Last year I defined many yearly goals and, as I described in my 2010 wrap-up, I accomplished many of them. Looking back at the system for goal definition and tracking I set up, though, I’ve found several areas for improvement.
Most notably, I need to focus more on measuring outcomes, not just on the ways of attaining those outcomes. Most of my goals last year were very “tactical,” e.g. “accomplish XYZ each week” and I lost sight in some cases of the bigger picture. This year I am defining higher-level strategic objectives first and revisiting them frequently to check whether or not meeting my tactical goals is helping me achieve them.
My objective here is to maintain positive, engaged relationships with my friends and family – as well as to meet new interesting, positive people. Last year I tried to quantify my success in this area by tracking how many times I met up with others – physically or virtually. I easily achieved my targets but I’m not sure there is necessarily a correlation between such activities and meeting my objective. This year I will measure success in this area in a more qualitative way: by tracking my feelings. I will periodically check how good I feel about my personal relationships. To start, I am trying out a website called Mercury App for this tracking. If I really wanted to take it to the next level, I would track how my friends and family felt about their relationships with me too – but I’m not ready to impose that on others just yet!
1. Body Composition: I’m beginning the year at 39 pounds fat and 156 pounds lean. I’d like to finish the year at < 30 pounds fat and more than 160 pounds lean. There are two components to this objective:
Lose fat: To lose fat I am aiming to create a daily caloric deficit of 250 calories. Getting adequate activity for calorie burn has traditionally not been much of an issue; my major challenge has been in restricting caloric intake. Although I generally eat healthy, natural, good foods, I eat a lot of them, sometimes when I’m not even hungry. I like the way food tastes or I use it for procrastination or the obsessive-compulsive side of me just wants to see the food gone because it feels more clean / complete that way. This year, each time I eat, I will ask myself, “Am I hungry?” “Am I savoring / appreciating this?” I will track how many “no” answers there are, ultimately going for zero on an ongoing basis.
Gain muscle: Last year there was a wide range of intensities in my resistance training workouts. This year, I will track how exhausted / sore each workout makes me and, whenever the result is suboptimal, adjust that workout the next time for a better result.
2. Increase flexibility: I’ll measure this with a pretty crude – but valid – metric: the distance between my the tips of my fingers and the floor when bending forward, straight-legged, from the waist. My starting point is 10″ so I have tremendous room for improvement! Last year I tried and failed to focus dedicated workout days on stretching. This year I’m trying a more “decentralized” approach, spreading out a little bit of stretching every day. This includes stretching immediately after each exercise activity and going through a full body stretch routine each time I sit down to watch TV. I’ll tally a “demerit” each time I catch myself having skipped one of those stretch times and aim for zero such demerits on an ongoing basis.
3. Volleyball: I failed to meet last year’s objective of winning a men’s A tournament so that is back on the list for this year. One way I can give myself a better chance is by creating more opportunities. Last year I only entered two tourneys all year; this year I need to enter more. I’ll also add winning a BB coed tourney to the objective list for this year as I am hoping that Katie and I will start playing 2s together consistently. I also plan to attend at least one volleyball skills workshop this year for more focused improvement than just playing.
4. Running: I hit my running goals quite early last year but now I have a better idea of where my current limits are. My objectives for 2011 are to run a 5k race under 21:00 and a 10k under 45:00, taking about a minute off my PR in each event. I’d like to finish top 5% overall and top 10% in my group at least once this year. To achieve these objectives I will continue my 5k and 10k training runs, introduce additional aerobic training and add sprint workouts back into the mix for the first time in several years.
5. Balance: To round out my health and well being, I have resolved to continue reading at least one book for pleasure each month and to introduce a new practice of taking time each morning for meditation. I’ve found this so far to be a very helpful exercise in centering myself before each day, reflecting on what is really important, and preparing for the hustle and bustle that follows. To measure ‘balance” in my life, I will once again let my feelings be my guide, polling them periodically.
1. Smart Office Energy Solutions: As I learned last year, setting goals / objectives for a business this early / dynamic and then trying to measure myself against them 12 months later is a real exercise in futility. As such, within Smart OES we will continue to set goals, measure our performance against them, and update them frequently as our business changes. I personally will track my feelings about “how it’s all going” at Smart OES.
2. Relationships: Last year I mentored three entrepreneurs on an ongoing basis and many more professionals on one-off or temporary bases. As anticipated this was a highly rewarding experience and this year I hope to increase the scope of this part of my professional life. Instead of just tracking the quantity of mentorship I am providing, though, my objective is to provide more real value. Therefore this year I am asking the people I work with to rate me on how much value I contribute and to provide feedback regarding where I can improve. I will also do a better job this year of engaging my own mentors on a weekly basis.
3. Development: Last year I successfully read one professional book or article each week but I have come to realize that reading the material alone isn’t enough. Top business schools teach with the case method because applying knowledge to real situations is much more valuable for development of business skills than is just reading something. Accordingly, this year I have set aside time each Friday to apply the lessons from each week’s book to my own business / life.
Last year I also successfully worked on new language development each week. Working on it a little each week is just a means, though. My objective this year is to use the new language skills I’m developing. With trips to Italy and France already planned, I can brush up on my existing languages but several potential trips might also give me the chance to study for and then practice Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, and German.
4. Brand: Last year my professional brand as a global greentech executive went from relative obscurity to gaining some recognition. I finished the year with 50 Klout, which is only one [very course grained, very social media-focused] way to measure. This year my objective is to reach 65 Klout and to contribute two original pieces of thought leadership. I welcome ideas of other ways to measure the success of my professional brand!
GIVEWATTS is growing by leaps and bounds and I am so incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. This year will be even more demanding but I know we can really take this organization to the next level. The Board has its own metrics of success and I frequently poll the CEO for feedback on my performance as a Director. I intend to contribute significant time to both Rice and IMD this year but I’m not sure how to measure the efficacy of my contributions. Again, ideas welcome!
There you have it, my 2011 objectives and targets. It took me over a month to publish this so you can see that I’m already behind!