I’m not a New Year’s Resolution guy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to get things done this year. I have set some goals set. They may flex throughout the year. They may change. But that’s not going to keep me from writing them down and sharing them.
I took some inspiration (and a goal or two) from Jon Acuff’s All It Takes Is a Goal podcast. (It’s episode 106 –Apple podcast link here, but it’s available wherever you might get your podcasts.) I’ve broken my goals down into three groups: Professional, Personal, & Family. I was already excited about 2023, and seeing these goals written down has given me even more energy for making this a great year.
1. Restart this blog ✅
I missed writing here. I enjoy writing, and I’ve missed writing here. When I looked back and realized that it was 2020 when I last posted (and I only posted a handful of times in the year before that), I was floored. So I’m back. When I started writing consistently here, I was able to clarify and capture so much of my thinking around leadership. I’m looking forward to capturing and sharing my learning here this year.
2. Publish 26 blogs
Posting once in this space is good. Posting routinely in this space will bring about the growth that I’m really interested in. With any luck, the lessons I’m learning might benefit others as well. Why 26? Because trying to go from no blogs in 3 years to one a week doesn’t seem realistic. Sharing every other week seems like a good challenge that will stretch me without being an overwhelming task.
3. Share a literacy session at a conference
There was a season where I shared at conferences often. I really enjoyed it, but I haven’t pursued any of that since the start of the pandemic. In my work in my school district, we’ve done a lot to pursue meaningful conversation about what we really value and want to see in literacy instruction. I want to share how we’ve gone about it (more than what we arrive at), so I’m interested in getting back out there and leading a session on questions literacy leaders can ask. Hopefully I get a chance to share!
4. Share a Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth session at a conference
In 2017, I had the good fortune to be able to publish a book titled Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth. In the book I call out six myths that we buy into (or slip into believing when we’re tired or busy) and offer truths that we should replace those myths with. I also enjoyed a season where I was able to shatter myths and share truth at conferences before the pandemic. Since then, I’ve not had the opportunity to share the Teacher Myth message in that setting. I’d like to get back to that, so it’s on the list!
5. Continue refining the English Teacher’s Notebook
In my school district, I provide support to an incredible group of K-12 English Language Arts and Reading teachers. I developed a Schoology course called the English Teacher’s Notebook that is the central location for all the information and resources teachers need to be able to access. If it goes out it an email, it’s also in the course. If it’s shared at district PD, it’s also linked in the course. Need a date for a testing window? It’s in the course. You get the idea. I’m very happy with the wealth of information in the ETN now, but I want to make sure this continues to be the helpful resource that teachers need. I’m looking forward to continuing to refine this resource in 2023.
6. Unannounced work goal
I can’t get into this one (yet), but it’s something that I’m working on already. More to come on this down the road.
7. 12 dates with Emily
This one is pretty simple. I want to take my wife, Emily, on 12 dates this year. There are seasons for both of us that are much busier than others, so I’m not stuck on one a month. She’s the best, and I’m looking forward to spending time with her on dates this year.
Here’s us on a rather memorable date to cheer on the Astros at the World Series this past year:
8. Visit another MLB ballpark with the boys
In 2019, my boys (Graham and James) and I started toward a goal that will take many years to complete: Watching a baseball game in every Major League Baseball ballpark. There are 30. We’ve visited 6 so far (plus a bonus trip to Astros Spring Training in Florida). Last year’s trip was to Kansas City, and it was full of baseball, and BBQ, and memories. I can’t wait to plan out our next trip!
I won’t show a picture for all of these, but this picture is a favorite from our trip:
9. Plan and take an anniversary vacation
This summer, Emily and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We didn’t get away for a trip in 2022. That’s ok, but we’re not going to miss this year. I have some time to get the details figured out, but this is a big goal that should be a lot of fun to plan this year.
10. Soak up the season – Enjoy coaching my kids’ baseball teams
I coach baseball teams for both of my boys. It’s great. I love baseball, but I was not terribly gifted at it. I coach with a bunch of really great dads, and it’s truly a great blessing to be able to coach our kids together. But the boys are only getting older, and my time as coach won’t last forever. I would love to coach both boys for many years to come, but one day they’ll either move on to another interest or need to get coached by someone who has more experience and expertise than me. I want to be deliberate about enjoying baseball with my boys this year.
11. Plan and take a summer vacation
This one is pretty straightforward. We took a great family vacation last year, and I want to make that a habit.
12. Take the boys on a camping trip
We’ve talked on and off about the idea of camping, but here in Texas, there’s a relatively short window of opportunity before it gets just unreasonably hot. As you might guess from reading the previous section, a lot of weekends are spent on the baseball field. But this year I want to take the boys camping. We’re going to find a way to make it work. They’re excited about it, and so am I.
13. Take Joy to an Astros game
Our little girl loves some time with dad. She’s never once believed that she can’t do everything her brothers do, and since they like going to Astros games with me, she wanted to do that as well. We started going a couple years back, and I am definitely keeping this tradition going.
14. Read 12 books
I haven’t read like I want to recently. I read or write or talk pretty much all day at work, so there are times where going home to read isn’t the same reward as it has been in the past. Still, I want to set a goal around reading. 12 books seems supremely doable, and it’ll be good to have my kids see books in my hands instead of my phone.
