Have You Accomplished Your Goals for 2010?

So we officially have two months left in 2010.  What have you done this year?

When the year started if you were like most people you had some sort of grandiose plans for the coming 12 months that could have ranged from “exercise at least one time” to “achieve world domination”.

For most, your plans were somewhere in between.

The disappointing thing is that after around January 10th, most people forget all about their goals and go about living the same lives they lived the prior year.

For me personally, there has definitely been some good and bad, but overall I’ve probably accomplished more in 2010 than any year that came before it.

This year I’ve traveled all over Southeast Asia and the United States, continued to successfully be location independent, and met hundreds of awesome people in the process.  But how does that compare to the goals I actually set for myself?  All that stuff is great, but oftentimes many of the cool things that happen in a year weren’t planned for – they just happened because of circumstance.

In order to really see how much I’ve accomplished, I took a look back at my goals for the year and there are a few things that really stood out.  Some of my goals were bucket list items that I’ll talk more about below.  However others were much more targeted and had to do less with stuff I need to “do” and are more about who I want to “be” and ways to make that happen.

  • Avoid going back to a real job for all of 2010.  Check.  This is something that will be on every annual goals list I ever write (adjusted for the year of course).  It seems like a no-brainer now, but at the beginning of the year I honestly had no idea what would happen in my life.  I figured that after my stint with the Tropical MBA I could very well be back and applying for finance jobs by August.  Luckily this wasn’t the case.
  • Bucket list item #66: Make $10/day via the internet. I can now safely say I’m averaging over $10/day in passive income from the internet.  When I first wrote this goal, it was actually for the end of last year – and I didn’t come close to getting there.  So this year I worked hard to ensure that I didn’t have to put it off for 2011, and by April my goal had been hit.
  • Create at least 6 income streams. While they may not all be passive, I’ve reached this goal and am steadily climbing.  I always hated the concept of the paycheck.  It just didn’t make a whole lot of sense that all of my income was in the power of one persons hands (that weren’t my own).  I want to know that if one income stream goes dry, I won’t be stuck out in the cold.  Not only does this provide security, but it’s a hell of a lot more fun too!
  • Repay the people who have supported me along the way. This is difficult because it is hard to quantify and is pretty vague – yet its one of the most important items on the list.  Whether it was my parents, girlfriend, or best friends, a lot of people have been put through a lot in my quest to be unconventional.  I can’t say that I’ve repaid them yet, but I’m working on it.  This will be a prominent goal for next year.

Along with some of the major goals I had for myself, there were a variety of smaller goals and my bucket list items as well.  I went back and did a quick bucket list review this week and was pretty surprised to see just how much I’d accomplished!

  • #37 Visit New York City. After nearly 4 years of trying to plan a trip to the big apple, I finally took the trip in September.  It was great to see some old friends and experience a city that is unlike any place I’d ever experienced.  Definitely looking forward to a repeat visit!
  • #44 Travel for more than three months straight. This was accomplished a day after my birthday on April 5th after having been in Asia for a total of three months.  It’s amazing to think that for the vast majority of this year I was out of the country.  I feel really lucky to have had the experience, and I learned a ton about myself in the process.
  • #72 Live on a tropical island for a month. I spent around three weeks in the Thai islands in January, and an additional three weeks throughout the rest of my stay in Thailand.  Either way it was definitely enough to get a taste of the island life.
Panoramic Photo of Hanauma Bay

I didn't live on this island, but had a great time there last week.

  • #74 Take a trip with no preconceived ideas of where I’m going. While I wish this one was under better circumstances, on May 19th at around 4pm I realized I needed to get out of Bangkok.  I knew that if the molotov cocktails didn’t kill me, my mom would.  So I hopped on Kayak and started figuring out where the next destination would be! Hong Kong? Singapore? Phnom Penh? Nope in the end Manila won out, and I ended up spending close to a month there regardless of the fact that I was completely under packed for the trip.
  • #10 Start a Successful Blog. The initial metric that I was going by was 1,000 subscribers.  While that doesn’t have nearly the impact that number used to have thats where the goal was initially set, so I’m sticking with it!  Now the goals are much higher, but I still think 1,000 is a good metric for “successful”.  Keep in mind I didn’t say “A-List” or “good”, I just said successful :)
  • #11 Make a Living off My own Business. Over the past few months I’ve reached this through affiliate marketing, consulting and numerous other random projects.  When I set the goal I think I initially had a more “brick and mortar” business in mind, but as time has evolved, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted anyway.
  • #31 Make at least one terrifying decision that will get my closer to my goals. This was an early one that I crossed off in January when I took off to meet Dan in Thailand.  Glad to see he wasn’t a crazy ax murderer…
  • #61 Compose atleast one spectacular HDR image. Photography and HDR in particular is something I’ve gotten really into this year.  So much that I created an entire website devoted to it which I’m excited to be contributing to again after a bit of a hiatus.  While I’ve created a lot of bad HDR, I’m pretty sure if you go through the site, you’ll find some good stuff mixed in as well.
  • #66 Average at least $10/day from the internet. As mentioned earlier, this one is crossed off!

