What do you want to achieve in 2023?
My suggestion for folks making these lists is to focus on holistic goals-- it's tempting to only focus on monetary and career goals, but what about goals to improve your mind? Or your spirit? Or how about to focus on making your body more durable?
I'm going to be thinking about this list from the seven spokes on the wheel of life:
- Friends & Community
I've found that my life is the most full of joy and energy when I'm focused on each of these spokes and when I'm improving in all of them. When I'm stagnant, feeling bored, lazy, or depressed-- I'm often focusing only on one or two.
1. Release two episodes The James Quandahl Show podcast per week
Without lowering the quality of the guest or conversation... This will require me to read a lot more books and stretch myself to go for more yeses. I hate to get ignored or get a no from someone I want to come onto my show. Usually these are people I look up to and respect immensely. I try to look at it as a, "Not right now" instead of a straight up no. But it still stings a bit sometimes.
Because I love the conversations and the wisdom my guests share. If I can produce 100 episodes next year instead of 50 I'll have double the chances to encourage another person and share my guest's valuable wisdom to help the listener (and myself) improve their life.
2. Publish my first book, The Family Dream Meeting
Or something like that.
I've written an idea list about this book before. The whole book is already in my head, I just need to get it down on paper. Lots of has already been written.
I love the idea of featuring one of my past podcast guests at the end of each chapter and the wisdom they shared relating to the idea in that chapter.
Since I'm an unknown author and not an expert... this will provide more credibility to the ideas I'm sharing. The ideas have worked for me. They've worked for my friends that have used the system. And most of them are taken from the books and experts I've had the opportunity to study and have conversations with.
I did a podcast episode about many of the ideas if you can't wait to hear about them: https://quandahl.com/blog/podcast/james-quandahl-shares-how-to-build-the-life-of-your-dreams-with-host-david-wilson
3. Read the entire Bible
I've never done it before... I started a Bible in a year plan, but gave myself permission to take 18 months to complete it. I've read some of my favorite books like Harry Potter multiple times and intimately know the stories and characters. Why do I not have the same passion in the Bible? If I slow down, read it every morning, and try to enjoy the story more I think it will help.
4. Gain 10 pounds (of mostly muscle)
I lift heavy weights every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday @ 7:45AM. I've gained ~10 pounds in the last six months. My body moves better, I look better in the mirror, I can complete basic chores without much effort, and I just feel more confident.
The science for longevity and health span is clear... Lifting heavy stuff is one of the keys to both.
I've never been able to commit to a strength routine, until this year. I would get on a routine for a few weeks and then take a trip, get sick, or become lazy and quit. But I finally feel like it is now part of my routine. I've traveled at least one week per month this year and I've still stuck to my M/W/F routine. That should tell you everything!
In addition to this I'm still taking long walks 3 times per day, playing tennis and other outdoor games, moving every hour, etc.
5. Finish up flight school... And then learn to play the guitar
My instructor may disagree, but I'd say I'm about 95% of the way to getting my private pilot's license.
I've realized my tendency sometimes is to get passionate about a new hobby or interest when I'm "good enough" and then set development in the others aside. I've done this with chess, tennis, and many other areas of my life.
This year I started working on learning the guitar, but then I remembered my tendencies and I set it aside briefly to double down on my flight training. I've come too far and invested over 1,000 hours into this (100 hours of flying 100's of landings, hours of book studying, driving to the airport, etc) to not remain dedicated in this last 5%.
This last 5% will take a month or two, and then the real learning begins.
When I was in middle school and high school I was in choir class and I played the piano. I love to sing. I love to sit around campfires, lounge in the living room, and I can imagine a future where I can strum on the guitar and sing along to my favorite songs.
My friend Ben will sing a devotional song with his family before dinner each night and I'd like to do this too. It is a great way to calm your anxiety before eating. And it encourages you to slow down. There's a lot to be said for eating in a calm state and eating slower. It helps with digestion, it helps you absorb more nutrients, and it helps you enjoy your company more.
