At the start of 2016, I read a post by Nate Green using the “Start, Stop, Continue” framework to evaluate his progress over the past year, and create an action plan for the year ahead. Nate recounted his proclivity to focus on the future, and his struggle to reflect on the past, a problem I can relate to.
I followed suit, laying out six behaviours across the three categories. To start off 2017, I’m closing the loop on my 2016 plan by taking stock of how I did.
Start posting more frequently (10/12)
The goal was complete 12 posts for 2016, or approximately one per month. I came close, thanks to the relaunch of my “On my Mind” series, and had a successful guest post on Strengtheory, but still fell short of my goal.
Start posting practical posts
“Practical” is a hard word to define. To some in the field it means list posts of exercises, or simple tips that can be immediately integrated into practice. I like to think that anything that stimulates thought, or critical review, is also actionable. I also like to think that some of my 2016 posts have done that. In the future, I’d like to integrate the reviews that I’ve created with some of my daily practices in the gym and the clinic, and this is what I had envisioned when I wrote “practical posts”. I haven’t achieved that in 2016, but already have a few in the works for 2017.
Start giving credit where credit is due
I’ve continued to cite as I always have, but still feel that this doesn’t lead readers to the appropriate sources. I’ve started linking, when possible, to the Twitter accounts of authors of articles I cite. I would like to have every in-text citation have a link to the associated Pubmed entry, but haven’t found an efficient way to make this happen.
Stop ignoring my email list
Not much to say here other than I completely failed. My last email was sent in January 2016. While the online pundits have told me my email list should be a priority, I need to formulate a plan in the future to make sure this happens.
Stop over-analyzing every idea
This one is a hard one to quantify. In the past few months I’ve relaunched my “On My Mind” series where I share products I’m using, articles I’m reading, and topics that I’m thinking about. It has served as a way for me to share bite-sized information without worrying too much about considering every aspect of a problem.
Continue resisting the urge to discuss single studies
Most of my work has been integrative in nature, discussing recent findings in the context of previous results. I think this is well demonstrated by my Strengtheory post regarding the misinterpretation of the relationships of EMG amplitude to the hypertrophic adaptations, as well as my posts on how we “market” blood-flow restriction training.
There’s no question that 2016 was a challenging year for the world, but discussing those issues is well beyond my scope of practice. In my personal life, we welcomed our second son (Marcus Ogborn) to the world on August 29, 2016, approximately eight weeks earlier than anticipated. It was tough to balance his nine-week hospitalization with the pressures of building a clinical case load and a website, while trying to find a way to keep my research career progressing, and yet somehow we’re all still standing.
On the professional front, I moved through a variety of clinics, ultimately landing at Foundation Rehabilitation Services, associated with Winnipeg’s largest sports medicine centre, the Pan Am Clinic. I joined the NSCA Manitoba Advisory board, and gave a well-received talk on evidence-based hypertrophy training program design at their annual provincial clinic. I started what I hope to become a series of live, local seminars – Squats 101 premiered to a small, but sold out audience eager to learn the strengths and limitations of orthopaedic testing when teaching squat patterns to their clients. While faculty positions and lab space continue to elude me, I’ve been able to remain somewhat productive in the peer-reviewed world with eight publications out this year.
While I may not have achieved all the goals I outlined for the site in 2016, there were some definite big wins. I now have full e-commerce capability, thanks to the web-design talents of Matt Brett. I also have a learning management system installed and ready to go, and I’m working daily on designing my first two courses for the site, which should launch some time in 2017.
Over the next week or so I’ll complete part two of this retrospective by laying out my plan and goals for 2017 on danogborn.com. While I will probably keep consistent with the “Start, Stop, Continue” framework, I may take this year broader, including personal as well as online goals. In the meantime, here are a few 2016/17 letters and retrospectives from others that have inspired me to revisit this process:
- Farnham Street (Shane Parish): Farnam Street’s 2016 Annual Letter to Readers
- Sol Orwell (of Examine.com): The 2016 Annual Letter to the SJO Family
- Nate Green: My 2016 Personal Retrospective (And 2017 Action Plan)