15. 36,500 push ups
Just before Christmas, we were having dinner with a couple of families we enjoy spending time with. One of the dads told a story about how he and his son are in this challenge where they each are committed to completing 100 push ups every day. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but somehow I found myself roped into this with my oldest son. I hate push ups. I have never lifted weights or done any kind of working out that involved push ups. I ran track. I ran cross country. We logged dozens of miles a week, but there were no push ups (and that’s how I like it). When this began, I was more sore than I care to admit. The kind of sore where it’s difficult to do everyday tasks. The kind where things like eating your lunch remind you of the pain in your arms, shoulders, and back. But, despite all the soreness and an attempt at quitting really early on, I’m still doing the push ups. 36,500 is an insane number of push ups, but if I do 100 a day in 2023, I will have done 36,500 push ups this year. Wild. So I’m in. And thankfully, the push ups are getting easier.
16. Go to sleep already
I am a night owl. I could write and work and watch until far later than I should, so I’m working on being reasonable and cutting off those things when I should. As is the case for all of us, I’m not getting younger, and bouncing back from late nights is not always easy. It’s great to be productive, but it’s best to be rested as well.
17. Reduce my baseball card collection to 100 cards
During the pandemic, my boys and I started collecting baseball cards. They were accessible, fun to collect, and a great way to pass time together while we were at home. As can happen with elementary age kids, their interest faded. However, mine did not. My childhood love of baseball cards was back, and with eBay out there as functionally the largest card show imaginable, I could collect all sorts of cards. And I did. I built up a significant collection. It’s nothing too crazy, but it grew to be pretty large. Recently I’ve been considering a new idea–what if I could limit my collection down to a particular number of cards? Right now, my goal is to get the collection of hundreds of cards down to 100 cards. Many of my cards have little to no value, but some of them do have some value. Picking out the set of 100 to keep is going to be a challenge, but even considering this idea over the past few weeks has already focused my thoughts in a different way and offered a new challenge about what exactly I want my collection to look like. I’m not sure what the timeline looks like for this, but I’m going to make huge progress in 2023 here.
18. Send 100 pieces of encouragement
I stole this from Jon Acuff. In the podcast I linked earlier, he talked about sending encouragement out every day. (He also talked about not going from never doing something to immediately setting a goal of doing that thing every day.) I want to be the kind of person who makes a habit of offering encouragement to others, so I need a goal to help me foster that kinds of routine. I’m committing to sending out 100 pieces of encouragement. It’s easy to get bogged down in the things we have to do, and this seems like a great way to refocus a couple of times a week on pouring into others.
19. Share my goals ✅
I did it. Right here. See? Boom. Goal accomplished.
20. Create a list of books I’d recommend
I’d love to have a list of books that I recommend (maybe even a couple–perhaps a list for teachers, a list for ed leaders?). I love looking at other people’s bookshelves, and this would be a fun way to capture what I’d hope people would see if they came by. Again, the English teacher in me jumped at this idea when it crossed my mind, so here it is on my list.
21. Share an honest reflection at least 4 days a week
This is super important to me. I have a couple of guys who I talk to several times a week on an app. Making a habit of sharing how things are going there keeps my head in the right space. When I skip it, not only do I not get to hear about what they are up to, but I also just don’t have a good of a week. Whether it’s an easy week or a tough week or something in between, it’s better to tackle it together. So I’m committed to connecting in that space at least 4 days a week.
22. Drink 4 cups of water each day
I drink a lot of Coca-Cola. There have been seasons where I’ve quit it entirely, but I’m not ready for that to be one of my goals. What I do know is this: I need to drink more water. 4 cups is where I’ve started out, but this is a goal that I could see shifting around some throughout the year. So far so good on this. I’ve had at least 4 glasses of water each day so far in 2023. I just need to keep the habit rolling.
23. Take care of my car
A little over a year ago I traded in my truck for a little SUV. It’s great. It’s the only new car I’ve ever had (since new cars were better buys than used cars at that point… strange days…). If I’m not careful, I can let my space in my car get a little hectic, but I’ve found I really like how it is when it’s clean and orderly. So I’m going to go wash my car and vacuum it out monthly. With the truck, it was easy to live the “This is a truck, not a Camaro. It’s ok if it’s dirty…” life. That wasn’t bad, but that chapter is over. Taking care of my car is good for it anyway, and I’m convinced doing that will help me out as well.
24. Start a fantasy baseball league (as the commissioner)
I’ve played fantasy football for 15 years, but this past year was my first time jumping into fantasy baseball. I’m hooked. I love it. So I want to get started on planning things out so that I can run a league this year. It’s going to be so nerdy and fun and awesome. It’s great fun, and I’m very much looking forward to making this goal a reality.
25. Share how the goals go
I’m going to check in on my goals monthly, and at the end of the year I’ll come back here to share how these goals went. I’m sure some will happen, but others may need to be abandoned. Others might get added, too. What I do know is this, 2023 is set to be a great year. I’m very much looking forward to it.
I hope your 2023 is off to a great start. I’d love to hear about the goals you are tackling this year, too. What are you going to accomplish in 2023?