legs had broken, cutting down the brush around our back patio, weedwacking the 6ft tall weeds in our back yard, repairing my broken desk, and building out my home office. Not perfect, but there were definitely some wins in there.
  5. Physical Goal #3: Finish getting to the point where I can do all five Home Fitness bodyweight exercise sets at full reps, without having to take extra breaks in the middle: In 2022, I got a bodyweight exercise app that I started in on. By the start of 2023 I was just transitioning into doing the hardest of the three levels — Advanced, for all five types of exercise (Abs, Chest, Arms, Legs, and Shoulder/Back), but at around 1/2 of the reps they suggested per exercise. By the time I switched my focus in April to 10K training, I had gotten the Legs and Chest exercises to full reps, but with lots of breaks. I never really got back into this consistently enough to pick this up, and after the 5K, one of my shoulders was hurting in a way that I wasn’t sure doing a bunch of pushups was safe. So while I made some progress on this at the start of the year, I never finished this one all the way.
  6. Spiritual Goal #2: Do something meaningful for each ministering family at least 1x per quarter: I started off ok with this, but it tapered towards the end of the year, especially with how busy stuff got over the summer, lots of trips, then getting laid off. I don’t have great excuses on this one. I did some ministering, but only felt like I did much for one of the families.

At least in this case I made some effort towards achieving the goals, even if I didn’t succeed all the way. Without further ado, on to the last category, where I couldn’t even say that.

…The Ugly

I had three goals in this category, where I really feel like I didn’t make any real headway on them.

  1. Social Goal #1: Visit somewhere in Central or South America for at least a weekend, where I will have to speak Spanish: I’ve been teaching myself Spanish for about 8yrs now using Duolingo, and in 2022 I finished reading El Libro de Mormon in Spanish, cover to cover. But I still didn’t speak Spanish very well, so I wanted a goal to force me to learn how to speak Spanish. While I did do some work on Spanish speaking with a new app that was better optimized for teaching you to speak (Pimsleur), I never got far enough that I felt I could make the trip. I had been intending to visit a friend down in Equator for a weekend, but between my lack of preparation, and Tiff getting congestive heart failure, I decided to punt on this goal for this year.
  2. Family/Home Goal #2: Finish reading at least one book each on parenting for autistic and NLD kids: I did read like 2 or 3 chapters of NLD Super Stars, but that was about it.
  3. Intellectual Goal #2: Wrote at least two substantive (technology, policy, etc) blog posts series of at least three posts long each: I’m kind of embarrassed by this one. I used to be pretty prolific with Selenian Boondocks. But while I did write a few recipe blogs, and I think one opinion blog post, I don’t think I wrote a single substantive blog post last year. This is two years in a row that I’ve completely failed to resuscitate my blogging mojo.

Anyhow, that’s my report for 2023. Next up, tomorrow I hope to do a writeup on my 2024 goals, what I changed, and what I want to try that’s new. All told I’m still pretty happy at all of the full and partial successes, though some of the complete misses sting a little.

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Filed under Administrivia, Goal: International Recipes, Goal: Learning Spanish, Goals

2023 Goals

Ok, after my previous post looking back at how I did on goals in 2022, I’ve created some updated goals for 2023, including rolling over a few from last year that were worth keeping. I added an extra category for house and family related goals.

Physical

  1. Get to the point where I can jog a 10K: I can jog a 5K, but getting to the point where I can do a 10K should help build endurance, and will require me pushing on improving my aerobic threshold, which frankly should help a lot of other health goals.
  2. Finish getting my 5k race time down under 30min: I made progress on this last year, but still have a bit to go. This one is synergistic with my first goal, since improving my aerobic threshold (which is almost certainly a must if I want to jog a 10K) should also help me speed up my 5K time.
  3. Finish getting to the point where I can do all five Home Fitness body weight exercise sets, on the Advanced level, at full reps, and without having to take extra breaks in the middle: I made good progress on the goal of getting to full reps last year (I was at 2/3s of full reps on all but one of the five categories), but still have to take a lot of extra or extended breaks. I think this is achievable, but also meaningful.

Intellectual

  1. Cook at least one new recipe per month, with at least one recipe this year from each of the six inhabited continents: I like cooking, and I like trying out new recipes. So, this should be a fun goal, that will hopefully force me to explore recipe areas I haven’t really thought of before. For the recipes I like, I may even post them here on Taong Boondocks.
  2. Write at least two substantiative (technology, policy, etc) blog post series of at least three posts long each: I’ve been struggling with my blogging goals for the past several years. I think that by putting it in the case of finishing two blog series, it will help improve my odds of getting things done. The first series I’m hoping to finish is my one on space environmental management policy, technology, and economics that I started on my Starbright Engineering blog.
  3. Finish at least two significant crafts projects (making things that involve multiple components, that weren’t a premade set from someone else): I have a fun Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3d printer/laser cutter/CNC router setup, and it would be fun to actually use it to make something useful. Whether that’s something that can become a Christmas present, something cool to decorate my office, or something useful for the house, or even something work related, I’d like to get more experience working through hands-on projects.

