My life goal list, started at age 20. Completed goals are in red.
A few notes about my method:
- I only post big, exciting, and slightly intimidating goals—not the little stuff.
- I don’t focus on these goals to the detriment of other great opportunities that come my way.
- I will retroactively add goals that I’ve already completed (even if I didn’t know they were “goals” at the start).
- I remove goals that become irrelevant to my life (i.e., the list isn’t sacrosanct.)
- I post my goals publicly because I believe the “public peer pressure” gives me better chance of completing them (even if there are drawbacks to this approach).
- I post failures as well as successes (thank you, Tina Seelig).
- I link to digital evidence whenever possible.
- Start and maintain a family
- Live long enough to play tricks on my grandkids
- Own a house
- Get a dog
- Graduate from college – B.A., UC Berkeley 2004
Writing & Speaking Goals
- Do a speaking circuit in Europe
- Blog every day for a year – failed in 2011 and 2013
- Hand-write a letter or postcard to someone every day for a year – failed in 2015
- Publish a book about going to college without high school – College Without High School, 2009
- Publish a book about giving yourself a higher education without college – Better Than College, 2012
- Publish a book about the general theory of self-directed learning – The Art of Self-Directed Learning, 2014
- Give a TED talk – TEDx YouthDay Palo Alto, 2010
- Publish 10+ original audio or video episodes online – Real Education Podcast (2015) and now Off-Trail Learning
- Independently publish a professional-quality book – Better Than College, 2012
- Write a fundraising guidebook for young adults – The Unschool Adventures Guide to Online Travel Fundraising, 2012
- Give away 10,000 free online copies of Better Than College – 2014 and counting
- Start a school (i.e. long-term structured learning program)
- Run an online course – failed in 2015
- Earn $2000+ in one month from a location-independent business – skeptical but still curious
- Start an international trip leading company – Unschool Adventures, 2008
- Start a leadership program for homeschoolers – Homeschool Leadership Retreats, 2010 (combined with U.A.)
- Direct a summer camp – Deer Crossing Camp, Assistant Director 2006-7, Acting Director 2008
- Run a “College Without College” program – ZTC Camp, Oct 2011
- Run an Unschool Adventure trip without me on it – UA Writing Retreat 2013
- Work at Not Back to School Camp – Advisor, 2006-present
- Work as the head cook for a summer camp – Deer Crossing Camp, 2008
- Lead a workshop at a major homeschooling conference – HSC 2009 (and many more since)
- Be self-employed for a whole year (not counting summer camp jobs) – 2010 (and ever since)
- Work a full season at a ski resort – Heavenly Ski Resort, 2007
- Run a conference for college-aged self-directed learners – Trailblazer 2013
- See the Aurora Borealis with Matt & Patrick
- Travel the world with a girlfriend for 6+ months
- Live abroad with a child (hopefully mine) for 12+ months
- Explore Western Europe – France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, 5 weeks, 2002
- Explore South America – Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, 3 months, 2007 (blog part 1/2/3) and much more since then
- Explore the Himalayas – Northern India, 2011, and Nepal, 2014
- Live in Lake Tahoe, California – Winter 2007-8 (not actually in the lake), 2011, 2015, 2016
- Live in Portland, Oregon – 2009
- Live in one place for one year straight (post-college) – Asheville NC, 2012
- Go on an expedition with Jim Wiltens – 2-week tree climbing and ruins expedition in Guatemala, Jan 2011
- Dance with a stranger in a Buenos Aires tango milonga – 2014
- Thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail – Failed attempt: 2005
- Day-hike Mount Whitney – Failed attempts: 1998, 2006, 2016
- Summit every peak in the Crystal Range (Desolation Wilderness, CA) in one trip – started exploring with 2016 Seven Summits trip
- Walk a 100′ slackline and a high-line (elevated slackline)
- Hike the Kings Canyon High Basin Route – partial completion in 2016
- Hike the Sierra High Route – partial completion in 2015 (Mammoth to Yosemite)
- Hike the Southern Sierra High Route
- Spend a week on a solo John Muir-style ramble in the High Sierra
- Run 30+ miles on trail – 2015 (on the John Muir Trail)
- Run 26.2 miles on trail – 2014 (North Face Endurance Challenge / photos)
- Run 13.1 miles on trail – 2010
- Windsurf in the Columbia River Gorge – 2014
- Summit Pyramid Peak (Desolation Wilderness, CA) – 2010
- Backpack the Lost Coast – 2015
- Grace Llewellyn – 2006
- Daniel Greenberg – 2004
- John Taylor Gatto – 2010
- Russell Roberts – 2014
- Tina Seelig – 2010
- Seth Godin – 2012
- Daniel Pink – 2014
- William Deresiewicz – 2014
The Goal Graveyard
Here’s where I leave goals that I genuinely wanted to do but I abandoned.
- Start a student cooperative house – Attempted & failed in 2011
- Write a 50,000-word novel in one month (the NaNoWriMo challenge) – Failed attempts: 2006, 2009 – I admit total defeat here.
- Publish an article about unschooling and economics in Reason magazine – Lost interest
- Fastpack the John Muir Trail – Too crowded, would rather do a lesser-known route.
- Publish an article about Jim Wiltens & Deer Crossing Camp – Ended up writing about both in The Art of Self-Directed Learning
Last update: December 2016