My personal goals: 6 month review

Last week, I wrote a post about how it took me almost 32 years to start setting goals.

I mentioned that I would eventually share my goals for the year once I had them written out on paper.

Well, it turns out I had already completed this task at the beginning of the year to present to the mastermind group I’m in.

In said mastermind, we usually share our weekly wins and challenges when we meet every week. But at the beginning of every new year, we review the previous year and share our goals for the year to come.

I separated my goals into business goals and personal goals, and today I’ll be sharing my personal goals, as well as my progress so far.

Personal Goals

  • Waking up at 6am 5 times per week
  • Journal every day
  • More trips than I went on in 2016
  • Guitar for 15 minutes a day, 3 times per week
  • Meditation 5 times per week
  • Read one new book a month, no business books in consecutive months
  • Find an office or dedicated video production space
  • Pick up a new sport or hobby

As you can see, I’ve been able to consistently meet about half of my personal goals for 2018.

While I haven’t been able to consistently wake up at 6am (it comes in waves), I think I will be able to accomplish this in the latter half of the year.

My system has been to leave my phone (aka alarm clock) in the bathroom so that I’m forced to not only get out of bed, but also go to the room where I can quickly splash water on my face and take a shower.

The number of trips I take is still TBD, since a lot of them aren’t planned out too far in advance.

As far as reading goes, I’ve really dropped the ball.

For one, I’m still only reading non-fiction.

Secondly (and the bigger issue), I’m simply not making the time to read.

My hunch is that screens are to blame here.

I read on my phone. I read on my computer. I read on my Kindle.

I can’t escape the damn screens, which makes me think I just need to force myself to start reading physical books again.

Yes, I love the convenience of being able to download any book instantly, not having to carry around any extra weight, highlighting and saving notes in one unified place, and not taking up the finite space in my Shoebox apartment, but this is really where the benefits of eBooks end for me.

I’m not getting away from the screens.

I’m not able to flip to random pages.

I have to worry about battery life.

Why make reading harder than it already is?


The last personal goal of mine is to find a dedicated office space that I can work on both of my businesses.

I’ve considered WeWork in the past, but considering I already have an insane amount of expenses in this high cost-of-living city, it’s been really hard to justify paying at least $400/month for a shared workspace.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind sharing at all.

The main issue is that I would like to have a workspace that could double as a small video production studio.

I currently shoot many of my videos for Coffee Concierge in my horribly lit kitchen, which already has less space than my bathroom.

This just doesn’t work, especially if I’m going to scale and improve my content creation.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find this dream space where I currently live, but if I’m ever going to be able to find it, I will need to work with what I have so I can hopefully budget for it in the future.

I’ll check in on my business goals tomorrow. Hint: so far it has been a much bigger struggle.

Getting back on the horse

I made it to 18 consecutive days of meditation before the streak finally ended on Sunday.

It’s ironic that I couldn’t find the time for it on such a leisurely day, picnicking at Lake Merritt.

I guess socializing demands just as much attention as a typical work day.

Memorial Day was my second consecutive day of not meditating, so I officially have a streak in a negative direction.

A negative streak, if you will.

How’s that for a pessimistic approach?

Still, I think it’s good to be as aware of our bad streaks as we are of our good streaks. This way, we have a growing count of the things we probably shouldn’t be doing.

From here, we can use these negative streaks as an incentive to “get back on the horse” and start a new streak in a positive direction.

For me, I have a two-day negative streak for both my writing and meditation habits. I also have about a 4-5 day negative streak for journaling before bed (last night’s excuse was not being able to find a pen, lame).

The good news is that it only takes one day of practice to start a streak back in the positive direction.

I’m a few hundred words away from getting my writing habit back on track, and by the end of the day I expect to start a new journaling and meditation streak.

It was definitely deflating ending an 18-day streak, but missing two consecutive days is far better than never meditating again.

A friend of mine told me that she had a 367-day meditation streak. However, since the streak ended, she hasn’t gotten back on the horse.

She says that there was something so psychologically deflating about it, that she feels she can’t get started again.

But I think starting over is the most important thing one can do.

Starting again is what really proves you’ve developed a habit. Otherwise, you’re only doing what you’re doing for the streak itself, right?

We should probably start measuring our progress more in terms of the percentage of days we’ve completed a task rather than the number of consecutive days.

Sure, 18 consecutive days of meditation sounds like a big accomplishment, but how good does it sound when you find out that it’s only 18 of the last 365 days?

