2011: “Get Shit Done!”

by Nate Nicholls · 8 comments

Photo by jordansrealm (Flickr)

I’ve always been a dreamer. I’m really good at it. You give me a topic, and I’ll give you a corresponding dream. I can take a simple thought and quickly turn it into a multi-million dollar idea. It’s true.

Here’s one catch, though: I’ve never actually done anything with these wonderful ideas.

What good is an idea if it doesn’t lead to anything else? Answer: It’s no good!

So, because I’m tired of having brilliant ideas with nothing to show for them, I’ve decided to quit dreaming and just start doing. That’s why I’m calling 2011 the Year of Getting Shit Done. Not very classy, perhaps, but quite motivating.

The biggest reason I never get anything done is that I always find reasons why a plan won’t work, or why I just don’t know enough to pull it off, or…something. 2011 is going to be is different!

By the end of this year, I’ll have accomplished some things. They may not be perfect and grandiose, but they’ll be infinitely more valuable than the multi-million dollar ideas that I’ve had but never implemented. Tangible beats potential.

Here’s what I intend to accomplish in 2011….

  • Be in shape for and finish at least one 10K (6.2-mile) race.
  • Be in shape for and finish at least one Sprint length trathlon.  (Spring length is a 500-700 yard swin, 12.2-mile bike, and 5K run.)
  • Invest more (and quality) time in relationships.
  • Start a profitable online business that brings in a minimum of $500/month by the end of August.

This last one scares me to death. It’s huge. I find myself worrying that I can’t do it, but I’ve studied my idea quite a bit and have learned of a number of people who have successfully done that (and more) in the same amount of time.

So, let’s look at each of these goals, one-by-one.

Fit to Race

I have already run in three official 5K (3.1-mile) races and I have run over 5K in training, so running a 10K seems to be the logical next step and I expect this to be the easiest of my two fitness goals to achieve.

Running a triathlon, on the other hand, is quite a big challenge, but I am excited about it. When I “discovered” running last year, I realized that I enjoy the challenge of pushing myself. I enjoy seeing if I can do something that is tough to do.

My focus is not really to be the best or fastest, just to see if I can get the job done without taking any shortcuts. For example, when I decided to run my first official 5K race, the Hope Wagon Trail Run (Hope, AK), I set a personal goal of completing the race. I didn’t worry if I needed to walk part of the way; I just wanted to cross the finish line. (I did walk about half the race, but I finished it.) For my second 5K race, the goal was to run the entire way from start to finish, preferably in under 30 minutes. (I ran the whole way and made it across the finish line in 28:44.)

The idea of a triathlon is intriguing because it combines three different sports: swimming, biking, and running. I know I can handle each segment of the race on its own (probably fairly easily), but I know it will be hard to string those three together in one continuous race. I will have to be very dedicated to finishing, if I want to succeed.

Like with my first couple of 5K races, I don’t hope to be competetive in either the 10K or the triathlon. I just want to finish them. Any competition will be with myself. Once I prove to myself that I can finish them, I can then move on to trying to better my time from race to race.

In a way, my goal of running a 10K race and completing a triathlon (and even my earlier goal of completing a 5K) is representative of my motto for 2011. I want to get shit done this year. I want to finish something significant – even if it’s not perfect, I want to have something to show for my time, at the end of this year. I’m tired of lofty dreams with no real-world payoff. It’s time to get shit done!

Investing In Relationships

This category needs a few sub-categories. These sub-categories will be Gabrielle, The Dogs, and Friends.

Gabrielle

Gabrielle and I started out as friends. First we were buddies, then friends, then roommates…then boyfriend and girlfriend. It’s been an odd progression, but it’s worked for us. One of the things I love about our relationship is that it began as a friendship and grew from there. There was no sexual tension, no flirtation, nothing but friendship with no thought of anything more. This, I believe, allowed our relationship to grow organically. By the time we realized we were interested in each other, we were well past the awkward part of our relationship. There was no first-date braggadocio, no pretending to something we were not.

