Happy New Year! Welcome 2014!
Given that we are at the start of a brand new year, it therefore means it is time once again to set goals for the coming year. Note that I said “goals” and not “resolutions”. I have never set myself new year’s resolutions and I never would because it’s a cliche that people make them and then break them within the first few days of the year. I’ve never seen the point in that. It’s just kidding yourself. Instead, what I did for the first time in 2012 was to set myself some goals that were attainable and measurable. The point here is to be able to pick something that I have the possibility of actually achieving. Anything that wasn’t would have just been eventually dropped. They also had to be measurable in some way to know how well I was doing. I reviewed them every quarter to make sure I was on track because that’s the kind of person I am.
This was a new endeavour for me and I decided to try setting work goals as well as personal, to see how things went. Here’s what I initially set for my personal goals:
- Buy a house for me, mum and Yusuf to live in.
- Learn at least one new programming language.
- Read at least one technical book per quarter.
Due to various circumstances, that first item morphed into two items:
- Buy a house to rent out.
- Move out into my own flat.
As you can see, they are all things that I could measure the progress of, continuously work towards, and know whether or not I had achieved them.
All in all these were quite successful (although technically the house and flat stuff didn’t complete until the start of 2013, but I’m counting them). The work goals were equally successful (making sure n technical talks happened, setting up a code review system, etc).
So that was 2012. What about 2013? Well that was an utter fail in this regard. I had some vague ideas about what my goals might be but I never actually sat down and made then concrete and then suddenly half the year had gone and I came to the realisation that it just wasn’t going to happen. I know that you should be able to set yourself goals at any point, but we humans do like our arbitrary calendar milestones.
I enjoyed having the goals in 2012. It really helped focus me and my efforts through the year and avoid the coasting I had done for the previous years. I really felt the lack of them in 2013 so I didn’t want to do that again and so for the last few weeks I have been thinking about what my 2014 goals would be. And without further ado …
Here are my personal goals for 2014. A number of them are concrete forms of the vague goals I had in 2013 but the rest are new. They are numbered for easy reference and are not an ordering.
- Walk at least 70,000 steps every week.
- Lose some weight!
- Donate to a different charity every month.
- Blog at least once a month.
- Meet some new people.
#1 will be measurable thanks to my FitBit One which I bought two weeks ago (and intend to blog about at some point).
#2 is of course a complete cliche that almost everyone has as part of their post-christmas gorge. The difference here is I don’t do Christmas and therefore don’t have that gorge to try and balance out and also that I have a specific amount in mind that I will aim for. I already go to the gym on a semi-regular basis and this in conjunction with the FitBit One (and maybe the FitBit Aria that I might get) will help keep me on the right path.
#4 is just an effort to get me to write down some of my thoughts. I’ve found the older blog posts that I mentioned in my “First Post!” a really invaluable insight into what I was doing and thinking ten years ago. I have numerous half-written blog posts on various subjects that I have not completed because of procrastination. I’m hoping that giving myself a schedule will make me a little more productive in this area. Actually, with this post I will have achieved my “at least once” for January so I am already winning. Hooray!
#5 is the one that is the least applicable to what I said about being measurable and achievable. How on earth do I measure it? I am chronically shy, so how on earth do I even do it? No idea, but that’s the challenge I have set myself.
One thing about that list that worries me a little is whether or not I have too many things. I will be setting myself some work goals as well, so there is the danger that I will be spreading my time too thinly. We’ll just have to see.
One last item I thought I should mention that doesn’t warrant an annual goal, but is still something that needs doing: finish migrating my old blog posts! In the aforementioned “First Post” which was written in May 2013, I said that I had started migrating them but lazy git that I am, I still haven’t finished migrating them. I’ll finish it. Honest!