2019 Goals Review & Site Update

Hello all. A long time since a post has gone up here, so a perfect chance to review the 2019 goals set in January’s blog and explain the reason for the absence all at once.

The Big Shift – Msc in Consulting

Well, the big event that changed everything for me and the business in 2019 was that I decided, during the Summer, to move to Paris and study a Masters in Consulting with IESEG from late August, until at least the middle of 2020.

Prior to making the decision, I found that I was really enjoying working with the clients I was coaching, and that I loved hearing about their businesses and helping to solve problems, but I had so far struggled to find enough clients to make the business viable by itself, and (this may just be my false perception) felt that I lacked an immediate credibility because I hadn’t a consulting or coaching qualification, even though the clients I have worked with have all made great progress and given valuable testimonials. Anyway, that led me to get a quick Level 6 Cert in “Train the Trainer” in the early Summer, and to decide to invest in levelling up my career by getting serious about consulting with a Level 9 Masters.

I had last posted about Remote Work, stating that I intended for that to become my coaching niche, but as I made the Masters my focus, it didn’t make sense to try to launch a new strategic direction like that without having the time to give it sustained effort for at least a year.

The first few months – dialling it back

As I sorted myself out logistically for moving out of my apartment in Wicklow and overseas to Paris, I was far too occupied to continue writing blog entries, which I had previously chosen to treat as nice-to-haves rather than a core part of the business strategy, as they rarely produce clients, though they do provide credibility.

I ran another of my “Business 101” workshops in Dublin before leaving in August, and continued working with the few clients I already had, but knew that I’d now have to treat the coaching as part-time, and worked to figure out the best way to keep it going.

The Plan – Ebook, Productivity

Once classes commenced, I had to figure out where in the week I could take time to spend on the business, and what I would do in that time. From my time in the games industry I remembered the phrase “embrace your constraints”. They give you clear lines to paint between and make a lot of decisions easier.

Practically, this meant that I wouldn’t be able to do very much to grow the business or handle many clients, so what would be the most valuable activities that I could do over the year to advance it? After reading Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestley I decided that writing an Ebook (already one of my 2019 goals) would be the best use of my time.

Since I was trying to maximise my limited time, I was already pulling out all the tricks and tools (and trying some new ones) to become more productive, so choosing ‘Productivity’ as my topic seemed like the perfect answer. Of course, I asked a few colleagues some sample questions to gauge the idea, but found that most of the information I’d gathered over the years was news to almost anyone I spoke to. Someone may journal, but not know the Pomodoro technique. Someone might know binaural beats, but not use chunking, etc. Most especially, nobody seemed to have discovered the best ways to slot all these techniques together.

I also found that my residence in Paris (The Student Hotel) try to put on montly talks so I volunteered to teach a quick workshop on productivity techniques for students in October. It was only midly well attended, but everyone there took away a lot from it, and in writing the notes/handouts for afterwards, I had a good start on content for the book.

The Enemy – workload

Well, no plan survives contact with the enemy. The Masters course I was on, from October until the end of classes in December, got extremely intense! I had gotten a few thousand words into my book by getting up early and writing after doing my morning routine, but as I worked on college assignments later and later into the evenings, and then past midnight, I found myself less and less productive.

You can know all the productivity techniques and diets in the world, but still nothing can top getting enough sleep for boosting your cognition and productivity.

[That reminds me, a blog on the audio interview I conducted with Treasa Spragg last Summer is still due, but it never came because the file got moved onto a hard drive that stayed in Ireland after I travelled. Will try for that again soon. My apologies to those who were looking forward to it]

Alors (as the French say), just to function I found myself cutting short my exercise routines, meditation, journalling, planning the next day’s 5 tasks (as they were just ‘finish that project before the deadline tomorrow’ there wasn’t much planning to be done – just reacting), and eventually also needed to put a pause on the writing and even some client calls, though I’ve now caught up with them again since the Christmas break.

It has made me realise that as I begin the 2nd semester, setting goals for this business during college time is unrealistic, as my time is basically not my own to a large enough extent to achieve business goals, though the Ebook can still progress along.

