31 December 2009

New Year's achievements and goals

So it's New Year's Eve already and I'm looking forward to closing the door on 2009 in many, many ways. It's funny, my income took a hit at the beginning of the year and had I been told about it in advance I would have thought it unsurvivable. Survive I did and that loss of income made me smarter, faster and more innovative. 2009 had me reaching into places I never thought I'd get to on my own. What a year! My head still reels from a lot of it. I owe a huge amount of what I accomplished in 2009 to this blog and to all of you who read my rantings. So thank you.

Every year, I take stock of the year we're about to leave and I spend some time setting goals for the year to follow. New Year's resolutions are too vague and unmeasurable so I dispense with them all together in favor of writing down a list of achievable, measurable goals. Before I write down my targets for the new year though, I write down my achievements from the year that's ending. It's always interesting to compare my achievement list to the goal list from the previous year. Interesting to me anyhow.

Telling myself through a resolution that I will make more money in 2010 isn't specific enough, there's no yardstick. I find it a lot more helpful to write down, "I will increase my income by 30%." That leaves me with something to measure and it makes me responsible for my own performance.

Ordinarily, I keep my lists private, but this year I'm going to share some highlights from it to keep me accountable. Indulge me:

2009 Achievements

  • I survived the longest dry spell in my career.
  • I flew to Google for a meeting with the SketchUp team.
  • I increased my blog readership by over 1000% (I checked that math repeatedly and I still can't wrap my head around it).
  • I won a cooking contest in the test kitchens of GE Monogram.
  • I sat in the front row of a major runway show at Fashion Week in New York.
  • I interviewed Sarah Susanka.
  • I interviewed Sara Baldwin.
  • I took on my first virtual design clients.
  • I had paid and unpaid writing gigs show up all over the internet.
  • I did the best design work of my career.
  • I held my first great niece.

2010 Goals

  • I will increase my income by 30%.
  • I will double my web traffic by the end of the year.
  • I will go back to Rome in June.
  • I will go to the gym and lift weights for 45 minutes twice a week, every week.
  • I will end the year at the same weight I am right now.
  • I will write three feature stories for print publications.
  • I will formalize a fee schedule and business plan for my social media consultations by February.
  • I will re-tool and re-launch Kitchen and Residential Design by May.
  • I will pay cash for everything.
  • I will pay off the last of my consumer debt by December '10.

And that my friends are the highlights from my list. What about you guys? Anybody else want to list some goals and be accountable here?


  1. Now you've got me thinking. I never did a yearly goal list and retrospective. We've been in such a state of flux until now that I never knew what was around the corner and mapping out career goals was just not an option. Maybe I'll think about this today and write something up.

  2. Looks awesome, Paul! It's been awesome getting to know you through your writing this year.

    Hope 2010 treats you well!

  3. I find my lists to be really useful, they help me focus and by listing my accomplishments first the whole process seems less like a penance. I like to revisit my goals from time to time to see how my priorities shift during the year and to correct my course if I have to. Have fun with it, really.

  4. Right back at you Nick. Were it not for Twitter, our paths never would have crossed and I'm glad they did.

  5. I so agree regarding 'resolutions.' I always want to suck them right back in almost as soon as they've escaped my lips.... then like most other people I just forget about them because they are as intangible as the air they evaporate in. Writing down and making a list of goals adds some permanence to them and makes one more thoughtful and realistic --even if the deeds and goals are not seen by anyone but yourself. Like Melissa Galt posted on Twitter (pitching her book actually): "Ditch the IF and go for WHEN, definiteness is a clear step to success." (Is 'definiteness' really a word?) Regardless, writing it down gives clear definition to goals giving them a life of their own and a sense that they can be accomplished.

    I too am happy to have connected with you through Twitter. A year ago, I didn't even know what Twitter was! Now, thanks to folks like you, I'm up to my neck in social media... and loving every minute of it! Looking back over the year's social networking highlights, I remember our awesome conference call with Sears, introduction to the world of Google (Sketchup,Chrome,Voice and Wave), connection with other kitchen and bath pros across the country, and introduction to the world of blogging by one I consider a master and mentor. (Yes you are!) All thanks to you! Have a great 2010 Paul and I wish you success on achieving your goals.