So if you’re feeling bummed about a positive streak coming to an end, try:

  1. Counting your negative streaks
  2. Calculating your habit as a percentage (# of days completed/# of days not completed)

I’m going to keep these things in mind as I move forward this week.

Either way, I’m gonna keep getting back on that horse.


Why I don’t get too upset when the Warriors lose

The Golden State Warriors have been my favorite sports team since around the year 2000.

I distinctly remember this era in Dubs history, because it felt almost like a rebirth for a team that was already on the decline.

Freshly renovated arena, check.

New logo and mascot, check.

All-Star game host, check.

I was also transitioning from childhood to adolescence, so I realized it made a lot more sense to root for the home team than a team with a logo or player I liked (Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, the ’97-’98 Indiana Pacers, etc.).

I was fortunate enough to not only attend most of the festivities that All-Star Weekend in 2000, which included the historic dunk contest with Vince Carter, Tracey McGrady, and Steve Francis, the Jason Williams elbow pass, and the All Star game itself, which was full of future hall-of-famers.

This was a time when the Warriors were consistently out-matched, night after night. They were so bad in fact, that you actually appreciated it a lot more when they were playing well.

It’s almost like when the sun is shining in Ireland: given how much it’s constantly raining, you appreciate the sun just a little bit more.

Fast forward to 2015, when the Warriors were playing for their first championship in 40 years.

There was an ephemeral relief when the Dubs finally won.

The loyal and bandwagon fans alike were elated. All was right in Warriors world.

Only problem is that with this success, came an unwarranted expectation.

Fans all of a sudden made losing an afterthought.

The team goes on to win 73 games in 2016, take a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals, only to eventually lose to LeBron’s undeniable will to win.

To say I wasn’t broken-hearted at first, is an understatement.

But eventually I accepted that anything after that 2015 championship was just a bonus, there was no need to be greedy.

And frankly, it pissed me off that so many of these so-called “fans” were losing their shit about rooting for a team that lost in pretty much the most upsetting way possible.

But this isn’t anything new for a Warriors fan.

We’re used to blowing 20-point leads to the Kobe-led Lakers.

We’re used to passing up franchise players in the draft for the likes of Todd Fuller.

This fan base was built on an appreciation for the small wins. A love for basketball. The excitement and unpredictability of hope.

And unfortunately all of that passion and loyalty got covered up in the midst of the team’s insane success over the last 5 years.

Instead, all Dubs fans are labeled as bandwagon, crybaby fans.

It sucks. We’re not all like this.

After their Game 5 loss last night, my friends figured I would be despondent. But as I already said, at this point everything the team achieves is just a bonus.

They’ve been champions twice in the past three years, and while I would love more championships, I also wouldn’t mind if they came back down to Earth a little bit.

As a Warriors fan, I’m always gonna be rooting for the squad, regardless of how well they’re playing.

Yes, it’s a lot more fun when they win, but it’s still a lot of fun when they lose.

Call me crazy, but when you’re at the top, what else is there for you to achieve?

More championships? Sure.

But isn’t the journey to excellence what’s most exciting?

Maintaining excellence plays second fiddle if you ask me.

It took me almost 32 years to finally set goals

I’ve always kind of internally rolled my eyes at the concept of goal-setting.

I’m not exactly sure why this was the case, but my guess is that I’ve just always assumed that a rough idea of where I want to go is good enough, as long as I’m taking steps toward that abstract “place”.

The problem with this is that while I may be moving closer to these abstract goals, it’s happening at a slow, meandering pace.

Since I have pretty liberal control over how I spend my time, I should be using this to my advantage as a catalyst to getting where I want to go.

But I haven’t really known where I want to go.

I figured knowing where I didn’t want to go was good enough.

And sure, knowing what you don’t want is arguably just as important (if not more important) than knowing what you do want.

When I was fresh out of college, I spent a lot of time uncovering the things I didn’t want.

I didn’t want to be another depressed sardine on the train, commuting two hours to a job I hated, 5 times a week.

I didn’t want to have someone a year older (and arguably, dumber) than me, treating me like a peon.

I didn’t want to have to answer to entitled parents about disciplining their spoiled children.

I didn’t want to learn esoteric software in the trenches of the slow-moving and often, unrewarding world of academia.

My intolerance to doing things I don’t like has been something that has quickly steered me in the right direction. But the “right direction” has always come by accident, since I’ve never really had a concrete roadmap for where I want to go.

So today I’m putting my lack of goal-setting to rest. And what better way to do that than share my goals publicly to an audience that doesn’t exist.