6. Grow Craven Street Marketing Group
I didn't always love this business... But this completely changed when it grew just enough to allow my wife to quit her full-time (out of the house) job last fall and begin helping me.
It went from a business I was starting to lose interest in and morphed into a business I love and want to continue to grow.
I've been selective and only work with companies that I believe in, with products that I love and will personally use, and I like working with their team/founders.
This will keep the business smaller than it could be if I said yes to every request that comes in, but it allows me to be passionate about the brands I work with. And when I'm passionate, I'm responsible and committed to doing everything within my power to help them grow.
I want to grow the business to where I can hire one local full-time personal assistant/executive assistant to support this business, my household, and my other businesses.
One thing that is great about growing a service business is how profitable they are. There is not a lot of overhead, so the margins are great-- so if you have expertise in some niche area... And you want to be self-employed, I suggest starting a service business.
7. Continue to be deliberate with building and maintaining friendships
I've been working on this for a few years.
My wife and I have dinner parties at least once per month with local friends.
I started a mastermind group with three men whom I deeply admire and we meet every two weeks on zoom.
And I go out of my way to make at least one or two out of the blue phone catch up calls to friends each week.
It's easy for me to just sit in my office all day and not talk with anyone, so I have to combat this by making being a friend a deliberate practice.
I've also got my chess friends, tennis friends, farmer's market friends, and my friends that podcast-- I do my best to engage in these interests and hobbies with other people. These aren't always the deepest of friendships, but they are still healthy.
With all of this deliberate outreach you'd think my phone would be ringing all the time... right? But that isn't how it works. It used to frustrate me that I'd be working hard to maintain friendships, but it didn't feel like it was being reciprocated. But guess what. It doesn't matter! Everyone's busy. Friendship is not an exchange. If I can initiate great connections and outings with my friends and this gives me energy, then I will keep doing so.
8. Start a product based business
I'd like to reinvest some of the income from my current businesses into buying or building a product business. I understand e-commerce and I understand in person retail. I'd like to have my own brand that I can be investing some of my efforts into.
Service businesses are great... I've started many of them and have been able to replace the income I used to make working for others.
But one downside to service businesses is the scalability. Usually my clients are buying me. I sell them on my expertise, they trust me, they want to work with me. This allows me to sell my services for a good amount of money, but there is only so much of me to go around.
But a product business can scale larger than me. It can grow a life of its own.
I have noticed that many of the clients I work with are personal brands that have created a product. It's going to take some time before my personal brand is large enough for me to launch a meaningful product.
However, maybe there is a way I can do a service & product business in one... Where I work with some of the personal brands that I've created relationships with, whom don't have a product, and help them create a product and launch it. Instead of it being a service fee I'd be a partner in the business and have part of the upside.
9. Take some survival based courses
I'd like to know how to handle myself in tense situations a bit more and learn more about disaster and emergency first aid. I've thought about joining as a volunteer firefighter in my community, but maybe I can take some additional smaller courses first instead. A few years ago I took a FEMA community emergency response team course, and it was a blast. But the skills I learned have atrophied because I haven't used them at all.
I'd also like to continue to improve my wilderness based skills such as fire making, water collection, hunting and foraging, etc. I had my friend Joe on my podcast to chat about this: Quandahl.com/Joseph
10. Continue enjoying my life... and practice a Sabbath on Sunday
Bob Goff talked about quitting Thursdays... The day he sets aside to remove something from his calendar or quit a habit. I'm going to continue to follow in this practice and ask if I should continue doing something. Does this need to be in my life anymore? Should I quit this for a few months and see if I want to continue doing it when the three months is over? Our lives are busy. We have a lot on our calendars that doesn't need to be there. If we quit these things we have space to think, space to figure out what we really want, and time to say yes to what gives us joy.
A recent podcast guest, Jordan Raynor, said on Sunday's his family does what they get to do, not what they have to do. And I love that philosophy. I'm going to adopt this practice in my household. In the past I've been too legalistic about what to do or what not to do on Sundays. And I think his strategy gives you more freedom and an easy filter for deciding what you should be doing.