Spiritual

  1. Read the New Testament (including Joseph Smith – Matthew) cover to cover: My church is studying the New Testament this year, and while I’ve read it cover to cover more than the Old Testament (at least two or three times), I figured this would be a good scripture study goal for the year. This will be less of a slog than finishing the Old Testament. It looks like 1pg per weekday plus 2 pages per weekend day should get me there. I’ll probably also try to do the Book of Mormon cover to cover again in parallel, like I did last year while I was reading the Old Testament.
  2. Do something meaningful for each ministering family at least once per quarter: I’m keeping this goal from last year. I did decently with it, but it’s also a good goal to work on improving over time.
  3. Attend the temple with Tiff at least once per quarter, and with the boys at least once per quarter: This one ties in with goals that Tiff and the boys set, so hopefully will be more self-reinforcing.

Social

  1. Visit somewhere in Central or South America for at least a weekend, where I will have to speak Spanish: I swapped this out last year for giving a talk in Spanish, but I wanted to put it back on my goal list for this year. I have two really promising opportunities — one I have a friend whose job is moving him to Quito, Ecuador for two years, starting this summer. Visiting him would be a lot of fun, and frankly Quito has always been a place I wanted to visit. The other option is the homeschool co-op my boys went to for several years would do service trips to a village in Guatemala every few years, I think there’s a chance 2023 was supposed to be their next trip. In both cases, by leveraging friends, it may make the logistics easier, and make it more likely I can do this, have fun, and stay safe in the process.
  2. Take Tiff on meaningful dates at least once per month: Renewing this goal from last year. It’s not super ambitious, but it’s a good thing to maintain or try to exceed.
  3. Invite neighbors or church friends over to dinner at least twice per quarter: My parents used to be really good at inviting friends over for dinner on a regular basis. With the pandemic and the move, we got out of the habit, but I’d like to get back into the habit. And would particularly like to use this as a way to build friendships with some of our neighbors and church friends.

Family/Home

  1. Do at least two home or yard improvement mini-projects per month: I’m defining mini-projects very loosely. This could be as simple as mounting some wall lamps or shelves, cutting down and tossing out the branches from one of the dead bushes in the back yard, mounting the whiteboard in my office, etc. Keep it simple, but try to make steady progress on making the house nicer./
  2. Finish reading at least one book each on parenting for two of my boys’ specific learning disorders: A few of my boys have some mild learning disorders. I got a few books last year to get advice on how to do a better job supporting them as a parent, and though I made a few chapters headway into one of them, I’d like to finish at least two of them this year. Doesn’t seem impossible, and should hopefully help us better navigate those challenges.

Anyhow, those are the goals. I try to review them semi-regularly, and may update some of them over time based on changing life situations. But I wanted to put those out there for accountability sake.

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2022 Personal Goals Progress

Up until about two years ago, if you had asked me about how good I was at making and keeping goals, I would’ve said I was pretty lousy. Other than keeping my goal to practice Spanish on Duolingo daily, almost every other goal I set only lasted for a few weeks. Journal writing? One-again-off-again. Daily scripture study? A bit better, but only because I was ok with counting it if I only read a verse or two. Almost nothing else stuck.

Then, right before the pandemic hit, my church rolled out a goal setting program for the children and youth. It was based in part on a scripture from the New Testament about how Jesus improved as he grew to adulthood:

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Luke 2:52

The basic idea for the goal setting was to focus on four areas of personal progress: Intellectual, Physical, Spiritual, and Social. They’d encourage the youth to find things they wanted to work on in each of the categories, set goals, and then work on them, on their own, with their family, and with their youth groups. The pandemic hit right after the goal setting program was launched, but in 2021, they tried renewing interest in the program, and it gave me the idea that I ought to try it out.

So, just like we were encouraging the youth to do, I decided to set some goals in each of those four areas. I also decided to set goals that were longer term ones, like setting the goal to try Noom out for six months, or to see if I could get to the point where I could jog a mile by the end of the year. I realized that setting goals over a wider period of time allowed for some chance to catch up if life threw a curveball (like SBIR proposal silly season at work, or deciding to quit my day job and strike out as a consultant, or the whole family getting sick for several weeks, or deciding to move houses, etc.)

And for the first time in my life, I actually had some real success with my goals in 2021. I could look up the notes, but long-story short, I got into decent physical shape for the first time in my adult life, finished reading an almost 800pg book in Spanish, and also made progress in most of the other areas. I didn’t accomplish all of my goals, but I made enough progress that I decided to try it again in 2022. Without further ado, here were my 2022 goals in each of the four categories, and how I did with them.

