My 2017 Goals – How I Did (and What My Goals for 2018 Are)

Lady holding a sparkler ushering in the new year

*Please note that any book links within this post are affiliate links. This means that if you buy a book through the link, I receive a small percentage of the book price.*

Each year I create a list of goals that I intend to achieve by the end of that year.

I think that it is great for accountability to state these publicly, but I also hope that it helps someone else creating their goals.

Why Goals?

Person writing their goals in a notebook
A lot of my goal setting tips come from the book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, which is an incredible book.

The first habit in the book is about being proactive.

Without goals, we are more likely to wander through life and not achieve any of the things that we want to achieve.

I often speak to people about the hopes and dreams that they have. When I ask them what they are doing to help them achieve these dreams the answer is usually nothing.

To this end setting goals helps us to create concrete steps that help us move towards the more long-term things that we want to achieve.

It helps us move from being not just dreamers, but dream builders.

The idea of having yearly goals also helps us to add a time-frame to these goals.

They stop being something that we will get around to one day, to being something with a concrete date that we can achieve.

Why SMART Goals?

Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound
Whenever I plan my goals for the year I try to ensure that they are SMART goals wherever possible.
SMART stands for:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound
A specific goal is usually something that can be measured and is not vague. For example, rather than having “get fit” as a goal, you would drill down and ask, “why do I want to get fit?”, “what will it allow me to achieve that I can’t do now?”. From here you might choose a specific number of miles you want to be able to run or to run a marathon etc.

Measurable is often a really difficult one, but for goal setting is probably the most important one, as it allows us to give the goal a tick at the end of the year. For example, it could be “be able to do 40 sit-ups in a row”, or “release 12 podcast episodes”.

We want to make our goals difficult yet achievable. If we create goals that are easy to hit then we will not grow. Equally, if we create goals that are unachievable then we come to the end of the year and feel deeply discouraged. As a good rule of thumb, if you get to the end of the year and you have hit all of your goals then they are probably too easy.

We want our goals to be relevant to our end purposes. This takes us back to the questions what do we want to have achieved after it. For example in my goals; “Read the whole bible” has an ultimate end of developing my relationship with God; and the goal “Create a veg patch with my children” has the ultimate end of helping my children to understand where food comes from and to help them understand the importance of caring for the environment.

By the very nature of yearly goals, they are time-bound. Within the year I also create set points to review my goals and set mini-deadlines to check on progress to see if I am hitting them.
All five of these together help us to make goals that will grow us into the people that we want to be.

The Framework That I Use

7 habits of highly effective people book cover
This framework also comes from the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and is taken from the last chapter “Sharpening the Saw”.

In the chapter, Stephen Covey talks about four different areas for self-development. These are:
  1. Body: Your general Physical Health i.e. diet, exercise etc.
  2. Mind: Learning, mental skills etc.
  3. Spirit: your own wellbeing, spiritual disciplines etc.
  4. Heart: your relationships with others.
I also include work goals as another category. I think that these categories create a good balance for our growth.

My Goals for 2017


person running to be healthy
In this section of Stephen Covey’s book he splits body down into 3 further sub-sections, these are strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility. I created goals for each 3 of these.

I found the body section of my goals extremely hard. This year I have experienced more illness and health problems than I have ever had previously.

I feel like I have moved from having tonsillitis to sinusitis to colds to viruses to sickness bugs with barely any respite in between.

Also, early in the spring, I started to develop a pain in my right foot that especially hurt during any exercise such as walking running or jumping (which is quite a lot of exercises). Later in the year I finally found out why and was diagnosed with early-onset osteoarthritis. This was quite a blow for me mentally as well as physically and made completing my goals a bit trickier.

Here they are:


Complete 20 half chin-ups in a row.

I literally hit this on the 30th December. I really didn’t think I would hit this one. Every time I would start to build strength up I would get sick again and would lose the strength. So glad I hit it 😊.
Hold the plank position for 2 minutes.

My osteoarthritis got in the way a bit here as I could not bend my toe very well without being in pain, but I can hold the plank position for 2 minutes 😊


Touch my toes without bending my knees.

