28 November 2007

Where to Go from Here

Last week, I spent a couple of days north of G-Vegas to define the path I should take over the next year, as well as the long-term plan for the next five years. Let me describe the process I went through as it may be helpful to you, as well as provide my current draft of goals.

Data Collection

I pulled together different data that I needed during the process, including Net Worth, Income, Spending Summary, Savings, etc. I'd already done a good bit of this previously, which made this fairly easy. If you haven't done this previously, I would recommend having this data for the last three (3) years.



For each of these categories, I completed the following: Current State, One Year Goal, One Year Stretch Goal, December Actions/Goal, Five Year Goal, Five Year Stretch Goal. Next, I would brainstorm specific goals or key measures (metrics). Some things are easy to measure, while others have been more of a struggle. The main area I've spent time on (still incomplete) is Career. I'll walk through what I've done in the other areas first (listing the metrics I developed after each category).

Faith Bible (mins/wk), Prayer (mins/wk), Service (mins/wk), Study/Discipleship (mins/wk), Tithe ($/yr). Current state for Bible and Prayer I had as 0. That may be too harsh, but I really don't spend time reading the Bible or in prayer outside of church. Service currently is 15 mins/wk as I sub in the Kids (under five) area during one of the church services. Study/Discipleship is something I've avoided. I am not involved in our church's Discipleship groups. I haven't been able to find a small group that is a safe haven and open to discussion (rather than simply reviewing the fairly conservative teachings of our church in these groups). Let me be clear that this is about 95% my fault as I've worked hard to find reasons not to invest in a small group. Tithing is something my wife and I have always done, so this hasn't really been an issue for us. I then drafted goals for each of these metrics, which would require specific actions on my part. Service (with a goal of 60 mins/wk and a stretch goal of 180 mins/wk) would require me to find something to be involved in, either at our church and/or outside of church. Having December goals also creates more immediacy rather than simply planning to plan.

Financial This is an interesting one. It is connected to the Career section obviously, but it also has to do with the discipline in our lives as well as an overall barometer of our life health. We are extremely fortunate that we are in very good shape financially. We have been very rigorous with avoiding debt. We don't carry any credit card debt nor any car loans. We work hard to avoid the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality. We paid cash for our cars and have kept them, with a 1998 Grand Caravan minivan and a 2000 Lexus ES. It is our responsibility to live a joyful, fulfilled life that is not defined by the lifestyle we choose to create from our funds. Too many people allow their lifestyle to both define them and consume them. Metrics that I developed goals for include Net Worth, Income, Retirement Funds, Savings, and College Fund.

Physical This is an area of significant struggle for me. My knee seems to have recovered, which eliminates one of the main excuses I've had to stay out of shape. Metrics here include Weight, Cardio (mins/wk), Lifting (pounds/wk), Tennis (mins/wk), and Stretching (mins/wk). We're not members of a gym or fitness club, so all of this will require things around the house (including bar bells for lifting). I included tennis as I think this will be an accelerator for me, meaning if I can start playing tennis again, it will drive my overall fitness. This will be a tough one for me as it will require a major life shift. I'm conservatively optimistic about my December goals (40 mins/wk Cardio and Stretching, 30 mins/wk tennis, starting to lift). We'll see.

Fatherhood Here I set weekly time with each of my three sons individually. Most of the time, we are running errands, so spending specific time with one of them is something easy to overlook. Prayer breakfast is also something I put here as both of our older boys really enjoy this.

Personal This was one of the more interesting areas as I think I have a really good start. The three metrics I have here are Soccer (mins/wk), Reduction of Internet (mins/wk), and Rounds of Golf/month. Soccer coaching is something that really keeps me healthy, something I really enjoy. I want to add to this and hope to do that. Reduction of Internet is pretty powerful to actually put down. I put that my current state for Internet Usage is 1500 mins/wk. I have no idea if that is accurate, but it probably is. My goal for 2008 is to get to 600 mins/wk with a stretch target of 300 mins/wk. Rounds of Golf is a shifting of personal time for me, and increasing this I think will restore a healthy hobby to me.

Marriage This was one of the tougher ones to try and define. I had Quality Time in mins/wk as one metric. When I shared the work I had done with my wife, she had some interesting insight. She told me that watching television together is important vs. me in the basement at night on the internet or playing poker while she is up in our room. It sounds fairly simple, but I understand the importance of it. I'm continuing to cook on Wednesday evenings as well as working with the boys to cook on Sunday evenings.

Travel This was an interesting one as well. One of the things my wife and I did earlier in our marriage was to identify places we wanted to travel. We've knocked off many from the list, including Hawaii, Paris, Italy, and Maine. I've gone all over the world, but my non-business travel hasn't been as good. My wife and the boys often go to the mountains north of G-Vegas to visit her parents, and they also made a trip to Memphis while I was at the WSOP this summer. My own non-business travel totaled 24 days (or will including December trips): Memphis (5), Mountains (12), Sweetie/CC Trip (4), Personal (8). The days with my wife have been two Atlanta weekends, which were really one night in a local hotel (albeit a super nice one). We haven't had a real vacation, nor have we taken a family vacation excluding family this year (last year, we went to London for Thanksgiving). My goals this year include 10 days in Memphis with my family, 4 days to visit my brother and his family in Waco, 15 days in the Mountains (G-Vegas), 6 days for a family vacation, 5 days with my wife, and 4 days for personal travel. It is exciting to have a goal to have a vacation for the two of us, as well as a family vacation and time with our families.

I'll add to this later, as well as tomorrow get into the toughest area that I'm working on: Career.


Blogger smokkee said...

this is very interesting for me to see you map out. i'm terrible at setting long-term personal goals.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Standing Around Breathing said...

I am especially interested to see what goals you put down for spiritual, as this is what initially brought me to your original blog.

5:34 PM  
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