My 2017 To-Do List

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Now that 2016 is behind us, I’m ready to take on this new year with drive and a lot of gusto. Last year was really great for me, and I think 2017 can be even better. With that in mind, I’ve made a list of things to accomplish over the next twelve months. I’m not going to call them “resolutions.” Instead, I’ll consider them guidelines by which I can measure how productive and successful my year was when I look back at the start of 2018. I feel confident that when that day comes I’ll be able to tick all of them off the list. Here they are:


VISIT ONE NEW PLACE

This is something I try to do every year. In 2016 I made it to a bunch of new places—Palm Springs, Mesa Verde, Big Bear, Portsmouth, NH—and I’ll definitely keep the tradition alive in this new year. I already have one road trip planned that will take me to Charleston, SC, a place I’ve never been and have always wanted to go.

TRAVEL MORE

This is also on my list every year because it’s what I love doing the most. I might write a post in the upcoming weeks about all the trips I have scheduled for the year so far, but I don’t know if they’ll match the epic travels my wife and I took in 2016, especially on our honeymoon through the Southwest. Going back there is definitely on the itinerary in 2017 though.

PUBLISH AT LEAST ONE TRAVEL ARTICLE THAT USES MY PHOTOGRAPHY

Traveling around the country on my honeymoon last year, it clicked for me. Visiting new places and taking photos are what I should be doing. When I came back I took a travel photography course on CreativeLive and made it my mission to get to as many places as I could and to document them. This year my goal is to do more of that on this blog and sell at least one of the pieces I create based on my travels. Once I get that first one under my belt I want to keep going.

READ AT LEAST ONE BOOK EVERY THREE WEEKS

2016 was a year of reading for me, so I want to keep that momentum going. Adding “Read for twenty minutes” to my daily habits on the Habit List app has definitely helped me to make reading a regular activity. I already have a fairly long reading list, so I need to make sure I stay at it. One book I’ll be reading every single day for sure is The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman. A daily quote from a Stoic philosopher is sure to start my day off right.

LOSE TEN POUNDS OF FAT AND GAIN FIVE POUNDS OF MUSCLE

I’ve already started down this road by changing my diet a bit (I’m now on a modified slow-carb diet and using exogenous ketones) and am working out more regularly. The diet I’m adapting to helps to decrease inflammation, which in turn decreases the breathing restrictions that go along with my asthma and allow me to exercise a lot easier—especially when it comes to running.

RUN AT LEAST THREE 5KS

This one is big for me. As an asthmatic I’ve had a lot of trouble running and strengthening my lungs in the past and my mindset around that really limited me. I ran my first 5K out in Los Angeles in October and it went incredibly well. Two factors really helped me to finish that run. A) The momentum of a crowd when running is overwhelming. It’s almost like a current that pulls you along. I had no idea. And B) I forgot my rescue inhaler and had to borrow one I’d never used before from someone who was running in my group. Because I didn’t know how it worked I wasn’t able to use it and finished the run at 33:00 with no inhaler at all and minimal breathing trouble. This showed me right away that the walls I’d hit and the thinking around not being able to get very far when running in my neighborhood are all in my head. It was illuminating. So I think with a new mindset and the diet I’ve adopted (and especially the ketones) I shouldn’t have any trouble meeting this goal of three 5Ks.

START ONE OR MORE NEW BUSINESSES

I’m always looking for ways to make more money, and over the past two years I’ve kicked around a few ideas, one of which is starting an Etsy store with my wife. I feel certain that’ll happen in 2017, so it shouldn’t be too hard to check this off the list. I’m hoping to build a photography business as well. This one is a little harder, but it’s what I’m focusing on the most this year. I think it’ll work out.

INCREASE MY INCOME BY AT LEAST 25%

Making more money goes hand-in-hand with starting new businesses—at least in theory. But regardless of how the ideas I came up to do that pan out, this goal of increasing my income by 25% seems reasonable. I can always get freelance design jobs to make it happen, and there are a lot of other ways I’m thinking about to bring in the extra cash. I like the challenge of setting this goal and tracking my progress as the year goes on. It’s easy with this one, too, because the numbers are concrete; I’m not measuring internal or artistic growth which is a bit more ambiguous.

BALANCE MY TIME BETTER BETWEEN WORK AND LIFE

In 2016 as I tried to get myself on track in my own life I realized it came at a price. I wasn’t spending as much time with my wife and friends as I would have liked. There are factors that make this tough: my wife works long hours in the city, and we live about an hour away by train. So the commuting takes a few hours of potential time together away from us. This year we’re both going to work harder to be together more. It’s a lot healthier than passing in the night, especially as newlyweds.

WORK AT LEAST ONE WEDDING AS A SECOND SHOOTER PHOTOGRAPHER

I’m not super into wedding photography, but during the half-dozen or so weddings I’ve attended in the past three years the photographer always had my focus. It’s fun to watch them work and I have supreme respect for how hard it must be to make sure you’re capturing all the right things for your clients. That’s why I’m interested in learning it as something I can do on the side. I have one connection whom I hope can become a bit of a mentor for me in this field throughout 2017. I think doing this will help my photography overall, and can also contribute to getting to that additional 25% income.

BEGIN MY SECRET CAT PHOTO BOOK PROJECT AND SELL IT

Recently I began writing down ten ideas everyday (thanks to James Altucher). One I came across a few weeks back really stuck with me, and my main goal for 2017 is to make it happen. I don’t want to give away the details just yet, but suffice it to say it’s a book that involves cat photography, inspired a great deal by Shop Cats of New York, a beautiful coffee table book I picked up a few months back. I think I’m looking forward to making this one happen the most.


That’s pretty much it for me. These are the things I’m focusing on in 2017. What are your goals for the year? I’d love to hear what you want to do and how you’re progressing.

Here’s to a magnificent 2017 for everyone!

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