OK, I lied. I’m not quite ready for that because I don’t want to rush or intermingle this project with my daily writing habit.

However, I will get started on putting these goals together today.

Once I have something I’m satisfied with, I will post it here on the interwebs so I’m held accountable by at least myself, and maybe you?

Testing Your Optimal Awake State

I’m trying my best to not turn this into personal journal, since this really holds no value to anybody else who stumbles upon this, but the 6am wake-up I’m aiming for was easy today.

This was ironic in a way, because I went to bed with a somewhat negative and deflated feeling.

I left my actual journal downstairs and couldn’t even be bothered to write in it before bed, as I usually do. I feared I would just unleash more negativity, so I really just wanted to put the day to bed (kinda literally).

I guess when my alarm went off this morning, I was simply motivated to not repeat yesterday.

Of course, I can’t predict what will happen throughout the day, nor how I will feel, but I felt pretty certain that getting my day started early would set a good tone for the rest of the day.

So far, I’m feeling good about it.

I’m writing this post at 8:39am as I type these words, exactly one full hour earlier than yesterday! Makes sense, considering I woke up 1 hour later than I did today.

*Pats self on back*

OK, I promise to shift away from personal-journal mode now.

It has been said that we all have different times of the day where we are in our most focused, optimal state.

Some of us function better in the morning, some of us function better at night. This isn’t a new concept.

But how many of us actually know if we’re better morning people or evening people? It’s easy for one to say they’re not a morning person if they haven’t ever bothered getting out of bed before 7am.

And what the hell makes someone a “morning person” anyways?

I don’t think anyone likes being woken up from a deep slumber. Is enjoying this struggle the pre-requisite to being a morning person?

I would think that you can’t draw a conclusion about when you function at your best until you’ve been awake for at least an hour or two, and tried it more than one day.

In other words, we don’t give mornings a fair chance!

Evening people are presumably awake for many hours before they are doing their best work, morning people are not.

Evening people have likely worked more in the evening than they have in the morning.

So here’s what I think would be helpful in determining one’s optimal working hours:

  1. Spend two weeks working for 2 hours in the morning*
  2. Spend two weeks working for 2 hours in the evening

*give yourself at least an hour to wake up

Since most of us have day jobs, I’m not talking about the kind of work we do every day. I’m talking about “hustle” work. The work we squeeze in during the hours we are tempted to be doing something else (sleeping, netflix and chill, staring at our phones on the couch, etc.).

By giving each time of day its fair share, we can truly prove if we are indeed morning or evening persons.

I’ll do the same and report back.


Why I Want to Wake Up Early

As I type my first words here, it’s 9:39am.

Considering I was out of bed at 7am this morning, this is pretty insane to me. 2 hours and 39 minutes later, and my work day finally begins.

This basically means that my morning routine took 2 hours and 39 minutes.

Sure, there were some atypical events this morning that are not part of my usual routine, but atypical events are pretty much exactly what life is.

The amount of things I want to do in a given day simply can’t be achieved from a late start.

Personally, I’m defining a late start as waking up after 8am.

When I wake up at 8am, my workday may not start until 10am (at the earliest). And by that point I really only have a 2-hour window before it’s time to eat again and start the latter half of the day.

I like to take my time in the morning.

A 2+ hour morning routine may sound absurd to many people, but what if it made us 2x, 5x, or 10x more productive and/or fulfilled for the rest of the day?

Would it be worth it at that point?

6am has been my on-and-off target for many years now, and if I could just get it to stick I’d be a pretty happy camper.

Resisting the urge to get back in bed or hit the snooze button is a battle every single day, so consider this post as a written plea to myself to get up early every day.

OK, maybe not a plea, but a positive reminder that waking up early is worth it to me.

It reminds me of exercising.

For whatever reason, at times it can be really difficult getting your workout clothes on or making the short commute to the gym. But once you start exercising, you start to feel a lot better.

And then when you’re finished exercising, you feel great about yourself. There are zero regrets.

To me, it’s the exact same thing with waking up early.

The moment your alarm goes off, you feel like death. But after splashing some water on your face, brushing your teeth, getting the coffee brewing…you feel better and better.

Yes, I realize many of us then have to commute to a job we might hate, but if we got up a little bit earlier to simply take the extra time for ourselves, wouldn’t the work day be easier?

The alternative of getting a little bit of extra sleep feels nice in the moment, but what does it really do for us in the long run?

Personally, I’d rather get a bit more out of my waking hours than my sleeping hours.

So let’s see how I do this week. 6am for Tuesday to Friday?

