A belated Merry Christmas and a premature Happy New Year to everyone. As I write this, it’s the 27th December 2013 and I’m sitting at my family home, relaxing on a break from the MTT grind. I still have one weekend of grinding left to go in 2013, but I thought this would be a good time to review my 2013 goals and start plotting my course for 2014. Without further ado, let me recap my 2013 goals and my progress.
18k MTTs/year, 1.5k/month, 75/session – I came nowhere close to this one. I think I’m at around 8k MTTs for the year. There were two major factors I didn’t consider – firstly, the fact that I was playing too many tables, which meant that when I cut my number of tables almost in half, my volume suffered even though my ROI was higher; and secondly, the drop in my motivation after a successful first month of the year. I hadn’t experienced a prolonged period of success in my career until this year, and I learned a lot this year about what it takes to succeed even when you do have money in the bank and the freedom to take a day off if you want.
200k VPPs on PokerStars – Again, not even close. I’ll probably end up on around 105k VPPs, since I just made the 100k mark recently. Same reasoning as above – fewer tables, less motivation, less volume.
100k VPPs on PokerStars.fr – I’m not sure if this was ever realistic, to be honest. Maybe if I had kept playing 20+ tables I would have had a shot, but for now it’s unlikely I’ll ever manage this.
Diamond Edge status on FTP all year – This one, I believe I did manage. My FTP volume was good throughout the year, and I maintained Diamond Edge status fairly comfortably.
Watch at least 50 training videos per month – There were probably a couple of months where I managed this, but I stopped tracking it after a while. I think it’s one of the many things I started to let slip after I started making more money.
Review 10 full tournament hand histories of mine per week – Nope. Did not manage this at all. Definitely did not spend as much time reviewing my own game as I would have liked to.
Monthly performance reviews using HM2 – Maybe not monthly, but I did do this a few times, and it was very useful. I had a much clearer handle on what kinds of leaks were creeping into my game during downswings thanks to some of the analysis I did, and I also found out I’m running about 6,000 big blinds under EV lifetime, which was some interesting information to have!
Focus on game selection and rejection – I did pretty well with this for the most part. I could have stood to drop my ABI a little earlier into my downswings than I did, but then again that would just have served to slow them down rather than necessarily fix them. I think for the bulk of the year I stayed away from games that were especially high-variance or low-edge, so I’m happy with that.
Poker/Life Balance – I did achieve this to an extent, but I also spent a lot of time not getting much done. Ideally, the right balance for me would be a more productive one, so while I succeeded in generating a balance that kept me happy and healthy, I didn’t necessarily maximise my poker EV or the productivity of the time I spent away from the game.
Mental Wellbeing – This was definitely a success. For the bulk of the year I was really happy, happier than I’ve been in a long time. The end of the year got a little stressful thanks to the brutal downswing I’ve been on, but for the most part, it’s been a very happy year.
Physical Health – This was definitely a success. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga and started lifting weights, and I’m ready to push forward in 2014. I’ve spent a lot of time reading and learning about fitness, and my diet has improved a ton. I’m very happy with this.
Creative Projects – I’ve done pretty well here too. I took a course in TV Drama Writing and my TV pilot is well underway, and I have some great ideas to work on in 2014. Another success.
So in general, I’d say it’s been a mixed bag with regard to my goals for the year. A lot of them needed to be re-evaluated several times, and some of them I simply lost motivation for. The most valuable ones in the long term, however – the ones that helped me manage my physical and mental wellbeing – were a big success, so that’s what I’m most happy with. Poker has gone very well and I’ve been able to progress significantly during the year, but I didn’t do myself many favours during the second half of the year by losing motivation and focusing too much on other things.
With all that in mind, let me present my SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals for 2014, and some other concerns of mine:
10k MTTs/year, ~833 MTTs/month, ~42 MTTs/session @ 20 sessions/month – This is far more realistic than my volume goal for last year. At my current number of tables, 1k MTTs in a month is very hard to achieve, but similarly, I don’t feel like 750/month is quite enough. There will be some months where I hit 1k, and some where I only manage 500, but as long as I stay closer to the former than the latter, I think 10k is a reasonable goal. 20 sessions per month gives me 2 days on for every 1 day off, and I think that’s a good ratio.
Yearly ABI under $50 – This is another reasonable goal. I think it’ll help me to stay in control of the buyins I’m playing and make sure I stick to games where I have the biggest edge, as well as minimising downswings.
100k VPPs on PokerStars – I think maintaining Supernova status should be fairly comfortable, so I want to make sure I get there again. I don’t really want to set any VPP goals for other sites because Stars is the only one where I can guarantee sufficient volume.
Coach 50 individual students in the year – I’m really enjoying individual coaching. It keeps my game sharp and allows me to exercise my love of teaching. It keeps me learning new things and makes me a better player. I want to take on as many students as I think I can handle this year, and 50 seems like a good number.
Book 40 hours of coaching time per month – This will allow me to comfortably pay my bills without worrying about my income from playing. It’ll also keep me sharp and motivated.
Structure and productivity – My main goal for this year is to combine the freedom of the poker playing lifestyle with a mindset that will keep me continuously productive and add some additional consistency and balance to my life. I want the professional approach that I took to poker in the first half of 2013 to carry forward, and to once again reap the rewards of that. I don’t want to slip into a demotivated, half-committed attitude every time I get into a downswing, like I did in the latter half of this year.
Get enough sleep – In the latter part of 2013, I struggled with irregular sleeping hours. I frequently went to bed after 4am for a variety of reasons, and frequently ended up sleeping until gone midday. I will be experimenting with whether it is practical for me to never sleep beyond midday, because I feel I lose a lot of productive hours by either sleeping too little and being too tired, or sleeping in too late and ruining my pattern.
Get down to sub-10% body fat – This is a big fitness goal. It’s ambitious. Right now I’m at about 26-27%, so it’d be a massive change in my body if I could manage it. However, I’ve started to get used to a lower calorie intake recently, and I’m learning how to make it work for me. I really feel like I can do this if I put my mind to it and commit.
Finish my TV pilot and enter it in a screenwriting competition early in 2014 – I have a TV pilot that I’m working on which needs to be written up in first draft form by the end of January. If I get it done on time, I plan to enter it in a competition as soon as possible.
Investigate the possibility of turning my TV pilot into a graphic novel, and network with some graphic novel artists at London Comic-Con 2014 – This is pretty straightforward. I am considering other formats for my TV pilot, and I think a graphic novel would work. I want to do some networking with artists and letterers at London Comic-Con 2014, which will be my first Comic-Con event. I’m very excited about it.
Set time aside for spending with friends and family – I’ve neglected some important friendships late in 2013 since I’ve been so busy. I need to stop doing that and be mindful of the times that my friends are available, and keep myself connected to the people who matter.
Travel – I didn’t do too much travelling this year, but I did get to spend time in France and the Isle of Man for some live MTTs. While live poker isn’t a priority of mine, I do want to continue visiting new places. I have been invited to New York by an American friend of mine, and since I’ve always wanted to visit the States and New York in particular, I intend to go as soon as I can afford it. I also have a long list of friends in other countries I want to visit once I have the opportunity.
That’s about everything I can think of. There might be more that get added to the list as the year goes on – I certainly won’t just be sitting on my ass for a month if I get all my goals done by November. I’ll be working hard to achieve more.
I’ll be drawing up an article very soon about how to set your own goals for 2014 – look for it to appear on TPE in the early part of January. I wish you all the best of luck, and thanks for reading!