The Goals of 2023

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Goals are important to our growth and they give us serotonin with a sense of accomplishment. Talking about your goals though can be tough. On one hand, you get the advantage of someone else getting invested into your wellbeing and their questions about your updates are a good way to keep you going. On the other hand, telling people about goals that you have only just started or will start soon can give you that serotonin early. People feel pride in your future accomplishments without anything needing to be done on your part. You tell someone a future goal, they are proud of you, you got the serotonin early, and you don’t feel the need to work hard on your goal for that sense of accomplishment. 

My philosophy therefore is to wait until you’re in the middle of your goals to tell people about them. Get out of the danger of feeling accomplished too early. I never defined this philosophy until now but I’ve believed it for a long time. In 2015 I was a freshman in high school and I learned about Ramadan, the holy month of fasting in the Muslim religion. I wanted to try it, but didn’t tell my Muslim teacher who’d taught me about it until halfway through the month. It was a real test of will, as I was still playing rugby at the time and couldn’t even drink water after the games or practices. This was a long story to say that goals shouldn’t be shared too early.

But now it’s May and that means that yearly goals should either be well on the way or completely given up on. So I feel like sharing a few of mine. 

Every year, I have a goal of how many books to read. I didn’t read much in college, so I wanted to get back into it after graduation. I successfully read two books last year (The Miracle of the Kurds by Stephen Mansfield and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig) albeit by reading 100 pages in the last three days of the year. This year the goal was doubled to four and I’m almost finished with the goal already. I read Cuba: an American History by Ada Ferrer and War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells so far, and I am more than halfway done through my other two books: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker and The Lucky Country by Donald Horne. I probably have an accumulative 200 pages left to read between the two and seven months to go before the end of the year.

Another goal of mine is to travel. If you read the blog, this is one that I openly share the results of. This year I started in New York for New Years, went back to Oklahoma for two weeks, drove back to Baltimore, flew down to Ecuador, moved to Philadelphia, took a vacation in Australia, and plan to make my way out west in the late summer and spend a week in France with my brothers. A goal of mine is also to visit all fifty states by the age of twenty-five. This one is going to be tough and it might be one of those goals of mine that is absolutely accomplishable but I still don’t get it done. In the end, I’m sure I’ll have visited them all, but I’ve seen 41/50 and the nine that I haven’t seen are all in the northwest or Hawaii/Alaska. I’ll let you know if I get this one done.

Another goal of mine is with money. I know this is a privileged topic, and I won’t write specific numbers, but if you don’t plan to live in a higher tax bracket than you grew up in, are you really in the United States? Because of my need-based scholarship in college, I graduated debt-free. I invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that reflect the growth of the economy instead of trying to pick the winners in a brutal world of business. And I have only taken money out of my investments once when I was doing poorly financially after college before starting my job. Leaving your money in an ETF for many decades will leave you with more money than you started. I haven’t added money into my investments all year, which is a problem on my part. My goal was to reach a certain number in net worth by the end of the year. I don’t know that that will happen with my current trajectory and it certainly doesn’t help that I travel so much. I’ll also let you know at the end of the year if this was accomplished.

Lastly, I aim to be able to speak with as many people as possible, which means speaking their languages. (I know, someone from the United States who wants to speak a second language??) So I took French in high school and Spanish in college. I get to practice both of them this year in my travels, but here’s where I’m breaking my rule. I want to learn Mandarin, and I started only a few weeks ago. It’s a tough language and it’s a slow process. I know I’m writing it down too early but I really do want to learn and I think it would be a very helpful language to know. Keep me on track if I’m slipping!

That’s all of mine! I’d love to hear yours, so feel free to message me and I can ask you about them from time to time as well!

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