It’s that time of year where we have just had the new year celebrations and everyone starts making new years resolution. Not me though, I am not too keen on the idea of resolutions. They are a nice idea, but not very specific and you always end up breaking them. What I prefer are more solid goals.

Scrapping New Years Resolutions for Goals
Scrapping New Years Resolutions for Goals

For example, here are some typical resolutions..

  • Loose weight
  • Give up drinking
  • Learning a new programming language
  • Spend more time with the family

On the face of it, they are all valid ideals that would benefit anyone, but they are not that specific. A goal on the other hand is much more specific and takes a form more like what you might be used to at work, which is SMART goals. This means Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound.

Specific : Target a specific area for improvement or development.

Measurable : How will you measure progress?

Achievable : Is it an achievable goal or is it asking too much.

Relevant : Is the goal relevant to the person it is being assigned too.

Time bound  : When do you expect this goal to be achieved.

You don’t necessarily need to list the goal out in this format, but these points reflect what you should be thinking about when setting the goal.

I thought it would be interesting to list out some of the goals I have set for myself this year. We can then see at the end of the year if I have achieved them or not. These are a mix of personal and professional goals.

Loose 2.5st of weight by the end of September 2017

This is quite specific. I have a beer muscle that needs to go, but instead of saying I just want to loose weight, I have been more specific. I want to lose 2.5stone by the end of September. It is measureable by me tracking exercise and using the bathroom scales (the sad step).  Is it achievable? Yes I would say it is. Ideally I want to lose 4 stone, but I am tackling it a bit at a time, and I think 2.5stone is more realistic. It is time bound by the fact that I have put a date on it for the end of September.

Release an app on the IOS / Apple Watch app store by the end of the year

Last year I switched over to using Apple Macs for my main work machine (I will blog more about this soon). As part of that switch the Apple Mac has it’s own excellent software development eco system which I am currently enjoying learning. Not necessarily for major commercial gain but just because it is fun. As part of this I want to launch an app that runs on the iPhone, IPad and Apple watch by the end of the year. I have already started designing a small app. It’s a utility, so nothing too complex, but I just want to complete the process of developing, testing and releasing it for my own educational fun / purposes. The goal is quite specific about releasing an app, and it is measurable by showing it in the app store. Again, it is time bound because I have put a deadline on it. I have made it achievable by giving my self until the end of the year which gives me a greater chance of success with my busy schedule.

Read more business and self development books. Complete 10 books by the end of the year

I used to read a lot of books but I haven’t done as much over the last few years with a family, busy day job and other activities I am involved in like Pluralsight and conference speaking. The sad thing is I love reading, I just havn’t spent much time doing it, so I am going to make more time for it. I want to be more specific about the types of books I read and read business, leadership and self development books. For all my technical needs I watch courses on Pluralsight, Lynda and Udemy. I have made this measurable by stating I want to read 10 books. I will either achieve this or not. Again, it is time bound as I have put a date of the end of the year. It is something I intend to do throughout the year.

When spending quality time with the family I will properly switch off and not take a laptop with me for the 3 planned holidays and breaks this year

When ever I go on holiday, even though I enjoy myself and spend lots of time with family and friends, I never truly switch off. I am still on email and slack and respond to things. This year I will not take a laptop away with me. I will allow myself only my iPad or Kindle for reading, but email and slack will be disabled. I will also leave my phone switched off as best I can, although I do love the camera on my iPhone.

I have 3 holidays/breaks planned this years in between a very busy work and conference schedule, so I will need to switch off and recharge. Again it is quite specific about not taking a laptop with me, and it is time bound because of the 3 planned breaks I am taking this year.

Launch a new blog about leadership and professional development to contain 30 pillar posts and 10 leadership interviews by the end of 2017

For this final goal it is about a specific project I want to launch. On this blog I have a good depth of articles from leadership through to software development, but I want to split the leadership content onto it’s own site and let it have a life of it’s own. I have already setup the blog template, hosting, security etc, but I now need to start adding content. By the end of the year I want to have 30 solid articles live and also 10 leadership interview posts on the site. This is a specific measurement and is attainable. If I do more posts then great, but this is a good target to aim for. I will discuss this site more in the coming months, but I wanted to add it here as a goal.

I will write a follow up post on this near the end of the year to see how well I have done. With goals like this it is important not to beat yourself up if you don’t hit them all. They are just a tool to help you focus personal priorities. The world won’t spin off it’s axis if they are not all hit, but they serve as a good guide. You never know what life will throw at you but I will give them all a good go.

To summarise, I feel New Years Resolutions are far to vague and not very specific, so setting goals is a much more useful tool as they are more specific and measurable. I hope you have found this post useful. If you have set yourself your own goals, then please do share them in the comments section of this post.

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