I used to keep a list of yearly goals. It had been the practice every first day of the new year, like a new year’s resolution list but not really because often I only jot down things I want to do or learn, not reflecting about the habits I want to change. Normally, I write skills that I’d like to master or books I wish to read or gadgets I want to buy. I have notes about learning to paint in oils, reading Atlas Shrugged, getting a passport, creating a comic series, buying a Cintiq 12WX, etcetera. Some of these things I achieved but most others were left untouched, leaving me frustrated at the end of the year when I look back. Because of that I stopped writing them this year.
Instead, I tweaked the way I write my lists of goals and decided to do it monthly. The things that made it in the list were pretty much the same, still revolving around improving practical skills and doing the things that interested me, but it felt different in a lot of interesting ways. I found out that the shortened time limit to finish the goals helped in forcing me to take action immediately, challenging me because I don’t want the month to end without achieving anything written on the list. The time constraint also made the list smaller because I can only fit a few goals in a month, a good thing because this means I need to prioritize, as well as cut huge goals into more bite-sized chunks in order to deliver them. Instead of writing a ‘complete automated tests for IBE app’ goal, I’ll write something more specific like ‘create automated tests for payment functionality’ because the goals need to be doable for a month. The result is a feeling that small goals help me focus better, making it more likely to finish them instead of getting overwhelmed by huge goals and procrastinating.
2015 is still months away but so far I’ve been glad about the progress I am making. 🙂