2009 Quarter 4 Update: A Year In Review

Yosemite Meadow

Well folks, this is it. The beginning of a new year and decade, for many of us a refreshing reminder to reflect, realign and re-motivate. I spent New Year’s Eve amongst close friends, sequestered from the snow in my apartment. It was just the kind of subtle and low-key night I needed to ring in 2010.

This year has been, to use one of my favorite adjectives of 2009, wild. I slept in 28 different cities and visited several new countries:

  • Europe: Germany, Belarus, Ukraine, Albania
  • Middle East: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, United Arab Emirates
  • Asia: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan
  • Africa: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Djibouti

Some of my favorite 2009 travel experiences:

I took 56 flights and read 6,325 pages in 20 books. Yes, I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive. I think it’s my job. Speaking of numbers, it has been exactly one year since I outlined my goals for 2009. Let’s see how I performed:

2009 Goals

1. Run 5 miles in 35 minutes

Close! In my Thanksgiving Day 5-mile run, I finished in 35:20. My body was in shape, but I made two significant mistakes. 1) I did not wear a watch and therefore could not pace myself, and 2) I wore the Vibram FiveFingers on an asphalt course. My calves couldn’t take it. I forgot that most of my Vibram FiveFinger training was on dirt and grass.

2. Read and take notes on 3 out of 95 books on the Personal MBA reading list.

Done! I read 8 books. This has been a great experiment. Even in a few short books I feel like I’ve learned a lot.

3. Clean up my research paper on vertical farming and send it to Dickson Despommier at Columbia University.

Done! He even sent me a short note back in thanks. Swell guy.

4. Reach conversational level in Spanish.

Fail. I let this one slip by. I think the goal was too broad for my psyche, so I was subconsciously afraid to really dig in. Maybe one of these days.

5. Expand my blogging audience to at least 100 RSS subscribers.

Done! Google FeedBurner has been all over the place this year, but as of January 1 I have 182 subscribers. If we don’t know each other, feel free to introduce yourself below!

6. Compose a photo-journal coffee table book of my abroad experience in Nepal.

Done! A sample copy should be arriving in the next couple of weeks. You can preview the book here.

7. Complete the Hundred Push Ups challenge

Done! This was the most fun goal for me.

Not a terrible performance, but looking ahead at 2010, I hope to be even more productive. Here’s what I have in store:

2010 Goals

1 mile in under 5:30.
Run a half-marathon.
200 squats without stopping.
25 pull-ups without stopping.
Be able to fall into a push up from standing position, like Christian Bale in Batman Returns.
Cycle 100 miles in one day.
Be able to hold a gymnastics-inspired L-position for 30 seconds.
Hold breath for at least 3 minutes.


  • Redesign and rethink my vision as a blogger. Is this a travel site? A lifestyle design or business site? This needs to be cleared up.
  • Write at least 15 guest posts for other bloggers.
  • Get at least 500 subscribers.
  • Post consistently, at least once a week on Tuesdays. Sundays will be reserved for PMBA and case-study updates.
  • Develop a cost-of-traveling blog widget, an idea that I’ve been sitting on for several months.


  • Redesign and find a cheaper host.
  • Sell at least 5 prints.

I set this site up to record my experiences at different Indian restaurants around the world. It could go in a variety of directions.

  • Write at least 20 reviews
  • Get at least 50 subscribers

Read at least 15 more books on the Personal MBA reading list.
Put together a long-term goals/bucket list.
Buy a keyboard.
Hike the Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
Score at least a 700 on a practice GMAT and then take the real thing.
Make at least $500 in supplemental income.
Reread I Will Teach You To Be Rich and restructure and optimize my finances.
Track all my expenses. To the penny.
Finish the 21-day No-Complaint Experiment
Score at least $15,000 on Jeopardy! using the Coryat method. So far my highest score is $9,600.
Each quarter I will update my progress to let you know how I’m doing. I look forward to sharing these experience with you over the coming year.

What are your resolutions for 2010?

10 thoughts on “2009 Quarter 4 Update: A Year In Review”

  1. Congrats on the amount of success you had in 2009. I look forward to seeing how you do throughout the next year.

    David Damron
    .-= Dave – LifeExcursion´s last blog ..Happy New Year!!! =-.

  2. Anil says:

    Hi Alan, if you ever want to submit a guest post for any of my sites would be more than happy to post it.

  3. Nate says:

    You had a killer year! I’m sure it will only get better in 2010. I think you should really run with The Curry Project. That’s a cool idea maybe you could have a directory for different cities and get restaurants to pay for placement. Just an idea. AND, if you want any company while hiking the Presidential Traverse, I’m there.
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..low-budget content creation experiment =-.

  4. Your success in 2009 is impressive. I have yet to try to improve in so many different areas at once. Just started a blog last week. I want to stick to video format (messed up on my 1st vid) mostly so if you want to do a video I’d be happy to add that:) Look forward to reading more of your stuff in the coming year.
    .-= Lis Carpenter´s last blog ..Dangerously Cool – Rockstar Lifestyle Design Interview =-.

  5. Mate nice.

    Interesting to hear about your paper on the vertical farming, can I read it? I am currently running through design concepts for interior growth chambers and would be really interested in your research.
    .-= Jonny | thelifething.com´s last blog ..An Almost Comprehensive Guide To Knowing What You Want, Improving Yourself, Finding Success, Escaping The Rat Race And Becoming Rich In 2010. =-.

  6. flip says:

    wow you’ve accomplished alot in 2009

    wishing you more success this 2010!!!

    .-= flip´s last blog ..Win a Free Boracay Vacation Package =-.

  7. Alan says:

    @Anil– Thanks Anil! I’ll take you up on that :)

    @Nate– You’re always full of encouraging words! I’m having fun with The Curry Project for the time being – who knows where it will end up. I’ll be in touch about the Presidential Traverse…mid-March? Late June?

    @Lis– Thanks Lis, you got yourself a great start over there. I think sticking to a video format is clever and unique.

    @Jonny– Absolutely! Sending you an email now. I’d like to see your designs as well.

  8. Greetings Alan.

    7 minute miles is a good challenge. Distance running helps with speed so don’t skip your weekly long runs.

    I also need to rethink my JetSetCitizen site. There are so many of us blogging about the same topics. Everyone seems to be saying the same things.

    Do you have any ideas how to stand out?
    .-= John Bardos – JetSetCitizen´s last blog ..Get Ready for an Untemplated Lifestyle! =-.

  9. Dude, again, those Petra photos are incredible, and you ARE Indiana Jones! Your photography is great Alan, I’ll have to look into this coffee table book, congrats on achieving that goal in 2009. Also, I’m really excited, I’ll be participating in Josh Kauffman’s Personal MBA business course this year! It sounds awesome. (make sure you check out our contest at Untemplater, because we’re giving away 3 free seats!) I wish you massive success with your goals for 2010 too man.
    .-= Cody McKibben´s last blog ..You Are Probably Insane =-.

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