2017 Goals

Last Updated on April 30, 2018 by Alex Birkett

I’m not usually a big New Year’s resolution guy. I never follow them. Usually, I forget about the resolutions a few months in. It’s hard to sustain that level of focus on what is usually quite a vague overreaching goal.

Big goals, small sprints

I’ve had some success with specific goals, such as reading 50 books a year (which is now a habit), or gaining 20 pounds of muscle (this year it’s about cutting and fitness instead of the gainz). But in general, I prefer shorter sprints.

So, I’ll do a 30-90 day experiment with some sort of goal attached. January through March for me is about cutting 10 pounds of fat through boxing and a paleo diet. Or I’ll do a 60 day sprint to learn a specific skill and complete a project with that skill (e.g. using R to templatize an initial Google Analytics audit).

2016 was a good year

In 2016, I hit many professional milestones, met many friends and mentors, and traveled a lot. I lived in Estonia for a few months. I got to practice my Spanish in Barcelona, attended conferences across the globe, and feel comfortable enough with HTML, CSS, and Javascript to write more complicated A/B tests (past simple copy changes). I picked up a decent amount of R at the end of the year, enough to do basic Google Analytics analysis work.

I spoke at The Email Design Conference & Content Promotion Summit, and I taught a landing page optimization course at MarketingProfs University. I wrote dozens of blog posts that received hundreds of thousands of views.

I embraced a daily habit of meditation, which I genuinely believe made every aspect of my life better.

Though I didn’t set any new year’s resolutions for the year, I felt it was my best year yet (my hope is that every year is better than the last).

2017 will be even better

Anyway, I figure writing down a few macro-goals for the year couldn’t hurt. These are more like themes – larger goals that will guide my shorter sprint goals. Here’s what is on my mind for 2016:

Advanced Data Analysis Skills

I mentioned learning R above, which I’m currently obsessed with. The rabbit hole here goes deep, but I’d like to be a competent R programmer, and I’d also like to be able to conquer more than the basics in Python. Luckily, these skills are super conducive to projects that help with work and are fun.


2016 was definitely my best traveled year. Europe twice and all over America. In 2017, I want to broaden my horizons and visit either South America or South East Asia (or both). Ideally, I’d take a long trip to a Spanish speaking country in South America to brush up on that skillset.


This year, I’ll be doing many sprints that have to do with health and fitness. Instead of the usual vanity stuff though (like my gaining muscle), I want to use health and fitness to complete a more interesting lifestyle.

By that, I mean starting a skill like BJJ (I did boxing last year and really enjoyed it), or sailing more often (I didn’t go at all last year). Perhaps this will also fuel into my travel plans, taking more active trips instead of the more debaucherous and metropolitan Berlin/Amsterdam/London type of travel.


So, my goals generally map to the healthy, wealthy, wise trio of Ben Franklin fame. I think it’s good to stick to the basics like that. Career development, experiential learning, and health development. Here’s to another awesome year.