It’s come to the end of my quest to achieve ’50 Goals in a Year’. The challenge was intended to help me focus on what was important in my life, make me publicly accountable for my goals, and generally inspire me to lead a more active and fulfilling life. It certainly achieved this! It’s without doubt been one of the most memorable years of my life. I’ve accomplished a great number of often long held life goals in a short space of time. But, at the end of the year, how many of my 50 goals did I manage to achieve? Read on to find out!
Adventure & Sport
✓ Bag my first 10 Munros + ✓ Climb the highest mountain in the UK > Watch ‘A Munro Bagging Microadventure’ to see why I’ve fallen in love with Scotland! These goals will now be the start of a lifelong quest to ‘bag’ all 284 Scottish mountains above 3000 feet – the Munros.
✓ Climb a mountain in the snow > The walk that’s now inspired me to undertake far more winter mountaineering – as well as attempt to climb Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, in 2013 (watch ‘A Microadventure in Snowdonia‘ to see our incredible ascent of the breathtaking Snowdon in the snow)
✓ Play curling > Read ‘Curling – The Greatest Sport in the World?’ to see how we fared playing this bizarre but brilliant sport (includes a short video of our exploits!)
✓ Crawl through the ‘wormhole’ + ✓ Go wild swimming + ✓ Sleep under the stars + ✓ Watch the sun rise on a mountain top – I accomplished these together over the course of one of the best days of my life (read ‘The Wormhole, Bridge Jumping & Sleeping Under the Stars’).
✓ Play in an 11-a-side football game > Read ‘Football’s Greatest Grudge Match’ for an account of my 11-a-side debut for University of Sheffield Staff in a brutal grudge match against rivals Hallam University.
✓ Ride a horse > I’m now taking frequent riding lessons courtesy of my wonderful horse riding instructor girlfriend, and am working towards being able to canter and jump within the next year or so.
✓ Take climbing lessons > I’ve had lessons both indoors and outdoors and made enormous progress in overcoming my vertigo.
✓ Try a new team sport > I played Korfball – a mixed-gender sport with elements of basketball and netball. Better than both in my opinion but I didn’t have to time to commit to playing regularly.
✓ Try archery > Robin Hood step aside… read ‘Segway and SkyBow‘ to see how I got on shooting arrows at moving targets in the sky.
✓ Try skiing > First lesson successfully completed – now saving up for more lessons. Bring on the black run!
X Raft from source to sea > I’ve found it much harder than anticipated to use the kayak on English rivers due to access rights. Now planning to kayak from Sheffield to the sea along the canal network as well as across Scotland in the near future.
X Run a marathon > I was training for a marathon in October but postponed it to instead run the London Marathon as part of my 10 Challenges 4 Cancer (it was probably for the best as I’d done not nearly enough training)
X Score another half century in cricket > I notched up scores of 48, 42, 40 and 38 but the half century evaded me. I do believe this goal inspired me to my highest ever season average though.
Career & Finance
✓ Appear in a newspaper for my own business > My business Big Green Fox has now been featured in local, regional and national press. Read ‘Game On for Career Ideas’ for our first newspaper coverage in the Sheffield Star.
✓ Earn a living from my own business > A meagre living, but a living all the same – the low current salary is more than offset by the perks of self-employment (flexible working, holidays when I want, working from home, not having to report to anyone etc etc)
✓ Get out of my overdraft (and stay out!) > By streamlining my living costs, finally reclaiming my directors loan from my previous employer and earning income through my business I’ve clawed my way out of my overdraft and stayed out for well over six months.
✓ Patent an invention > Read ‘My First Invention: Career Detectives’ for details of the first product I have patented through my company Big Green Fox.
X Appear on the radio for my own business > I did appear on a radio phone in about bucket lists however never managed to arrange to talk specifically about my own business. I’ll certainly be trying again when we launch Goalvanise though.
✓ Actively boycott my blacklisted companies > An ongoing goal to boycott the world’s most unethical companies – read ‘Every Little Hurts: Why To Boycott Tesco’ for one such example.
✓ Give blood regularly > Another ongoing goal – I’ve donated four times over the year i.e. whenever I am requested.
✓ Go vegetarian for a month > Following my trial month of vegetarianism I have significantly reduced my meat intake and stopped buying beef and lamb altogether (they are the high methane emitting animals and my meat concerns are mainly environmental).
✓ Mentor someone > I’ve offered advice to budding entrepreneurs and community groups informally over the year and also signed up to the Lighthouse Self-Leadership Project, which will lead to more formal mentoring.
✓ Start recycling > Not easy in such a small flat with almost zero storage space, but I’ve started and plan to expand the scope when I move next month.
✓ Volunteer on a community project > I’ve volunteered my time on the Boards of community projects Youth Consortium Sheffield, Signposts Writers Projects and the National Community Wrestling Alliance.
