chris barr


Set Goals, Not Resolutions

“What are your resolutions for next year?” – a question we all hear every year near the border between December and January.  Often we don’t give this much thought and any resolutions we do make we don’t take too seriously, usually forgetting about them within a few months.  Instead of general “do _____ more” type of resolutions, I’ve found more satisfaction and success in setting specific achievable goals instead.  The problem with a resolution like “lose weight” or “blog more” is that these aren’t specific enough, you can’t point to a date on a calendar when it was accomplished. If you lose just one pound or 50 pounds you’ve technically fulfilled that resolution, and if you’ve got 50 pounds of weight to lose then chances are that the 1 pound loss isn’t going to feel like much of an accomplishment. Each goal you set should have a specific end point that can be reached.

I’ve tried this for the last two years, although at the time I didn’t fully stick to my suggestion above.  I wrote my goals down in my phone so I always had the list with me and I could check them off throughout the year. Writing them down in some form is absolutely key, otherwise they only exist in your mind and you have no accountability to actually accomplish them.

See? Even Dave Ramsey says so! Let’s break down each of my goals for the past 2 years and the results.

2013 Goals

Screenshot of my 2013 Goals

  • Bench Press 100% body weight – I was able to do this once, but I was hoping to do 10 reps. So, it actually was accomplished, but I was being strict by not checking it off. Meh.
  • Run a 10K – I had hoped to run an official 10K race, but it got rained out. Before the event I had run a 10K (6.2 miles) at home on my own to prepare for the official one. So this goal was also technically met, but not in the way I originally wanted.
  • Work on more code projects at home – This is hard to point to specifically, but I did work on more code stuff at home. Most notably was my LyricConverter project! This goal should have been defined more clearly.
  • Get Engaged – My then-girlfriend and I took a trip to Savannah Georgia in July, and I proposed on top of a lighthouse on July 15th!
  • Re-launch Personal Website – This website was feeling a little neglected, and since my full time job is as a web developer/designer it really looked bad on my part. So I worked hard and got this site launched in February.

All in all not perfect, but my 2013 goals were a success!

2014 Goals

Screenshot of my 2014 Goals

  • Deadlift 300lb. – Sometime in November I deadlifted 295lb. but failed at an attempt for 300lb. I had plenty of time to make another attempt, but I actually didn’t accomplish this until January 2 of 2015! I had every intention of doing it, but time just slipped away… totally my fault. But on January the 2nd of this year I was able to lift 305lb. and I was happy. Goal met, but slightly late.
  • Greatly reduce debt – This goal wasn’t defined very well, but in November I was able to make the final payment on my car that I bought in 2012. Hooray, for less debt!
  • CrossFit “Fran” in under 9:30 – When I joined CrossFit in 2013 I did the Fran workout, but I was dissatisfied with my time which was over 10 minutes. So I set a goal to finish Fran in under 9:30, which I did on December 26th with a time of 7:39! Huge improvement!
  • Get Married – I proposed in 2013, and in 2014 I got married on July the 19th!
  • Run a 10K – On March 29th I was able to run a real 10K (6.2 miles) at the same event that was rained out in 2013. I ran it side-by-side with my then-fiancé and my final time was 1:02:30.

2015 Goals

A new year is upon us, and now I’m married so it’s not just my goals to keep track of any more!  I sat down with my wife and we each set some goals for ourselves individually, and we set some for ourselves as a couple.  To ensure that we don’t forget about them, I put something together in Photoshop, printed it out, and framed it.  We’re going to keep our goals displayed where we can see them every day, and check them off as we complete them.

There’s a lot listed on it so I don’t want to get into the details all of them. However, here’s a brief overview of the goal subjects: we each have a few personal weightlifting & fitness goals, we want to take a nice vacation, plan for the future, and reduce our car & student loan debt by about 50%.

I also have a personal goal of taking 1 quality photo every month.  In 2010 I took a photo a day for the entire year (Read my summary of the project here, and you can see all 365 photos here.) While that was successful it was incredibly stressful and not something I want to repeat. Coming up with a minimum of 1 photo every 30 days is a lot less pressure and it allows me to still pursue my photography, but focus on quality instead of quantity.  I’ll be posting my 2015 photos here as I take them!

At the end of 2015 I truly hope that I can write another blog post showing every item on our goal list checked off.  Here we go!

A New Life in Georgia & a Wedding Website

Life Update
In less than a month now I’ll be getting married – it almost seems surreal.  I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, mostly since I proposed to Kirstin about a year ago, but it’s so close I can hardly believe it.  I’ve lived in pensacola, Florida for the past 5+ years and Kirstin has lived Rome, Georgia for a little over 4 years now.  We had a long distance relationship for the entirety of our 2 years of dating, but in the past few weeks I’ve actually taken the plunge and moved up to Georgia.  We figured it was probably a good idea to at least live in the same state if we were going to be getting married.

It all actually worked out quite well.  The company I work for, AppRiver, recently opened an office in Midtown Atlanta.  The office is about 1.5 hours from where Kirstin works in Rome, so we decided to live somewhere in the middle and then we each commute to our workplaces.  The drives are fairly long, but  we think it’s worth it because we finally get to see each other on a regular basis and we both get to keep the jobs we love.

A Wedding Website!


Soon after we were engaged, the wedding planning began.  One task on the list was to get a wedding website.  I thought “I got this!” since I do something similar for a living, so I made one.  I might have gone a bit overboard with the site, but it covers 100% of our needs, we love it, and we’ve gotten nothing but compliments about it.  I’ve made it in a fairly modular way, so I hope that others might be able to make use of it as well.  I’ve decided to put all the code on GitHub because… well why not.

Check out the site:
Get the code:


A New Blog!

Well, I’ve been a pretty awful blogger in the past considering that my last post was well over a year and a half ago. In my free time for a few months now I’ve been working on this new site design and teaching myself how to use (read: “fight with”) WordPress (read: “PHP”).  Finally this at a place where I’m happy with how it looks and works, so check everything out! I’m glad to finally have a place on the internet to show off some of my paid photography gigs that isn’t a social network.

So what does the future hold for this blog?  My goal at this point is to try and write write write. I don’t love my writing style, so the only way to get better is to do it more and this is the perfect outlet. I aspire to write at least one post per week, most likely about some interesting bit of code that I’ve run across.

Welp, here we go…