The Year of Focus

SummerOfRun7I think thematically.

As each year comes to a close, I spend December sitting with the work of my previous year. I sift through what I’ve created, I look at what I didn’t create, and conceptualize what I want my next year to become.

I’ve always been methodical and particular in my thinking, but I’ve become much more directed in that thinking in my sobriety and as I get older.

Just in the past few years, I’ve dedicated my time to:

Each of those represented a singular goal on which I could affix my gaze. No matter what happened during each of those time frames, I could always pull myself back to the center.

This year as I’ve been evaluating my life’s work this year, I’ve started asking myself a very serious question: “What’s next?” My answer, while still in flux, is coalescing around the idea that I have lost focus in my life. I’ve become too complacent, allowing myself to be pulled along by the tidal forces around me.

I’ve stopped actively pursuing. I’ve traded my fire for a passive acceptance of whatever happens around me.

It’s an easy problem to develop. One minute you’re making active decisions, and the next minute you’re reacting to stimuli around you. Before long, your life becomes a series of responses instead of a series of actions.

I recognized that pattern in myself this year, and so I’ve decided to fight back. I’ve decided this is The Year of Focus. My goal is simple: Identify the thematic areas of my life where I want to improve, set my goals, and hold myself accountable for the time and energy I spend on them. Each week I’ll track my progress on the blog.

Phase I: Know More

Goal: To carve time out of my schedule to read both short- and long-form writing.


  • Read The Guardian newspaper (Kindle)
  • Read The New York Times Updates (Kindle)


  • Read 26 books, and review them at Goodreads.
  • Read The Atlantic (Kindle)


  • Read MIT’s Technology Review (Kindle)
  • Read The Virginia Quarterly

Phase II: Pay More Attention to My Health

Goal: To consciously move from maintaining my health to actively getting healthier.

  • Run 20 miles per week
  • Attend 4 CrossFit classes per week
  • Weigh 180 pounds at year’s end (down 12 lbs)

I’ve built specific Olympic lifting goals and running goals for the year, but those are less interesting that the habitual nature of the working out and eating right.

I’ll be tracking my fitness goals and nutrition elsewhere if you’d like to join those communities.

Phase III: Write More

I’ll be constructing the second part of this post later this week that outlines my writing, and what I hope to accomplish. Much like Phase I and II, the goal isn’t about completing a product as much as it’s about creating a habit.

Phase IV + V: Work + Life

Some of these goals I’ll discuss later, and some I won’t discuss at all. That’s the nature of work politics and a shared married life. As they are relevant and public, though, I’ll discuss those plans.

What is your focus?

Part of the joy of my yearly journey is hearing from others as they pursue their goals. This year should be no different. Where will you place your focus?

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