The romance was, at times, a little awkward, but our strong friendship provided a great foundation. We are thriving!

Though our friendship is the cornerstone of our relationship, living life as a couple does necessarily change some things. Over time, our individual crossing paths have become braided, intertwined. We are traveling together now and that means, increasingly, that our lives are becoming one.

When two entities join forces, it is usually for the purpose of some express goal. Perhaps, in the case of a relationship, it is to make a better life together. Sometimes when two things become one, their strengths are combined into one dynamic force. And, sometimes the combination causes both to lose the attractive qualities that caused them to unite in the first place. I think the latter happens when the partners lean on each other, relaxed because of the notion that they’re stronger/better now – therefore, they no longer put forth any effort toward their goal. The former happens only when the two remember that they are still two, but on one path and with one goal. They push toward their goal together, neither resting but finding strength in each other to continue toward their singular goal.

I am incredibly happy with my partner, Gabrielle. Our relationship is healthy and happy. But, I want to focus on our friendship and how I can be a better partner. I don’t want to become complacent and neglect the things that brought us together.

In 2011, I plan to spend more time with Gabrielle – not just sitting on the couch next to her, but engaging her as a friend. I was attracted to her mind and her personality. I want to spend time exploring those more in 2011. I want to protect our friendship. Of course there will be practical, relational things to tend to, and of course there will still be romance; but I want to maintain our foundation, maintain our original strength.

The Dogs

For the average modern person, there is no “practical” (work-/survival-related) need for a dog. The only reason most people get dogs these days is because dogs offer a sort of companionship.

Both of our dogs were adopted from the dog pound, not because we needed them, but because we wanted them. We wanted their companionship.

In the last several months I have let my relationship with Pax (“my” dog – the one I trained) go a bit. When we adopted Taiga (“Gabrielle’s” dog – the one she trained), we quickly realized that she was possessed by demons. In order to spend our time exorcising the legions, we left Pax (“The Good Son”) alone for a while.

That was my fault. I’ve realized lately that I have neglected him. I no longer view him as my companion, but as an accessory, like my couch or desk…but with moving legs and awful gas!

This year I have decided to reclaim my relationship with my dogs. Pax and I are going to spend more time together. We will re-learn some of the commands that have been forgotten these last several months while we’ve been wrestling Beelzebub training Taiga. But, we will also play together and run together (after it warms up outside).

The same goes for Taiga, too. She has been Gabrielle’s training project, so I needed to stay back so they could bond first. They’ve done so and now it’s time for me to step it up. My dogs are part of the family, too. I need and want to be in their lives in a meaningful way. This year, I will make my dogs my companions.

Friends

I’ve been changing a lot lately. The last couple of years have been both awful and awesome. I am honestly glad for the bad times, though. I am glad because they’ve helped me to grow. They have helped me to see the changes and move more willingly toward them.

In the last year or so, I have become explicitly aware of those changes. I realize that who I am has changed considerably. My values and where I am headed in life have changed. Though it was a bit confusing when I first came to realize that I was changing, I am quite happy with the changes and embrace them fully.

One thing that the changes have caused me to notice, however, is that I have drifted from my friends a bit. In 2010 I spent very little time with my friends. I began to realize that my goals and values did not match theirs very well. It was hard to be with them, not because I didn’t love them, but because it was hard to relate.

Part of this was because many of my friends hang out in a large group together. I find that I feel more alienated from the group than I do from any one of them as individuals. (Groups/communities have cultures. The culture may not represent each individual member in that group, but it is the basis of community. Therefore, a person may relate to an individual member of the group without relating to the group as a whole.) I found it was hard to feel like I fit in. The jokes weren’t as funny as they used to be, the conversations didn’t have much interest for me. I just didn’t feel like I belonged.

This really bothered me at first, but I have begun to realize that it’s a normal part of life. People change.

Another part of why I have drifted is that, because my values have changed, I have been investing my time in other things. One example is that I have been trying to do more outdoor activities. Last summer I started kayaking, went on several backpacking trips, and ran a couple of races. Doing these things takes time, of course, and it kept me out of town (and away from friends) on most weekends.