? Make the world a better place > Highly debatable this one! I’ve worked to established two socially-orientated businesses, protested and raised awareness of political and corporate injustices, promoted positive alternatives to our current unjust and unequal system, maintained a blog which has (as I’ve been told) inspired numerous people and generally tried to lead an ethical and (at least more) sustainable lifestyle. On the flip side, I still consume too many of the world’s scarce resources and could undoubtedly be a better person as well as have more of a positive social and environmental impact. So it’s a tough call. But given that I’ve pro-actively tried – and I suppose it’s still early for many of my aspirations to be realised e.g. the social impact of my businesses etc – I’ll award this goal a tentative tick. More work to be done though…
X Plant a tree > Apparently I got my timings all wrong with this and so need to wait until late autumn – so I’m planning to help plant an orchard at my mum’s house next time I’m there.
Friends & Family
✓ Play ‘Come Dine with Me’ with friends > A fantastic experience I can strongly recommend – my friends and I are now intending to hold more regular dinner parties.
X Ask a friend to write a random goal I must complete > My friend Ollie has given me the goal “Recreate Team GB’s finest moments” and I’ll be completing this as part of my 10 Challenges 4 Cancer
Health & Fitness
✓ Exercise on average 3 times per week > I’ve comfortably achieved this over the year however do need to get into a more regular routine of daily exercise.
✓ Become proficient in photography > I’ve certainly become much better. As to ‘proficient’… you be the judge and watch my Year in Photos video.
✓ Challenge my fear of deep water > I first challenged myself by swimming across Blackroot Lake in Sutton Park, as well as several wild swims in the River Derwent – but then later, in Zakynthos, I became quite happy snorkelling in water at least 10-20 metres deep. I’ve not quite overcome this fear, but I’ve certainly come along way…
✓ Create something out of wood > Ok, this one is pretty much a cop out. We built a raised garden. Technically it counts but it’s not at all what I was intending to create out of wood. It’s something I intend to re-visit and make something genuinely skilful/creative.
✓ Sit and paint a scene > Under the guidance of my sister’s artistic talents, I sat and painted the view from the back of my mum’s house.
X Learn to say ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘cheers’ in 30 languages > I’ve never been great at ‘learning’ tasks as this list of 50 Goals reveals. I researched and wrote out the vocabulary, but never got around to learning them. Anyway, see this post for the translations to do this yourself.
X Write a poem > This was the goal I was fearing the most so no real surprise it hasn’t been achieved. I’ve disliked poetry since school (to do with being forced to read hundreds of Thomas Hardy’s depressing poems about his dead wife that even he despised during her life!). I’d hoped writing a poem would help me re-engage with this art form. I’m working on one. I promise…
Travel & Leisure
✓ Be an extra in a film > Read ‘My Film Debut: A Zombie Extra in The Eschatrilogy’ – a wonderful experience filled with very best of people and one I’d highly recommend.
✓ Be in a TV programme audience > I was in the audience for a couple of shows of Countdown. Every students’ dream!
✓ Drive a tractor > Read ‘Tractor Driving: Only for the Country Folk?’ for my account of a childhood dream fulfilled.
✓ Go on a balloon flight > Read ‘Balloon Flights: Just Full of Hot Air?’ for my review of balloon flights – it’s probably not what you’d expect!
✓ Go to a music festival > I can’t believe it took me 29 years to do this! So very glad of my 50 Goals list for pushing me to make this happen. See “No Direction Home: A Festival in Photos’ for an insight into why it was such a great experience.
✓ Go to a classical music concert > I saw the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra at Sheffield City Hall. A delightful evening – I’m certainly glad I went although I’m in no great rush to repeat it again.
Just for Fun!
✓ Go sledging > This winter’s snow provided the perfect excuse to act like a child again! I’m grateful to a large hill in Glossop for providing my first sledging experience since childhood. Sledging… one of the simplest pleasures in life!
✓ Learn to solve a Rubic’s cube > Another childhood dream fulfilled! I can’t quite solve it without my cheat sheet of the algorithms yet but I’m well on the way.
✓ Spend a day taking photos of my city > As I spent all year photographing Sheffield I decided to do a photography tour of London by following the Monopoly Board. Watch ‘A Lap of the Monopoly Board’ to see the results.
✓ Take a photo every day for a year > Watch ‘A Year in Photos‘ video to see the results (in 4 minutes) of my yearlong photography challenge. This was one of the most rewarding projects of my life. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
X Learn a magic trick > This should have been quite easy to achieve. Again, I’m really not good on ‘learning’ tasks.
Final Score: 41 Achieved (82% Success Rate)
I’m delighted with my achievements over the year. Yes, I didn’t achieve all of the goals I set out to but writing, and working towards, this list has undoubtedly helped me achieve more of the things that are important to me, and lead and fuller and more enriching life. Without this list, and holding myself publicly accountable through my blog, I firmly believe I wouldn’t have gotten around to achieving the vast majority of these goals. Everyday life would have overtaken me and the goals would have remained a dream to do ‘one day’.
I would urge anyone who hasn’t already written a Life List to grab and pen and start writing. You do not need a better pen. You do not need a better notepad. There is no ‘right date’ in the future to start achieving your life goals. The right time is always now. I also don’t want people to say that you can only achieve life goals with money so I intentionally made it so that each of my 50 Goals goals could be completed with less than £100 – and many for free. So write away… and then share it with the world to hold yourself accountable. I very much look forward to reading your own list…