(365 little things * the probability they'll get done) > (a few big things * the probability they'll get done)
I did this in 2012 and am still shocked at how much more I accomplished than in any other year. All those little things + their compound interest turned out to be a bigger result than anything I could have planned. Who knew?
- Stay off cigarettes (quit a month ago and going fine)
- Stop using cocaine (this happens to be the week I've realised that I'm close to being addicted - hell, I'm high right now)
- Start writing some sort of novel, something I've wanted to do for a few years
(edit: Sorry for the throwaway account, don't really want my name showing up in Google talking about a coke habit..)
I've smoked weed for a much longer time - though not much lately, and never a full-time stoner, just relaxing with friends now and then - and while I don't think that's really changed me either, it does feel like it has a greater ability to, because getting stoned is about relaxing and thinking, it's a state of mind you can go to when sober, and certainly I know a couple of people who are always smoking it and their normal personality certainly seems to have merged with their stoned personality.
Long-term changes aren't what's making me stop, it's the worry that if I keep going much longer I'll spiral out of control, which definitely isn't good for my bank balance and has a decent chance of not being good from a safety point of view, either.
To be honest I've never really thought about legal issues. Had a couple of occasions where I had weed in my pocket and was a little scared by proximity of cops, but never enough that they would have really cared had they noticed. And never been close to any issues with police and cocaine, so never stopped to worry about it.
- Rewrite the Hive parts of SnowPlow (https://github.com/snowplow/snowplow) in Scalding
- Try out Go, Rust and F#
- Add Android and iOS trackers to SnowPlow
I like having them written down somewhere physical because you end up seeing them quite a lot (The moleskine lies on my desk for most of the year), and I tend to keep the notebooks when I'm done (They're small, so it's no big space consumer).
That means that after a few years, you still have the lists and can start to see what sort of things have come up a few times and still not been done (Get fitter...), and how your goals have changed. It's not a big fancy review exercise, more of a nice thing to flick over from time to time.
Brush up on my Spanish speaking skills (which are limited compared to my reading/writing skills)
I've been doing calisthenics for a year. I would like to do Pilates and yoga as well. I would like to improve overall flexibility, balance, and strength. I've had, perhaps, too diverse of a fitness plan (in 2012 I did 30 weeks of Hockey, 16 weeks of Soccer, a whole spring/summer/fall of running, forty sessions of physical therapy for upper and lower back, in addition to bridges/pullups/pushups/planks).
– Build and launch at least 3 major products for our customers (in addition to the projects currently in the pipeline). In addition, take on some smaller fun projects, perhaps charging value based instead of time+materials based.
- Hire additional employees. Goal: be a 7-10 person consultancy by year's end.
- Start taking projects in a specific niche and build a reputation as the premiere consultancy in that niche.
- Start additional promotional projects, for example teaching software courses in Web/iOS for local developers to solidify the consultancy's brand.
More specifically, I have an HTTP kernel in scheme that I want to get compliant to the spec and release, and a gossip driven task/issue tracker that I'd like to get out.
The full doc would be boring to put here, so here is the tl;dr version:
Slightly longer version:
1. Productivity - primary goal: "I will be productive and inspired all the time." Practically, this means wasting less time, doing more personal coding projects, learning new skills, and other things.
My first task in this goal is to finish reading and start implementing GTD.
A couple of inspiring discussions:
2. School (I am a master's degree student) - primary goal: "I will finish all my course requirements and at least 70% of my thesis research and writing". (The definition of 70% is "feels like 70%".)
Secondary goal: "My school time will be much more relaxed and awesome than it is currently, and I'll leave more time for side projects, side work, and personal stuff."
3. Fitness - primary goal: "By the end of 2013 I will be stunningly sexy."
Inspiring discussion: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4971196
- Launch a new start-ups job website and open source the Django based backend for developers to contribute features;
- Finish at least 2 other ideas from my 'ideas list';
- Learn iphone & android app design;
- Learn a language (French or Spanish);
- Find a new dev laptop to replace my MacBook Pro (Lenovo X1?);
- Earn enough money from my own projects to afford to leave my full time job;
- Improve my overall fitness and skills in rock climbing and mountain biking.
I think they're all fairly realistic.
Best of luck to you in '13 and beyond!
- Publish three academic papers.
- Get a job.
- Start a side project which actually has a chance of making some money.
- Find the woman of my dreams.
Personal: move to a new flat (8 years were enough for the current one, I need new surroundings), stop eating sugar, grains and legumes (paleo-inspired diet), perhaps move to a country that isn't passive-smoking hell like Austria.
- Launch our (sleep.fm) mobile web app, will be 1st online alarm clock that works in mobile browsers. Long time coming for us...
