My Goals Report – March 2021 Update
Alright, I’m going to start (trying) to do this as a monthly thing. How hard can it be? Hat tip to Matthew Dicks for the inspiration. This post is probably a lot longer than most of the future posts will be, because this is the first time I’m writing a lot of this stuff down. So time for my 2021 goals report update
💪 Get six pack abs
I was semi-serious about this goal in January, but in February I decided that I couldn’t be bothered with the calorie deficit. I still think it would be nice to do at some point, but with lots of other big projects going on in my life + a generally sedentary lifestyle, I felt that it wasn’t the right time to really take this seriously. Oh well.
I’m making an effort to generally eat a little healthier, and experiment with intermittent fasting. And I’m keeping track of my body measurements + occasionally taking progress photos. Part of me hopes that the six-pack abs will magically happen if I sort my diet and lifestyle enough, but that’s probably unrealistic.
🧘♀️ Fix my posture
I have a serious issue with anterior pelvic tilt + nerd neck + rounded shoulders. My bum sticks out like a Kardashian, and not in a good way. This is thanks to decades of sitting on a desk in front of a computer.
I’ve been half-arsing this particular goal. Other than spending around 30% of my desk time in standing mode, I haven’t made much progress towards fixing my posture. I know it involves daily stretching and strengthening exercises (hip flexor stretches, glute bridges etc) but I haven’t yet built the habit.
Action Point – Find a default stretching and mobility routine that I can do while watching TV or while standing at my desk in Zoom calls.
👅 Get more hench
This is going well. I’ve been doing 3/week Zoom sessions with my personal trainer, and he works me quite hard with my home workout stuff – pullup bar, 16kg kettlebell, exercise bands, weighted vest. For the past few months, I’ve been getting consistent comments on YouTube videos + Instagram that my biceps are looking better. My housemate even comments this sometimes. It’s a nice feeling. Let’s keep going with it.
👽 Live longer and healthier
Not going great. Partly becuase I hadn’t written this down as a goal before today. I’m reading Fast this Way by Dave Asprey, which is giving me an introduction to the world of intermittent and other types of fasting, which are apparently good for longevity.
I need to do more reading around the 80/20 of things I should cut out from my diet and lifestyle – I suspect I’m eating quite a lot in the way of inflammatory foods, artificial sugars, low-quality fats etc. Right now, I know that some of these are Bad but I don’t know how Bad they are and what the evidence for their Badness is.
Maybe this would be a good blog post + video to research this month.
Action Point – Ask my team to research a video around “How to Live Longer and Healthier” or something like that.
✍️ Do more journaling
Journaling is apparently good for one’s health and wellbeing. I’ve been dabbling in it through Morning Pages, but I want to take it more seriously moving forward. This public journal feels like a good way of going about that.
🥰 Be more grateful
In my live-streamed interview with Justin Kan (co-founder of Twitch), we talked about various strategies for wellness. Justin’s favourite is Gratitude Journaling – each morning, he writes down 3 things that he’s grateful for. This is a ridiculously simple practise, and I’ve been hearing about it on the grapevine for years – apparently there’s some evidence that it does more to boost your happiness than a doubling of your salary.
Either way, after hearing him wax lyrical about it, I decided to give it a go. I’ll report back next month.
Action Point – Gratitude Journal everyday, and include screenshots in next month’s Goals Report.
📖 Write a Really Good Book
This is making some progress. Here’s an update video.
I’m on the verge of officially signing with a literary agent, and I’m working with David Moldawer to help whip the book proposal into shape before we try to get a US publishing deal.
I really want the book to become a NYT bestseller. But this is a tricky goal because (a) it’s really hard to do, and (b) I don’t like having goals that are outside of my control.
Remember to join my Book Journey mailing list if you want updates 😀
🏥 Work part-time in A&E
When I think about my long-term goals regarding Medicine, I keep landing on the idea of working part-time. I think working 2 days a week as a doctor might be quite fun. The speciality I’m leaning towards is Emergency Medicine. This means I’d be spending most of my time in A&E (Accident & Emergency), otherwise known as ER (the Emergency Room).
