Custom Built Team Building and Leadership Initiative Training

New Year’s Resolution and Top 10 Goals

Welcome to 2012! How was your 2011? My 2011 was awesome, and in case you missed it, we welcomed Sweet Baby Jane, I traveled to Cuba, completed The Labor Day Challenge, wrote a book, and of course started Experiential Adventure.

Cuba 2011

With the sun setting on 2011, I have caught myself dreaming and declaring the upcoming year. So, what does 2012 have in store for me, my family, and Experiential Adventure? What resolutions, goals, and dreams will I aspire to achieve in the next 366 days? (You have an extra day to accomplish your goals this year.)

2012 Resolutions:

In the past, I have set entirely too many resolutions to start a new year. There has been considerable research on how to actually follow and keep your new aspirations, and my research year after year tells me I struggle with multiple resolutions. This year I have one resolution:

1. Become more flexible.

This isn’t gross at all.

Anyone that has ever witnessed me trying to sit on the floor knows I am ridiculously inflexible. Not just inflexible, but pathetically inflexible. It’s not that touching my toes would be nice, but I would jump with joy if I could touch my ankles. I would love to be able to sit on the floor without having to support my back. I do not know when I became inflexible, but I have struggled with it my whole life. I never passed the President’s Fitness Challenge as a kid because I failed the stretching test every year (dominated the run, however). Breaking my hip in high school and a lifetime of never stretching has made things worse over time. Becoming flexible has been a constant resolution on my get-better list, and obviously it hasn’t happened. Now, I am getting older, and it is getting worse.

How I make it happen:

I plan to stretch for a minimum of five minutes per day. I plan to occasionally practice yoga. I plan to stretch after each workout.  I will measure my progress by writing on my legs as I start to stretch lower and lower. (Not really..but maybe) Seriously though, I will be happy if I could touch my toes and sit on the floor with ease.

2012 Goals:

You know what is awesome about goals? Very few people know how to realistically set goals. You may be asking yourself, “why would he say that is awesome?” It is awesome because once you correctly learn to set SMART goals, it is almost as if you are predicting the future. Whaaaaaaa?

If you determine that you will positively, without a doubt, no questions asked make your goals a reality, you are determining the direction your life is headed. Eric Pio says, “If you know it’s going to happen there’s no need to call it a dream.”  Let’s change our mindset about goals. Let’s become SMART about the goals we make for our life. Let’s start directing our future…might as well start today, might as well make 2012 the year.

This year I have many goals, but I am going to highlight my Top 10 goal list…

1. Pay off student loans.

I graduated…into $20,000 of debt!

Going to college was one of the smartest decisions I have made in my short life. Some of the decisions I made in college, not so much. I started at NSU in the fall of 2001 as a bright-eyed freshmen with a full scholarship. I graduated 5 years later with a degree, amazing experiences, and nearly $20,000 in student loan debt. What happened you ask? Well, I’d like to blame it on a tough major  (pre-physical therapy), my busy fraternity and social lifestyle, girls, or even my professors. However, I was lazy, unmotivated, and ill-prepared for the rigors of collegiate academics. I lost my scholarships and had to pay my own way. Eventually I regained my scholarships, and even attained a master’s degree, but not before I racked up thousands in debt. I do not regret the loans, I did what I needed to survive, but it will sure be nice to not have the $205 payment every month.

How I make it happen:

Kristin and I owe $3,808.26 to student loan debt (Kristin graduated with 151 hours and a 4.0 in four years with no debt at NSU…I hope Jane is like her momma and not her dad!). We typically pay $205 a month to OSLA, but since it is the only debt we have other than our mortgage, we are able to pay more each month. We also plan on placing our entire 2012 federal tax return on the student loans. I expect to be out of student loan debt by March.

2. Save $10,000 for emergency fund.

One of the most influential books I read last year was Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover.” It was a eye-opening look at how to handle finances, and I have been following his plan with gazelle-like intensity since I finished the book. Ramsey explains “baby steps” a couple should follow to become debt free, and eventually rich. Step 1 is to save $1,000 for an emergency fund (check). Step 2 is to pay off all debt using the debt snowball (almost check). Step 3 is to save up 3-6 months emergency funds (2012 check).  The reason Kristin and I have so little student loan debt now is because we nearly depleted our savings account paying our student loans. We still have the $1,000 emergency fund, but Ramsey suggests using your built up savings to pay off debt to avoid heavy interest payments. So far this has been extremely successful for our family’s finances. After we pay off our student loan debt in March, we will only have our mortgage as debt, and we will be able to place over $1,000 a month into our savings account. This was money we were paying every month into several different types of debt and interest, but now will be freed up to place in savings.

