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My Reflections and Resolutions for the New Year

On the first day of a new year it’s easy to dream. We look forward optimistically at the opportunities ahead and successes we will achieve over the next twelve months. We make plans and lists and resolutions that will make us happier, healthier and more productive. It’s good to dream and I sincerely hope that 2013 is your best year yet.

FireworksBut before we look too far ahead, we should spend time on reflection, pausing to recognize a year of achievements, shortfalls and challenges. At a time when many are making plans to hit the gym, I find this exercise one of the most powerful as it helps me develop a roadmap for the year ahead. I like to organize my thoughts around key themes rather than very specific goals because it’s more important that I’m moving directionally toward my destination than the roads I take, as I will undoubtedly come upon and need to navigate detours. I also may want to create a new path that I haven’t yet found.

In 2012 my autograph-related resolution was quality over quantity—only graphing someone if they will improve my collection (i.e., Do I really need to graph the entire Bobcats roster?). I succeeded in large part because I graphed only a handful of times last year. I didn’t even put myself in a position to rack up big numbers. Supporting my wife during her pregnancy and a laser-focus on my son after his birth in June moved in-person graphing to the back burner, and then out of the kitchen entirely. Fortunately, the experience didn’t extinguish the passion I have on the hobby—I think it actually fanned the flames. I was able to reallocate much more of my free time (as limited as it has become) toward writing for Autograph University which leads me to my key themes for 2013: Community and Consistency.

Community
My most fulfilling creative project of the year was publishing the first edition of the Autograph University Yearbook—a collection of stories from readers. I literally couldn’t do it without you. I knew there were storytellers in my audience and I want to do even more in 2013 to spotlight and share the expertise in our community (including an even bigger and better Yearbook—I want your story!). I love receiving your questions and reading about how you’re getting value out of the site but there is so much more we can do, especially if we’re building together. After all, Autograph University isn’t about me, it’s about us. You’ll see me asking for even more of your input in the year ahead.

Consistency
My publishing schedule in 2012 felt a bit erratic and I want to do a better job of delivering valuable content to you on a more consistent basis. In particular, I want to reward my newsletter subscribers for raising their hands to say they want more content and more interaction. I owe that to you. The months following the birth of my son were especially hectic but I’m very optimistic about staying on track in the year ahead. There are just so many people to interview, best practices to share and stories to tell—I can’t help but be excited. I hope you are too.

Thank you so much for being a part of the Autograph University community. Happy New Year.

What are you most looking forward to in 2013? How can I help?

About the author: is the founder of Autograph University. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and two sons. Connect with him on Twitter at @mattraymond.

2 comments… add one

  • Jason January 1, 2013, 12:35 pm

    First off happy new year to you and your family, i hope it will be a good one. I have a strong passion for sports and the chance of an autograph of my favorite players, the chance to meet them is just as thrilling. My main focus this year is the whole team of 2012 dream team autographs, it will be challenging because i dont know how well kobe and lebron are about signing but it will be fun. Also i am trying to figure out how to get game worn stuff from players. I would like to see other readers items they have but i dont know how that would work on a blog, but that would be cool to hear the story behind them too. This is the only blog i have really been into just because it is so good and resourceful so thank you for that. The only site is http://www.hipolitodesigns.com, where you mail in stuff. This year will hopefully be my most productive year yet as far as getting autographs, cant do any in-person signings though dont really have the money. So thank you again and its nice to be a part of a great community with the same passion

  • Matt Raymond January 1, 2013, 5:38 pm

    Hi Jason, thank you so much for the comment and sharing your goals for the year. I think you’ll find tips at Autograph University that will help you in your pursuits. Keep us updated.

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