12 Personal Aspirations For 2012

Better late than never. 🙂

I like the act of self reflection and prescription involved with new-year resolutions. But to me, these formal intentions tend to be idealistic, poorly executed and often cliche. That’s why I’ve always shied away from them.

Rather than declare resolutions, I’m declaring aspirations. I’m not running from a commitment to win-lose, binary outcomes. Rather, I’m working toward enhancements in my life.

My overall aspiration is a slightly more deliberate, balanced and tactile life.

Thoughts and recommendations for my aspirations are welcomed.

Here it goes…

1. Command the grid, not the other way around. Seriously, the connectivity grid has already damaged our attention spans, and ripped away much of our ability to think creatively and productively. People get the jitters when not stimulated by email, Facebook, Twitter, SMS or aimless Web surfing. Connectivity addiction is even hurting the act of parenting and making our kids stupid. Smart phones and tablets are contributing, but the problem is more subtle: our an entire human experience suffers from high, frequent volumes of audio and visual signals that are connected to some irrelevant agenda. The desensitizing effect of the grid is even prohibiting experience and intuition that helps us navigate our ways out of life-threatening situations. I’m going to be deliberate in commanding the grid for my own enhancement, not others.

2. Exercise consistently. I’m pretty consistent on a base level — I walk briskly about three miles a day, five days a week. However, I’ve slacked off on full-body gym workouts and weight training, due to intensified parenting and work responsibilities that tend to begin in full at 6:00am.  I need to either find a gym that opens at 5:00am, or figure out some sort of home regimen. I’d prefer the former. More to come. Open to ideas.

3. Prioritize deep thinking. Different people think in different ways. I do my best thinking when I can ponder a problem without distraction over extended periods. My days have become so regimented, second-by-second, that my thinking time and quality has dwindled. I need to make deliberate, distraction-free time for thinking, for the sake of my spirit, work and home life.

4. Sail more. I grew up on a sailboat most of my life. I did my first Bermuda crossing when I was six months old. I began skippering sailboats on weeks-long passages when I was 15. I experienced the eye of a hurricane as second mate on a Caribbean yacht delivery when I was 16. I got my U.S. Coast Guard Master License on my 19th birthday, the earliest date allowed. But last year, I went sailing one day. That needs to change. I would like to get my kids into it as well.

5. Fish more. Having grown up on a sailboat, it should be no surprise that fishing is in my blood. I’ve engaged in midsize game fishing wherever I happened to be — for example, a lot of blues and stripers in the Northeast, tuna and dorado offshore and down south.  Last year I went fishing three times with my kids, from the dock. If I do more sailing, I will inherently do more fishing.

6. Eat more fish. I should not only catch more fish, I should eat more fish, too. I like fish, but I’m particular. Nobody likes rotten fish, but I don’t like fish that isn’t very fresh. When eating out, I only eat fish at reputable restaurants. At home, I only prepare fish immediately after purchasing it from my fishmonger.

7. Read more quality. I read a lot of trendy business books and industry blogs — a requirement for my industry. But they’re incredibly unsatisfying and perishable. I need balance with higher-quality, long-form material. I’m working on a diverse reading list for the year. Recommendations welcomed.

8. Expand the garden. I’ve been consistent over the years with the container garden on our deck, but I’d like to expand it into our backyard, with a variety of vegetables.

9. See more live music. I love going to see live music in good venues. I’ve got the NYC clubs at my doorstep, but I rarely take advantage. One of my favorites of last year, not even in NYC, was summer camping with the family up in the Berkshires, at MassMOCA, for the Wilco-curated Solid Sound Festival. Unfortunately, they’re taking 2012 off.

10. Go on more dates. Preschoolers and careers don’t leave much time for dates and romance. Need to fit more in. I’m married and intend on staying married. Seeing more live music would inherently achieve more dates.

11. Get out of the office more. Similar to getting out of the house and going on more dates, I need to get out of the office more. I’ve been internally focused on operations the past 18 months. I can hunker down, focus like a hawk and maximize every second of my day in the office. The problem is I find myself in the office all the time. Many days I arrive before the sun comes up and don’t leave the building until after the sun goes down. That’s come at the expense of exposing myself enough to sunlight, new people and ideas. The ultimate sacrifice is perspective and serendipity. Oh yeah, it makes you boring.

12. Do more of this. The AttentionMax venue is satisfying and therapeutic, at least for me. 🙂 It’s an outlet to reflect, think and share ideas about what’s going on personally, in my industry and in the world. It’s sometimes random, but I like it.

I hope it provides value to you.

(Photo: Lars Plougmann)

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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  1. Very nice list.  The garden, live music, fishing all good things.  Thanks for sharing.

  2. I just read “2013 aspirations” post. It seams that 2012 was good for you 🙂
    I hope 2013 will be even better

    Omidiu part of Traduceri team

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