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:



I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit lately, but I’ve also been a bit busy.  About 2 months ago (on July 14th, 2013) I asked my girlfriend of 2 years to marry me! We took a vacation to Savannah Georgia for a week, and one day while we were in Tybee Island we went up to the top of the lighthouse and I asked her to marry me there… and of course she said yes. Side note: if you get a chance to visit Savannah, do it. It’s an absolutely gorgeous city.

Currently I still live in Pensacola, Florida and she lives in Rome, Georgia. We still have lot of “life” stuff to figure out as well as all the normal wedding stuff. But for the time being we are excited for our future together!





2010 In Photos: A Review

A little over a year ago I was inspired to start on a photography project I would have to participate in every single day for the duration of 2010.  At first it seemed a little overwhelming, but after some searches online it seems that there are actually quite a few people out there that have successfully done this exact same thing.  This was a huge relief to me to at least know that this was a feasible thing to do!

So I started a Tumblr blog and began taking photos every day.  At first it came easy because I had so many ideas and it was new.  I also was uploading these photos to Facebook so that people I see on a daily basis would know about the project and be able to see what I was doing.  In hindsight this was probably the best decision because so many of my friends would say the most encouraging things to me about my photos.  This was really big for me because, as you might imagine, forcing yourself to do a specific out-of-the-ordinary task every single day can become quite a burden.  So a HUGE “thank you” goes out to all my friends in my life, and also to everyone online whom I’ve never met.  You all were a gigantic blessing and encouragement to me.

So, to sum it all up: it was a success!  I managed to take a photo every day of 2010 except for one (oops.)  The one day I missed is something I can excuse myself for; I was in Africa and exhausted on that particular day.  I made up for it by simply extending the project into the first day of 2011.  Not ideal, but a fair trade off.

Overall, I’m so extremely glad that I did it, and I’m very proud of what I came up with.  Of course some photos I like a lot more than others, a few I wish I could do over again, but in the end it is what it is and I’m happy with how it turned out.  Would I do it again?  NO WAY!  This turned out to be an incredible amount of work!  Much more than I anticipated.

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Africa Recap & Questionnaire

Back in July I was blessed enough to be able to be part of a mission to Togo, West Africa through Mentor Leaders which was amazing experience! During one of our flight delays on the trip back home, a friend of mine go to talking with a man in front of him in line. This man turned out to be the missions pastor of a church in West Virginia! Ever since then the two of them have stayed in touch. It’s amazing how God even uses delayed flight to work His will! This pastor and his church are considering supporting Mentor Leaders in future endeavors, but first wanted to get an idea about what this past trip was like for the people who went. So they made a brief questionnaire for us to fill out and return to them. I was surprised at how much I liked what I wrote to them, plus I haven’t written anything about my experiences in Africa on my blog yet; so I’ve included it below.
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