2018 Goals!

I started this blog a while back as a way for me to develop my skills as a writer and share my work with anyone who might find my story interesting.

I failed.

However, the lessons learned since I began to consider myself a writer and started on this journey changed my life in many ways.

My intent of this blog at first was to distill some of the failures and lessons I’ve learned in my life. I’ve always been a do-it-myself – learn by doing – type of guy. This led me to make some bad decisions which resulted in mistakes that many people make. These are the stories I hope to share with you all at some point in 2018 as I continue to learn and improve each day.

My commitment to personal growth and self-discovery began last year. I’d argue everything that had happened before that point was due to ignorance and blatant stupidity.

Not many people argue I’m the smartest guy around, trust me, I don’t either.

However, for a long time, I felt compelled to defend myself, my actions, and put on a persona that was not my true self. I was unaware of how influenced I had become by my environment, family, and more than deeply affected my confidence.

Now that you understand that a bit more, outside of diving into the depths of subjects that fascinate me, I intend to fulfill my commitment to you all this year and embrace blogging for what it is (or at least how I see it).

This is a little late but with 2017 in the books and 2018 in full force.

Here are some areas of my life I intend on improving in 2018. These can be considered goals, action items, thinking points, and for me, they are building blocks to my future. To continue acting in accordance with my virtues, limiting my vices and to be myself as often as possible.

2018 Goals

  1. Improve Relationships: A bit personal for me to share, yet something I’d say requires improvement in my life. Better communication with family, friends and important people in my life. I’ve let too many people down and too many people go in my life. Some for better, others for worse. I plan to reconcile lost friendships, put an end to relationships which are holding me back, and continue to build new relationships with people who inspire and motivate me to become better every day.
  2. Exercise: I no longer have a gym membership which was a decision I made to save money in Q3 last year. Yoga, bodyweight and home workouts have saved me. I plan to continue my twice weekly Bikram Yoga practice, run 1-2 times per week, and 2 days of hard bodyweight/jump rope work at home. Basically, continue what has been working great and build as I improve.
  3. Diet: More green smoothies! They don’t always taste great but the feeling in my body afterward is sensational. The confidence and strength gained from treating your body right are incredible. Eat more veggies, fewer carbs, and less refined/processed sugar.
  4. Books: Last year I read somewhere between 40-50 books (several twice). I’m so proud of myself for committing to the glorious habit of reading! I am obsessed. My goal for this year is 50-60 books (Print, Kindle, Audible). So far I’ve read “As A Man Thinketh”, by James Allen and “Sapiens”, by Yuval Noah Harari. 2018 will be my best year for knowledge, that I know for sure.
  5. Writing: Right now I write at least 1,000 words a day in one sitting combined with all of my other writing (journaling, minimal social media, emails, Medium, etc…). I’m thinking deeply about my authorship goals for 2018; a novel, non-fiction book, screenplay, or something relating to comedy. My major goal is to find writing/publishing mentor or agent combined with an internship, part-time job, or career opportunity to build more relationships with people who inspire me and can help to improve my craft. I should subcategorize writing since this is a major part of my and ambition.
  6. Coffee/Caffeine: Yes this deserves its own section. It’s my blog. One coffee a day. I’ve been drinking Mushroom Coffee by Four Sigmatic and I swear to you, NO jitters, NO anxiety – PURE FOCUS! Other than one coffee a day I drink a lot of caffeine free tea, mostly chamomile early morning and late at night.
  7. Blogging: 1-2 posts a week. I write far too much to not be able to share SOMETHING with you all every week. I read and listen to far too many books and podcasts to have nothing interesting to say, ever. I apologize for my lack of commitment and I will stick with it this year! (even if it sucks…)
  8. Reading: 1-2 hours per day. I heard that Bill Gates carves out one-hour blocks of time to read in order to engage with the material in more depth. Once I heard that I immediately applied have been processing, learning, and understanding material at a MUCH deeper level. I throw some meditation, jazz, or other enjoyable background music on and allow the book to consume me. It’s wonderful.
  9. Budget: This is the most important aspect of my life. For lack of a more appropriate word. I’ve fucked up my credit and finances. I thought I had everything figured out and slowly the Compound Effect worked against me and here I am. I will be credit card debt free in 2018 and I intend to stay that way for the rest of my life. 2017 was the year of DECREASE in my life. No more daily trips to Starbucks or Chipotle; a peanut butter and jelly sandwich will suffice. Store brand over name brand groceries. No more eating out for lunch every day. You get the point. I’ll write a blog to detail out exactly how I cut my expenses and minimalized my spending as much as possible. I hope to be in a financial position to eat and live the way I desire at a minimal scale and not worry about much else. Until then, it’s PB&J’s…
  10. Travel/Relocation: A city that is conducive to my lifestyle is a major part of my year. I’m heading back to up New England next month for one trip and would love to plan a Q3 or Q4 yoga/meditation retreat. The destination is still to be determined (still researching). I’m super grateful for my job now and it allows me a super flexible work-day so I may stick around North Carolina for a while if things work out there…
  11. Minimalism: If you’ve read the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, by Marie Kondo you understand. I plan to dispose or give away any old or unwanted “stuff” in order to be more flexible when I decide to travel/relocate. I don’t think I want to go as far as buying a Tiny House (a little much for me) but getting rid of my excess material possessions feels great. It was cleansing to do before I moved to North Carolina and I realized I didn’t do a good enough job when I was unpacking clothes I hadn’t worn in years.
  12. Try New Things: I had a lot of “firsts” last year. I want to continue to push the boundaries of my comfort zone and explore things that I may love and not know yet. It’s been an interesting time in my life and I intend to keep the door open for opportunity. A few include; try stand-up comedy/improv (still scares the hell out of me, and I’ll DEFINITELY bomb!), tr*avel overseas, drive across the country, perform more “30-day challenges” to find new habits, finish writing a book, and many more. I love the idea of experimenting with new things, especially short-term projects that you can do every day. Neil Strauss has something he does where he’ll do something for a month to try it out. For example, strike up a conversation with a stranger every day for a month. Get rejected for something every day for a month (for reasons I’d rather not explain here), practice drawing or guitar for 10 minutes a day, the list goes on…
  13. Improve Communication Skills: Podcasts, interviews, audio recordings, presentations, meetings, dating, and relationships – our lives are becoming more and more inclusive of many forms of communication. I love to talk but most people who know me also know that I tend to ramble and rant when I get going (JUST SHUT UP ALREADY MATT), I apologize in advance. In order to button this up, I plan to practice my speaking skills and become more comfortable speaking in front of people, a camera, and socially to share my ideas without sweating profusely. I hope to become a better presenter of information; speeches, and ideas. A major life goal of mine is to present a TED Talk on a subject I’m passionate about.
  14. Editing: I’ve realized a weakness of my writing skills is my ability to edit and “murder the darlings” of most of my work. Most of my fiction writing has come out in a way that I can only describe as “stream of consciousness”, which isn’t always a good thing. I have no clear goal for this as of today outside of several reference books I use. 2018 will be a productive year for developing my understanding of the use of plot, narrative, and characters within all of my stories.
  15. Mindfulness: “Be Here Now“, by Ram Dass. A phrase I tell myself often when I become anxious or uncomfortable in any situation. Mindfulness and meditation came into my life at a time of poor health, habits, and decision making all around. This combined with treating my body poorly left me unhappy and discontent with life. Some may argue depressed and lonely. Not my finest hours, admittedly. Whatever, mindfulness for me is being present. Present to make the right decisions, present to stay focused on whatever it is you’re doing, and present to always be grateful, appreciative, and humble towards every beautiful day of life. We don’t deserve much in this life; we earn it.

