Groundhog Day Resolution Review 12/12/2009 – Finish Line

SUMMARY: I recap the lessons learned from 2009’s Groundhog Day Resolutions process, month-by-month. I also unveil the “brainstorming kit” that I started working on last night.

It’s the official end of the Groundhog Day Resolutions period; after December 12, I suspend activity related to Groundhog Day Resolutions (GHDR) to focus on enjoying the holiday season. The official start of the GHDRs in 2010 will be February 2nd. This gives me time to decompress from the holiday madness and contemplate my goals.

Technically, the 12/12 review is the year review to see how I did on accomplishing my goals. Let’s see how the year went.

Groundhog Goals A-Changing

Every year I’ve done it, my goals have tended to change throughout the year. I’ve also noticed that are never specific enough. Much of the time is spent in reflection so I can define the context of my overall goals; I guess this is one of my personal challenges. As a result, my GHDR activities are exploratory in nature, not task-focused. To get the big picture, I can review the past 10 months of GHDR reviews:

  • February – Was really feeling lost, deferred the decision on the specific goals to March. Defined a process and focus on creating tangible goals. But procrastinated.
  • March – Decided I wanted to create a virtual “shop full of things I liked”; hired personal assistant to help with the Emergent Task Planner printing and selling on Amazon process.
  • April – A month of declaration (and still no specific goals): Today, I’m content to just say that I want to write about what catches my eye and create that which illuminates, and through these activities establish financial independence by selling products that tickle my fancy; actively seeking collaborators and co-schemers in the Southern New Hampshire / Greater Boston Area to see what kind of daily face-to-face time I can guarantee in my workday; rebrand strongly around my core values and funnest competencies.
  • May – Wallowed around trying to define the “kind of designer” I am. Still no specific goals. Restlessness continues!
  • June – Stopped worrying about making specific goals, because they weren’t clear. Recommit to local collective group; added new directives: be part of other people’s projects and make something every day.
  • July – Reported on progress, tried to institute some new processes for maintaining a methodical pace.
  • August – Three directives clarified! Communicating with a variety of people one-on-one, local and long distance, in person and over the internet, familiar and unknown, for the purpose of mutual inspiration. Creating tangible new things every day, and showing what I’ve made to other people. Being involved in dreams that are larger than myself, with people that I like and respect, and witnessing them come to fruition. Also, identifying two approaches to productive mindsets: being versus doing.
  • September – The three directives and dual productivity mindsets are assessed. Conclusion: they seem to be working, and I feel more motivation than before. Also: accepted that I need to just admit that I can do web development and start offering it.
  • October – Forgot to do them! Emergent Task Planner pads go to print, and are fulfilled on Amazon finally after almost three years of experimenting with producing a physical product!
  • November – A zillion things come together.

It has been a slow learning process. Over the year, I learned more about my personality, my desires, and my place in the world. In particular, the November review marked the start of a new period of motivation and sureness, a result triggered through the visualization processes described in my master vantage point article. However, I think the critical mental shift started much earlier in July, when I decided I needed to be part of things that are bigger than myself; that is, participating in the grand projects and dreams of other people. This involvement has been the catalyst for much of my development, and the motivation for continuing to push toward my own goals because I see other people doing the same. It has been very enriching.

Creating the Financial Machine

Now that I’m feeling pretty settled in my direction, it becomes possible to FINALLY get my head wrapped around the revenue problem. My major resolution for the past couple years has been the same: achieve financial independence by 2010 so I can start travelling around. It doesn’t look like this will happen by the beginning of 2010, but I’m getting a running start now.

The idea of creating a financial machine has been on my mind since I wrote about the [instructive hours spent playing farming, zoo, and restaurant games][games] on Facebook. Last night, I started outlining the components for my machine:

Master List It’s a brainstorming kit from which I can construct revenue-generating ideas. The component groups that are currently available are:

  • Five Goals – these are my “5 destinations” as described in my master vantage point article.
  • Tangible Production + People Skills: These are things I do that people perceive as valuable in a tangible sense. Stuff I can make that you can hold, or positive impressions that I can make on people.
  • Experience and Claimed Expertise: These are areas of endeavor where I have knowledge and experience in following processes that produce results, even if I am not the person who creates them with his own hands. Still perceived as valuable by people, but a little more abstract.
  • Sources of Money: A growing list of tangible goods and services that people are willing to pay for.
  • Product Channel: More specific categories of goods and services that can be derived from my assets, experiences, and means of production.

What’s missing are the following groups:

  • Interesting and Energizing Ideas/Activities: the things that I really enjoy doing, bring pleasure to me, and feel worthwhile.
  • Moral Imperatives: what I hold dear to me and am willing to fight for.
  • Audience/What I Like about People: the qualities that I find enjoyable in people, whom I interact well with.
  • Assets and Intellectual Property: What I have made or have kicking around that can be sold or repurposed.

Once these are all filled out, I have the means to create my own products based on randomly-selected elements from each group. If I pick one card each from even just the current groups, I should be able to come up with a product idea that can be evaluated and put into production. These products can then be put into my business plan spreadsheet, which will aggregate the various sources of income and allow me to project future revenue based on whatever targets I choose. For example:

  1. I pick LEADERSHIP from the “Experience” group
  2. I pick CONTENT WRITING from the “Tangible Production” group
  3. I pick “(1) DESIGN BIZ” from the 5 Destinations (these are strategic contexts)
  4. I pick PACKAGED DESIGN for SALE from the “Product Channel” group

If I had to combine all these ideas together, I could do something like:

  • A nice book printed at Lulu or Blurb about “Creating your own path with an experimental Agency”, which tells the story of Agenceum, for sale.

The brainstorming kit isn’t quite ready, but this itself could become a useful consulting product. It should be pretty awesome when it’s done.

Next Steps for 2010

I’m not sure how I will practice GHDR for next year…it feels like I need to reassess the entire system, because my goals are now on a weekly basis instead of monthly. I know a few other people have implemented GHDRs, so I’ll have to visit their blogs and see how it worked out for them. GHDR is really just a mnemonic device that can be adapted for anything requiring monthly periodic review…but it’s time to put such thoughts aside and celebrate the holiday season.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, everyone! We’ll revisit our Groundhog Day Resolutions on February 2, 2010.

Past Articles in the 2009 Groundhog Day Resolutions Series