2016: A New Year, with New Goals

I hate cliches.

The New Year always seems to bring out so many of them, and for years I have found them repugnant.

“New Year, New Me” or “So, this is the New Year, I don’t feel any different”(that one is a set of lyrics from Death Cab for Cutie).

But, one of the many great things about the new year is the ability to start over, to press reset and to change for the better. I have typically avoided making resolutions in years past, because they’re all cliché, and I never follow through on them so they become a source of pain and shame for me. I say to myself ‘wow, look at that long list of things you failed to follow through on.”

So this year is different (another cliché) and I’m committed to it making it different (and better). Here are my top resolutions for 2016, personally and professionally.


  • Disengage more often– I have a real difficulty with ‘unplugging’ or ‘turning off.’ I find myself at all hours of the day panicked when I look at my phone to see what time it is and there’s a number next to my email app (sidenote- how do you people with 34,000 unread emails deal with yourself?). I find myself constantly updating twitter, or facebook to make sure I didn’t miss anything. That ends this year. My goal is to focus on the present more and get away from my phone. I’m looking forward to taking some vacations and just not worrying about where my phone is, or if I missed any calls/texts/snaps/emails etc.
  • Read more– I read a lot, I read a lot for work (articles, blogs, technical manuals and Wikipedia articles to name a few). What has really waned for me in the past few years is the amount I read for pleasure, for fun. My first job out of college I read on average two books a week. That may have had more to do with the fact I traveled full time and had endless captive free time (airplanes, truck, bus, hotels etc). My goal this year isn’t incredibly lofty, I want to read a book a month, that’s a good start and I hope to grow that over time. If you’re interested in what I’m reading, I’d be happy to let you know (and if you have a recommendation please let me know).
  • Buy new jeans- those who really know me understand how momentous this is. I have had one pair of jeans for the last two-plus years that I’ve worn almost daily. Not only have these jeans seen better days, and are starting to deteriorate but they are also quickly becoming too large for me, due to my plummeting weight.
  • Be more positive- I am a negative ned, or at least I was. I am not saying I’m completely cured, or I will be sometime soon. I am, however, choosing to look at things from a more optimistic viewpoint. Choosing to appreciate the little things in life, and be thankful more so than critical are things I need to focus on.


  • Write More- I don’t write often enough. I write a weekly recap piece for the fine folks at AVNation.tv called “The Friday Five,” which I very much enjoy, but I miss writing other, different content. I’ve put a lot of my writing on hold lately in pursuit of some other things. So again, my goal this year isn’t incredibly lofty, I just want to write once a month here on my website, and once a month on another website and perhaps even get back into writing for others in the audiovisual industry. If you’re looking to hire someone to provide content for your website, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
  • Work less- This may seem counter intuitive, especially for people who know me very well, but I tend to work way too much. Now, I don’t mean I’m in the office 60 hours a week and I’m slaving away at my desk the entire time, but I do tend to take work home with me, and to sit on my computer late at night answering emails, sending emails and checking in and working on tickets (both customers and internal). This has helped me become an incredibly productive person over the past decade, but isn’t sustainable in the long term, also I came across this article which indicates sending late night emails (which I do all the time) might not be the best thing for you/your team at work.
  • Non-traditional professional development- The CTS credential is great, and I’m thankful for it. I work with the CTS committee to attempt to keep it relevant. One of the things I’ve neglected over the last few years is non-traditional professional development. Yes understanding audiovisual properties is incredibly key to doing my job, but learning things like utilizing excel in a more efficient manner can also have a tremendous effect on my career, especially as just about every company is manipulating data to become more sleek. There’s more than just hard skills to develop, and it’s time to focus on some of my soft-skills deficiencies.
  • Give Back- I give my time to the InfoComm CTS committee, and I participate in various other ways in the industry when given a chance. I am slowly learning that I need to give-back more. There have been plenty of professionals who have generously given their time and effort to help mold me, improve me and make me the person I am today. To name a few: Tim Albright, Matt Scott and George Tucker- who took a 22 year old kid on a 2 hour walk through las vegas to find some food that led to me learning more about the industry and getting more involved. My boss at my last job- Jason Thomas- who taught me there’s more than fixing problems, sometimes you have to fix the perception as well. Several of my colleagues at my current job who have encouraged me to approach things differently and have allowed me the room to grow myself and my position. I would really like to, one day, be that person for someone else. I don’t know how much I have to offer, but I look forward to finding out.

2016 will be a good year for me. I am convinced of that. It’s got a lot to live up to as 2014 and 2015 were both incredibly positive years for me. I’m quite fortunate to have had mostly great years in my life, and I hope 2016 will continue the progression for me.
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? What did you resolve?

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3 Responses to 2016: A New Year, with New Goals

  1. Ashton January 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    I’ll just leave this here….



  2. Ashton January 5, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    I’ll just leave this here



  3. Jeremy Birch January 9, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    Congrats, Mike, on being intentional about self-improvement. I find goals are only effective for me if the reason behind them is firmly rooted in my brain. “Why am I doing this, and what will likely happen if I continue to neglect it?”

    I also make sure to write them down, keep them always in front of me, and make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T. (ie. well-defined). Here’s a great article w/ more on that.

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