In September 2009, I decided that for the next year, I would concentrate on three goals:
- Reading (12 books)
- Blogging (40 posts)
- Coding (4 projects)
What did I learn about setting objectives? What do I need to improve? These questions will be answered in a few moments… and if you care you might even hear how I fared.
The results (drum roll)
Overall I’m happy with what I accomplished. I read more books than what I planned (16 books that I remember plus tons of blogs), and I blogged as planned (*exactly* as planned if I include this post and another I posted only on the Pyxis blog). However I wanted to code a lot more than I did. I’m still pleased with the small projects that I worked on but I envisioned something bigger. I mostly did prototypes, katas and experimentation with Rails. No big projects, nothing on github (yet).
I did learn a lot about setting objectives for the future:
Lesson #1 : Never write about goals other people set for you
My wife convinced me to put something about losing a bit of weight. Fail. It wasn’t my goal, it should never have made the list
Lesson # 2 : Keep your objectives focused
For me, three goals was one too much. Very early on I could see that it was easier for me to write blogs or read books than it was to code – books were feeding me for blogs, blogs were giving me questions to read about. Coding felt lonely. Next time I’m going to go with two goals max to start with – and coding is going to be one of them.
Lesson # 3 : Do it gradually
Setting goals is definitely something that allowed me to improve. When I did it in the past, I usually started with a big goal in mind. I suggest you try it with small objectives at first and grow more ambitious as you go. Get started, have habits in place. Then think big.
Lesson #4 : Think about your next goals in advance
Especially if you plan on blogging about it on time. Shame on me.
I have a few ideas but I’m not fixed yet, so I’ll set a few very short term goals for now.