2022 Physical Goals

  1. Be able to do each of the five advanced-level Home Workout app bodyweight exercise sets with full reps and proper form: At the start of the year, I had been using this bodyweight exercise app that works on abs, chest, arms, legs, and shoulder/back for about half a year, and was getting to the point where I could kind of do things at the basic level. By the end of the year, I hadn’t quite made it all the way to my goal, but was up to ~2/3 the reps for each exercise set at the advanced level. Though my form is sometimes crappy on some of the newer exercises. All told, I did 94 bodyweight exercise sessions this year. I didn’t meet my goal 100%, but I made pretty solid progress towards it, and frankly for exercise new year’s resolutions, I think I did pretty good.
  2. Run at least one 5K per month, and get down to <30min time: I also didn’t nail this one 100%, but also made really good progress. I think I did 5ks at least 9 out of the 12 months, and got my best time down to 32:10 at this year’s Thanksgiving race in Louisville. More importantly, I got the boys to do the same None-to-Run program I did in 2021, and all three of my teenagers were able to get to the point where they could jog a complete 5K. It took all summer and most of the fall, but getting to that point with all of my teenagers was really fulfilling. All told, I did 53 jogs this year, including 5Ks and none-to-run jogs with the boys, which worked up to 5Ks over several months. While I didn’t get my time down under 30min, like I wanted to, I did get some solid advice on how to do so, by working on increasing my aerobic threshold — which entails running for long distances while keeping my heart rate in the 130-140bpm range. I bought myself an Oura ring this year to help with heart rate monitoring (though I wish it would give you real-time feedback during the run instead of just a post-run heart-rate chart), though I ran out of time to start doing the aerobic threshold runs, and decided to refocus my efforts on my first body-weight exercises goal.
  3. Get to the point where I could do 5 chin-ups in a row: This one ended up being a lot easier than I had expected, and I think I achieved this in late January or early February. I think the max number I got to before I called it good was like 8 chin-ups in a row. For someone who had never been able to do a chin-up or pull-up as an adult before 2021, I felt that was pretty good.
Me and the boys after running the Louisville CO Turkey Trot 5K

To summarize, I only got one of my three physical goals all the way completed, but did really well on the other two, and made significant progress. I ended up doing jogging or a body weight exercise over 40% of the days this year. More importantly, I was able to help my boys also do better at getting regular exercise, and building their strength and endurance. I’m pretty happy with how I did in this category in 2022.

Spiritual Goals

  1. Read the full Old Testament plus the Book of Moses and Abraham from the Pearl of Great Price: My church for Sunday School and family gospel study rotates each year between the Old Testament/Pearl of Great Price, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants. In 2022, we were doing the Old Testament/Pearl of Great Price again, and I had only ever read the Old Testament all the way through once before, so I decided to try to read it through all the way this year. This isn’t the kind of goal you can just binge makeup at the end, but I’d check myself every few months to see how I was doing and if I needed to increase or decrease my reading rate. In the end, I finished the last page of the Old Testament this morning. All told that was 1226 pages. In parallel, a few days or weeks into the year, I decided I also wanted to read the Book of Mormon all the way through this year too, and finished that this morning as well. That’s another ~540pgs (including introductory pages).
  2. Always have a temple appointment scheduled, no more than 1 month out: Temple attendance is a big part of what we do as latter-day saints, and I had done only a so-so job of attending regularly in the past, so I set this goal. In the end, I did okish. I think we ended up going a total of 5 or 6 times this year. We sometimes had to reschedule when illness or other things got in the way, and I often had the “schedule next temple session” on my weekly to-do list for several weeks in a row before I actually got it done. I didn’t really come close to achieving this one, though I do think having the goal did probably make a significant increase in the number of times I was able to attend with Tiff and/or the boys.
  3. Do something meaningful for each ministering family at least once per quarter: My church assigns every family a pair of “ministering brothers” who are there to be their friends, to be someone they can count on to be there for them when life gets difficult, to encourage them, etc. Me and one of my sons, James, are assigned as a ministering companionship, and I’ve often been less than satisfied at how well I’ve done serving others. Hence this goal. I’m not sure I found meaningful things for every one of them every quarter, but having this goal definitely reminded me to try and be more involved. One of the brothers I had been ministering to had a horrific motorcycle accident this spring that he’s been slowly recovering from. He’s a fellow engineer, so we had the idea of tricking out his wheelchair with omnicasters, as a way to enable him to get around easier in cramped quarters in his house. In the end they didn’t work as well as we had hoped since a lot of his house was carpet, but we really enjoyed trying it out, even if that particular experiment wasn’t successful. I’d say that while I didn’t hit this 100%, I also felt like I did decently well, and it was a significant improvement over what I had managed in the past.
Pip and James helping install omnicasters on our friend’s wheelchair. They didn’t work on carpet, so we had to take them off, but he still appreciated the attempt.
James machining aluminum bushings on the Altius lathe to go inside the ominicasters. Calvin from Altius taught James how to do so safely. It was James’s first time using machine tools.

