I love the new year, because it gives you a set time that it’s okay to rethink everything you’re doing and try to figure out what’s next, or even just to question the direction you’re moving in.

Well, anyone who’s known me more than 5 minutes knows that I’m pretty scatterbrained and have so many crazy ideas that I can’t ever get anyone of them finished.

I’ve been working over the last few months to focus. Basically, I’m working to finish something at all times. I have new things that come up, just like I did before, but I’m always prioritizing one project and working towards its completion. That’s new to me, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It sounds strange, but I seem to get bored with the last mile. It wasn’t until recently that I heard something that resonated well with me. It was on a Tim Ferriss podcast. I think he quoted someone when he said it, but I can neither remember who he got it from nor can I quote it perfectly,  as I can’t remember the exact podcast to relisten, so I’ll just paraphrase it here. It was something like, “The last 10% is the last 50%” or “The last mile is the last half of a project.” 

Basically, once you’ve made it to what appears to be the end of a project, a lot of people, myself included, tend to relax and end up not finishing up. Personally, I just get bored with what I’m doing. I’ve never been a fan of the tedious, and it seems that finalizing something is the most tedious of all. So, now it’s time to force myself to do the tedious.

The next thing that I’ve been doing a lot of recently is rethinking goals. I remember when I was younger, I learned SMART goals. I can’t remember if it was in high school or university that I learned this concept, but basically, it goes as follows:That

Goals should be SMART which stands for:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

That’s great! And I agree to a certain degree, but a SMART goal doesn’t always help in the long term, which tends to be more abstract, and not bound by a certain period of time or specific details. Of course, it’s important to have as much information as possible when making a goal, but when you’re grasping at straws looking for some kind of direction to move into, it’s difficult to visualize the kinds of goals that will lead you in the direction that you’re interested in moving.

So, to answer that, I started researching, and found what would appear to be the opposite of SMART goals in DUMB goals. These are goals that are much more abstract driven by passion rather than reason and logic (granted, it is built in there, it’s just not going to jump up and slap you in the face.

Dumb goals are:

  • Dream-driven
  • Uplifting
  • Method-friendly
  • Behavior triggered

I finally realized that not all goals can fit into that SMART standard, so I finally stopped banging my head against the wall trying to make it fit, and beating my own self-esteem when I couldn’t meet the timelines that I set for myself, or wasn’t as successful as I had wanted to be, or a speed bump came up and knocked me off course.

So, the last few months, I’ve been reworking my thinking process, and I have come up with the following goals. These are what are driving me, and will be how I frame all my projects into the future. They are ALL career oriented as I’m still not ready to dive into some of the deep personal stuff (especially in such a public way). So here we go:

  1. I want to earn one million dollars from a company that I create.
  2. I want to write a New York Times best seller.
  3. I want to create a podcast that helps hundreds of thousands of people.
  4. I want to get paid to speak publicly.

So, I’ll end on a story that really got me into this thought process. For anyone who’s ever seen me as a best man, you know that I’m terrified of speaking or performing in front of people that I know, to the point of anxiety attack. Well, this year, my company was putting on a talent show to showcase the little known talent within the company. About two months before the talent show, I decided that I was going to perform. I didn’t know what, but I knew that I had to do it. There were five other people who signed up to perform, and all of their talents were pretty well known. I was the dark horse. To be honest, it wasn’t up until the final week that I even knew what I was doing. I only knew that I had to do something. I had been practicing the song Desperado on guitar, and was planning to sing it, but in that last week, I decided that it wasn’t much of a holiday party song, so I trashed it with just seven days (actually less than that since at that point as it was a Sunday and the party was on Friday). While trying to figure out what I was going to do, I was listening to a very old story/song called Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie, which if you haven’t invested the twenty minutes to listen to it, I’d highly recommend it. Hell, I’d recommend that you invest another twenty minutes to listen even if you have already heard it.

Well, I’m sure you can see where this is going. I reworked the lyrics, and told a story to the tune of Alice’s Restaurant, and ended up winning third place (I later paid for the success with an anxiety attack, but woke up the next morning still alive, so I consider it a success). After that, I decided that it’s never too late to accomplish your dreams, and that it’s time to get started.

In case you’re interested, one of my coworkers recorded my performance (it’s filled with jokes that only the EWC employees would understand, but you can judge for yourself):