Why I haven’t achieved my goals

Today I read an article on Cracked that made me discouraged…and then encouraged. You see this article was on why you haven’t achieved anything. Yes you and I. It’s pretty depressing stuff and uses some foul language so you’ve been warned. HOWEVER, it’s also encouraging. It shows that you are like everyone else and there are ways you can change. It part of that crazy section of psychology of “you suck, it’s pretty dam near impossible for you to stop sucking, but actually it’s really simple for you to stop sucking. But you may still suck.”

Anyway you may want to read it. But this got me to think very critically about why I haven’t achieved many of the goals I’ve set out to. Here are some quick reasons why.

  1. I had too many goals

  2. My goals were unrealistic

  3. My goals were too abstract with no actionable points

  4. I was afraid (this is a big one)

  5. I got distracted by another goal

  6. I gave up when the going got tough (see I was afraid)

  7. I wanted the rewards and didn’t really want the work (see previous points)

  8. I didn’t have the skills I needed

Honestly, I think points 4, 5 and 6 are the key ones. The others all form around that. If I had kept putting in the work, then I would have got the skills and the rewards, If I wasn’t so afraid of succeeding and failing at the same time, I would have tried harder. If I had not been distracted by a million ideas, then I would have stuck to my one goal.

The first three are just why my goals were harder or took more time. I firmly believe that smart goals are useful, especially when you consider that the only way to become something or someone is to do something (What does a writer do? Writer, so how do you become a writer…not write? NO DUMMY! [admittedly “Just Write” is terrible advice too])

With all that in mind, it great to think about for the goals I want to achieve (and yes I want to achieve the goal not do the goal which is probably a sign of the problem).

[Bonus] Resolutions

I wrote this post earlier in the week but in the meantime I heard the productivityist podcast with guest Patrick Rohne. In the episode they spent sometime talking about Resolutions and why Patrick doesn’t have resolutions but instead has intentions for the year. His reason for this is because he thinks resolutions have become lazy, uncommitted and weak. Where as an intention is stronger.

I have to agree with him. Everyone expects you to fail a resolution and yet the word comes from Resolve (decide firmly on a course of action.) and Resolute (admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering). Hardly something people should fail or give up on. That just goes to show how easy it is to fail, give up and not make that change.

I feel it reinforces the point from the cracked article, The odds are against you changing. If you want to change, you have to work for it. As John Maxwell says.

What is holding you back?

Do you have a list of things which stop you achieving your goals? Leave a comment below and share your struggles.

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Link blogging FTW

So you may have noticed that I’ve been “link blogging” a heck of a lot more recently (that is the practice of writing a blog post where the title is a link to something you have seen online and found interesting and want to recommend).

This was partially intentional (I wanted to post more and share cool things I had found and created elsewhere. I also have recently picked themes which facilitate link blogging), but mostly accidental. I have done it in the past (though usually with a simple link to something else I wrote) but I have usually fallen out of love of Link blogging for one core reasons.

I’ve written about it from time to time and stand by those ideas. However, when you look at the body of work that I’m doing. My photography, my articles for Churchmag and my original articles on here, I don’t see a problem with the occasional link blog, especially if it put you in touch with something or someone you wouldn’t have any other way. It’s also a lot more honest than pretending that I had this incredible original idea.

I’m not intending this to be the only type of post I write, I still want to write original articles here and I have an idea for a possible podcast that I’d definitely host here [I just need to work out if I have the energy and time for it]. But for now, I hope you like the link blogging, I hope it puts you in touch with something valuable and heck, maybe you’d like to give some link blogging a go? It’s a great way to start blogging without the pressure of writing something original, soon you can start dropping in your own comments.

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Making my core curriculum

After getting excited about the idea of making a core curriculum a couple of days ago, the realisation started to kick in. How on earth am I going to make this thing? And what am I going to include?