  6. Awww Pam, thanks! If it's any consolation, I didn't know what Twitter was a year ago either. For that matter, two years ago I didn't know what a blog was.

    Happy new year Pam and here's to the ardent hope that 2010 brings you unprecedented success and happiness.

  7. OK Paul, I am going to try not to take it personally that our delightful interview was not mentioned in your 2009 accomplishments. You are to be forgiven because of your wicked recipes, insatiable curiosity and profound support of my work, which I appreciate immensely. Here's to a brand new year!

  8. JoAnn, this was the abbreviated list. Believe me, you're on the list I have tacked to my bathroom mirror. Thank you Nancie for introducing us, our correspondence and conversations were a real high light in 2009 and I'm looking forward to plenty more of them in 2010. Come to Rome in June!

  9. I'm working on a similar post -- although my accomplishments are nowhere near as impressive as yours!! It looks like we share a few goals for 2010. You'll have to read my post in a few days to see what I plan to accomplish next year :-)

    HAPPY 2010!!


  10. Paul,
    Congrats on all that you've accomplished in the past year! I'm holding my major accomplishment - Sophia Bramlett Reese was born Nov 24. As one of the many people who began reading your blog this year, may I say you've done a fantastic job. Yours is the first design blog I turn to each day - and there are a LOT of good design blogs out there! I like your writing style and your scientific bent. I always learn something new on your site, and it's not always about design, but it's always fascinating. Thanks again for a great year!

  11. Paul, congratulations on your 2009 achievements.

    I have never made up a List of Goals but do admire those who do and accomplish them. For myself, I suppose I have a very strong faith in 'destiny' thus have never bothered to do so. Has worked so far! (Hope that makes sense to you.)

  12. Kelly: I can't wait to see what you have on your plate next. Wait a minute, is that kitchen reno finished yet?

    Leigh: Whatever I managed to pull off in 2009 pales in comparison to the arrival of your Sophia. Thanks so much for the compliments and thanks for reading my work.

    Brenda: Whatever method you use seems to be working and you'll always be OK in my book.

  13. I have never thought to write down achievements of the past year before writing down goals for the next year. My husband and I have a date night tonight in which we will write our goals for next year. We don't do it this intentionally every year (and not always on new year's) because some years are just about "getting through," if you will. Now we're moving out of the reactive state, and into the proactive, intentional living state. I will suggest to him writing down accomplishments first, and I think he will like that a lot.

    And as for your blog, it blows my mind that you did not know what a blog was two years ago! I have been blogging since 2005. I decided to catchup on my blogs today and it was too overwhelming. Yours is the only one that I did not "mark all as read." :)

  14. Thanks Rachele. I started listing my achievements first a couple of years ago. It helps me take an accurate stock of the previous year, it shows me where any how my priorities changed over time and it makes the exercise of goal setting feel less like self-flagellation. I tend to think of rewarding myself as self-indulgence, but it's not. There's a balance between self-congratulation and self-indulgence and at this point I think I'm come pretty close to that balance.

    I'm not kidding when I say I knew nothing about blogging or web 2.0 at all two years ago. Two Christmases ago, I had a conversation with my friend JD about it. I'd read something about branding yourself through a blog just before that and I had to ask him for some advice on how to get started. I found Blogger a couple of weeks later and just jumped in. I kept my posts private for about three months and was more self-conscious than you can imagine that first week that I made them public.

    I look back at my early posts now and laugh over how clueless they are. There's no voice, no direction, no real story. They would take HOURS to write and I would agonize over every sentence. It's hilarious, really.

    As always Rachele, thanks for your kind words. Connections I make with people like you are what keep me doing this.

  15. I'm on your bathroom mirror? Still? Wow, now that is an honor. Thank you Paul. Rome is too hot for me in June. Venice in October?

  16. JoAnn, you were instrumental in waking up my inner dragon. Thank you for your cheerful correspondence and incredible referrals.


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