I had a chat with one of the A&E consultants (the UK version of “Attendings”) at my local hospital, and he kindly invited me to join the AE& Locum Bank. “Locums” are extra shifts you can pick up here and there.
Given that I’ve never really had proper experience in A&E, I want to try it out for a few months to see if I like the vibe of Emergency Medicine. And I want to test the assumption that “working 2 days a week would be fun”.
The annoying thing is that for the past month, I’ve been going back and forth with the Medical Staffing department to try and get the paperwork sorted out. Currently, my DBS (criminal records) check is processing, and that seems to be what’s holding things up.
Once the paperwork is sorted, I’ll pickup a few shifts and see how things go 😃
🧠 Become a Medical Educator
I enjoy teaching Medicine much more than actually practising it. My mid- to long-term goal is to get some sort of flexible teaching position at a medical school so I can teach people in real life, when the pandemic stops. From 2019-2020, I was a physiology supervisor at Girton College, Cambridge, which was super fun. I quit the post in August 2020, intending to travel the world, but the pandemic put a stop to that, and so I haven’t done much in the way of medical education for the past few months.
Not sure I can be bothered with doing Zoom teaching sessions, so I think we’ll park this particular goal until real-life teaching opens up again.
🪣 The Medicine Bucket List
- Work in different countries – I’d love to try my hand at working in Emergency Medicine in different countries. Step 1 is to get reasonably good at it, probably starting off in the UK. Step 2 is to explore other cool places to travel to where I can be useful. I like the idea of Australia / New Zealand / South Africa.
- Doctors without Borders – I love the idea of doing humanitarian medical stuff. The book War Doctor by David Nott really inspired me last year. This is a very long-term plan because generally, to be useful in these environments, you have to know what you’re doing (whereas I’ll be in training for at least the next 5 years).
Learning Cool Stuff
🎨 Become a Concept Artist
This is going well. I’ve been having Zoom art lessons 2-3 times per week with Alessandro Pirrelli. They’ve been quite fun. I don’t do any practise at all outside the sessions, which is probably Bad, but oh well.
🧞♂️ Join the Magic Circle
In an attempt to increase my sexual market value, I’ve been dabbling in close-up magic since 2011. When I was at university, I used to perform at end-of year balls and parties. Since I’ve graduated, I haven’t taken magic particularly seriously.
But then, a few weeks ago when a chap called Matthew Le Mottée emailed me. He’s a professional magician based in Cambridge, an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle, and has won the Magic Circle Close-Up Magician of the Year competition 3 times. This is a huge deal in the world of magic.
In return for free access to my Part-Time YouTuber Academy, he’s become my Magic Mentor, and we’re working on getting me into the Magic Circle. This involves building a 8-12 minute magic act to perform in an audition to other members of the Magic Circle + judges.
We’ve just started figuring out what routines I might do during the act, and brainstorming ideas for incorporating storytelling elements into it. It’s been quite fun so far.
🎤 Learn to Freestyle Rap
In February 2021, I started a 30-day experiment to try and learn to freestyle rap. After seeing the likes of Chris Turner and Harry Mack on YouTube, I thought “this is really cool” and decided I wanted to learn it.
So over the past few weeks, I’ve been having lessons with my friend Michael from Ultraspeaking. It’s going alright, but it’s quite hard. I’m working on a video that shows the journey in more detail.
👩🎤 Busk on the London Underground
This has been on my bucket list for a few years. There’s a few action steps:
- Audition for a license (yes, you need to audition to be legit enough to get a license for the London Underground). This is stalled because of the pandemic.
- Build a set list of 15 songs that I can sing on repeat – I’ve got around 12. Need to work on some more.
Life + Relationships
💕 Take Dating more seriously
Not going well at all. I’d like to think this is mostly because of the lockdown situation. I’ve tried out a few Zoom dates, which have been alright, but they aren’t really a substitute for the real thing. It feels a tad pointless to be chatting on the phone to someone who I might not meet for several months.
