Today is Christmas Day.  Today is a special Christmas for our family because it’s the first where Juniper really knows what’s happening.  Last night Santa stopped by and dropped off some gifts for her:  a new book, some small carved wooden animals, and a cupcake.  She also got a small trampoline from us, which she seems to really like.

We have the fireplaces going, it’s a high of single digits outside and there are no plans to go anywhere.  Teresa and Juniper are watching a movie in the other room and I’m finally getting around to writing a post.  Charlie Brown’s Christmas is playing now on my computer.  Christmas really is one of the best days of the year, and the month is definitely one of my favorite aspects of Minnesota.

It has taken me the better part of an hour to get this started as my computer is obviously in need of replacement, nothing seems to run smoothly any longer.  That’s alright, I’ve had it many years and next year I’ll get another.  This post actually may be significantly shorter than previous years simply due to the computer not cooperating.  If that’s the case I’ll come back and explain things a little more in depth once I get a replacement.

This year we’ll be in Florida for NYE and a bit longer, so I’m going to write my resolutions now.  First I’ll look at last year’s however–including a quick grade:

Goal #1:  Become Educated On Climate Change.  A-:  I’ve read 3.5 books on the subject and learned a great deal through other consumption of content based on my job, as well as some other areas.  I feel much more knowledgeable than last year at this time, but still have a long way to go.

Goal #2:   More Family Time.  B:  Still learning how to do this given different likes and dislikes in our household, but better than a year ago, certainly.

Goal #3:  Cut Down Vulgar Vocabulary.  B+:  Definite improvement over last year, however probably need swear less at work too.  I’ve really cut down at home and am cognizant of what I’m saying around Juni much more, but still not perfect.  Old habits die hard.

Goal #4:   Get To Some New Places.  A-:  We are headed to Florida in a few days, which will be great.  We also did new trips to San Diego and the Bay Area this last year, so mission accomplished.

Generally last year went how I’d hoped in terms of goals.  There were a lot of other awesome changes last year though, some around exercise and fitness.  I’ve began working out much more regularly while at work, as well as conditioning my diet during the day really well.  Protein shakes for lunch has been a great change for me, about 5 minutes to make lunches for two days, they taste great and are a good amount of calories.  Podcasts on the way to work and back have allowed me to learn much more about my industry and other things I’d formerly not heard about.  This has come at the cost of listening to more music (a post on 2017 albums is coming!) but that’s probably a fair trade.

I’m a big believe in writing down goals–in business, in life in general and especially anywhere you want to make progress.  If you don’t take the time to build a plan, you’ll likely not accomplish what you want to do.  A good plan starts with objectives.  Good objectives need to be measurable.  If you write down your goals and plan to accomplish them every year (or in smaller increments of time) you will be very likely to accomplish them.  At that point it’s just following your plans, and adjusting if needed.

To that end, here’s a quick look at what I’d like to focus on in 2018:

1.  Lower caffeine levels:  This is a little odd, but it’s an important one.  As you get older you recognize behaviors of yourself that aren’t necessarily appealing.  I’ve noticed when I’m over-caffeinated from coffee in the morning it increases the likelihood of speaking out of turn, making jokes when not needed, and so on.  Nothing terrible of course, but the caffeine simply makes me a little more apt to say things outside of what I’d like to communicate.  So the limit here is two cups of coffee per day.  I’ve already started, it’s not hard, but it regulates the amount of caffeine and that’s a good thing.

2.  Internalize ideas and thought processes prior to stating them:  In business school, there are terms for students being more quantitative (quants) and those more prone to speaking and external interaction (poets).  I definitely fall into the latter category.  It’s a simple framework to categorize people, and it’s not really fair, as any one person can be good at multiple things, but generally personality types tend to fall into one or the other.

There are good and “less good” aspects of being in either category, particularly when dealing with someone that tends to be of the other group.  Quants are simply more likely to enjoy working with numbers and internalizing ideas and thoughts.  They like things finite and measurable.  Poets are usually OK with ambiguity and gravitate toward qualitative ideas and tend to “think out loud” more than the quants.  In business, you have to know your numbers–there’s no getting around that.  You also need to communicate effectively.

“Thinking out loud” is not a good strategy for communication with people.  It’s actually pretty good for ideation and deriving something “new” — but those are really limited circumstances.  I have worked with and currently work with many more internal thinkers.  Thinking out loud isn’t a good practice in business, I’ve concluded, and I’m going to focus on keeping my thoughts internal until they’re complete.  I’ve actually been doing this a lot over the years, but wanted to make it a particular focus in 2018.

3.  Carve out more time for my daughter:  This one is hard to quantify, but I think last year I made some strides in terms of spending time with Juni.  Truthfully she’s much more interested in hanging out with Mom at this point, which is great.  But I’d like her to understand that I’m always there for her and that starts with spending more time with her doing hobbies such as painting, swim lessons, taking bike rides, and anything else that puts a smile on her face.

4. Continue efforts to learn and add value at work:  Every year is a big year.  This is my third year at my current employer and it would be really easy to settle in and not have the same sense of urgency.  That will lead to becoming bored and not helping us to grow how we need to.  Last year I spent a lot of time learning about the electricity system the in US, how everything is regulated, and all the companies in the space.  I’m going to double down on that effort in 2018 after finalizing the books I’ve yet to finish on climate change.  There’s A LOT to learn, but it’s a lot of fun too.  This will be more of a qualitative measure for me, but still important.

That’s about it for 2018.  There are always financial and fitness goals on my radar too, but they are somewhat cliche and not necessarily needed to be reiterated every year.

Cheers to you and yours in the new year, hope you have an amazing holiday season!