The Infamous Goal-Setting Post of 2014
Photo courtesy of Nic McPhee.

The Infamous Goal-Setting Post of 2014

Written by Emilie

Topics: Goals, Updates

I’m sitting on a very turbulent flight from Montreal to Chicago.  A baby’s crying in the cabin somewhere, but I have the last four rows to myself so I’m trying to imagine that this bestows on me some special fortune. The flight attendant thinks I’m cool anyway, he added a lemon to my drink.

Flights are good times for reflection, so I’m going to use my unexpected privacy back here to write up my annual goal-setting post (here’s 2013, 2012 and 2011, if you’re interested).

I didn’t realize how difficult 2013 was while I was going through it. I actually didn’t realize just how hard the year was until I wrote up my annual review last week and read it back to myself. Wow! Perhaps it’s a testament to my ability to see hardship as challenge and shift my approach when something isn’t working rather than letting myself sink into it. Or maybe I just didn’t let myself stay still very long and kept pressing forward as a survival mechanism. I’m not sure. In any case, I’m grateful for the challenging year because it clarified a lot for me.

Nonetheless, 2014 is going to have a decidedly slower pace. Some people have a hard time getting into gear and being productive. This happens to me occasionally, but I typically have a much harder time relaxing. I always just feel like there’s something I should be doing. But I need to relax more, at the very least, for my health.

Health / Mindset Goals

In my annual review, I mentioned that I’ve been dealing with some health/HPA-axis issues. I am committing to fully healing from that. A big part of healing your adrenals is relaxing and keeping stress at a minimum.

Here are a few things I’m going to do to help de-stress:

  • Work fewer hours and take more days off.
  • Read more, preferably non-business related stuff.
  • Take Grendel on more long walks.
  • Try to find a yoga and/or meditation class that I like.
  • Take more naps.
  • Keep up the gratitude journal (it’s been about 3 weeks so far and it’s definitely helping).
  • Stop talking with other people about health/nutrition, unless they are my patient. :) Seriously though, I think that talking about it so much has actually slowed my recovery. I’m ready to ditch the label of “sick person”, which I think I unconsciously adopted.

Mindset goals:

  • Stop holding on to things I can’t control. When I get angry or worried about somebody else’s decisions, shift my focus to something awesome in my life or do something nice for myself.
  • Assert myself more. Get up in the morning with purpose, re-commit to my morning ritual, ask myself “what do I want right now?” a lot, especially in mundane scenarios like when deciding what to make for breakfast or what to wear on a particular day. (On a related note: compromise is important in a relationship, but knowing what you want is a precursor to effective compromising.)
  • Adopt more of a “HELL YEAH! Or No” attitude when potential opportunities  and partnerships arise.

Work Goals

My work goals are pretty simple. In 2014 I’m committing to two main areas: Growth and writing.

Growing Puttylike

In the next year, I want to triple the size of the community here at Puttylike. This is going to require me to take a lot more risks and I’m going to be keeping Pam Slim’s 20X Rule in my mind (I might even hang a “20X” reminder on my wall).

Writing my Book

I got pretty heavy into speaking last year, but lately I’ve been finding that preparing for talks has impeded my ability to write my book. Typical multipod dilemma, but it’s time to shift some things around.

I’ve been aching to write my new book, Multipotentialite, and just haven’t had the time. So once my big Colorado talk is over at the end of January, I will be strategically adopting the label of “Writer” and each day I will get up and WRITE. I received the book, Daily Rituals for Christmas and it has inspired me to really take my craft more seriously and get this baby out to the world.

There will be other projects certainly. I want to do more coaching, update a few things here at Puttylike and continue to outsource the parts of running this business that don’t inspire me. I also want to plan an in-person retreat with my mastermind group and write a lot of powerful blog posts for you guys over the course of the year.

