Goal Setting for Fun and Profit

It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less StuffBecause what’s more interesting? A simple New Year’s Resolution, or a way to convince yourself you’ve earned that extra month of World of Warcraft? That’s right, folks. I don’t just set yearly goals–I break those goals down into monthly or daily sized pieces, and then I attach monetary figures to those pieces. It works for me, whether from OCD tendencies or just pure unabashed greed. But if it gets me to floss daily, how is it a bad thing? Allow me to go over my goals for this year.

  • Write at least one book, preferably two. This is in addition to revising Vodnik for publication (which I’m still hoping to start doing any day now–more info on that when available.) How will I do this? I’m going to write not just 500 words a day, but 1000. I used to do 1000 when I was in grad school, but once I moved to Maine and got a full time job, it seemed like too much. I was trying to figure out how to own a house and take care of it, how to juggle my work duties, how to be a father to two children and still be a successful husband–something had to slim down, and since my writing wasn’t paying any bills, that was that. However, now that my writing IS paying some bills, I’d like for it to start paying more of them, thank you very much. So I’m back to 1000 words a day. (This is actual writing words–I don’t count Facebook, blogs, Twitter, or any other random writing. Fiction or bust.) Remembering my pace back in the day, I think this will get me to two books finished fairly easily. I do it six days a week, so that’s 312,000 words a day. Figuring that my books typically clock in around 85,000-100,000 words, that leaves me with time to revise some, plot some–all that good stuff. I haven’t finished a brand new book in a while. I want to fix that this year. (Currently working on a new YA, and I just crossed the 11,000 word mark this morning. Going at a pretty good clip, and feeling great.) My reward for this goal? I get five whole dollars at the end of each month where I completely accomplish it. 5 bucks, baby. Sweet! Oh yeah–you might wonder how I’ll find time to reach this goal. Easy–sleep less. That’s right. I’m just waking up earlier. The key will be going to bed earlier. Who knows if that will work.
  • Lose weight–That’s right. Sad as I am to admit it, my dieting days didn’t last like I wanted them to. It turns out that when faced with an almost limitless supply of egg nog and fudge, I gain weight. So now it’s time to lose that weight. I’m looking at 180 as a goal this time, which would mean I have to lose approximately 33.2 pounds (you do the math). My goal was 190 last time, which was a loss of 38 pounds. I’ll do this by exercising some (I’d say “more,” but that would imply I’d been exercising at all to begin with. When I say “some,” I mean play Wii Fit and thus feel like I’ve exercised. Maybe take a walk now and then, too. Hey–it’s better than nothing.) Hopefully when I hit 180, the bounce back up will take me to 190, at which point I’ll settle in and begin part 2 of my master plan (Part 2: Don’t Eat so Much Fudge and Egg Nog). If I exercise some each day and count my calories like a miser, I get to earn four dollars.
  • Teach piano to Denisa and TRC. They both want to learn how to play. We debated paying for actual lessons for TRC, but that would clock in at around $50/month. I’m too cheap to spring for that when I (perhaps foolishly) think I could just teach him myself. In an effort to actually give this a good shot at succeeding, I’m devoting up to $50/month to reaching this goal. (My theory is that I’d rather have the $50 be spent on fun activities than have it go to a piano teacher.) So 15 minutes/day, five days/week. I can earn $15 doing this. (My biggest incentive yet–but this is a goal that’s proven really hard for me to stick to. Harder even than weight loss. Go figure.)
  • Read something churchy for 15 minutes each day–As a Mormon, I’m supposed to read the scriptures some each day. That’s the goal. I do a terrible job at this. I read, but not daily. This goal will hopefully fix this. I can get 2 bucks for doing this each month.
  • Write a journal entry each day–I still keep a journal. When I take a minute to think about it, I’m not entirely sure why I do. I mean, my journal entries are pretty short: “Went to church. Watched ______. Played _______. TRC did ______. Rinse and repeat. But sometimes I have thoughts I don’t feel like sharing with the world at large, so I keep the daily journal going to make sure I write them down when I do have them. (If I don’t write daily, then I don’t end up writing on the days when I really wish I had–make sense?) I get a dollar for doing this.
  • Floss and rinse every day–Without tracking this goal, my flossing goes the way of the dodo faster than you can say “extinct.” With tracking it, my flossing is flawless. Since my dentist assures me flossing will lead to me losing fewer teeth, and since I don’t want to lose teeth, this is a no-brainer goal. It also earns me a whole dollar.
So there you have it. My goals. I’ll reassess at the end of each month to see how things are going. I also have family goals (like eating vegetables each day, decluttering my house every day (which is where I took the picture for this post–it’s my favorite decluttering How-To book ever–highly recommended if you want to slim down all the junk you’ve got lying around your house), work on the house an hour a day (as a family, on average, total time) and read a bit from the Book of Mormon each day as a family. There are money rewards for those, too.
I have all of this (and goals for Denisa and TRC) stuck on my fridge in grid format, with boxes for each goal for each day of the month. Yes, I am strange. But like I said–this works for me. For a grand total of $28/month, I bribe myself to lose weight, do my writing, floss, read scriptures, teach my family the piano, and write a journal. I pay $45/month for internet alone.
In my opinion, $28/month is a steal.
How about you–what goals do you have? How do you motivate yourself to reach them? Do share . . . 
(For goal posts from years past, check out herehere and here–take a walk down memory lane with me. Surprising to see how some things just don’t change . . .  The good news is that looking at those goals, I reached almost all of them. The Bryce Goal Setting Method for Fun and Profit works!)

2 Comments

  • By Hilary, January 3, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

    Oooo, I need the flossing one. Too bad mine are already made. Maybe next year…
    And I have 32 pounds to lose til’ I’m 132…
    Do you think it will take you all year?

  • By Bryce's Ramblings, January 3, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    It’ll take as long as it takes, although once I get there, I’ll switch into maintenance mode on the goal thing. The idea is to not have to have another big weight loss goal next year. :-) I’m betting it’ll take about eight months or so. We’ll see . . .

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