6 min read

The 2023 Million Euro Challenge

The 2023 Million Euro Challenge
Photo by Isaac Smith / Unsplash

I'll get to the title in a second.

Last week I left you with the promise that I would be back in seven days time with a set of goals for 2023.

Here I am.

With my goals.

Before you click away: I know this might sound like a boring topic. You might be thinking: "why would I care about this dude's goals?"

I get it.

You probably don't.

What might be interesting for you though is the process and framework I used to set my goals. I'm not just going to drop a bullet point list of stuff I would like to do in 2023 here (and then forget about it all in mid-January), I'm going to explain the how and why, and the reasoning behind my choices. In the hope that you might find it useful.

Before we start with the interesting bits, let me give you a good piece of advice: DO NOT wait until January 1st to start working on your goals. Start now.

You'll get a nice head start and you'll be less likely to drop your goals in a few days.

Motivation is fleeting. Habits are reliable. Install the habit to work on your goals before the motivation vanishes. Carpe diem.

What do you really want?

Lucifer asking the real question

Before randomly jotting down a list of items because you feel like you need to do/be a certain thing (more fit, leaner, more successful, an early morning person) you should ask yourself: is that what you want?

Setting a goal under peer pressure or external influence does not work because you are not bought into the result. Step one should be figuring out what you want to be.

What drives you?

What would you like to achieve for yourself?

What would make you happy? Proud?

If you are not aligned with your goals you will end up creating something similar to a cognitive dissonance, where your thoughts and beliefs are in disagreement with your actions. On the other hand, I found that motivation lasts longer and results are faster to achieve if your goal brings you to resolve an existing cognitive dissonance. That's something you can use to your advantage.

Let's define something you want to be or do an "objective". Then we can define goals that will allow you to reach your objectives (this will make sense in few paragraphs).

What are my objectives?

Objective 1: I want to own a business.

Not really, let me phrase it even better: I want to create a profitable business.

I've always dreamed of starting something but never acted on it. I have taken steps in that direction and made a few timid attempts over the years, but never went all in on this one.

That is my first objective.

Objective 2: I want to get back in shape.

I used to be active before the pandemic hit. I lost all motivation and all my outdoorsy friends moved away from Seattle, making getting back to my favourite activities hard. These are the excuses I've been using for the last couple of years.

Time to stop.

Objective 3: I want to build an audience online

I realised that having an audience on one or more of the social platforms is a big advantage when trying to build and launch something in public.

I suck at that, and I want to get better at it.

These are my 3 main objectives. Now I can start defining goals, each allowing me to meet one or more of my objectives.

Goal #1: The Million Euro Challenge

I've been wanting to do this for many years – I've had stretches of time during which this is all I was thinking about.

Why haven't I started anything yet then?

The contrast between how much and for how long I've been wanting to do this and the results of not even trying is stark, to the point that it makes me think: is there something deeper going on here?

I think there is.

And understanding why you are not where you want to be is a good first step to understand how to get there.

I spent time thinking about this in the past few weeks, and I think the main reasons are:

  • fear of failure
  • being (somewhat of) an introvert
  • fear of putting myself out there and being judged (hi, Twitter!)

Dreaming is fun, but trying is hard and failing can be depressing.

I think subconsciously I've been avoiding taking action because of these reasons. Objective #1 and #3 will require me to get over all 3 of them, and this goal will allow me to meet both objectives.

What is the goal then?

Before the end of 2023 I will have:

  • built a SaaS in public
  • started a weekly newsletter (not this blog)
  • grown the two to 1.000.000 € in gross sales (combined)
  • got > 10.000 followers on Twitter and 2.000 subscribers on YouTube with content related to this goal

1.000.000 € is a pretty steep goal, and that's the point: I need to get way out of my comfort zone if I want to have even a tiny chance to succeed.

That will push me to do things I would not normally do.

Which means I'll have to learn new skills.

Which means I'll either succeed, or learn something. Failure is automatically taken out from the possible options.

Stretch goals/plan B options:

  • starting a DTC e-commerce in public
  • starting a software development agency in public

I added the stretch goals/plan B section because these are two things that I would like to try my hand at, and both would make for a good goal. I won't have time to do all 4 things at once while keeping my job at Gitcoin though.

How am I going to pull this off?

Glad you asked. I'll talk about that next week, and I will be documenting my journey here and on Twitter. Be sure to subscribe and follow.

Am I going to quit my job a Gitcoin? No.

Goal #2

This is going to be way easier. I know that a lot of people struggle with losing weight or getting fit, the thing is that I've been fit for most of my life. I used to be the person that works out every day, sometimes twice a day. I used to climb mountains for fun. I went on solo multi-week trekking trips, like that time on the Himalaya carrying a heavy backpack up high passes for 3 weeks.

I know how to get this done.

I have a playbook.

I need to get my a** out of the couch and do the thing.

When it comes to getting fit and healthy choices I naturally tend to go all in. I like to set hard goals because I know I will be able to reach them. I have the confidence that comes with experience.

To put a number on this goal and have something measurable to compare my performance against, let me define the goal:

Before the end of 2023 I will have:

  • installed a habit of working out 6 days a week
  • have a CTL > 100 on TrainingPeaks – the app I use to track my training sessions

For context, my current CTL is 2.

To ramp things up I will start the new year by doing the 75 Hard challenge. It's a simple (on paper) challenge with few rules that helps with both physical fitness and mental strength.

Here are the rules. For 75 consecutive days:

  1. If you skip a day, you must start over
  2. Pick a diet to follow, with no alcohol or cheat meals – can be any diet, but has to improve your health in some way
  3. Drink 4 litres of water daily
  4. Complete 2 daily 45 minute workouts – one of them has to be done outside regardless of the weather
  5. Read 10 pages per day of a non-fiction book – audiobooks do not count
  6. Take a progress photo every day (which I am not going to share anywhere, don't worry)

That should get me going, once the healthy habits are installed it will be easy to keep up the lifestyle.

And I got my ski pass for the closest ski resort a week ago, something that will help with the two daily workouts – see? Getting a head start.

Closing thoughts

I have two goals.

Could I have set more? Yes.

Will I set more? No.

I don't want to overcommit and underdeliver. The goals I set are ambitious enough that the time required to achieve them will be significant.

Next week I will break down how I intend to work on my goals, using the the ABZ Framework.