I know I know. This one should be really easy, but it really wasn’t! I am so inflexible. I only managed to hit this one in December, after my friend who was a personal trainer taught me a good technique to practice (basically sitting on the floor)


Get an average resting heart rate of 62 Beats Per Minute as measured by my FitBit.

I started off really well with this one. I was doing cardiovascular exercise most mornings, walking to work, and walking at lunch times. Alas, the sickness and osteoarthritis put a stop to most of this and I am nowhere near 62 BPM.


person making notes whilst learning
I did fairly well with my mind goals.

As someone who loves learning, these are some of the ones that I really enjoy.

Write a book.

I did this! It might not be novel sized, but it is a book. “11 Ways to Make Your Church More Environmentally Friendly”. Click the link to grab your free copy.

Read 6 non-fiction books.

I was obviously rather pessimistic about how much I would read this year. I think it was my discovery of audiobooks that helped me here. Rather than 6, I actually read 28 non-fiction books! Here are the books I read:

  1. How to win friends and influence people
  2. As a man thinketh
  3. The tipping point: how little things can make a big difference
  4. The power of habit
  5. Blink: the power of thinking without thinking
  6. The six pillars of self-esteem
  7. Outliers: the story of success
  8. Presence: bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges
  9. Good to great
  10. Hooked: how to build habit forming products
  11. The war of art: break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles
  12. Man’s search for meaning
  13. Bird by bird
  14. Talk like ted: the 9 public speaking secrets of the world's top minds
  15. Mindset: changing the way you think to fulfil your potential
  16. The miracle morning: the 6 habits that will transform your life before 8AM
  17. The storytellers secret: how TED speakers and inspirational leaders turn their passion into performance
  18. You are a badass: how to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life
  19. The last lecture: really achieving your childhood dreams - lessons in living
  20. Made to stick: why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck
  21. Emotional intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ
  22. The magic of big thinking
  23. Influence: the psychology of persuasion
  24. Decisive: how to make better decisions
  25. The chimp paradox: the acclaimed mind management programme to help you achieve success, confidence and happiness
  26. Deep work: rules for focuses success in a distracted world
  27. Rejection Proof: how to beat fear and become invincible
  28. The Case for Christ: a journalist's personal investigation of the evidence for Jesus

Complete The Chartered Institute of Personal Development Level 3 Diploma in Learning & Development.

This was a certified course that I was doing, and takes around 9 months to complete. I completed it 😊

Complete 5 Online Courses.

I love online courses, hence why I set the goal as 5. And yes, I completed this goal. The courses I took were:
  1. Philemon – by N.T. Wright
  2. Email Marketing – With Hubspot Academy
  3. Content Marketing – With Hubspot Academy
  4. Inbound Marketing – With Hubspot Academy
  5. Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle & His Successors – With Coursera / Pennsylvania University
I also created some music goals that I hoped to achieve. These were:
  • Memorise the fretboard on a guitar
  • Learn to read music fluently
  • Understand the Nashville number system.
I didn’t hit any of these goals. I think in hindsight it might have been a bit much on top of all my other things I have going on.


person sitting on a mountain looking into the distance
I did okay with my spirit goals.

Tied up with these goals were also a bunch of goals around church as well (such as sermon series and running midweek groups etc.) but I was unable to fulfil these.

In part due to the longevity of my illness, and just not knowing when I was going to get better we had to close the church that we were pastoring. This was an extremely difficult decision and time in my life but I feel that God is doing a new thing.

Here were my goals for spirit:

Read the whole Bible.

I used Nicki Gumble’s bible in one year plan which was an excellent plan. I did really well for about half the year and then missed a couple of days. From there I lost momentum and just couldn’t seem to catch up. I have done fairly well though and have read 83% of the bible. I plan to carry on this year and finish the plan.

Twin our toilet.

Each year we try to do something relating to charity that our kids can get involved in. Rather than just giving money, we want them to see some of the difference that is made.

If you have never heard of Toilet Twinning I highly recommend checking it out. You give money to toilet twinning and they build a loo in a country that needs better sanitation.

You get to choose the country from a list, and they also send you a picture of the loo that is built, with the exact GPS coordinates.

Our eldest son was worried that we were going to have to go there and build the toilet (he wasn’t too keen on this!) but once he understood they really loved it. We watched videos on the various countries and they decided to go with Uganda.

Give blood.