Goals I made progress on:

  • #67 Stop at a guitar store and write a song. I was hoping to do this more, but definitely was a little bit more shy than I expected to be at times.  I did accomplish this in Krabitown, Thailand, but of the 3 or 4 guitar stores I visited around the world, that was the only time I sat down and wrote a song…
  • #86 Reach 10,000 Twitter Followers. I may not be at 10,000 yet, or anywhere close to it, but I did hit the milestones of 500 and 1,000.  If I can get to the end of 5,000 by the end of next year, I’ll be pretty happy with the progress!

I’ll post more about my goals for 2011 closer to the end of the year, but I just wanted to get you thinking about your goals for the year.  What are the biggest goals you’ve accomplished?  What do you still need to do?  Let us know in the comments, and take comfort in the fact that you still have two more months to go :)

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Christiaan | Mind the Beginner November 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Hi Sean,

A nice list and great accomplishments!

As for my own goals, well, I’ve been slacking a bit. It took me a lot of time to realise that I didn’t need to ask permission to do what I want. That by itself of is monumental but it wasn’t on my list.

What was there, was for the most part not very huge:
Touch typing: While not completely blind, I’m flying over the keys and can even type in the dark… now all I need to do is keep looking at the screen, it’s more mental than anything else.
Juggling 3 balls: That one was easy
Have Linux as only OS: Which is the case on my laptop
Complete the 100 items challenge: still not there yet. It’s harder than it would seem
Training in T’ai Chi and Aikido: Weekly lessons, woohoo!
Run more consistently: utter failure there, I don’t allocate time towards that, it’s an empty goal.

There are more things on there, but for 2011 I have but 3! (yes three) goals:

1. Building an online income
2. Adopting a proper daily schedule
3. Becoming as mobile as possible

Which you might have read on my blog already. If I may be so bold as to provide a link: click me. Just three goals, but with a life changing effect.

My problem was that I didn’t set clear goals, and how I wanted to reach them. So I ended up with some strange goals that were not inspirational enough because I had the feeling that in order to do major things, I needed permission. Now…. nobody but me van stop me.

I’ll be taking down my list and putting the new one up. Make a print and pin it above my desk for daily inspiration. And if I need more inspiration, I’ll just have a look at your blog :)

Let’s do this.

Ross November 1, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Nice post Sean!

I’m going to sit down and review everything of mine in December. I didn’t really have any official goals this year, I did cross a number of things off the bucket list. This year I just wanted to explore everything I could. Next year is going to be much more goal oriented. I’m going to get everything together in December and part of that will be posting a list of goals for next year.

Have you made any money off your photography? Do you plan to?

Sean November 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm

@ Christiaan Awesome to see you focusing on high value goals for the coming year. Really interested to see what happens – be sure to let me know if I can help in any way :)

@Ross I haven’t made any money off my photography at this point. Pretty soon I’m going to set up Smug Mug on Daily HDR and I’m in the process of writing an HDR ebook which I hope to finish by the end of the month – so I’m taking baby steps :)

Dan November 1, 2010 at 5:43 pm

In an unrelated note, I’m really looking forward to your next product. I hope you are working on it and will share drafts :)

Alan November 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Awesome work on your goals for this year. As for mine, I’ve still got a ways to go–a mile in 5:30, a half-marathon, 200 squats, and those are just the fitness goals! Looking forward to scheming up ideas for 2011…

Dan November 1, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Well I can say I’ve joined the team on the $10 a day one. Still aim to get it up to $30 though, which is a livable wage for me. $100 is a long ways off it seems.

I’m really looking to next year now. I’ve just applied for a promotion and that will give me a piss weak $1,500pa pay rise. Given that I’ve earned 3x that so far online this year it has really brought home that a traditional job is not only not where I want to be, but it is a financially terrible decision.

John Paul Grant November 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Nice work on the goals Sean!

I am going to put this year down as a “foundation year” for myself … a lot of setting up,preparing and simply figuring out what i want. Was not the best in regards to performance, but I have been hard at work making sure 2011 is the turning point in my life. Just like 2010 was yours.

