Nearing the Finish Line

“Hey, Dan? Calm it with the sports references.” I know, this is my third sports-referenced blog post title in the past few months, so I guess you could say I’m one overtly-masculine grunt away from being a full-blown athlete. But let’s save the conversation about my transition into a sports icon for another day so we can get on to the actual matters at hand.

It has been quite a year, and since next week is going to entail me running the most significant event I plan all year, I’ve decided to let this post be the one that wraps up this year’s goals in detail.

Develop a workout routine that fits my style|Since setting this goal, I have attempted many variations of a workout routine to find one that fits my lifestyle. As I sit here writing this, I recognize that I have not done much to work out in the past month; however, I can honestly say that I set a foundation this summer for a workout routine that truly works with my life.

This practice involves me walking down the two flights of stairs to the gym in the basement of my apartment complex and going for a simple run. Anyone who has read my blog since the beginning will know that running used to play a key role in my life before I injured my knee, so being able to get back into the habit this year has been immensely life-giving. It’s still not as consistent as I’d like it to be, but hey, it certainly fits my busy lifestyle.

Double my blog readership|It happened! I have seen a follower increase of 52% since I started this year’s set of goals. I credit much of this to the simple fact that I posted more often which meant that there was more content for people to read/share. Oh, and the Buzzfeed story I was featured in (have I beaten you over the head with this fact yet?) becoming a trending article again drove a number of new people to the blog.

Go without dessert for 180 days|Do you know about my love (obsession) of dessert? If not, spend an hour with me near an ice cream shop, and you’ll quickly realize how much I tend to go crazy with sweets. Knowing this, I made it a goal to go without dessert for 180 days. (10:45 p.m. on October 4 will mark the 180th day).

I have tried many techniques to control my dessert consumption, but I’ve always found that cutting it entirely out of my life is the best way to handle it. Because of this, I chose to go for half of the year without any dessert. My life is always more vibrant when I go without it, so I have found the past 170+ days to be incredibly refreshing. Will I start another dessert fast once this one ends? Possibly. Although I would be interested in finally learning how to consume dessert in moderation. Who knows, maybe I’ll set that as one of my 24 goals.

Publish a blog post once a week|This goal has seemed to be the BANE of my existence at times. I knew I needed more structure when it came to writing, so I decided to force myself to publish something once a week. And boy has it been difficult. There have been weeks when I’ve been busy and haven’t devoted adequate time to write something I felt good about posting, but that didn’t stop me from having to click the “publish” button.

My pride took a hit whenever I did this, but I’ve seen how stretching this goal has been for me. It forced me to write when I didn’t want to, and this practice brought about some gems that may not have happened otherwise (such as my Three Lessons I Learned in Dallas, Texas post). I am not sure if I will do this goal again, but if I do, I will work harder to start writing earlier in the week to avoid similar posts to the mediocre ones I published at the last minute.

Affirm people more often|I never got around to writing a full post about this goal, but it’s one I loved working on. I noted last year how easy it was to highlight the flaws I saw in the lives of others and made it a point to reverse that by working harder to verbalize the things I appreciate about people.

It was much harder to do this than to emphasize flaws, but over time, I saw that it became more natural to affirm people. I still have quite a long way to go, but my practice of pointing out the good when I see it has begun to change how I view those around me, and it makes me want to work even harder to show my appreciation for them through my words.

Improve my handwriting|Do I have to write about this goal? Because I’d rather not. Anyone who knows me marginally well (or has seen literally anything I’ve written) can attest to how bad my handwriting is. I’ve recognized this for quite some time and wanted to make this the year that I changed this. Unfortunately, that did not happen. I am coming to the end of this year with pretty much the same poor handwriting as when I started.

I will say that the goal prompted me to use my handwriting much more because I decided to download a note-taking app for my iPad that I use whenever I’m in a meeting. It hasn’t helped my writing, but it has gotten me into the habit of using my handwriting more. I hope this practice will lead to better handwriting over time. And until then, I will continue enlisting the help of my student assistants to write things on my office whiteboard (thanks, Ellie).

Thank you for taking the time to follow my story this year. I sincerely appreciate it, and I absolutely cannot wait to share the goals I choose to focus on during my 24th year.

Let me know what you think!