Twenty-one goals for 2021

Let’s start by saying that 2020 didn’t really go the way I wanted. The list of people that can’t say that is probably very short. But as we get ready to turn the page on 2020, I’ve been taking some time to think about how to make 2021 go how I want.

Creating some yearly goals has been something that I’ve historically not been interested in doing. It always seemed too noisy both in the timing and the lack of follow up. But 2020 has changed a few things.

This year made it easy to lose focus and one of my key takeaways from the year is a reinforcement of the quote “what gets measured, gets managed” from Tim Ferriss. So in order to get some things back on track in 2021, I need to create more measurable habits and activities.

Now for the lack of follow up. I’ve seen too many of these lists that get published and then never heard from again. I’m not sure if that’s because they weren’t updated, I wasn’t paying attention, or some combination of both. But this year I drew some inspiration from Simon Sarris with his 2020 goals. The format, ease of updates, and how they were shared resonated. I hope to use some of this to keep up with my 2021 goals, so thanks for the inspiration.

Now for my goals for 2021, which focus on three main categories and are ordered by category and without thought to importance:

Health and Wellness

Headline Goal: Get better Sleep

Everything is easier after a good night’s sleep. I’ve never had a good routine for sleep and this year hasn’t made that easier. 2021 is the time to fix that and here is what I’m measuring to do so:

1: Limit alcohol consumption to Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sundays

I’ll track this with the Whoop app and compile the results into weekly and monthly reviews in my Roam Research database. I’ll publish updates here monthly.

2: Create a follow evening routine everyday

Stick to a consistent bedtime, limit blue light an hour before bedtime, and read fiction or something that won’t keep my up thinking. I’ll track this with daily review which will get compiled into weekly and monthly reviews in my Roam Research database. I’ll publish updates here monthly.

3:: Track sleep quality with Whoop

I did some research on best tools to track sleep quality and it seems like the consensus (at least for my purposes) is Whoop. My band is in the mail as I write this so I’ll update below once I get the first few nights of data with more details on how I’m going to track and update.

The real goal will be to use that data to enable experimentation and adjustments to my evening routine or other habits to optimize sleep.

Misc. Health and Wellness

4: Create and follow morning routine

I’ve generally been able to stick to morning routines in the past; but this year has thrown that for a bit of a loop. A good morning routine starts with a good night’s sleep and I didn’t get a whole lot of those in 2020 so it made it easy to break the habit.

Here are the morning habits to reengage for 2021: consistently wake up at the same time each day without an alarm clock; hydrate – have a glass of water or glass of water with lime juice and Pink Himalayan salt; make coffee; avoid phone for at least first two hours after waking up; exercise, stretch, or walk during those first two hours; use the rest of the two hour time without phone to read.

I’ll track this with daily review which will get compiled into weekly and monthly reviews in my Roam Research database. I’ll publish updates here monthly.

Choose more Alive Time


I’ve read this article a few times now and it’s definitely stuck after this year. It’s easy to say and was easy to choose a lot of dead time this year. I want to choose more alive time in 2021 and here are some things I’m measuring to make sure I do:

Fill downtime with learning

5: Read every day

Make reading part of morning and evening routines and track via daily, weekly, monthly reviews. I’ll share those recaps of what I’ve read here as well as the monthly updates on tracking.

6: Practice Italian language

Keep a full year streak on Duolingo. Easy, right. Follow my streak and learn with me.

7: Guitar

Learn scales for blues. Learn scales for jazz. Learn picking patterns for bluegrass. Pick one a week to learn and practice. Will think of a way to share progress on this, but this one might be kept just for me.

8: Python for computer science

Complete Treehouse courses on topics needed for projects (more on those later). Follow my progress here or learn with me.

9: Put up each day for review

Create daily review journal and complete just before evening routine. I’ll do this in Roam Research via template. I have an outline for the template but once I get through a week or two of this practice I’ll share that. I want to wait until it gets locked in before sharing.

Build, Create, and Share More

11: Plan weekly projects to better home

Fingers crossed that I’ll be closing on a new home in very early 2021. With that there will be plenty of projects to make that feel more like home and improve the property. I’ll be interested in projects for garden(s), outdoor kitchen, and other ways to transform the outdoor spaces on the property. Once these get going I’ll update this with how to follow along.

12: Create and release one new entrepreneurial project each quarter

I’ve always enjoyed turning my hobbies into side hustles and/or finding side hustles that I can turn into hobbies. Definitely let that slip a bit during the past year and I want to get that back as I look to the future. I’ll link the projects here when they get released.