So, as with Physical Goals, there was only one that I completed 100%, but we had a good time working on the other goals.

Intellectual Goals

Ironically, this category was the one I probably did the poorest at.

  1. Read at least 3 books per quarter, with at least one parenting-related: I didn’t do very well at this. I started a lot of books, but didn’t actually finish many, other than some books on tape we listened to as a family during our summer road trips. We did listen to/read most of two parenting-related books though. One on a learning disorder one of our boys have, and another on different personality types.
  2. Write at least 2 substantive blog posts per quarter: I think I may have written 3 or 4 substantive blog posts this year between Selenian Boondocks, my new Starbright Engineering blog, and this one. I had a lot going on this year, with leaving Voyager, starting Starbright, and then joining Gravitics, but this is definitely an area I’m still doing poorly in relative to where I’d like to be.
  3. Develop and present a business plan/investment request: I also didn’t get this one done. At the time I set the goal, I was the VP of On-Orbit Servicing at Voyager, and I thought this would be me putting together a business plan/investment request to go after a satellite servicing product and/or service offering at the Voyager level. But I ended up leaving Voyager in May, and spent the summer chasing a promising startup idea. I figured that would be what I’d build the business plan on. But that idea required convincing a friend’s company to license some technology to apply it in a field that is outside of their main focus area, and I was unable to convince him. My old Altius cofounder Colin Doughan then recruited me for Gravitics, as a product strategy lead, and while I’ve been doing customer discovery and trying to build a story for some potential product/service offerings, what I’ve been working on is still a long way from a full business plan.

Anyhow, as I mentioned above, I don’t feel like I did really well at the goals I set in this category this year.

Social Goals

  1. Invite at least one friend, neighbor, or coworker per week to do something meaningful together: This one was inspired by a talk from one of my friends who is currently serving in the presidency for the Denver Colorado North Mission. He pointed out that a lot of us live more and more isolated lives, and that we need to be more active in inviting friends to do things. Whether it’s a catchup call or text conversation, doing lunch together, going on a walk, doing a double date, or whatever, just getting in the habit of inviting people to do things together can help us introverts get out of our comfort zone. On this one, I think I did okay. I don’t think I did something meaningful every week, but I did end up spend a lot more time deliberately making time to spend with others this year because of this goal.
  2. Original Goal: Spend at least 2 day sin a place where I have to speak Spanish. Updated Goal: give a talk in Spanish: I’ve been studying Spanish on Duolingo for about 8yrs now, and last year I finished reading El Libro de Mormon in Spanish. But I still really feel inadequate when it comes to speaking Spanish. So I wanted to set a goal to force myself to get good enough at speaking Spanish that I would get over that hump. In the fall though, an opportunity opened up where I could give a talk in Spanish to a Spanish Speaking congregation in our stake. It ended up being a really great experience. I had to write the talk out in English first, and then work through the translation, but when the other speaker that Sunday reviewed the talk for me (he was a native Spanish speaker whose parents were from Mexico), he said I did a really good job, and only had one or two tweaks to suggest. It was a neat feeling to realize that I’ve now had the chance to share the message of the gospel in four languages (English, Tagalog, Pangaletok, and now Spanish). I didn’t do my original goal, but I feel like the alternate I came up with was successful.
  3. Take Tiff out on meaningful dates at least 2x per month: Once again, this is one that I don’t think I hit every single month, but having the goal definitely did increase my efforts to find fun things to do. Sometimes they ended up turning into family activities (like going to see I Heard the Bells in the movie theater), but we also had a fun weekend getaway down to Albuquerque, and went to see My Fair Lady at the Beull theater down in Denver. Not to mention breakfast or dinner dates at some fun restaurants.

All told, I think I did ok in this category. I didn’t knock all of these out of the park, but was able to find a good substitute for my second goal, and having my other two goals definitely improved my social life versus not having them.

Parting Thoughts

I’m still learning how to be a goal setter/achiever, but I’ve really enjoyed this framework. Even if you’re not religious, I think you could adapt the “spiritual” goals in a way that was meaningful. And while only a few of the goals were ones that I completed 100%, I feel like this year was pretty successful overall on a goals front. With tomorrow starting 2023, I need to give some thoughts to new goals that build on what I’ve accomplished this year. But I wanted to give some accountability for how I did in 2022 first.

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