5 Successes And Failures Of 2016: Lessons Learned

Another year has come and gone. The years sure seem to fly by, don’t they? I like to set a few simple goals each year. At the end of the year, I review my successes and failures. This year’s report is a little disappointing.

In December of last year I wrote a post, Moving Forward In 2016: Watch Hip Diggs Grow. Today, I take on the somber duty of reporting the outcomes to my goals. I didn’t finish as strong as I’d like to have.

Here’s A Review Of Hip Diggs’ 2016 Goals

  1. Grow Hip Diggs: In 2016, I’m going to begin the process of growing Hip Diggs. I just added Google Analytics and I’ll increase my traffic by 50%. I’ll create the Hip Diggs’ Live Simple course for 2017. I’m also going to be opening up the comments and engaging others in the conversation
  2. Limit technology and social media: In 2015, I successfully spent less time on social media than I did in 2014. I turned the Internet off for the summer. I watched less TV. In 2016, I’ll continue to cut back on technology and social media. I’ll limit my screen time to no more than 10-15 hours per week. That might seem like a lot, but when you’re operating a blog, you have to put in the work. In the past, I’ve spent as many as 30-40 hours per week online.  
  3. Ride a bicycle more often: I’ve spent a lot of time on bicycles over the years. In 2015, I spent less time riding than I have in previous years. In the coming year I’m going to begin riding my bicycle more often. I’m going to start riding to work and back in the spring. I’m going to ride my bike a minimum of 1000 miles in 2016.
  4. Expand my garden: I really enjoyed starting a garden in 2015. In 2016, I’ll increase my garden space by 50%. I’ll add three more types of vegetables and/or fruits. 
  5. Spend more time in nature: I think life gets more complicated when we don’t take the time to get away. In 2016, I’m going to intentionally spend more time in nature. I’m going to take one weekend each month to go unwind and explore nature. 

My Successes And Failures Of 2016

  1. Hip Diggs grew, but not by much: I did increase traffic at Hip Diggs. My goal was to increase traffic by 50%. I gained about 20%. I also followed through and opened up comments, but they have not been as successful as I’d hoped. With the less than desired gains, I decided to cancel the Live Simple program for 2017. However, I am working on some other surprises.
  2. Spent more time using technology: I failed at this goal. We added Netflix and watched more TV than we have in prior years. Although I may have posted less blog posts overall, I upped the amount of posts at Hip Diggs. I didn’t disconnect over the summer. I stayed online all year.
  3. Rode more often, but did not reach 1000 miles: My daughter, Annie, loves to ride bikes with me. We biked more this year than last, but I also had a hernia repair surgery in June. This slowed me down more than I expected. However, I did start running again in 2016. I averaged about 3-5 miles per week. I also walked 15-20 miles most weeks. I consider the outcome to this goal as one of my biggest successes this year.
  4. Expanded my garden… but: I didn’t harvest enough of the food to make it worthwhile. My garden was about 20% bigger in 2016. But I’ve come to the conclusion that a large vegetable garden is not working for me. Although I had a bigger garden, I didn’t spend enough time in the garden. I didn’t let it get overgrown with weeds, but I didn’t keep up on the harvesting either. Next year I’ll be replacing most of the garden with landscaping.
  5. Spent no more nor less time in nature: I spent about the same time outdoors in 2016 as I did in 2015, much less than I have in the past. I only took a nature-based trip every couple of months.

I’m Not Making Excuses, But…

I had a hernia repair surgery in June. The surgery actually affected 4 of 5 goals on the list and slowed down my successes. I spent more time using technology as I recovered. I couldn’t ride a bike for half the summer. I couldn’t work in the garden as much as I needed. I couldn’t drive comfortably for a couple of months. But the truth is, I don’t know if I’d have done much better if I hadn’t had the surgery. 

So am I a failure?

Of course not. I fell short on all of my goals, but I did make progress on most of them. I also learned some things about myself and about goal setting, successes, and failures.

  • Take my own advice and make goals more measurable.
  • It’s okay to change your mind. I succeeded more at running than riding.
  • Know when it’s time to give something up.
  • Rethink things for 2017. On this site, I’ll be focusing more on the goals for Hip Diggs and less on personal goals for next year. But there will still be a mix because Hip Diggs helps me reach my personal goals.

Some Forward Momentum Is Better Than None

I made progress. That’s better than nothing. I also did some things with Hip Diggs that were not on my list. I’ll discuss those developments in my next post. 

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James Ewen
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