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2016 Goal Assessment, 2017 Goals, 3 burner theory

January 2nd, 2017 at 01:48 pm

Overall goal assessment for 2016 is that I give myself a C on all fronts. Some progress but not significant progress on all fronts. The biggest achievement of the year was surviving a layoff proactively and landing a new position at a company that is a better fit for me within 3 months. (This is significant, but isn't nearly as good as having great success at my job and passing the CFP exam.)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I did make progress reducing debt and increasing my net worth. My exercise progress was good from January until an injury on March 5, then when I finally went to physical therapy during June and July, I got back on track and am being more consistent again, but I was totally off track for March, April, and May. And while I did get my house presentable enough to have guests over a couple of times (something that I would have been ashamed to do the previous year), I didn't do any real decluttering, as in getting rid of stuff. There's still a bedroom (the master bedroom, in fact) that is just a storage room. I really do want to GET RID OF THINGS this year. I am targeting the spring for this project: late April, May, and June, when the weather and sunshine will motivate me, and the burden of tax season is behind me.

I read a blog post by James Clear, who talks about the "3 burner theory" and work-life balance. The theory is this: We have four burners we try to juggle: work, health, friends, and family. And just as a chef will struggle if they try to cook complex dishes on all four burners at once, so we can't tackle big goals on all four fronts at the same time, or we become less effective. Clear suggests that we tackle 3 or even better just 2 big goals at any one time.

So while I do have a more detailed list of 20 goals, I've just put the big 3 in the sidebar. Work and Health are the big two, with a focus on decluttering selectively in Q2.

Some of the other specifics that I hope to tackle this year are getting a passport (since PA drivers licenses won't be accepted for even domestic air travel after January 2018), getting estate documents in place, and visiting my sister in Los Angeles, who I haven't seen in 3 years now.

I also want to take two B&B weekends, one in the spring and one in the fall, plus go to a conference paid for by work. If they will pay for my CFP exam review, I'll do that in lieu of a conference; if not, there's a conference in Salem MA in July that tops my list but it's a bit expensive, so I have to do more research for alternatives. (Plus the company as a whole does an annual retreat at company headquarters in Richmond VA every November.)

I think of my goals as investments in my human capital. While I really haven't invested signficantly in the interpersonal domain in quite a while, I'm going to delay focusing there for one more year. If I can make significant progress this year on the work and health fronts, then in 2018 and beyond, I'd like to start investing more in the interpersonal domain, something that I've largely neglected since my last romantic relationship ended in 2009. (I also neglected the domain during my 30s as well.) Hopefully I'll assess myself a year from now as being in a place where I can make a change of focus.

5 Responses to “2016 Goal Assessment, 2017 Goals, 3 burner theory”

  1. ThriftoRama Says:

    Probably true about the burners, but alas, what are we supposed to do when life has ALL the burners on like it or not??

  2. Dido Says:

    ThritoRama, I think that what you can do is plan to simmer. Not saying that everything is controllable, but you can plan ahead as to where you are putting your effort (System 2 or controlled thinking, if you have heard of Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow" book, while letting other things work on autopilot (System 1, automatic processing). The point is to get certain behaviors working as a habit or system effectively enough that they don't take effort to do. Like brushing your teeth is something you don't consider effortful, and it's something that's easy to keep going even when you're putting effort into other domains. Build some health habits by putting effort into this domain for a while and getting into a routine, then just try not to let everything slide when life goes crazy on other fronts. Or batch cook a month of freezer meals ahead of time when you know that work is going to be crazy for the next month.

  3. snafu Says:

    I'm puzzled if I read correctly, you have chosen to relinquish the square footage of your M Bdrm to items that are no longer used, no longer needed to await another season. Most of us are quite overtaken by the amount of time and effort it takes to sell used items. Have you reviewed how similar items are valued on various electronic sites? Fact is, sunk funds are not recoverable. No matter how long you retain stored items, the sums spent never come back.

    My nephew has just had a horrid eye opener as he cleared his late mom's condo, getting it ready to sell. Her beautiful, well cared for furniture and accessories had offers of $5. The special, English, famous brand, china place settings selling at $ 94. at better stores today, had no offer what-so-ever.

  4. livingalmostlarge Says:

    I like reading about these goals. Good luck for 2017.

  5. Dido Says:

    Snafu, I'm not expecting any big return on the accumulated clutter. It's the remnants of a 20-year career in academia. I actually will go back and do a little bit of adjunct teaching at one or two of the local colleges in a couple of years--those seeds are already planted with a couple of local college Deans.I used to do a seminar on the psychology of money and happiness that I want to resurrect after my CFP certification is complete. Teaching with actual experience hopefully will help me consolidate ideas into a book I eventually hope to write. Because I will go back to a limited extent to academia, I can't just get rid of things wholesale. Technically the room is the master bedroom, but to me, it was my study. I need more room for books than to sleep! Then during the years where my mom and pets were sick and dying, I stopped going through closets etc regularly and an overlay of "stuff" accumulated that needs to be purged. It's what comes of living in 1200 square feet when 600 or 800 would do! More space than I need but it allowed me to have a basset hound hassle free back in Henry's day and is now much cheaper than I could rent even a one-bedroom apartment for.

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