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2013: Year In Review

Every year – after the holidays are over, and we’ve all recovered from the food and the nostalgia and whatever it is that makes this time of year so great and horrible at the same time – I undertake the same ritual. It’s come to mean a great deal to me, and to play, I think, a big part in how motivated and driven I’ve been these part few years.

The ritual is a simple one: Write down my goals for the upcoming year, and review my goals from the year before.

Simple. But this process has come to mean so much to me – most of the time, I won’t even remember what’s happened this year, and going over what’s gotten done (and what hasn’t) reminds me that I actually accomplish a great deal in 12 months, most of the time. It also helps to focus me on what didn’t work, and what still needs to happen – powerful subconscious drivers, even when I’m not actively moving towards anything in particular.

Anyway. I like it.

Enough talk. Let’s take a look at how I did on accomplishing the goals I set for myself in the beginning of 2013:

Goals for 2013 (and How I did)

1. Go full-time self employed.


Fuck, yes. I am full-time self employed, and it’s been amazing. And terrifying. And fun, and challenging. And fucking terrifying.

This was a huge one, and I’m glad it happened. Now I need to make it stick.

2. Write something significant.


I don’t know if it counts as significant, but this was the year that I finally published a book (“Break Free of Your Rut,” a collection of short self-help essays I wrote a while back). Published on my birthday.

I didn’t make much money or anything, but I’ve had a lot of extremely positive and gratifying comments, and I consider the whole thing a success. I have another book in me, for sure, and this was a great test-run into the whole self-publishing thing.

3. Move into a proper office.


I was actually set to accomplish this – my plans to move were literally scuttled the morning I went in to move my things and sign the final lease, due to a pretty drastic misunderstanding by the realtor – but it no longer looks feasible.

I don’t know whether I even want to do this anymore. It remains a huge goal of mine – but then, it would also be a considerable expense, at a time where every expense makes my living situation a bit less comfortable, a bit more tenuous.

So. I was gonna! But I didn’t. And there it is.

4. Buy a new computer.

Done. Typing on it right now, actually, and it is amazing. Since I spend most of the day on my computer, getting a new one is not unlike moving in a new house. It all feels new, roomy, and grand.

5. Release two new albums.


This didn’t happen, unfortunately.

The new HANL record was slated for 2013, but for various reasons was pushed back to 2014. Too bad for my goal-achievement percentage, but better for the record overall.
I wanted to get Black Wing record this year as well, but that just didn’t happen. On that one, I have no one to blame for myself. I am still working on it, slowly but surely, however.

BUT. The Giles Corey Hinterkaifeck EP was released in February, and the MARRIED EP came out this month.

If I’m being honest, I don’t think these count as being exactly of the scope I had planned, but they are albums that were released this year.

I’d give myself half-credit here.

6. Weight down to 180 for three consecutive months.


I’ve been at 180 or below since the summer. It feels awesome. This was a big one for me, and one I’d struggled with for several years. I’d like to be a bit more lean, but the difference is very noticeable and I’m not going back.

7. Publish a book on Amazon.


Since this is a duplicate of the earlier goal, let’s disregard this one for now.

8. Improve hygiene.

Once a week:
– Shave
– Clip toe/finger nails

Every day:
– Floss (min. of 1x, preferred average of 2x)
– Brush teeth 2x
– Gargle with mouthwash


I did, in fact, pick up the habit of flossing this year, and made a big attempt to be better-groomed. Unfortunately, it lasted me about half the year, and trailed off towards winter. Now, I’m better about my nails and beard, but am no longer flossing.

While this probably won’t be a big goal this year, I do want to get back into the swing of things, flossing-wise. Now I know how to do it.

9. Improve my systems for dealing with emails, to-do items, and mail.


I did this early on in the year, and it’s been a huge time-saver. The process of automating and streamlining the systems I use for managing my business and life is always changing and evolving, and it’s something I’ll never really stop working on.

Still, I made huge strides this year and it was a life-saver.

10. Income goal: Stay The Same


My big goal this year, income-wise, was to not lose money when I quit my part-time job.

Instead, I more than doubled my income, a HUGE gain and HUGE confidence-booster. While I still don’t feel fully secure (I wasn’t making much money before, after all), I no longer worry day-to-day about money. That’s been the single biggest change in my life from last year to this. It took a lot of work to get here, but I can’t even express how grateful I am that I was able to make this happen.

Total Score for 2013: 6/10

Not a great score on the face of it, but I got at least partial credit on the majority of my goals, and scored a few absolutely huge wins this year. Add that on to my marriage to Thao, which has been amazing, and I’d argue that 2013 was probably one of (if not the) best years of my life.

In my next post, we’ll set up our goals for 2014.

For fun, I’ll also run down my incidental goals for 2013:

1. Create my own language. FAILED
2. Learn how to write Tolkien’s runes from The Hobbit. ACCOMPLISHED
3. Move all regular bills onto a credit card, which I pay off every month, to simplify bill paying and build credit. FAILED
4. Do push ups every day. FAILED
5. Make iced green tea and drink it a lot (it’s good for you). ACCOMPLISHED
6. Buy some better-fitting t-shirts. ACCOMPLISHED
7. Get a complete physical exam for the first time in almost 5 years. ACCOMPLISHED
8. Do 23 and Me, because it’s awesome (https://www.23andme.com/) FAILED
9. Take a pretty ambitious project I have in mind and put it on Kickstarter. FAILED
10. Make a daily inspiration board to look at first thing each morning. ACCOMPLISHED
11. Get a better backpack. (done) ACCOMPLISHED
12. Make cool historical prints and sell them. FAILED
13. Get a better router (done) ACCOMPLISHED
14. Fund an “emergency account” with 3000$ for surprise expenses. FAILED
15. Make a point to cook with all the food languishing in the freezer. ACCOMPLISHED
16. Pay off my credit cards (done) ACCOMPLISHED
17. Stop mingling all my business accounts; streamline bank accounts. FAILED
18. Install the new version of Logic. ACCOMPLISHED
19. Make iced coffee with coffee iced cubes (done) ACCOMPLISHED
20. Make a habit of dealing with all bills/mail/etc on a specific day (Sunday) FAILED