Non-Work / Other Passions


I’m going to be pursuing my interest in science in a more formal way by taking some classes at community college. This is not necessarily with any career aspirations in mind (though if it leads me there, cool), but rather, for personal interest. I want to take chemistry, biology, A&P… I already know a lot about brain chemistry, autoimmunity and gut dysbiosis through my own research, now I just need to understand the basics.


I will be recording another album in a month with my band, Tip of the Hat. Year 2, the tradition continues!

Working with Teenagers

I would love to find an opportunity to work with teenagers, maybe as a camp counselor at Rock Camp for Girls or if I could find an on-going volunteer position helping out at a high school drama club, that would be awesome. No opportunities have yet presented themselves, but it’s something I will be looking into.

Do more nice, unexpected things for others

A few weeks ago, a very kind admissions officer at a community college made a call and stretched the truth to get around some dumb bureaucratic rule so that I could take my placement test.

I was having an awful morning that day and he turned it around for me.

The next day I went back, thanked him again and brought him some chocolate. He was touched. I could tell that he was going to go home and tell his wife about it, maybe even brag to his colleagues while enjoying his chocolate. I knew I’d made his day and it felt amazing.

It got me thinking. I would really love to make people’s days more often through small and honest gestures. I’ll be seeking out opportunities to do more nice things in 2014. It feels good and I like  letting people know how awesome they are and how much I appreciate them.


So that’s it. It’s not concise, the way that “embodiment” was last year (that theme, by the way, really didn’t end up having much bearing on my year). But I’ve thought a lot about what I want and I’m pretty excited to be moving forward into the new year.

Your Turn

What are your goals for 2014?

p.s. We’re holding our 5th Puttython next weekend, Jan 4-5. If you’re in the Puttytribe, be sure to join us for some check-in huddles. They’re happening every 6 hours and you can find the schedule on the event page in the Tribe.

However, if you’re not in the Tribe yet, you’re still invited to spend your weekend working on some of your multipotentialite projects and we’d love it if you shared them with us on Twitter #puttython. I’ll see you there!


  1. Leiah says:

    I just recently heard of the “HELL YEAH! or No” mentality and it’s a good one!

    • Rob F. says:

      I always struggle with the “Hell Yeah!” mentality as it’s always the pretty toys that set it off for me – and usually I wind up losing interest shortly after I’e got them. In fact, my most recent good thing started not as a “Hell Yeah!” but as an “Oh, get f***ed!” and my wife said, “No – do it!” It was an eight week fitness bootcamp and it changed my posture, breathing and understanding of resistance and discomfort for the better.

      • Emilie says:

        I hear you, Rob. I think the “hell yeah” approach needs to be balanced with risk-taking. Sometimes it’s actually fear of the unknown that’s holding us back.

  2. Inspiring as always, Emilie! Congrats on another great year.

  3. Lauren says:

    Hey Emilie, sounds like you need to take it down a notch and it’s great that you’ve been able to recognise that and aim to cut out all the unnecessary things that were causing strain in your life. For me I think it’s going to be a crazy year so I’m braced and ready!

    You mentioned meditation – can I recommend a totally fantastic book called ‘Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world’ by Prof Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman. It either comes with a CD of guided meditations or you can download them for free I’m not sure which (I got the Kindle version and downloaded the sound files separately from Audible). It’s the best book out there on mindfulness and what I love about it is that they really champion the science behind the practise – I personally don’t trust anything unless there’s scientific research behind it. Mindfulness is miraculous in a scientific way and helps physical ailments as well as mental strain. (sorry for this uber long message about it!)

    Other than that I look forward to the new album!

    • Emilie says:

      Wow thanks so much, Lauren. I’m totally going to check that book out!

      Have a fun, crazy year. I can’t wait to hear about it as it unfolds.