Keep crushin it Seano!

Ryan November 2, 2010 at 6:24 am

Sean – Sounds like you made some really really great progress this year. Congrats especially on increasing your online income. I think this is what will enable a lot of us to do more of our bucket list items.

As for me, I had two measurable goals for this year. 1) To make $1500 per month in passive income and 2) To complete the entire Pimsleur Spanish program… While I am short on #1, I am on track to complete #2… Perhaps most exciting is that I am making the leap and going abroad for an extended time in January, and the prospects of making $1500 passive income per month within the next year are favorable.

Here’s to goals achieved!

John DeVries November 2, 2010 at 6:31 am

Great post Sean. It’s awesome that you accomplished so much this year. I think looking back at your goals and realizing that you have done a number of them (without even consciously attempting to) is probably one of the best feelings in the world.

$10 a day from your online work is a fantastic accomplishment. I’m sure with the release of your dailyHDR book and the up and coming products on location 180 you exceed that number by far.

Lastly, you’ve motivated me. I think I better go back and have a look at my own goals!

Matt November 2, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Sean! You’ve been busy this year. Love that you’ve accomplished so much. Really looking forward to seeing what you do in 2011. For me 2010 was the year I made the decision to buck conventional and move forward on plans for my 1 year family sabbatical. I’ve also made progress on launching my photography biz but still have lots of work left to do on that. You definitely got me thinking about looking at my goals for 2011 with this post.

Bill November 2, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Impressive accomplishments in 2010. Looking forward to seeing your tear it up in 2011.

I am impressed to see that one of your goals was to repay the people that helped you along the way. It is important to remember that we are not successful on our own. Lots of other people are there to offer wisdom of experience and help us up when we fall (or at least help us understand why we fell in the first place).

Sharon November 2, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Yes. I think I have. :)

adventureswithben November 4, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Great list. I had 4 goals for 2010 and have accomplished 3 out of the 4: http://adventureswithben.com/asia/utethankyou/

I’m quite pleased with my progress. It’s funny how no one really revisits their list after January. Someone should do mid-year check-ins.

Sean November 5, 2010 at 12:21 pm

@Joel I always love getting comments from you because I feel so encouraged after the fact. I think I’m going to go knock it out of the park just because you told me I should! Thanks for the words of wisdom!

@Ben 3 out of 4 is way better than most! I think doing quarterly checkins can be really beneficial. Sometimes its just really easy to lose track of where you’re going. By reviewing on a regular basis, you’re forcing yourself to keep revisiting all the things that people tend to neglect..

@Sophia I tend to do the same thing. Generally its getting started that is the most difficult, yet most fun part. Its fun to ramp up on a new project, but at some point in there it gets more difficult. It isnt hard to get it 85% of the way done and fall into the “its good enough” mindset. While a project may be good enough, that doesnt mean it cant be a hell of a lot better.

@Brett I totally hear what you’re saying. And I dont think its possible to be 100% on all the time, and thats not really what I was trying to say with the article. Rather, lets use my HDR photography as an example. I can get a photo looking pretty good with minimal effort. But its spending the extra 15% that will make it go from good to incredible. It may only take me an extra half hour to do that, but the results are totally worthwhile. No one will ever be at 100% all the time, but you do have a choice when it comes to your specific projects when you call them “done”. Let’s definitely skype, I’ll shoot you an email and maybe we can find a time next week.

@Dan Can’t wait to show it to you.

@Bill I am the epitome of the entrepreneur ADD mindset. It’s tough to shake, but during the times you can control it, big things can happen. I also definitely am able to make sure stuff gets done. Thats not really the question here. Its whether things are done at 85 or done at 100 – because there is a big difference. Maybe my most recent project itself was done at 100%, but in reality it wasnt because I didnt do the networking and promotion I should have. You bring up some good ideas though.

@Janet I write about the things that are going on in my life. Productivity and motivation just happen to be a big part of location independence, so its on my mind a lot :)

@John I totally know what you mean. Its really easy to start a bunch of new projects and spread yourself too thin. I have a tough time saying no, so I end up with a ton of cool stuff going on, just not always the time to get it done! Curious to see how you resolve it and if you decide less travel is necessary.

@Diggy I think thats a good way to describe how I work on a day to day basis in terms of time spent as a whole. 100% sometimes nowhere close others, and thats the way it should be!

@Elisa Funny how even if you’re able to get rid of one distraction, there is always another one just waiting to grab ahold of you :)

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