This has been on my list in the past but I have never got around to it. Mainly because I am terrible at getting organised.

My mother in law is a nurse. She says “if you expect to get blood, you should expect to give blood” (providing you are eligible of course). I think that this is a good philosophy.

I finally did it this year! It was not a pleasant experience, but I did it.

Put a plant in every room in the house.

Plants are proven to have positive effects both from a physical and mental health perspective, so I wanted to put a plant in every room in the house. My eldest son Malakai chose most of the plants (on our many trips to the garden centre) and we did this goal 😊.

Heart (Relationships)

hands held in the shape of a heart
Recently, I have gotten much better at self-organising and self-management, however, when it comes to organising other people I am truly dismal. For this reason, I did not do too well on my relationship goals.

Create a veg patch with the children.

As mentioned early I think this is a great idea for the kids, and you also get to enjoy the food you grow at the end!

We had a lot of fun doing this. The children chose the veg that we grew, and so they weren’t optimised for non-gardeners (they chose some difficult stuff to grow, like asparagus and corn!) but it was a lot of fun.

2 weekends away with Jo.

Time away to just concentrate on our marriage and each other. Marriages take a lot of work and have to be cultivated intentionally.

This year we did manage to get one weekend away in York (thank you Dave and Joe!), but we did not manage to get a second. Halfway there 😊.

Read the book “Zimzum of Love” together.

Each year my wife and I attempt to read one book together about marriage. Designed to help us focus on our marriage and how we can grow it. This year we decided to Read Zimzum of Love by Rob and Kristen Bell. We did make a start on it, but life got in the way and we did not finish it ☹. We plan to finish it in 2018 though.

Go camping with friends.

We were so close with this one but it just didn’t materialise. Moving this goal to 2018!

Have regular date nights.

Again, another point where we carve out time to work on our marriage.

The general idea with date nights is that you switch off the TV, and do something that helps the two of you connect, like board games and other hobbies etc.

This goal is not as measurable as the others, but I didn’t want to make it too rigid.
We did manage to have regular date nights throughout the year.


person working at a laptop
As well as the other four areas I also have work goals. I take my blog very seriously and so have goals to attempt to get better at blogging. These were:

Publish 26 blog posts.

This year was off to a shaky start but ended strong and I ended up posting 28 blog posts.
Here were my top 5 of the year:

SACRED – Thin Places and Their Value in Our Busy Lives
TABLE – Why Jesus Chose to Build Community Around a Meal
How Body Prayer and Biology Enhance Our Prayer Lives
ENCOURAGEMENT – Want to Make a Difference In This World? Encourage People
5 Things That Help Us Understand the Phrase “Born Again”

Have 10,000 page views over the year.

Really pleased that I managed to hit this goal – even ending up with over 18,000 views 😊.

Have 1000 Twitter followers

I hit this one!

Have 500 Instagram followers.
Have 200 Pinterest followers.
Have 200 Email subscribers.

I didn’t hit any of these 3 goals ☹ - if you want to help me though then here are the links to Instagram, Pinterest and email 😊

All in all, I think I did fairly well in 2017.

My 2018 Goals

With 2017 gone, I am now concentrating on my 2018 goals.
Here they are:


  • Walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
  • Cycle from Bingley to Skipton along the Leeds to Liverpool canal.
  • Do 40 sit-ups in a row
  • Hold the plank for 3 minutes
  • Complete all intermediate classes on the yoga app that I use (Yoga Studio)
  • Do 10 full chin-ups




  • Finish Zimzum of Love with Joanne!
  • Do a veg patch with the kids
  • Do 6 science experiments with the kids
  • Weekend away with Jo
  • Camping with friends
  • Go to a concert with Jo
  • Foster a new mutual interest with Jo


  • 40,000 page views on my blog
  • Write 20 Quora answers
  • Write 6 guest posts
  • Write 26 blog posts
  • 2,500 Twitter followers
  • 300 Facebook page likes
  • 200 Email subscribers
I also added some fun goals… just because. These are:
  • Win a medal or a trophy (I have never won a medal or a trophy!)
  • Be an extra in a movie.
That’s it for my 2018 goals.

Do you have any goals that you have for 2018? I would love to hear them. Leave a comment with them in below.
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