Paul Meloan – Vested Interest

2020 Goals:

  1. 350 days of exercise
  2. 100 published posts

I’m starting to see breakdowns in my systems for both physical and mental durability. The solution? Daily action in a positive direction.

Keys to success are that both goals require minimum, positive action. They are not outcomes, require no outside assistance and are almost completely independent of forces beyond my control. They are specific, and measurable. In one year I will have reached them or not.

Both are forms of infinite games. A finite game is one in which there is a winner and at least one loser. You can’t win at exercise or writing. The goal of each is to keep doing them. Within each game, it is possible to achieve a “win” as I’ve defined it.  Exercise 20 minutes (hard enough to break a sweat) or hit <publish> on my WordPress desktop and, voila, I’ve hit my goal.

Early returns on the strategy appear positive.  Today (November 22) marks the 40th consecutive day of morning training dating back to October 14th. Also, if you’re reading this it means I must have hit <publish> at some point.

A subset of the exercise goal would mean no unplanned zeroes. A “zero” is just that: a day in which zero training occurred. I set the bar at 350 days because it’s likely at some point I get sick and exercise would be detrimental or life may get too scheduled-up.  I suspect the second one will be rare: I just came back from a two-night trip to the west coast with six hours of travel at each end, yet I managed to exercise for 30 minutes or so every day.

As for the publishing goal, the real mission here is to get my thoughts better organized and expressed. I read other people to understand how they think and I write to better understand how I think.  The schedule will likely be Tuesday and Friday mornings, but I will not carve that in stone. More importantly I want to get one or two reasonable ideas out each week, with one based on the nuts & bolts of personal finance and the other more along the lines of thinking better and more clearly about something that I think should matter.

I also have a bias towards input frequency. Put another way, “we are what we repeatedly do.” Daniel Day-Lewis may only make one movie every 3-5 years and still get nominated for an Academy Award but I’ll conclude he’s the exception and not the rule. I’ve also seen in my coaching experience that the strongest correlation between training input and race-day success is found in training frequency over intensity and duration.  Put another way: the athlete who puts in reasonable work every day is more likely to reach his goal than one who puts in excessive work on an occasional basis. The latter athlete often ends up broken and dejected anyway. It’s hard to win a race if you’re incapable of starting it.


Paul Meloan is the co-founder and co-managing member of Aegis Wealth Management, LLC, in Bethesda, Maryland USA. Before Aegis Paul was a practicing attorney as well as working in the tax practice of Ernst & Young, LLP.

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