2020’s plan

The plan is not to make a plan until the Summer, most likely. I know I won’t get much done before classes end in May, and I know that to finish I’ll also have to complete a 4-6 month internship/job somewhere. Given that I don’t have this yet, I can’t predict if it will be 35 hours a week (normal for France) or 60 hrs a week in some other country (sadly typical enough for game developers, masters students, entrepreneurs, and many ocnsultants… I’m tired just thinking about it).

Once I know where the job is and what it will be, I’ll keep coaching part-time and get the Ebook released, and over the coming months decide if I want to stay in consulting as the day job long-term or return to running my own coaching/consulting business full time.

Essentially, right now the business plan is just “finish the Ebook and see”.

2019 Goals Review

The next section is just a quick scorecard of the goals I set in the January blog.

Business Goals

  • Revenue targets – I didn’t share the figures, but naturally these were missed once I depriorisitsed the business half way through the year.
  • Attend a non-Irish conference – I didn’t technically, though I’m attending all sorts of business talks now in Paris, so I’ll count that as a win.
  • Release a free eBook download by April 30th – Missed, though this became the notes to the Productivity workshop, whose notes I give out as PDF for free if you attend the free talk, which I’ll continue to give.
  • Release a paid eBook by August 31st – Missed, though it is about 1/3rd written now.
  • Speak at 2 conferences – I didn’t speak at any conferences, but still did some public speaking.


  • Volunteer 1 day per month average – Accomplished! I played in a nursing home in Ireland several times, volunteered with Utopia 56 in Paris again (did a week with them in 2018) when I first arrived, and joined the school’s CSR group, giving out water bottles and commencing a 3 year plan to work towards making IESEG for sustainable and socially responsibile.
  • 10 Climate Actions by November 15th – For the Cool Planet Champion program. Missed 10, though I completed several and now these actions roll into IESEG’s “Responsible Leaders” CSR program that I’ve joined, which actually results in more than 1 day per month. Hopefully the impact of the projects by May 2020 will have more than made up for the 10 “actions” (a very loosely defined goal that they set for us).

Health & Personal

  • Sober January – Done.
  • Run a Marathon – Not a 1 year goal. I accomplished a lot to train past a chronic ankle injury. I can run about 5km every few days now, whereas last year I couldn’t run to the end of the street. To me this is a huge success! A marathon is 42km. I still have some ways to go.
  • Take 1 Holiday overseas – I got to Tenerife in March. Beautiful!
  • Personal Budget – Kept, accurately!


  • I performed a few times. Twice for comedy, and produced MBI again, but didn’t have any guitar gigs this year, which makes me sad. I couldn’t even find open mic nights in Paris yet.
  • I learned how to juggle in just 6 weeks at the start of the year.
  • I learned how to play a challenging acoustic version of Aerosmith’s Dream On.
  • I still can’t do a handstand, but I’m working on it (cue ‘thud’ of me falling to the floor).

In Conclusion

Some goals were successful, some were missed, and lessons were taken away. Overall I’m very happy with the year, though the business has necessarily been moved to the back burner for now.

I just wanted to take the time to fill people in as I still get some queries about the Ebook and other activities. Acknowledging the failures and successes publicly is great for accountability too.

That said, I won’t take the time to list out the person goals here (I didn’t last year either) as the post is getting a bit long, they’re less relevant anyway, and I’ve already mentioned that there are no SMART business goals at this time.

Wishing you all a prosperous 2020!

2018 Goals Review

What can be improved? I’ve named my failures, and shown where I succeeded. Some failures came from (or were narrowly avoided despite) procrastinating on setting dates or appointments.

Well, it’s the end of the year. Time for my 2018 Goals Review! This will become an annual tradition on the site, because of…


I believe in setting goals for myself, and if you’re reading this coaching blog, you probably do too. But they’re pointless if you don’t create solid plans to achieve them (SMART goals) and if you don’t measure your success or failure.

One of the key benefits to having a coach is that there’s someone you’re accountable to (aka: an ‘accountabilabuddy’… yeah, fun word). Almost all of us perform better when we feel there’s someone we’d be letting down, than when only we ourselves know about the goal.

