I’ve set yearly goals in the past, but this is the first year that I’ve consistently reminded myself of them and tracked my progress towards their completion.
The main reason I’ve been more consistent in at least thinking about my goals this year is because of Notion. Notion is an “all-in-one workspace” which basically just means it’s a combination note-taking/document/project management tool. I’m completely hooked on it and have put (what feels like) my entire life in there, including my yearly goals.
Since we just passed the year’s halfway point, I wanted to do a short reflection on each of my goals and rate myself on progress. Green is done or in good shape, yellow means I need to do some work to finish by year end, red is in danger, and a stop sign is completely abandoned for the time being. I’m trying to remind myself that there’s no shame in abandoning a goal, as priorities and circumstances change. In fact, one of the abandoned goals is due to coronavirus.
I’ve also made some notes on each goal to try and force myself to reflect on why things have or haven’t gone well. Here we go!
🔗 Update Personal Webiste
🟢 Notes: I marked this done at the beginning of the year when I “relaunched” this site on a Gatsby starter template, but have since added a lot more custom styling (many of the base styles/scaffolding come from Tania Rascia) with an eye to continuing to customize this size for look/feel and functionality. Even if I didn’t do anything else this year, I’d call this complete.
🎾 Play summer and fall tennis ladders (1 match/wk)
🟡 Notes: We have a municipal tennis ladder that I sometimes sign up for, but often don’t play many matches when I have signed up. I wanted to do better with that this year but got a slow jump on the summer ladder. Still time to average 1 match/week but I’m going to have to do some serious work and probably will have to play catch up in the fall.
⛏ Work-specific goals
🟢 Notes: I work with my manager to set a series of big-ish goals for the year, which we track in a Google Doc. The big buckets for my 7 yearly goals at work have been a) doing more full-stack development b) taking on more project leadership c) public speaking and d) growing my skillset in DevOps. For example, the AWS exam I took last week was one of the goals. I feel I’m doing pretty well/am on track here.
🇪🇸 Get back to near-fluent in Spanish
🟡 Notes: My Spanish has really slipped since graduating college, and especially since I studied abroad almost 8 years ago. I started out fairly strong this year, but I decided the service I was using for online lessons was too expensive, so I stopped and just never started again. I also wanted to read some of the great works of Spanish literature that my college degree didn’t cover. I think I can still recover this goal, but I definitely need to buckle down.
🩸 Get cholesterol into normal range
🟢 Notes: I got torched by my doctor at my annual physical after spending last summer with my wife at her summer camp job. It turns out that dessert two meals a day isn’t good for your health. Cholesterol has been a persistent issue for me, so I buckled down and also got mid-year bloodwork done to check my progress. The labs showed that the numbers are heading in the right direction, so I’m giving this a green while acknowledging that I’m not done yet.
📹 Make 40 YouTube videos
🟡 Notes: Aside from entrepreneurial pursuits (more below), this has been by biggest hope/aspiration for the year. I’ve made ~15 videos but have struggled a bit to get a consistent release schedule down. The bottlneck right now is recording footage. I’m aware of that but have yet to address the systems issues that are causing a lot of friction for me in the process right now. I think I’ll be able to hit 40 by the end of the year, but I’m basically going to have to average a video a week from here on out. (Which, if you’re trying to be a YouTuber, is like the bare minimum so I can’t really complain about that.)
⚖️ Get weight to 150lbs
🟢 Notes: Similar to the cholesterol, I decided to focus on weight for the first time in my life this year. (My doctor said “are you okay??” when he walked into the exam room because I had gained 12 pounds from the previous year.) I’m making good progress and am well on my way to meeting my goal, while also recognizing that you have to work to keep weight off.
🥋 Try Karate
🟡 Notes: I’ve kind of been interested in learning some self-defense for a little while now, but I guess not interested enough to actually do anything about it. I’d give this a red, but I feel like I still have a lot of time left to get this done. Also, I’m not exactly sure how corona will have impacted this goal’s viability.
👨👩👦 See Mom and Dad 4 times
🟡 Notes: I felt like I started strong here but am going to have to do some work to catch up. I flew home right before we collectively realized that coronavirus was a thing (end of February) and planned a trip to Tennessee this summer, which I suppose I could still do. We have two visits planned for the rest of the year, so I’ll need to make one up. (P.S. my inspiration for this goal was this article from Wait But Why.)
💪 Launch legitimate side business
🔴 Notes: I had the highest hopes for this goal but have probably done the least work on it of anything on this list. (It’s probably worth reflecting on that.) Basically, I’ve tried to focus on building this site until I have an idea worth pursuing. Still not there yet.
💰 Make first dollar on the internet from something I’ve made or built
🔴 Notes: Similar to the above, but I thought maybe I’d be able to monetize my YouTube channel this year or something like that. It still hasn’t materialized, but I haven’t really done anything substantial here.
🤖 Launch a product on Product Hunt
🔴 Notes: Also similar to the side hustle goal, but I haven’t built anything noteworthy yet this year. Also, I know that Product Hunt launches are kind of a Hail Mary type of thing to do, so I want to wait until I feel like I have something special. I’m also just not building enough side projects to consider this goal well done.
💻 Learn algorithms and data strcutures
🔴 Notes: I feel I could do some work and recover this goal, but I haven’t made much progress yet. The point of this goal is to feel like I’m prepared for most of the typical problems that could come my way, in normal work and in interviews.
🎨 Learn UI design
🔴 Notes: I wanted to learn the basics of mocking something up with Figma and getting it to look decent. I also planned to read Refactoring UI to help my design eye. No real progress here yet.
🌱 Grow grass at home
🛑 Notes: I started with great intentions here, but have since started to focus on getting a fence instead. I seeded the lawn in May, but nothing really happened…but I hear May is a little late for this kind of thing. I might try again in the fall and actually water the lawn this time.
🏠 Rent out our house during the summer
🛑 Notes: Coronavirus completely stomped on this goal since we’ve been at home the entire summer, so I don’t really feel bad about it. Abdandoned until possibly next year.
I have a few takeaways from this exercise:
- These goals, for the most part, have not gone as well as I’d hoped.
- The goals that have gone well have been encouraging and gratifying.
- There’s still time to recover on most of them.
- I think I need to factor passion into the goals more than I have in the past, as opposed to just things I feel like I should be doing.
- I’m going to revisit my philosophy on goals near the end of the year - I know people who don’t set goals at all, and I want to dig into this a bit more.