  4. Awesome post, Emilie!

    Here’s my list of things I want to work on this year :)

    1. Banish procrastination
    2. Exercise regularly
    3. Improve my creative skills
    4. Spend more time with nature
    5. Wake early
    6. Declutter my life
    7. Let go of expectations
    8. Improve relationships
    9. Take more photographs
    10. Teach someone how to do something

  5. Kate says:

    Hi Emilie, I have had a bunch of health struggles over the last few years with gastroparesis and definitely agree that it helps to remove the label of ‘sick person’. I’ve found that a great way of doing this is to help out people who are sicker/in greater need/older than I am. This has helped give me a better perspective on my own health problems and given me role models of people that don’t let their bodily ills define them!

    This year I want to:

    1. Work on my resilience, or at least on my confidence of my resilience. I’m sure I am much more resilient than I give myself credit for!

    2. Work on growing my small business that I started in September (

    3. Play more music just for the sheer joy of it (rather than performing/playing gigs etc)

    4. Volunteer for something on a regular basis

    5. Join a group – exercise/craft/something!

    That’ll do me for quite a while I think! Thanks so much for your inspiration and honesty. It is truly refreshing, and has helped me accept myself more. BIG THANKS. xo

  6. Aaron Court says:

    Great article, and comments — and really, it’s about doing what works for one’s own strengths, rather than catering or forcing changes because of unrealistic expectations or whatever. Thanks for “facilitating” us together — a synergy of multi-potentialites…

  7. Jordan says:

    Happy New Year Emilie! You’ve got an exciting year coming up and I’m especially impressed with your efforts to grow the tribe and to write your book. I took 2 yrs of biochem in college (before switching to pre-law, typical multipotentialite ha!) but it has served me for life, so enjoy your science classes, it is worth it.

    Here are a few of my focus areas for 2014:

    1. Commit to work/life balance – don’t let work take over my life or stress me out.

    2. Find movement I love – i’m getting back in the pool and learning a martial art (just not sure which one!)

    3. Let go – not everything works according to plan and that’s ok.

    4. Meet new people in my industry

    5. Volunteer

    6. Let creative energy flow OUT

    And there are many more…Looking forward to getting more organized during Puttython :) This is going to be a great year I can feel it already! Cheers

    • Emilie says:

      What a wonderful list of goals, Jordan! I’m sorry I didn’t see you during Puttython, but I am excited to hear about all of your projects and wins this year. Definitely keep me posted. :)

  8. My theme for this year is I AM. Not I WAS or WILL BE but simply focusing on who I am.

  9. Jen says:

    Yes, that is one of mine too- “Stop holding on to things I can’t control.” The more I try to do this, the happier I find myself to be. It’s such an addiction.

  10. Margaux says:

    Not making goals any more. Goals are for high achiever Type A’s.

    Wu wei for me. I’ve had to write down yearly and quarterly goals for 14 years and I rarely achieve any of them unless I cheat. From now on, instead of writing goals, I’m writing a nice message to my future self and slipping $20 in an envelope for her.

    Saying that, my now thing is learning how to make pop-up cards so I can make about 15 cards with horses leaping out of them for Chinese New Year at the end of the month. That’s about all by way of goal setting for now. Otherwise, I plan simply to do stuff when they need to be done.

    Good luck with your goals, though, Emilie!

  11. susan sheldon says:

    My goals for 2014 are simple at this juncture. I want to aquire a 40 foot travel trailer to create a better home for my daughter and I and our dog. To reconfigure the 16×7 foot one we live in now to be office and creative developement site. To be on our own property and re aquire our belongings from colorado. This will be our ground zero to several business ideas that mesh well together. Of course first I have to find a job to make the money to realize our dream.

  12. Christy says:

    Just found your site. This is the first post I’ve read. I feel like I need to let it settle a bit because there are some takeaways in there for me for sure but I wanted to leave a quick note just to say how much I love that you brought the admissions worker chocolate. Chills and baby tears. I love it when people do things like that for people. I think too often we feel like we have to do BIG things to make a difference in the world but often it’s little things that don’t cost much…
    Looking forward to getting to know you more!

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