For example, when I first started blogging on the RetroNeo Games website in 2015, my first blog post stated that I’d blog every single weekend (silly me, I never put in an ‘until’ date). Because I felt accountable to my publicly stated promise and to my few dozen readers, I did blog every weekend that year, even over the 3 weeks I was away on holidays (I wrote in advance and scheduled the posts). For the two years after that I declared that I’d do one post per month, and I succeeded in that, too.

So, in a few days, I’m going to publicly post some of my 2019 goals, but for today, I want to review my 2018 goal results (which were never publicly posted, as the site didn’t exist yet, though they were measured by me privately) and do a review. These goals were not all specific. Some were aspirational and vague. I had daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and even lifetime goals. They weren’t really business related either as I was about to start a new employment last January.

New Year’s Resolutions/Review

Lots of bloggers and journalists currently love to be edgy by writing headlines like “New Year’s Resolutions are useless”, but then proceed to tell you why they’re actually great if you just define your goal in a SMART way (by the way, that means your goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed – there are a couple of alternate versions, but they amount to the same thing).

So, I’m not going to say that. New Year’s Resolutions are great! My own resolution every year is to “100% give up alcohol for January” (checks all the SMART boxes), just to see how I’m feeling about it. If I ever miss it much, I’ll know I might be developing a problem. So far, so good.

But the main thing that’s worth doing is reviewing your SMART goals from last year to appreciate your successes, and recognise your failures, or where you need to get more specific. This then helps you set better goals for the coming year so that you can continue to grow, both personally and professionally, and hopefully make a bigger positive impact on the world.

I’ve been doing this for a few years, but just learned yesterday that my process is very similar to author Tim Ferris’ Post Year Review system.

It’s important as well to measure your progress towards these goals during the year. I do this at the end of each month, personally.

So! How did I do in 2018?…

Kevin’s 2018’s Goals


Conference Goal. Reboot Develop, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
At Reboot Develop in Croatia. This Panel had Patrice Desilets (Assassin’s Creed), Josh Sawyer (Pillars of Eternity, Julian Gollop (X-COM, my favourite game!), and Charles Cecil (Broken Sword). I met them all, and they’re all really cool! I met Tim Schafer as well.
  • Attend at least one Conference – Conferences, particularly small ones, are great places to meet people from your industry and learn what changes are coming down the line. If you’re lucky, they can be incredibly fun, too. I started 2018 still working in the games industry (which has some of the most fun-loving, talented, and welcoming professionals in the world) and for 3 days in April I attended Reboot Develop, in Dubrovnik (for the second time. Seriously, go to this if you’re a games developer).
  • Take an Overseas Holiday – I was in Dubrovnik, Croatia, for aforementioned conference, and it was incredibly fun, with some off days as well, but I don’t think the conference and holiday should be the same thing, necessarily. However, I did fly home through Amsterdam for a two-day break and met a couple of friends, so that counts.
    I also went to Paris for my birthday. I was primarily volunteering with a refugee charity for 5 days, but when I finished my shifts, and for most of my birthday itself, I got to play tourist.
    One disappointment is that these were short, I’d been to all locations before, and all were connected with work in some way, though I still had a great time. I meant to go Inter-railing around Europe, or to Japan in September, but it never happened due to what was happening in my job around the time. Then I started straight into this coaching business and never got away. Still, goal technically achieved.
  • Take a Survival Course – I’d wanted to do this since the year before, and finally signed up to it for October. The Summer groups were full. It was miserably wet, and I got hypothermia, but as I suspected, it was a valuable experience to get out of your comfort zone and put daily problems in perspective. We built shelters, fire, learned some basic survival skills, and even had to endure some simulated captivity and psychological warfare. Fun! We pushed our physical and mental limits and are all stronger for it.
    It wasn’t “fun”, but I think it’s important to do something like this once a year at least. You never know when you might actually need to survive a crisis situation.
  • Learn x2 New Skills – Great success here, with 3 (or 4?) new skills. They weren’t defined initially, but over the year I learned how to Moonwalk (Michael Jackson move), do some basic pole dance moves (my friend owns a studio and I finally made good on a promise to take some beginner classes), dance some basic salsa, and I’ve begun to learn to juggle, though I wouldn’t say I have that skill yet.
    Funny enough, 3 of those new skills are dance related. I hated any form of dance when I was a teenager. Go figure.
  • Do x2 Burlesque Shows – In 2009, and until 2011, I ran a burlesque troupe in Ireland called The LoveCats. My friends wanted to start it up and I was invited in to play the guitar, but wound up running it after one friend moved overseas. At different times I was host, band member, an extra in group numbers, and eventually had a couple of my own acts as well. It was great fun, and a great community. I’m still involved in the scene (Co-Producer & Judge on Miss Burlesque Ireland, mainly) but hadn’t performed in 7 years. I wanted to try out a performance again, so I got something ready during the year, and made my “comeback” at a show in Dublin in August, and performed again in September. I’ve also applied for some shows next year.

