Max Sakae Ogawa

Remember the Big SMART List: 20 Things To Do Before 20? I’m 20 years old today!

Remember the Big SMART List: 20 Things To Do Before 20? I’m 20 years old today!

To recap my 20 Things to Do Before 20, you should first re-visit my original blog post here. And the inspiration from this quote:

Happy birthday to me, I’m 20 Today!

It’s wonderful to reflect back to just over a year ago when I was still only 18 years old and making big plans for the future.

To achieve great things, two things are required: a plan, and not quite enough time.

Leonard Bernstein

The Visual Wall of 20 Things to Do Before 20 List

Another look at making SMART Goals

It pays to have SMART goals. But wait, does that Here’s the criteria for a SMART goal.

S means

Specific. You want specific? You will need to comment below to get the details.

M means

Measurable. If I created the SMART acronym I would have said that your goal needs to be Meaningful. For me, the goal needs to be part of the big picture to be truly SMART. But I guess that’s where R comes in.

A means

Achievable. Absolutely and Always. Bring your “A” game.

R means

Relevant. There it is. It should feed into your grand plan.

T means

Time bound. Exactly.

So did I finish my 20 Things to Do Before 20?

I look back on that list and have to laugh at how very, very optimistic I was. I did make a plan though, in fact I made a whole planning system around my SMART goals. One thing I discovered quickly was that you can only really focus on your TOP 3 goals at a time. And those need to be broken down into multiple weekly and daily “To Do” items. Which means that just 3 goals will generate so much ‘busy’ activity on a weekly or daily basis until the goal has been ticked off the list.

1. Improve my Spanish

I will call this one done! I may not be fluent yet (work in progress), but my Spanish has come a long way since July 2018.

2. Move to Spain and Live Like a Local

This one is funny because I never left Spain. I had no idea that I wouldn’t be able to leave Spain because of COVID and I am definitely living like a local because my current residence only has Spanish kids. I’m calling this one done!

3. Join a new Team

Done, and done! Since I wrote that last year I’ve now joined two teams: one for the 21/22 Season and one for the 22/23 Season.

4. Graduate from High School

Graduating from high school is on everyone’s things to do before 20 – it doesn’t make it any less special

20 Things to Do Before Twenty

Yes! You can read all about it and see the video here. And I earned the best sports player award.

5. Learn to Cook Restaurant Quality Food

I was overly ambitious with this one. “Learn to Cook” would have been aspirational enough and I think I nailed it. Thanks IE Culinary Club for lifting my skills. But restaurant quality? Let’s take the example of the time I cooked spaghetti bolognese and there was an Italian student living in the same residence. He took one look at my best culinary effort and walked away. He was saying something in Italian that I couldn’t understand but he may have been crossing himself as he went. I think I’d just made his nonna turn over in her grave. Half a point.

6. Get the COVID vaccination

For awhile there I wasn’t quite sure how I could manage this in Spain (what with the lockdown and being a foreigner). However once uni started we were able to book an appointment on campus. So three jabs later, I think I can check this one off for now.

7. Go home to visit (have a surf)

20 things to do before 20 years old

Surfing at one of my favorite Sydney beaches. After 2.5 years away from home this was a long time coming and well worth waiting for.

I had to wait for another year after writing that but done! I enjoyed a wonderful Australian winter and while I no longer could fit into my wetsuit, I was able to borrow my big brother’s. DONE! My first trip home in 2.5 years.

8. Build my website

For awhile there it floundered. I found myself so busy after uni started and with a new team and football season. Well, I built it. So there’s that.

9. Sign my first player’s contract

20 Things to Do Before Twenty

Signed to my first senior team (San Agustin) before turning 20 years old.

I’d already achieved this in January 2021 so I think I was a bit sneaky putting something on the list that I’d already done. I guess I needed something I could check off the list right away. I’ve now signed 3 player’s contracts, does that count?

10. Get into university

I’m very proud about this achievement. It took every last effort to pick my grades up to the right level as when I got the initial offer, it was conditional on improving my maths! I’m happy to say I just scraped over the line (and thankfully, they didn’t notice that my other grades had suffered as a result or penalize me for it!). Since I’ve just started my second year this was an absolute worthwhile goal and I’m glad I can tick it off the list.

11. Get my Driver’s Licence

While Spain have made this very easy by lowering the age to 18 years, I still haven’t done my written test or driver’s lessons. This goal has been deferred.

12. Buy my first car

To buy a car in Spain you must have a licence. So I guess we can see what happened there.

13. Dream beach holiday

It just didn’t happen. COVID continued and we gave up on trying to achieve the impossible during various stages of lock down. This goal also deferred, maybe next summer?

14. Partner with a charity

I have to find a charity that is interested, it might be a new goal to start my own? Is that just a vanity project that all 20-somethings aspire to? I’d genuinely like to make a difference in the world so I need to work on this one.

15. Start my own fashion brand

Not yet! Highly aspirational and this one just has to wait until I’ve found an audience willing to read my blog before I can convince them to buy my (as of yet non-existent) fashion label.

16. Learn French

While learning more languages is highly encouraged at my university, I don’t think my heart was in this one as I never made a single weekly or daily goal to move towards learning French. In fact, I doubt this will make an appearance on my “25 Before Twenty-Five” List. I did study some French in high school but I might have to wait until I sign with PSG before I re-visit this particular goal (ha!).

17. Sign with a football agent

I’ve discovered that I don’t need one right now, although I am in discussions with a big agent based in the UK. That was a bit premature. For now, I just need to focus on training and playing, training and playing. The rest will follow.

18. Gain 1 million+ social media followers

I love the pure naivety and naked ambition of this goal. It’s still a goal of course, but I’ve broken it down into much smaller chunks. I’m also not that active on social media so I see this as being something for the future. Going back to SMART goals, it wasn’t ACHIEVABLE in the timeframe. I have less than 1000 followers on insta at this point in time so I guess I need to re-consider my target date and have a plan to get there.

19. Play in La Liga, meet Messi

Now I am close to La Liga, being in the RFFM league so just a whisker shy of promotion. And I did play in the Copa del Rey (again, puts me in the general vicinity). But there’s no sign of Messi yet. *Sounds of Wishful Thinking*. This is not so much a SMART goal as a dream.

20. Find a new place to live

From Messi to the mundane day-to-day reality of having a place to live. Well that too has come to pass, and I’m in my second dorm since I wrote that.

Total Score: 10.5 / 20

This blog was about 20 Things to Do Before 20. Because today I turn 20 years old!


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