Well, I’ve got a few ideas that should help me to assemble this is the simplest way I can. That’s important after all, if it is too difficult, then I (and you) are more likely to give up while we’re making it.

Going digital (at first)

This is interesting considering Shawn Blanc has revealed he is going for a physical one, but at first I’m going for a digital version. It will be much easier for me to assemble and take around with me than trying to get a paper version together. Plus It makes a lot of sense in the initial drafting stage.

I’d love to print off a personal copy at some stage though as there is something about holding a physical copy of a book.

Choosing source material

The first key stage is to pick the few books to use as the essence of my core curriculum. My current thoughts are
– Celebration of discipline
– Getting things done

And probably a couple more. I’m sure some people will notice that the Bible isn’t on my list, well that’s because I read the Bible regularly anyway and have a sort of system like this for the Bible. In fact I’m going to take many of my ideas and techniques from bible study and apply them to my core curriculum.

Assembling

I’m fairly sure the simplest system I could make is to use the kindle to read the books and then copy and paste the useful parts into my Evernote notebook. My plan is to copy each section or quote into a unique note with the title of the book, the theme and topic included as tags. This will help me to organise the data afterwards either by book or topic. I suspect I’ll prefer the later but the former will be how I read the material. Using tags will help me to easily sort the information later.

Your ideas?

If you are interested in making your own core curriculum, I’d love to know how you are going to assemble and prepare yours as well as what material will make it in. Leave a comment below.

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make your core curriculum

Do you ever read something and know instantly that this is a big deal. Maybe it has some practical ideas that can dramatically reshape what your doing, or perhaps it’s more of a mindset and perception idea that doesn’t necessarily have step by step actions. If you’re anything like me then you come across a few things like this every year from a book or two that just completely shakes you up and spits you out. yet within a couple of months having read this amazing book with hundreds of great takeaways, I’m only doing one or two of those things.

Well you’re not alone, I’m with you and so is Shawn Blanc (see link in title) and shawn has come up with an idea (or maybe He’s borrowed it and can’t remember where from) that will help you tackle that problem.

creating a core curriculum.

The idea is that you save the essential bits from the most influential writings, reading or listenings you’ve had. This could be a book, a sermon, a how to guide or something else all together. Then you go over it.

This makes it a lot shorter to read and encourages you to go over the core things again and again.

I love this idea and I’m going to start working on my own one in earnest. I encourage you to do it too. I’ll share some ideas about how I’m going to do this soon but if you want to read Shawn’s original article. Click the title.

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It’s not the gear stupid

This is a great post by my twitter friend Moe. Moe has been helping me get to grips a bit with my new Olympus camera and one of the key things we discusses was not getting caught up in the gear you’re using.

This is true of not just Photography though, but all things. A Macbook might help you type a little bit quicker, but it won’t improve your prose. A fancy drill might put that screw in quicker, but it won’t help your eye to design a good cabinet. A new phone may let you install all sort of clever and wonderful apps but it won’t automatically make you more productive.

Too often we blame the tool for our lack of talent or mistake, but we always take the praise when it goes right.

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Always needing the best

The title is a link to an episode of Shawn Blanc’s podcast “The weekly briefly” on the compulsion to have “the best”. I’ve been listening to Shawn’s show for over a year now and this might be his best episode (pun intended).

In it he starts off by talking about this trend (especially nowadays) for everyone to be a connoisseur and want/need the best, not just a good option but “the best.” But he goes on to tackle that idea head on with why it can be negative and some alternative perspectives.

Honestly, It was a very timely message for me and one which resonated strongly with me. I’ve recently conducted some gratitude projects and they have made me more grateful for what I have but I can still get caught up with the “Lust for the best”. So much so that it can paralyse me into inaction, sometimes.

I really recommend listening to this episode of the weekly briefly (it’s only 17mins long).

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Adventures in photography Blogging

I’ve got some fun and cool plans for this coming year (if I do say so myself). Honestly, this is shaping up to be the biggest year of my life so far and there are a lot of exciting things to look forward to.