As I have reflected on my friendships over the past few months, I began to evaluate them. I began to consider what each individual person has meant to me throughout the months and years I have known them. I realized that some of these folks were just buddies, casual relationships; some were close friends, like family.

I have come to understand that I probably can’t have everything I want, so I need to be picky about the things I pursue. I want to be more active outdoors, I want to compete in some sporting events, and I want to start my own business. But, I also want to have close connections with people I love. I need family and close friends, so I need to invest time in them, too.

I believe we keep friends primarily because they benefit us. Sure, we feel indebted to some friends and we might feel like we owe them help when they’re moving or painting or organizing a birthday party for their spouse; but, we make friendships (and keep them) with people who bring something to the table, something that benefits us. Maybe the friend provides an emotional benefit (they are the ones you pour your heart out to), maybe an intellectual benefit (they offer stimulating conversation), maybe entertainment (your drinking or “hang out” buddies), maybe it’s a combination of these benefits or something else altogether. But, friends offer a benefit and that’s why we enter into relationships with them.

I know I’ll sound like an asshole for admitting this, but I am not ashamed of it: I have been analyzing my friendships lately, assessing how they benefit me. It’s not a selfish analysis, but a practical one. I only have so much time in the day. I have things I need to work on. Among those things are meaningful relationships. It doesn’t make sense to spend a little time with a lot of people if I’m trying to develop meaningful relationships. If I want to develop and maintain close, meaningful relationships, then I need to invest a significant amount of time in them. So, in 2011, casual friendships are not a priority. I have chosen a few people – some of whom I already love dearly, and some whom I feel the possibility of a great connection – and I plan to focus on them this year.

Instead of passive hanging out, I plan to invest my time in a meaningful way with these few individuals. I’ll probably go to a lot less neighborhood BBQs in 2011, but I guarantee the time I share with friends this year will be meaningful.

A Business That Provides $500/month in Income

This one scares me to death, but I need to do it. I’ve had money-making ideas and pseudo-plans for years, but have been barren in the results department. That ends in 2011.

I won’t write too much about this right now, because I’m still working out a few details in my plan. I do have a plan, though, and I’m already pursuing it.

My ultimate goal is to have a business that completely supports me. I have a lot of learning to do, but I won’t wait until I become an expert before I take the first step.

I am biting off quite a bit with the goal of establishing a $500-per-month business, but I think I can do it, if I focus.

Conclusion

So, that’s what 2011 holds for me. I’m going to Get Shit Done! this year.

One last thing: I also plan to blog in 2011. I made a promise to my best friend, Marshall Jones, that I would update this blog once a week. If I don’t, he has strict orders to kick me very hard in a very sensitive spot. Writing has been a passion of mine, but I’ve never practiced it with any regularity. That also changes in 2011.

Now, pardon me….I have work to do!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Bex January 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm

I’m proud of you. I look forward to seeing you accomplish all of your goals. Thank you for sharing with us. You are very motivating and a wonderful writer. I’ll be checking back in later to see what’s up. Good luck Nate!

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Nate January 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Thanks, Beck! I look forward to posting my results, as I accomplish all my goals! 🙂 Thanks for checking the blog out.

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Mom February 4, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Awesome, Nate! I think you could have chosen a better title….one that truly shows your ability with words….something more than a cliche. You inspire me to be better! Thank you, Nate! 🙂

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Nate February 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I’m glad you’re inspired by it. I’m a little intimidated by it, myself. 🙂 Now that I’ve committed to doing all this stuff publicly, I have a little more pressure to get it all done. …and some of those goals scare me to death.

Reply

Mom February 6, 2011 at 12:41 am

I understand that. Focus on your reasons for wanting to accomplish your goals, not on the difficulty or the enormity of the task, nor on the fact that you’ve declared your intentions to the world. those things will only distract & possibly discourage you. You CAN accomplish your goals, though they may be difficult. 🙂

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