Another new year is upon us. Hurray! What better time then to plan out the goals and values that I want to achieve over the coming year? I read a lot of books over the past year, especially on personal development. It is clear from them that having clearly defined goals is essential. Reading this great post from Brian Tracy inspired me to write this post.
When creating these goals and values, I tried to work backwards. I imagined it was the end of 2017, and I was looking back on what I had achieved in the year. If the year had gone as well as I had planned, what would I have achieved?
To approach this from as broad a perspective as possible, I grabbed a pen and paper and drew a mind map. This is what I crudely came up with:
From this, I created a digital, slightly nicer looking diagram to reflect my Goals & Values for 2017:
I decided on six different categories in the end:
I think of the above diagram as a wheel, with 6 cogs in it. If one of the cogs comes loose, then the wheel still turns. But it starts to perform worse, especially as more and more come loose.
But if you can keep all 6 of the cogs in place, you can keep the wheel turning.
A little more detail about each category, and the subtasks for each.
This category is highlighted in Purple. This is because it is my primary focus for this coming year. I am keen to start the journey of building my own business. I plan to record extensive video content for this. Therefore I have set myself the task of creating 3 video tutorial series’ for different tools. To produce to the standard that I want will be a considerable amount of time, work and effort.
As well as the video courses, I also want to launch a second website that will be dedicated to testing. It will have blog posts and articles on relevant tools and techniques. Ultimately, the blog posts will lead to the video tutorials, so these goals are linked.
I plan to blog extensively about my progress here in the coming year. Along with my full time job at SAP, and raising a 2 year old, I think it’s going to be a busy year! 🙂
I’m not going to go into much detail here. I don’t want to make this a blog about health. No doubt you will have your own ideas and opinions here!
For me, I can boil it down to 3 things, if I want to consider myself “healthy“. Lift weights 2 or 3 times a week, eat well and drink less (alcohol, not water!). I know from experience and having done this in the past that If I do all 3 of these things, my health and fitness will be good. I will need the energy for the extra work I plan to do!
I didn’t include this initially. But laying awake one night, I realised there was something missing from the diagram. I consider myself to be a Christian. But I haven’t been regularly to Church for a couple of years. Mostly to do with moving away from my initial home and just being so generally busy (and lazy, if I’m honest!). Now that my son is coming to the age of understanding more of what’s going on, I would like to start going again at least a bit more often!
I think it would also be good to volunteer for something. I believe that my work offer days that can be taken for good causes. That could be a good place to start.
I have learnt of the importance of doing unselfish activities to help others. It really provides a boost to your spiritual well being and overall balance!
Family is another area that I have identified to work on next year. The last couple of years, my wife and I have had our first son, bought our first house (completely renovating it!) and both have busy full time jobs. Sometimes, there isn’t enough time to spend on one another!
We both know the importance of close communication in a relationship. So we will dedicate time regularly to finding a baby sitter and going out for a “date night” at some restaurant.
I will also endeavor to take us on our first family holiday this year. Up until now, I have been too terrified at the thought of taking a kid on a plane. But although I am sure it would be fine now, we could also just go to something more local like a Butlins or similar! Some of my best memories as a kid were in places like that (playing in the arcade, or on the fruit machine!).
Many of the books that I have read have advocated the importance of financial knowledge. I am therefore making a concerted effort to improve my skills in this area.
My Dad and I have started reading the Investor’s Chronicle together recently. We should setup a regular call to discuss what we have read, and any actions that we have. My Dad has such great knowledge in this area, it would be great to work together on it!
I want to go ahead and sort out some of my finances. Making better use of ISAs, adjusting and monitoring my pensions, and opening a SIPP.
I have recognised a real weakness of mine is building relationships and networking. I am keen to improve in this area, as I know the importance of knowing other people. Too often I will persist on trying to solve a problem myself, when I could just ask someone else for advise.
One idea that I had was to attend at least one software testing conference (or similar). Another was to join some sort of Mastermind group around starting a business.
As well as that, I want to read and study up on how to network properly. From what I learn there, I can set new practical objectives to improve in this area.
I have put the diagram in my top note in Evernote, where I will see it everyday. It feels good to have some sort of plan in place, even if it’s not perfect. I want to focus on this year on producing things, even if they are not perfect. In the past I have detailed and procrastinated on things because they are not perfect. But as is true to the Agile way according to the Agile Manifesto, it is better to release things quickly, and get them better later if necessary.
I will be breaking down the above areas into Goals monthly. Then from those goals, I will set Goals that I want to achieve that week. Then at the start of each day, I will set goals that I want to achieve on and work that day. As outlined in Eat That Frog,I will be picking my biggest “frog” (i.e. the biggest and most difficult task) first and focusing on that.
It’s going to be a busy year, but I am looking forward to it 🙂