We’ll see how it goes…😳

Can Quality Exist Without Quantity?

As I take a crack at this daily blogging thing, I can’t help but wonder if writing every day just for the sake of writing every day is a waste of time?

Undoubtedly, there will be days where I will have nothing of substantial substance to write about.

Today feels like one of those days.

However, this writer’s block had me thinking…does quantity contribute to quality?

In other words, does writing every day (even when some small or large percentage of said writing is garbled nonsense) help one write better over time?

It seems like a well-established mantra that practice makes perfect, yet there still seems to be some hypocrisy in what we actually believe (i.e. quality over quantity).

But can you actually have quality without quantity?

Does quality just naturally come to us out of thin air?

Does overnight success really exist?

Though these may come off as rhetorical questions, I think most of us would agree that the answer is “no”.

So why do we simultaneously expect quality over quantity if we know we can’t have one without the other?

Is it merely a matter of only sharing our best work, while keeping our worst work behind closed doors?

I personally struggle with this question on a daily basis.

Because I want to be prolific and consistent, but I also don’t want my work to simply take up space and waste others’ time.

Maybe it’s simply a matter of writing every day, but only sharing the work I feel is worth sharing. In theory, this would be a way to balance quantity and quality.

The only glaring problem with this approach is that it can close an important feedback loop.

I want people to know that I’m human, and far from perfect.

Putting stuff out there consistently, regardless of quality, keeps me honest with others, but also with myself.

Having the pressure of public critique (even to an audience that may not exist), is great for quality control purposes.

If I know somebody else may be reading this, I’m going to be more careful about dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s.

So I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m not gonna discourage myself from quantity, even if the quality may not be there quite yet.

I think it’s better to just get momentum and consistency before tweaking towards perfect.

I’m using the default wordpress theme at the time of this post’s publication. Who cares? I can address cosmetics later. Right now, I’m more concerned with quantity, because I know quality will eventually follow.

What do you think?

Can You Spend Too Much Time on Yourself?

I’m not really used to life operating at a slow pace.

It seems that the older I get, the faster shit flies from all kinds of different directions.

Thoughts, bills, family, events, etc. I guess this is just part of adulthood.

But as life gets more complicated, do we really get better at managing it?

It seems that most of us are simply concerned with advancing our careers/making more money to somehow combat everything that is coming at us from every direction.

But how much time do we actually spend on developing ourselves outside of work?

And should personal development always come second to professional development?

As a self-employed individual, I’m certainly at an advantage when it comes to making decisions about how much time to allocate to work vs. personal development.

Still, I find that I catch myself being self-critical if I take an hour out of my work day for a walk in the park or a midday Krav Maga class.

But if I really start to think about it, is physical activity ever a bad use of one’s time?

If exercise releases endorphins, doesn’t this carry over to our work when we finally return to it?

Even a simple walk gives us time to think without the incessant distractions that come from the work place.

Work Comes and Goes, But You Are a Constant

As I write this post, I’m technically not “working” on my day job. But my day job is constantly changing, and many of these changes are outside of my control.

I can’t control if a client decides to cut their advertising budget.

I can’t prevent the economy from tanking.

But I can control my personal development, regardless of what’s happening with work. And considering my feelings on a personal level play a big role in my feelings at a professional level, I’m not going to beat myself up if I’m spending a lot of time on myself.

I don’t want to only be remembered for what I did as a professional. It’s more important for me to be remembered for who I was as an individual.

So if you’re taking time to work on yourself at the expense of work, remind yourself that a) the time you spend on yourself is likely helping you more than hurting you at a professional level and b) it’s not worth sacrificing who you are as an individual in order to appease a job or career that can change at any point for reasons outside of your control.

I understand that we all have bills to pay and mouths to feed. I am definitely not exempt from this living in a city with an insane cost of living and in a state where it’s very expensive to be a business owner.

Still, I’m ok with sacrificing income in the short run if I know I will be better off physically and mentally in the long run.

When you’re healthy and in a good state of mind, it’s easier to  solve problems at both a personal and professional level.

What do you think?

It’s OK to Give Up on a Book Written by your Favorite Author

When Ryan Holiday sent out an email announcing the release of his latest book, Conspiracy, I couldn’t hit the “buy” button on Amazon fast enough.

You see, I’m a big fan of Ryan Holiday’s work.

He’s smart. He’s authentic. He’s prolific. Basically, all things that I admire and aspire to be in my own life.

Of course, I don’t know him personally, but my guess is that I would probably enjoy his company based on his work alone.