One small part of this is my new photography blog, where you can now see all my images taken on my fancy new camera and find out about how I am taking these photos and perhaps pick up some techniques for yourself. I’ve decided to split that site off for a few reasons.

  1. bandwidth and hosting (images can be intensive)

  2. so as not to overwhelm readers of this site with loads on photography

  3. So that site is more “profesional” (let’s face it, a mad jumble of posts about christianity, photography and anything else that comes to mind is just confusing).

  4. Because there is an awesome theme for that type of portfolio that I can use for it.

  5. Illogical reasons like “I like starting new sites”.

By the way, if you've held of starting a personal blog, send me a message and maybe I can help you out (I've got a useful webhosting package).

If you see an image on the site that you’d like to use for your own blog. Then send me a message and I’m sure it will be fine (I’m adding this clause because I don’t know if eventually I’ll have profesional paid for work on there and I don’t want to get sued over anything).

I’ll start adding some photos soon and explaining my choice of camera (and the camera/s I think you might like to consider) so stay tunned. Meanwhile this site will remain much like it has before this point but with the addition of some more liks to things I post elsewhere.

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Starting again (or my blogging plan for the next year)

Have you ever wanted to just burn all your bridges, give up and then start again? forget about all that you had done before and instead start again but this time “do it right”. Well to be honest ive considered doing it more than once online.

I’ve had a few different itterations of “Chris” online, espeically on twitter. There was “Political Chris” after I finished university and started blogging about politics as a way to practice writing and perhaps gain attention for a job. Then there was “English teacher Chris” as I started out teaching and wanted to grow professionally. Then I’d say there has been the more recent “writer and tech Chris” a sort of strange mismash of my interests that doesn’t have a firm direction of goal.

my writing has had a similar pattern, but unlike my twitter account, I have generally started a new site for those different evolutions. Yet in the end this is my only site I regular write. With all this confusion, espeically with my twitter account. I’ve been very tempted to kill off my twitter account and start again. Likewise I’ve been tempted to kill off pretty much every blog I write and start again, a fresh.

I’m sure you can relate to this idea or feeling. It’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t go according to plan, or change some aspect in your life and find that the things you were writing about or topics you were writing about no longer fit. But perhaps it’s not the best idea.

Perseverance

Perseverance is a dirty word in our world now. Not giving up, digging in and holding out through the tough spots is very against our culture. We’re encouraged more to move on, start the new exciting thing, and try something new out. Perserverance says give it one more go, try harder, weather the storm and success doesn’t come overnight.

Restarting

Yesterday I caught John Saddington giving advice on how he’d restart a blog if he were to start again today. A lot of it resonated with me

  • Just start writing
  • Use whatever platform is easy for you
  • Don’t worry about your social media plan
  • Don’t worry about comments
  • to thy own self be true

Honestly, this advice is probably the exact opposite any “blogging expert” would give you with the exception of the final point. And there may be a reason for that, if you wanted to start a buisness (with a blog) then you need to target a customer type, you want to grow as quickly as posible and you want the benefits of comments for SEO etc…but if you are writing for yourself then I’d say that it’s great advice.

That’s what this blog has become for me, it’s writing for me, it’s theraputic, it helps clear my thoughts. If it helps you then I’m very glad but it isn’t my priority. It includes the posts that I just want to get out. So with that in mind here is my “blogging plan” for the next year.

my Blogging “plan”

  • Becoming a staff writer for Churchmag and focusing most of my writing there.
  • writing whatever I feel like
  • sticking with WordPress and using a simple theme
  • considering turning off comments (not many people do comment, those who do could probably comment)
  • sharing links to posts I write for Churchmag
  • blogging my yearly goals again
  • starting a new project…not on this site.
  • maybe sharing on social media, if I feel like it.

