2019 Goals

I begin my year in February because during the holidays there is never enough time to do a good job reviewing performance for the past year and setting objectives for the next year. I work with a coach, someone who is a friend for whom I have a great deal of respect, and who will play an active role in the process. Last year, Mark Walther was my coach; this year Joe Broussard is working with me. Thank you both for your support and invaluable feedback.


Two sets of goals: weight and stress. I have had a damn weight goal on my list for three years and never managed to do it. In Atomic Habits, James Clear writes about the importance of systems, which are what you do to achieve the goal. “Focus on the system, and the goal will take care of itself,” he writes. So here is my system for losing 15 pounds. Let’s see if it works.
Drink three big glasses of water daily.
­Design four 30-day challenges focusing on nutrition.
Track progress
Use a food journal.
Weigh and measure every Monday
­Gym three times a week. Focus on burning calories.
­Dance three-four times a week.
­Walk 30 minutes a day.
­The second set of goals focus on Managing Stress
30-day meditation challenge
­ Reduce community service commitments.
Take one do-nothing day off every other week.
­ Eliminate or manage negative relationships.
­ Add more opportunities for laughter and humor.


Reduce service commitments for the next six months.
Build friendships who are positive and rewarding.
­Do a driving trip to visit friends and family in the US.
­30-day challenge: no gossip. (In progres


Evaluate my net worth. (Done)
Meet with wealth advisor.
Rebalance portfolio
Create a budget and track progress
Two to three no-buy days per week.
Generate cash: sell what I don’t need.
Build another website for my business, BRS
Create and implement a marketing plan for BRS



­ Track time spent mastering Spanish
­ Spend 15 hours a week speaking/reading/listening/writing
­ Take at least four classes at UNAM
Continue participation in the Spanish Book Club
­ Read four books
­ Write and deliver two presentations in Spanish
­ Take classes on other subjects, taught in Spanish
­ Make friends with Mexicans.
­ Travel to a Spanish speaking country

­Read four novels


Photography. Become completely familiar with both cameras.
Thoroughly understand exposure, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, and the exposure triangle. Gain experience shooting in low-light, using speed lights, and studio lighting. Gain experience shooting motion. Become an intermediate user of Photoshop. Exhibit and sell. Begin to learn to print.

Dance Dance three days a week or more. Explore new forms of dance.

Study with Chef Jahnke. Learn 20 new dishes/recipes.



Since I have had several people ask how I did on my goals for 2018, I am posting this recap.

Several unexpected events occurred last year. I had two break-ins at my previous location in Colonia Allende. One thief fled; the other stole my Nikon 750 and an expensive lens. A pick-pocket stole my tablet from my backback while I was photographing a parade. (My bad. Never carry a backpack in a crowd scene.) Then, with little notice, the owner of the house I was renting decided to sell. My new place had to be furnished and renovated. Renovations took a little over three months. In December, I got the flu. It took me three weeks to get over it.

However, I did achieve most of goals I set.

BODY. I went to the gym regularly until I moved in September, danced six days a week for most of the year, and walked an hour a day until I moved to the center of town. I had a physical, an eye exam and my teeth checked. I did not accomplish my weight goal.

MIND. I took several advanced Spanish classes at UNAM, joined a Spanish book club, completed four novels and a stack of business publications, and made several new Mexican friends. I read several French novels and one German short story. I paid for an online chess class taught by Kasparov, but have not yet had time to take it.

SPIRIT. I meditated at least once a day for several months, but my meditation practice ground to a halt while I was moving and renovating. Instead, I switched to listening to Unitarian and Buddhist podcasts while I unpacked boxes and worked on the house.

SERVICE TO COMMUNITY, FRIENDS AND FAMILY. In 2018, I supported the Photographic Gallery with over 200 hours of service, rebranding the organization, building and maintaining the website, developing many dozens of promotional pieces, and setting up a system for managing PR. I assisted my family when my son had his second child and my sister lost her husband in the middle of a move. I pitched in when friends became ill, needed medicine, or had to have a roof repaired. With my friend Mark, we made loans through KIVA to individuals in other countries. I did receive feedback from some social acquaintances that I was not attentive enough to their needs and did not respond quickly enough to their emails and phone calls.

CREATIVITY. I completed four mixed media pieces and a painting, had one article published, and posted over 100 entries in my blog. I studied with a chef, learned new cooking techniques, and made dozens of new recipes. After the robbery, I replaced my Nikon, bought a safe, put it in there, and did not photograph anything for many months because I was afraid something would happen to my new camera. To conquer my fear and get back in the saddle, I started a 30-day challenge to take at least one photo a day. I am currently on day 27. This year, I began printing my work, submitted work to show, exhibited, sold work, and published photos in a book.