I’m certain these will continue to vary as time goes on

My life philosophy and habits are what help me become who I am today. With that said, will publish another blog about my professional goals and how I plan to add the most value to the world with the gifts I’ve been given. Also, I will share what I have for upcoming projects once my goals are more clear for this year.

Thanks for reading! Leave a comment below with one of your goals for 2018!

What Can You Write in 15 Minutes?

Write, carry a journal, research and more. What can you do in 15 minutes?

A Writer's Path


by Kelsie Engen

Writers can mostly agree that writing is a time consuming process. You write a first draft, step back, revise into a second draft, send out for feedback (beta readers or developmental editor), receive and revise, send for final edits, then finally submit and (possibly change) and then publish. Whew. I get tired just writing that list.

Then factor in this: Some authors spend a decade or more writing and perfecting their novels.

So…what can you possibly do in 15 minutes?

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Innovate Adapt or Die

InnovationYou want to change the world? Recognize the fact that innovation does not exist without the interaction of people. You want to inspire the world and surround yourself with leaders and create a way to approach them in a way that they cannot say no. Provide them the help they did not know was needed or existed. Is there a reason that our society is lopsided with 1% of people having the greatest wealth? Are they happy? Maybe they are, but to me, I find the inspiration in the journey towards personal success. It’s only when personal victories are met that we can begin to strive toward successful interdependence. If you want to be in a position to innovate, inspire and change the world then do it! Put words to your mission in life and begin establishing action items to fulfill your purpose… Two books that dramatically impacted my life are “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, by Stephen Covey, and “How Successful People Think”, by John C. Maxwell. There were many crucial takeaways for me from these books, including how to understand and apply new information into my life. One, you CAN change your thinking. Big picture thinking is step number one. To conceptualize your life and define your vision is an absolute must but this does not come easy. The ability to do so will then lead to other ways to think differently, this includes focused thinking, creative thinking, reflective thinking, possibility thinking and more. The difficulty was in changing the way my brain thought about almost every aspect of my life. I had disciplines and habits that were deeply rooted from childhood. It was time to change these habits once and for all. I did this through continual and repeated testing and learning of each different mode of thinking to put these concepts into action. I will be doing this for the rest of my life intermittently or until I find true success and feel confident in my mission in life.

Incorporating the habits of effective people Stephen Covey describes changed my life, “Be proactive, begin with the end in mind, and put first things first” being the first three. These habits, in particular, helped me evaluate what I valued most deeply. I learned how to focus on doing what is truly important over everything else. I would recommend clearly writing, revising and defining your personal mission/vision in life whenever you feel it in your gut that it is time to change. Write it down and speak from the heart when writing it. You may realize your time and effort each day may be spent towards actions that contribute little to your personal bottom line. Your success in the one life you have. These actions may be preventing you from taking yourself to the next level and to become better at what you’re already great at. Are you an artist? In real estate? An investor? A recruiter? Or maybe you’re a mountaineer. It does not matter. What matters is that you are in control of your life and that each and every decision you make reflects your character and how you are viewed by society. I’m not saying to act as others would expect, act in a way that truly reflects who you are and what makes you uniquely valuable in this world. This is not easy, but with discipline and a desire to change you can achieve great success. As Nicholas Sparks said, “Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that.”

As I divulge into lifelong personal development, I understand this journey will be forever demanding. We all have a unique strength that when enhanced will change the world. To me, the greatest achievement in one’s life is to become increasingly more useful to the world. I strive to be the 1%. The 1% that never back down from a challenge to be the best at who they are. If you feel you need more direction and clarity to your vision, read “How Successful People Think”. Use this book to help promote personal growth and understanding of your own journey and path in life. I’d then recommend “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” to expand your mind and apply the new ways of thinking about life. There is no such thing as coincidence. To me, it is merely a result of wise decisions over and over again.