    It’s something I’d meant to do for a couple of years, but writing the goal down and beginning to tell other performer friends that I was “coming back” soon, made me accountable. When it got to June and I’d done nothing solid yet about creating an act, I really got into gear.

  • Invest 10% of salary – Simple enough. I bought some Bitcoin and Etherium. It’s down at the moment, but the point is that you don’t invest what you can’t afford to lose.

    Volunteering in Paris
    I took this at Port De La Chapelle, 18th Arrondissement, Paris. Where 14,000 homeless and refugees sleep, during The Beast From The East, 2018. The neon sign at the top of that building reads “Life is Good”.
  • Run a Charity Event – Next year I want to be specific about how much I want to raise, but this is technically a success. I volunteered my birthday and raised some money for the refugees in France, also going over to help out for 5 days, but that’s not what I meant by “event”.
    The rest of the year passed by and I hadn’t organised a charity event. However, I was organising the Irish Game Dev Christmas party. On the day of the party, I realised my failure to reach the goal thus far, and quickly gathered some prizes, a donation bucket, and announced that at the party if you donated to the bucket, you could take a ‘lucky dip’ in a bag and pull out a game code, or some other prizes.
    We raised €114 for Dublin’s homeless.
    In spirit, I feel I failed this goal, as it wasn’t much money and it wasn’t specifically a charity event, but it was better than nothing, and technically a success, since my goal wasn’t that Specific. Must do better next year.


  • Run a Marathon – This was an ambitious goal, as I don’t run, or really get much intense exercise. That said, I’m fit, healthy, walk every day, do my stretches, and want to run. The problem is I have an ankle injury of unknown diagnosis that’s been bothering me for over a decade, especially when I run, push something heavy (like a car), or even stand for too long.
    I started in January turning my walks into runs, but after just two days my ankle was badly at me and I couldn’t even walk on it for a few days. 
    Every now and again, I’d push a bit further, but really couldn’t run any more than a minute without triggering this injury.
    I’ve been to physiotherapists, osteopaths, had an x-ray, etc, but never found the cause of this injury. The only health professional I regularly see now is a (very good, and holistic) chiropractor, and while he’s improved my back, my ankle got no better, which was the expected result. 
    He recommended getting an MRI and maybe seeing a specialist, so in December I finally had the MRI and initially I’m told it looks like some form of tendinitis.
    I’ll be back to a different physio next year with the scans and hopefully I can sort this out and get back on track towards that marathon. It might be more than a year away, but the goal will be written, progress will be measured, and some day I’ll run a whole marathon. It’s not necessarily a 2019 goal, but working towards it is.
  • Volunteer one day per month – Big fail here. I never set up any relationship with a charity in my local area that I could regularly volunteer with. I did do 5 days with Utopia 56 in March in Paris, and allowed that to count for 5 months, but I never really followed up. For shame. I have, however, relinquished my role as Editor of the Imirt newsletter (that was a volunteer role, but not like ‘charity’ volunteer) and my organising of The Games Co-Op meetup in Dublin (same) for next year, so I should have a little more time.
    I did do 2 days of training with Cool Planet Champions in November, which is a volunteer climate activist role, but I don’t know if I’d honestly count the training, and I haven’t performed any actions/events for it yet, so, I definitely fell short of the target here.
  • Go to a comedy gig each month – It’s important to laugh, but I only went to one show all year (David Cross) and that was last-minute as my brother couldn’t make it and offered me the tickets. Fail.
  • Start Self-Defense Classes – I spoke to coworkers and friends about what martial art I might enjoy, and I got in touch with a couple of studios who didn’t return messages, but that’s as far as this went. Early in the year I was too busy with other classes I had taken up (salsa, yoga), games meetups, and commuting, and later in the year money was tight as I left my job in October, so this just never happened.
  • Any of my Life Goals – I didn’t achieve any, but didn’t expect to either. These are goals such as going to space, setting foot on all 7 continents by the age of 35 (only South America and Antarctica left to go!!).
    I did, however, move closer to working a year remotely while travelling. In deciding to leave my job and become self-employed again, I got closer. Coaching can be done remotely. It should also be more lucrative long-term than the games industry, hopefully allowing me to take an expensive trip to Antarctica via South America.


