Good morning and Happy New Year! It seems popular to talk about how you “don’t care for New Year’s resolutions.” Honestly, I think that’s because most people can’t stick to New Year’s resolutions or are afraid to commit publicly to them. Just because you can’t stick to yours doesn’t mean I can’t stick to mine…so here are mine for the coming year!
I set several goals last year: dry practice daily, read a book a week, and quit/stay off of tobacco. I also became an EMT and enrolled in paramedic school, which was a goal that developed mid-year. If you’re interested in what I did in 2019 I recently posted a full report. Today I’m going to talk briefly about my goals for 2021.
The Skills Audit
Before I get into this year’s goals I’m going to talk about where some of these goals came from: the ISG Skills Audit. The crew over at Integrated Skills Group developed an amazing, 80-question quiz to audit your survival skills and abilities. The questions are broken down to cover the following skill areas: Home & Community, Medical, Mobility, Primitive Skills, Protection, Sustenance, and Urban Skills. If you haven’t taken the ISG Skills Audit, I highly recommend it. It is one of the most well-designed quizzes of its type.
After having taken the quiz several times I have identified my biggest areas of improvement: primitive skills (hunting, trapping, etc.), fitness, and mobility. This year will focus on primitive skills and fitness. Note: fitness is not a category in the ISG Skills Audit, but the Audit does contain several questions pertaining to fitness…to which my honest answers are not current satisfactory. Next year I’ll work on improving my mobility. Again, if you haven’t taken the audit…take it! It’s well worth your time!
What About Dry Practice?
I have dry practiced almost every day for the past two years. To be honest… I’m kind of tired of dry practice. By November motivating myself to dry practice every day was truly an exercise in discipline (which is not a bad thing!). But I need a change of pace. I also need a change in physical ways. I developed a ganglion cyst on my left wrist which my doctor said was due to overuse. Due to increase in size, pain, and limitations to my range-of-motion, I stopped dry practicing in December (but due to investing time earlier in the year still met my overall goals).
I will still do some dry practice this year. I’m not committing to a set regimen because most of my time is going to other skills where I have huge room for improvement.
Here are my resolutions for 2021.
1. Stay Tobacco-Free
I wondered about putting this one on here because it’s a negative (a “don’t do”). But it’s the most important one to me this year, so here it is. Sounds easier said than done, but this is definitely a goal that requires some effort. I’ll hold myself accountable here.
My girlfriend and I – like everyone else, I supposed – invested in a home gym this year. We are just starting to get everything together and squared away. We currently have a barbell, a squat rack, some bumper plates (in 45#, 25#, and 10# increments) and some kettlebells (2x 25#, 1 ea. 35# and 45#). We’ve done a lot of hiking and a lot of outdoor work this year (cutting wood, moving wood, pushing wheelbarrows, turning compost, etc.) but not a lot of real, dedicated strength or endurance training.
My goal in 2021 is to workout three times a week with a 30-45 minute, high-intensity, Crossfit-style workout. I’ll chart the results here in lieu of the dry practice reports I posted last year. I’ll be straight up with you: I’m not a gym rat. I’m in pretty decent shape from an active lifestyle but I’ve gotten pretty soft in the past few years. This will definitely be a beginner’s program, at least at first. Some of you will already be doing way, way more than me, and these posts won’t be to impress you with the workouts I’m doing. It’s for me, to keep myself honest.
I’ve said before that most people are doing what they’re comfortable with. The dude that loves shooting tells you that you need to shoot more. The dude that loves rolling tells you that you need more BJJ in your life. The dude that loves running…well, you get it. I don’t like exercising. I’m doing this in spite of not liking it. I’m doing it because it needs to be done, not because I’m enjoying it.
3. Shoot a Bow
I’m a very good shooter with firearms. I probably have more skill than 95% of the firearms owners out there, due to my experience, training, and regimen of regular, ongoing practice. That’s not a boast, just a very honest, straightforward self-assessment. What I’m not good with is a bow. In fact, other than a few very casual sessions with buddies I’ve never really shot a bow (the last time was a half-dozen arrows, about a year ago).
This year I intend to correct that. I have purchased a traditional long bow and some arrows (and a few other things, like an arm guard and a target). This year I intend to get some training. Then, I intend to shoot at least 12 arrows across my bow, at least three days a week. Some days I might shoot more arrows, and some weeks I might shoot on more days, but that’s my minimum.
My first training session – a 1-on-1 session with a world-class bowyer and traditional archer in my area – has already happened. After that I’m off to the races, with a few more planned sessions with him. By the end of this year I hope to feel confident and competent enough to hunt big game with a bow next year.
4. Learn a Language
I got this idea from Joshua Sheats of the Radical Personal Finance Podcast. Joshua offered a couple episodes this summer about learning a foreign language and all the ways it benefits you. I realize that to truly be Jason Bourne/Jack Bauer/James Bond, I probably need a bit more foreign language than what I remember from my high school French classes.
Though it’s not terribly exotic, I’m going to learn Spanish. Spanish seems pretty pedestrian, but is perhaps the most valuable language in the Western hemisphere. Hell, fluency with Spanish is an automatic raise at my job, and it will certainly come in handy. It will also increase my score a bit on the ISG Skills Audit under “Urban Skills.”
I am probably not going to entirely learn a language this year, but I’m going to get a jump-start on it for sure. Joshua offers a number of tools; I’m going to commit to ten minutes a day with the DuoLingo app. I have used it before and it’s pretty easy to stick to. With another six months of paramedic school, studying for state and National Registry tests, and preparing for boards with the Medical Director, I already have a pretty full academic calendar this year, so DuoLingo seems like a good middle ground.
I loved my reading goal of one book per week last year. It kept prodding me to read more, more, more… This year I’m going to be a just a tiny bit more ambitious. Instead of a book per week, I’m going to shoot for an average of a book every five days, or 73 books per year. I got pretty close to that last year, but didn’t quite make it. I want to make set the bar higher, while keeping the goal realistic.
6. Successfully Complete Paramedic School
I put this last but that doesn’t mean it’s the least important. It’s very important, but at this point my life pretty much revolves around school so I should be able to get it done pretty easily. In addition to completing school I have some sub-goals:
- Pass my state test,
- Pass the National Registry exam,
- Pass my boards with my agency’s Medical director
To quickly recap, here are my goals for 2021:
- Workout 3x/week
- Shoot my bow 3x/week
- DuoLingo Spanish lesson 10 minutes, 1x/day
- Read a book every 5 days on average, 73/year
- Stay tobacco-free, 24 hours/day, 365 days
- Complete paramedic school and successfully test
I completely reserve the right to change these, but I have some tentative goals for 2022.
Hunt: In 2022 I want to get serious about hunting. That will mean finding someone to show me the ropes and probably most difficult, finding a location. I definitely want to get more comfortable taking, processing, and eating wild game, eventually with rifle, handgun, and bow. I am also open to fishing, again from a desire to spend more time outdoors and participate more fully in the procurement of my own food.
Drive a motorcycle: I don’t know how to drive a motorcycle. I will probably never own one and have no desire whatsoever to be a regular rider…but I would like to know how to drive one, just for the sake of knowing how.
Finish Degree: I am just a few credits short of a bachelor’s degree. I would like to finish it for the sake of finishing.
The Bottom Line
And that’s it. I’ll report my progress to you guys, on at least a monthly basis.
What are your goals? What are you doing to achieve them? If you don’t have any, why not? If you have some, what is your plan to attain them? A goal without a plan is just a daydream – get to work!