But the most creative thing I did this year was to design the living environment where I now live. I renovated the garage to install a dance studio with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a sound system, hung a swing in my shower, and built a commercial kitchen with a four-rack commercial stove. This is the best place I have ever lived. I flow from one creative space after another.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE. Moving, furnishing and renovating represented a financial setback. (I had almost nothing when I moved in, not even sheets.)   However, I did manage to pay off my credit card every month while I was bleeding money.  I didn’t get much else done, though. With regards to Business Research Solutions, I gained a client and (probably) lost a client. I did not update my facebook page or refresh the corporate website.  Those items are still on the to-do list.  I just calculated my net worth.  Rebalancing my portfolio is next.


I just called NODA to see about setting up a chapter in San Miguel, where I believe there is a need. I believe in being of service to the community where I live. I usually volunteer for a year. I am finishing up my volunteer commitment to the Photographic Gallery and I have an appointment to talk with the director of NODA. We will see what happens. There are a lot of creative people who have retired here. Many of them are single and far from their families. NODA would be useful here.

Travel Goal: Contemplate Geography


I find myself increasingly thinking about settling down.  This year, I want to think about what qualities are important in the place where I put down roots.  I like sunshine and warm weather, but would give up some good weather if the place rocked.   I don’t want to learn a new language, so it has to be a French, Spanish, English, or German-speaking country.

Safety issues are important; high crime rates are a drag.  Cost of living is a concern–to a point.  I prefer mid-sized cities with cultural resources, kick-ass music and good internet connectivity.  A developed public transportation is important.  Access to other interesting cities is critical.  For example, Sante Fe is nice, but the next serious cultural center is too much of a hike.  The South of Spain and France are attractive.  I also feel a growing urge to talk a year and travel slowly through the U.S.

My main travel goal this year is to contemplate geography.  I have a lot to think about.  Ready, aim, fire.  Make it happen.  Yeah!

Financial Goals


My revenue goals for 2018 for my research business are to 1) refresh my website, facebook page and linked-in page and 2) Expand my client base, including the supplier-side as well as client-side of the research business.   I would also like to explore offering a cooking class.   Don’t want a full-time gig, though.  It’s all about balance.

On the investment side, I want to invest more aggressively, especially if the market corrects.  (as Rothschild said, “The time to invest is when blood is running in the street.”)

Regarding minimizing expenses, I’m already pretty good at that!




2018 Physical Goals

Physical Goals

Quite simple.   1) Study Salsa and Tango twice a week, 2) Dance with the Ecstatic Dance Community, 3) Stretch every other day, be able to do the splits again (almost there) 4) Lift Weights when I have the time, 5) Walk everyday, and 6) Replace one meal with a salad or veggies and eat one piece of fruit a day.  No weight goals this year.  I am strong and fit and healthy.  I like my body.  Not into being a size 2.

Creative Goals

Photography: 1 ) Go on three photoshoots in Mexico with other photographers, 2) Take three classes in composite photography; 3) Publish a book of photography and writing from the past five years of traveling,       4) Set up a professional website and have cards printed, 5) Exhibit work in a photo gallery, 6) Purchase a larger monitor and more powerful computer and 7) Explore acquiring a drone.

Painting: Complete four pieces. (One done)

Dance: 1) Latin dance classes twice a week; 2) Participate in ecstatic dance community, 3) install a dance mirror (done) and ballet bar at home.

Writing: 1) blog regularly; 2) Join a writer’s group; 3) publish a book of travel photography and writing, and 4) take a class on Food writing.

Food: 1) take a cooking class; 2) give a cooking class, and 3) explore food writing.

Touching the Mystery

I am taking an online course with the secular Buddhist thought-leader Stephen Batchelor.  I like that Batchelor transforms the Four Nobel Truths into the Four Calls to Action he calls ELSA: Embrace Life, Let it Go, Stop and Think, Act Not React.

The first session focused on how meditation helps us embrace life.  Breathing and watching our thoughts is a way to open up the world and create more clarity of vision.  During meditation, we look inside and ask over and over “What is going on?” Meditation gets us out of the gated community of our comfort zone.  We sit with the mysterious mess of life, with the humility of not knowing, observing, and letting go of the ideas, comparisons, certainties and convictions which flatten our world.  Meditation sensitizes us.  As we develop the ability to see with more depth, the world becomes more luminous and mysterious, simultaneously more comic and tragic, and much more precious and fragile.   The are moments on the cushion which are simply breathtaking.

Only one thing is certain: this life will end.  What is uncertain is when.  This knowledge makes today, and this very moment, more precious.  This knowledge motivates us to live fully.  This knowledge calls us to be of service to others, so that they may live more fully, too.

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