- Connect with more local entrepreneurs & tinkers
- Buy a 3D printer and possibly pursue a new start-up idea in the field
IMHO it's a false point in time to force a process you won't follow through on anyway because the driving factor is the random reality that day on the calendar happened to pass by that we've assigned importance to (i.e. New Year).
That said I believe in constant, on-going goals analysis and review. On a daily basis I review my goals for the day. On a semi-random basis I review my goals for other random-lengths of time. Usually triggered by passing through or letting go of another goal on my roadmap. Meanwhile on a fairly regular basis I review my personal "core goals" and see if my current progress and goals are in alignment. If they're not I either rework my core goals or rework my "working" goals to align. Sometimes I do this on the subway to work and other times on a beach while on vacation.
I think setting goals at the beginning of the year really has no impact on the reality of your life. That said it's not a bad idea to look at your "core" goals. Rather then say "I'll loose 25 lbs this year" say "I want to be healthy for the rest of my life". And then identify some short, mid and long term goals to obtain that overall "core goal".
Often if I find myself overwhelmed by life I will stop and review my "core goals" and make sure everything is in alignment with those. Or I change them to meet what I really want in my life "now". When I was younger I had very different "core goals" then I do now and I'm comfortable that sometime in the next 0 to 24 months those might change as I review what is meaningful and rewarding to me in my life.
As an example my primary goal is to "Live my life in my passion". This has actually been true for most of my life starting sometime while I was in high school. Clearly my "passion" has changed over time but the "core goal" remains the same and drives many of my decisions in my life.
That said some other "core goals" of mine have changed though my life as I've progressed through various phases and transitions in my life. Your "core goals" when you have young children are most likely very different then when they've all moved out and are living their own lives. :-)
Be flexible, be alert and true to yourself, find your "core goals" and then develop your short, mid and long-term goals driven from those. And as always, be willing to change them as you and your life changes.
The way I see it, most people have a bad process of setting their goals. It causes them to always pick the same ones (e.g. lose weight, stop smoking, change a job), and never follow through (e.g. because they always approach the goals using the same methods, like "I will eat less", or "I will have a strong will this time").
I've been setting my goals according to one of Tony Robbins' workshops for the past 9 years now, and it's amazing what it helped me to accomplish.
In short, my process is:
- split it to material goals, self-devel goals & career goals
- for each section, brainstorm by writing down dosens of goals I want to accomplish in my life
- then for each brainstormed goal I write down whether I want to achieve it by 1 year, 2, 5 or 20.
- out of 1 year goals I choose three of each kind (9 total).
The above causes me to choose things that are really important, not just "top of the mind" - I surprised myself quite often by discovering that some things I considered could wait.
Then, for each of the 9 goals I write down:
- why do I want to accomplish it
- the first step, something I can do instantly.
The first step quite often propels me towards achieving the goal, and the reason is a nice reminder of why I wanted to achieve it.
So far, the track record was quite nice. Out of 9 goals I accomplish 3-4 in any given year, but it's still a lot. The rest are quite often accomplished a year-two later, thanks to the path I initiated on the first year. Or abandoned when I discover that the reason is no longer relevant.
Finally, I don't think it's about New Year's. It's about doing an occasional, annual, overview of where you're going and what you accomplished.
As much as it's important to constantly track your progress, you cannot ask yourself "where am I going", "what do I want from life" every day or every week. Those are the things one should ask & modify only once in a while.
(edit: I built an iOS app for this process. I hope nobody minds the plug: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/goal-setting-workshop-+-simpl... . I'd give away free codes here, but don't have any left of this version. )
I did not go into depth about my process but the issue I have is with this concept of "once a year I will sit down and make of list of things I will try and do" and meanwhile it never gets done. Mainly as you have outlined because you lack real understanding of the underlying motivations and instead it ends up being the singular fact that it's 12/31/YYYY.
That said I did say: Short, mid, long.. Long doesn't mean 1 yr in my mind. :)
> ...you cannot ask yourself "where am I going", "what do I want from life" every day or every week..
Why not rephrase that "Am I doing what I want with my life." and yes I can ask myself that every single day of the week, because I can compare it to my "core goals" (the 9 you talk about, I keep 4 but if 9 works for you that's fine). The answer should be yes against your "core goals" if not either your goals have shifted and you didn't notice or you've shifted off the path and didn't notice.
If you measure only once a year and set goals once a year you're going to have a very random life experience. :-)
If you measure often and make small course corrections often you'll have a more directed experience.
All that said they're just goals and reality has a tendency to happen (S* happens as they say).
-Publish my masters work in the leading IEEE conference in my area.
-Move to Europe to live and work there
-Learn more CS, particularly in the areas of natural language processing and distributed computing. (My academic background is in EE).
-Get fitter. Hit my strength goal of 1xBW bench, 1.5x squat and 2x deadlifts
- finishing my intern.
- Take a photo with my parents infront of my university.
- Reduce development time and learn a bit or two about marketing
- Build a personal brand