So until lockdown is properly lifted, I might just put this on the back burner.
💌 Make more of an effort to stay in touch with friends
Going reasonably well. I’ve been having occasional phone calls with friends more often than I used to. Still plenty of room for improvement.
🧑💻 Take this website more seriously
This is going well. We’ve just done a radical redesign, and the fact that I’m writing this shows that I’m taking this website more seriously. We’ve got 2 new people on the team (Gareth and Jakub) who’re helping out with website writing + SEO. They’re very good.
We even hit the front page of Hacker News with our recent The Art of Reading article, which was nice (that’s the spike in traffic down below).
🎬 Keep the YouTube channel ticking along
Going well. We’ve dropped down to 2 videos per week, which feels much more manageable than the 3 per week we were shooting for, especially as writing the book is the highest leverage thing I could be doing at this point, and so I wanted to have some free time and mental space for that.
🫀 Take my Second Channel more seriously
My second channel was meant to be a medical educational resource, but in early 2020, I lost motivation in that particular goal. So the channel’s been dormant for a while, but we’re in the process of reviving it.
We want the second channel to be a destination for shorter clips, repurposed from podcasts and interviews that I do. It’ll also be nice to be able to do live streams, Q&As, and other random videos without having to worry about the algorithm and performance on the main channel.
Hopefully more progress on this front this month.
🎙 Grow the podcast – Not Overthinking
This is going well. We’ve had a podcast YouTube channel for a few months, but we started taking it seriously over the past few weeks. We now film all our podcasts using Riverside, and upload full episodes + clips to the YouTube channel. The YouTube channel is a great source of growth and discovery for the podcast.
📧 Grow the Mailing List
We’ve rebranded my email newsletter as the Friendzone. And we’re in the process of switching from Revue over to Convertkit as our email provider. The challenge now is to figure out ways to grow the mailing list in a wholesome and non-spammy way. We’ve got a few ideas on that front (lead magnets and the like). I’ll report back next month.
Action Point – Migrate from Revue to Convertkit and figure out an email list building strategy.
📸 Grow on Instagram
We’re doing a decent job of growing on Instagram. My team handles the repurposed content side of things, and I post random pics of myself here and there that seem to perform quite well. We’re thinking about how to use Reels a bit more. But overall, things going well. Which is nice, because growth on Instagram isn’t something I particularly care about personally.
🐦 Keep Twitter ticking along
I don’t really think too hard about my Twitter account. My team is doing a good job of posting short clips repurposed from podcasts and interviews. And I just tweet stuff whenever I feel like it. Here are some analytics from Ilo.
Kinda funny how my highest impression tweet (by a long way) was a random screenshot posted as a spur of the moment thing.
my man @JamesClear continuing to crush it on the daily 🤯 pic.twitter.com/sNRCm9XTzA
— Ali Abdaal (@AliAbdaal) February 26, 2021
And my highest engagement tweet was a classic Fortune Cookie format.
Success isn’t about getting more done, it’s about having more fun.
If you’re having fun, productivity takes care of itself.
— Ali Abdaal (@AliAbdaal) February 26, 2021
📱 Dabble with TikTok
We haven’t quite figured out what our TikTok strategy’s going to be, but we’re producing lots of <60 second content for YouTube shorts and instagram, so we’re thinking about how we can chuck it on Tiktok as well.
My friend Omar (School of Scent) grew ridiculously huge on Tiktok (250k followers!), and his audience there is migrating over to his YouTube channel. This would be a nice thing to emulate.
📘 Dabble with Facebook Video
We’ve seen a lot of other creators (Doctor Mike, Jay Shetty etc) have success with Facebook video. Again, because we’re producing tonnes of video content already, we’re thinking about how we can distribute it on Facebook as well to reach a different audience.
So that’s it. This post is a hell of a lot longer than I thought it would be, but if you’ve read this far, I hope you’ve found it vaguley interesting.
I’d love for you to join the Friendzone below if you want an email with the next post in the series.