How I make it happen:

Pay off students loans, live a financially responsible lifestyle, make any extra money we can: give plasma, garage sale, etc. I fully anticipate reaching this goal by the end of 2012. (Next baby step for 2013, retirement savings!!!)

3. Facilitate 25 paid EA events.

Ropes Course
25 EA Events in 2012

I started Experiential Adventure in January 2011 as an opportunity to make some money off of one of my hobbies. I truly envisioned it as a means to my dream of traveling with my work. If you know me at all, you know I love to explore the world, regardless of destination or reason. I thought Experiential Adventure would allow me to get paid to travel, meet new people, and hopefully share some of my passion of experiential learning with others who wanted to better reach their students/clients.

I never dreamt that I would have presented events in four states and Cuba in one year. I facilitated at church camps, leadership camps, universities, and at ropes courses. The highlight of Experiential Adventure so far is definitely the Cuba International Leadership Conference, where we worked with 300 Cuban youth leaders to better reach their students.

How I am going to make this happen:

This upcoming year I want to facilitate 25 paid events. I have already booked 10 events for 2012, but my overall goal is 25. I hope to meet my overall EA goal of training trainers, presenting keynote addresses, and facilitating the international trips. I am going to follow-up my leads from exhibiting at SWASAP, and I am going to present in TX, OK, NM, LA and AR.

4. International Leadership Camp

Murr the Personal Assistant

As stated above, I traveled to Cuba in July of 2011 to host the Cuban International Leadership Conference. I have a long-term goal of hosting a leadership conference on 6 continents by 2014. I am currently at 1! We have researched hosting camps in Thailand, Brazil, and Australia in 2012, but it seems certain that our international leadership conference will be in Romania.

How I am going to make this happen:

Jerrod Murr, my personal assistant (inside joke) for Experiential Adventure is gathering the details of this trip as we speak. I am currently in the process of raising funds to make the trip a reality.

5. Project Adventure Training

Don’t Break the Ice in PA

Project Adventure is an experiential-based non-profit organization based out of the Boston area, and they are by far the Godfather of challenge course facilitating, adventure based programming, and all things awesome. I was fortunate enough to travel to Beverly, MA with NSU ETS in 2007, and this trip specifically ignited my passion for experiential learning and leadership. I have used their initiatives and activities with my students in Educational Talent Search, and with my EA programming.

I need to go back. I need to enhance my skills. I need to meet the facilitators who are the experts in the field. I need to learn what it will take to become an experiential-based expert.

How I am going to make it happen:

I have saved up money and allocated some funds specifically for this training. As of now, the hardest part of making this trip is finding the time. I declare 2012 as Boston or Bust.

6. Read 52 books.

Book 1 of 52 in 2012

I read about 20 books in 2011. Books of all types and genres covering 100s of years of literature. My favorite book of 2011 was “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield. I also really enjoyed Karl Rohnke’s “On the Edge Games for Youth Leaders,” “Great Expectations” by Dickens, and “Of Mice and Men” by Steinbeck. I am about a quarter of the way through “The Leadership Challenge” by Kouzes and Posner, and I have a stack of books I am very interested in reading.

How I am going to make it happen:

A book a week. This will require steadfast dedication to reading, and I plan to set aside time every day to read. I will read on breaks, listen to audiobooks, and turn off the TV, computer, and iPhone in lieu of a good book. I don’t know if I will accomplish this goal, but I will certainly be better off for trying.

7. Check 12 things off the Bucketlist.

Let’s be clear, I love checking things off my Bucketlist. I am constantly looking for things to add to my list an researching how I can accomplish these tasks. However, 2011 was not a good year for my Bucketlist.The only thing checked off my list was on June 28, when I took my first Yoga class. This year is going to be a different story. I am officially declaring 2012 “The Year of the Bucketlist.” I have a goal of checking 12 items off the list in 12 months.