So overall…fairly similar to what I’m doing now! As for writing tool, I’ll probably write more on “Drafts” so I can send my writing to DayOne (and keep it private) or to this blog (and make it public).

what should your blogging plan be?

This really depends on you and why you are blogging. If you just want the therapeutic side of blogging, I might well start with DayOne, you can make notes public and it’s very easy. If you want another option, maybe Tumblr as it’s also easy to use and you can share more than just text. If you want to blog for a business but irregularly, probably Medium is the best. If you want to start a business and have a blog for some “content marketing” then WordPress or Squarespace will see you right.

What’s your blogging plan for the coming year?

Do you have a plan for this coming year with your blogging or are you just going to wing it? Whatever your answer, why don’t you leave a comment below. I’d love to know your ideas and why.

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Interview with iPhone 6 Milkway wallpaper

If you haven’t seen the default wallpaper for the iPhone 6 and new iPads then you really should. It’s an amazing shot in the mountains with the milky way rising from the side. One of the most amazing parts about it, this was taken by an amateur photographer. If you click the headline you can read an interview with him [or click here].Alternatively click here to check out his work.

 

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My Top Five Tech Tools of 2014

On my way home I was thinking about the five tools(apps) I use more than anything else. The essential items without which I’d really find it hard to get things done. This was actually inspired by me thinking about the few tools I’d really like to check out sometime soon and then reflecting on what I actually use the most. So without further ado. My five key tools.

1. Todoist

This has become my task management solution of choice and it rocks. I’m still adapting it to my own style and taste but that’s the great thing about it, it’s super adaptable. With the labels and filters I can create lists which I can just follow and know that these are what I should do now. I don’t have to review my lists except when I do my weekly review of tasks. The automatic functions with IFTTT are really great too and can’t be found in any other big name task management app.

2. Google Calendar

Two weeks ago my boss asked me to run the school christmas quiz, I was enthusiastic to do so and we discussed the date, she mentioned a time and day and it all sounded great to me. Until I noticed on my calendar that I was already booked up. This year I’ve really got back into using my calendar, adding my regular lessons as well as scheduling time for writing, reading and reflecting. This has helped me to do more and make sure I rest as well. I’ve been switching between google calendar and Sunrise but they both really run off Google calendar so it’s best to say that I use Google calendar really.

3. Evernote

I have a love hate relationship with evernote. One the one hand it is a really powerful and great tool that lets me access notes and files from anywhere. I love saving documents or scanning a copy of my invoice so I can quickly check my back over important documents no matter where I am. However, I’ve had issues with notes not really syncing and losing information as well as there being a better solution for almost every aspect it does (I.e. there is a better writing tool, there is a better read it later service, a better todo and task management system etc) HOWEVER, as a place to store data to access at a later date, it just does too good a job…for now.

4. The camera app

I use the camera on my phone a lot…I mean a lot. I use it to scan documents, take pictures of memorable events and create visual content for the web. I’d love to add in a host of picture editing options as well but really they should push me beyound my five tools.

5. Pixelmator

I was really tempted to chuck in chrome, as honestly I do a lot on the internet and by choosing chrome I could fit in a load of different tools and features that I haven’t mentioned, sucha as using canva for creating graphics, Play music for listening to music or journey for my journaling but really thats a list of tools.
That’s why I chose pixelmator, I picked it up on the mac last year and the iPad app came out this year. It’s great for editing designs and images and is simpler than Photoshop. Sure, it’s not got all the features of photoshop, but as long as you aren’t a professional graphic designer, you won’t mind.

I could easily have choosen a couple of other options but Pixelmator is probably the app I’m in more often than any others and is significantly different from the previously mentioned apps.

What about you?

Those are just my tools, I’d love to know about you and what apps you use the most? I know that picking only five tools will be a challenge (believe me I found it difficult) but that’s why it’s a good challenge, you can’t just choose everything.

Write a post and leave a link below.

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