I was first exposed to Ryan Holiday through his book Trust Me, I’m Lying. This book was ahead of its time in many ways, as it revealed that sometimes bad press can be more effective than good press.

Even more shocking was this notion that a brand could intentionally create bad press to grow its sales (American Apparel is the foundational example in this book).

Holiday then proceeded to write 3 books that had pretty much nothing to do with Trust Me, I’m Lying.

He exposed me to the benefits of stoicism in The Obstacle is the Way, which to this day is still one of my favorite books.

Then he touched on the danger of our egos in another classic, Ego is the Enemy.

Finally, he wrote another excellent book in the marketing genre that really struck a chord with me: Perennial Seller. In this book, he actually talks about a Twitter debate I was partially involved in between he and Derek Halpern, over a quote that said something along the lines of “You should be spending 20% of your time creating and 80% of your time promoting.”

Perennial Seller’s main argument was that not only is this a fallacy, but in order for anything to withstand the tests of time and sell year-after-year, it must have timeless elements of quality.

This isn’t to say that promotion should be ignored, but promoting poor content will always be a losing strategy, especially in the long run.

Anyways, I was expecting yet another classic from Ryan with Conspiracy after writing so many consecutively classic books, but I was thoroughly disappointed.

And that’s what brings me to today’s musings.

I had a really hard time giving up on this book because it was written by one of my favorite authors. But it’s ok to quit on things that just aren’t doing it for you.

Sure, some things are slow-burners that you’d benefit from with just a little bit of patience. But not everything is a winner, and I finally came to accept that this is ok.

I’m sure that there are plenty of people who would still enjoy this book, but I wasn’t one of them.

It was a long, dragged-out story about two celebrities I could really care less about.

Yes, I think the story is important in a lot of ways, but I thought the book could have been condensed significantly. It felt like a chore to read.

So I finally gave up on the book about 2/3 of the way through. Now, I’ll be able to shift my attention to a new book that will provide me more utility.

This seems like a rational approach, no?

Moral of the story: it’s ok to not like everything your heroes say or do. This will not only help you focus on what’s best for you, but hopefully it will also help your heroes adapt to feedback from some of their biggest fans (if they’re even listening).

Write, Write, Write…Right?

I am of the strong opinion that writing is the most powerful catalyst to an individual’s success.


Because good writing is always needed, regardless of the industry it’s being applied to.

Writing is the foundation of pretty much every communication medium. The only exception to this is perhaps in improv, but even improv requires a good amount of reading and writing behind the scenes I’d say.

It’s a personal goal of mine to not only be a great writer, but also a prolific writer.

The former is subjective, but the latter is pretty concrete and definitive.

Because of this, I wanted to put together a public display of my writing to not only hold myself accountable, but also to have my future readers (you?) hold me accountable.

Considering the 4 components of habit-building that I outlined previously, I figured it would be a good idea to practice what I preach to see how I’m applying each of these 4 habit-building components to my writing practice.

My Writing Plan

500 words a day is what I’m aiming for.

This is not only a specific goal, but it’s also both measurable and hopefully,  achievable when considering S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Skin in the Game

Although I don’t have any skin in the game at the moment, I’m considering some negative reinforcement options to discourage me from not meeting my goals.

I’ve heard of services that allow you to donate to charity of your choosing if you don’t meet your goal.

I like this idea, because it’s a “punishment” that can at least be used for good.

Still, I will need to find some way to put skin in the game to develop my regular writing practice.


For now, my feedback will merely be a growing log of quality posts.

Unfortunately, this will largely have to be regulated by own feedback at first. An honest assessment of whether my writing has improved or not over the course of this practice.

At the very least, keeping track of my monthly posts should be plenty of direct, non-subjective feedback for starters.

Time of Day

I’d like this writing practice to occur every day after my meditation practice.

Given my late starts lately, this might be tough to pull off. However, this might give me some good motivation to start regularly waking up at 6am again.

9am seems like a good target here, as it will give me plenty of time to go through a morning routine (which includes meditation) without having to lose work hours.

Personal Writing to Business Writing

My hope is that once I’ve gotten into a writing flow for personal stuff, I’ll be able to transition to business writing for Search and Perch and The Coffee Concierge (my current businesses).

In many ways, the lifeblood of both of these businesses is writing. So it’s important to not only develop a personal writing habit, but to also apply it to my businesses themselves.

How Do You Keep Up With a Regular Writing Practice?

I’d love to hear about your experience developing a regular writing practice. What has worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you?

Leave a comment below!