How I am going to make it happen:

These are the 12 items I am going to try to accomplish. I will work very hard to accomplish one item each month throughout the year.
1. Skydive
2. Learn to Legitimately Play a Song on any Musical Instrument
3. Teach someone illiterate to read
4. Write my will
5. Have six-pack abs
6. Create a Family Tree
7. Hit a hole-in-one
8. Go to a nudist colony
9. See Mt. Rushmore
10. Bungy Jump
11. Make a clay pot
12. Be involved in a heist

Of course, if anything ridiculously awesome happens to me that I want to add to my list and check off…I’ll make it happen.

8. Set a World Record.

From Guinness Themselves

I think most people want to set a world record. Most people aren’t able to, which is why it is a world record…makes sense doesn’t it?? This past year, I applied to attempt a world record. You can’t just break a record and then call the Guinness people to get your name in the book. One must apply to attempt a record, then get approval to break said record, and then break the record.

I applied to attempt a unique record…”Fastest mile hopped on one-leg.” I heard back from Guinness and  got the approval. I have been waiting for the right time to break this record…and I have decided 2012 is the year.

How I am going to make it happen:

I plan to “train” for this event once a week until I feel prepared to actually pursue the record. After I am ready, I will need to find an official timer for the event, and someone to officially measure the course. After these things happen, I simply need to break the record!

9. Get 6-pack abs.

Insert this goal under the self-vanity category. I have been half-way pursuing this goal for several years now (my whole life). I know this a frivolous pursuit, but I tell myself that the reason I want six-pack abs is to prove tom myself that I can do something ridiculously hard. I of course do this to ease my conscience a little.

I have conquered being skinny recently, and it was a challenge. Getting a six-pack takes an unreal amount of dedication and perseverance. You not only need to be physically fit, you must workout consistently, eat well, and stay focused for months. It will literally take me almost all year to accomplish this goal.

How I am going to make it happen:

I have found an effective abs routine that works for me. The problem is it is no fun and very hard. I will complete this exercise 3 times a week. I will also follow the Abs Diet for as long as it takes to get the six-pack. I need to weigh around 185 to have a six-pack, and I currently sit at about 200 lbs.

10. Get back into church.

Yes, I was that skinny!

I recently facilitated activities at the Assembly of God Oklahoma Student Leadership Retreat in Turner Falls. This place holds a special place in my heart, and every time I go back I am flooded with nostalgia. I remember times of Mud Mountain, KP duty, Brandon Nickell and the MG, and of course awesome services in the old outdoor tabernacle. As I walked up the hill to the cafeteria past the concession stand, I thought about how important my church family was to me as a teen. I lived and breathed Muskogee First Assembly. I was there Sundays, Wednesdays, and any other day I could catch a ride to the church. I literally grew up under the pews. I was saved there, baptized there, and even married there.

The fine folks at M1A helped me build the foundation of character I depend upon today, and I am who I am at my core in large part due to my tenure at that church. At some point I stepped away from attending church, not because I didn’t like it, but because it wasn’t convenient. I got busy, I had things to do, and going to a service on Sunday morning to hear someone preach something I had probably already heard did not fit into the schedule.

In the next few months I am going to take Sweet Baby Jane back to M1A to be dedicated. I am going there for the dedication for a couple of reasons, primarily because of my past history and my parents involvement in the church, but partially because I have no where else to go. I am still a Christian, and I still have my core beliefs gained as a youth, but I have no home church. This needs to change in 2012. I know that my baby girl needs the same opportunity to seek in her life. A chance to see if growing up in church is the right thing for her.

How I am going to make it happen:

Kristin and I have already discussed, and every Sunday we are in town we are going to church. We plan on getting involved in a small group. We are currently attending a small group with our good friends the Hahns on Sunday nights, and we plan to keep that up too.


Those are my goals. I hope that you didn’t fall asleep while reading my aspirations. I at least hope you enjoyed the photos. I am going to check in every quarter (every three months for you non-business types). I will update my results and hopefully my successes.

What are your resolutions? What are your goals? Is there anything I left off the list? Is there anyway you can help me achieve my goals? (If you feel so inclined to help, Number 2 would awesome) I challenge you to develop your own resolutions and goals. I challenge you to take control of your future and make your life the life you have always desired. It starts today and continues tomorrow. Take this life one day at a time and 366 days later, it will be 2013 and we can build upon 2012.

Make it happen.


One response

  1. Pingback: New Year’s Resolutions and Top 10 Goals Update « Experiential Adventure

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