Embrace Digital and Remote Work

13: Inbox Zero

I let me inbox become my to-do list this year after years of following inbox zero type rules. It’s been a disastrous habit for my productivity and for achieving a lot of my work goals. Time to get back to those habits, listed here: Batch process email at scheduled times; reply to all emails before you end work day each day; Respond to emails that require a to-do with when you’ve scheduled that work for yourself; stick to that schedule (and communicate slippage if you must).

I’ll track with the daily review and post updates monthly.

14: Create more focused work time

Working from home doesn’t necessarily have less distractions, it just has different distractions. For me, at least this year, that has been more challenging to deal with the work from home distractions more so than I ever had with the distractions in offices. One thing that has helped is to scheduling and limiting time available a task. So this year each task or to-do on my list will get schedule and time capped in my calendar.

I don’t really know how to keep track of this, so if anyone has any suggestions I’m open to them. I generally keep my to-dos in Roam Research and use Google calendar to limit time. This may become a project at some point this year.

15: Write monthly Business Plans for my work

Another goal for a work from home first world. This should recap past month work and successes, set targets for work in coming month, and be shared with key stakeholders. I won’t be able to share most of these, but maybe far in the future I can. I will make a note of completion in monthly updates to track progress.

Build digital networks to replace in-person events

I moved to New York City after grad school because it had the most opportunity and the most energy. That can’t be said for NYC in 2020 and won’t be true in 2021 either. All of that opportunity is available digitally, but requires a shift in behavior to take advantage of it. Here are some measurable goals to take advantage:

16: Make and compile notes on books, articles, etc consumed

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. Any books, articles, movies, TV etc. should get notes into the Roam Research database via template. These notes can get shared via appropriate medium (Twitter, blog, etc.).

I’ll update here with the Roam Research templates I use and some compilations of these notes as I go along.

17: Stop only consuming social media

I definitely employ Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc. as the bored crutch. Anytime I have a break in the day it’s easy to open one of those apps and scroll a bit. It’s a bad habit, but social media is definitely a place of opportunity is used correctly. So to make this feel like less of a bad habit, in 2021 each time I open one of these apps I’m going engage in the conversations or make a post. A measurable outcome on this switch is increasing following to over 1,000 on each platform. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit to help me reach the goal and make sure I’m joining in.

18: Keep personal CRM up-to-date in Roam Research

One of the things I miss most about NYC is how even in that big of a town you would consistently have random encounters with friends, colleagues, or other folks along the way. Serendipity. That sort of thing needs to be created in the digital space and for that reason I think personal CRMs will become more en vogue. Here are some things I’ll be doing and tracking to make that a reality for me: Update and track communication with contacts; make sure to connect with friends every two weeks or more; make sure to connect with people I want to work with more every month or more; make sure to connect with work contacts every quarter or more.

Like other things on this list I’ll update here with my templates and how I’m using, tracking, and scheduling everything. More soon!

Better utilize existing platforms

19: Twitch

I love playing video games and doing so is a primary way that I keep in touch with my friends consistently. One of the ways I’ve rationalized what most consider unproductive time was to create content while doing so and going live on Twitch is one of the ways I’ve created content in the past. It was definitely something that I didn’t keep up with this year and missed out on spending time with friends I’ve made along the way on the platform. This year I want to follow consistent Tues / Thurs / Saturday schedule weekly. I’ll post the timing once I get settled into the habit. Follow me on Twitch if you want to follow along.

20: Youtube

I’ve done a little on Youtube already, but I’m definitely not taking full advantage of the platform. Here are some things I’ll create videos for in 2021 with the goal of surpassing 1,000 subscribers on both of my channels. I’ll link the channels when the first videos go up.

Cards / Collectibles: Create and post videos for any openings; create and post videos for collection, investment, and sales updates for each type.

Video Games: Create and post Let’s Play for any single player games; create and post weekly highlights from Twitch streams

Garden Updates: Create and post monthly update garden walk through videos; create and post videos for new plantings; create and post videos for new projects

Cooking: Create and post how to videos for any finished recipe

21: Blog

You’re here, so this is a good start. Though the blog for me is really for me to keep a better record of the things that are important to me. Making those sorts of things public makes me spend more time and increases the quality. So I’ll be posting more recipes, garden notes, business / product updates, and more in 2021. If I can post 100 different things here this year, I’ll consider that a success.

That’s the end of the list. A long list of 21 things to accomplish this year. If you’ve read this far, thank you and check back soon for updates.