  • Stand Up Comedy  I mentioned burlesque and music above, and I speak in public occasionally. When I was a teenager I did some drama, too. Basically, I’ve done most of the things you can do on stage except for comedy (and circus, but I’ve no plans for that). When I realised this, I decided that I’d do a newcomer stand-up set. I thought I’d take a few months to write funny observations and try develop a short set.
    In my last job, late in the Summer, I met a guy who turned out to be an amateur comedian, and he told me where I could go to do a newcomer night.
    I took a bit too long with the joke writing and too long to get in contact with the venue, but I am now booked for my first stand-up comedy performance… for January 8th…
    This goal was kind of successful, but technically outside of the year, even though I booked it inside the year. I’m reluctant to call it a failure or a success. Whatever it is, hopefully it’s funny.
  • Cook Meals, Time in Nature, Open Mic – I wrote these down as weekly tasks, and in reality I probably averaged once per fortnight on each, which is okay. I feel better for having done that much.
Time In Nature
I did get some good time in nature, courtesy of Glen of the Downs, Co.Wicklow, Ireland.

Other Daily & Weekly Tasks

I had other goals around physical and mental exercises, language learning, dating, coaching clients (even while working the games job, which was really just not feasible after commuting times and other goals), reading every day, and practicing lucid dreaming techniques (I was part of Dr. Denholm Aspy’s research group in late 2017, and wanted to keep up the practice, but rarely did).

I had middling success with these goals. Many of those tasks were getting done as others weren’t, and I’d switch focus, and then not be doing the original few.

Happiness & Unhappiness

I do an exercise where each day I write down my 2 favourite things that happened that day. Each week I circle the week’s best 2, and each month, the month’s best 2. Looking back over it, I can see that the things that made me happiest were time spent with friends and family, nights out (especially in rock clubs or concerts), time spent in nature (especially the sunshine), good dates, helping others (those times that I did volunteer, or with my clients), performing music, learning new skills, and accomplishing big tasks or goals. I will strive to do more of these things in 2019, then.

I also try to write down what’s making me unhappy, when I can figure it out. A lot of these things are small and seem silly when you look back (like late buses, or inefficient government departments), but a lot of them had to do with my old employers, which reinforces now my commitment to being self-employed as a coach. More still had to do with rejection (from job applications I wanted, or in dating), or being treated disrespectfully. Respect is very important to me. Unfortunately, you can’t control how other people behave. You can only control how you respond to it. So, apart from stating my expectations and standing my ground where appropriate, I must endeavour not to let the behaviour of others upset me.

It seems wrong though to say “don’t get your hopes up, so you’ll never be disappointed”. But hey, this is life. We do our best. Still learning.

Lessons Learned

So, where can I improve? I’ve named my failures, and shown where I succeeded. I caused (or narrowly avoided causing despite) procrastinating on setting dates or appointments. I delayed the survival course and stand-up comedy because of fear alone. That’s ironic, because facing the fear is exactly why I wanted to do them in the first place. I’m glad I got them done, but I must be aware of when I’m procrastinating on the bigger, scarier goals.

I definitely made too many small, aspirational goals, without due care to how they’d fit into my timetable. A lot of the time they just couldn’t. I need to set daily and weekly tasks with more consideration for my timetable (I’ve cut out my big commute to Dublin since leaving my last job, so that will help), and assign the bigger goals to segments of the year, rather than rushing to complete most of them in the second half.

I also need to write shorter blogs… though an annual review seems like it ought to be somewhat lengthy, to be fair.

Thanks so much for reading. Do please leave a comment if you got some value out of this.

Merry Christmas!