Hey guys, how are you doing 🙂
Another year rolled past us, another festive season is coming to an end, snow has finally come to cleanse the city and purify the soul.
Last year I decided to start setting some annual goals. The whole resolutions thing never appealed to me before that, but some colleagues last year convinced me to set some goals for 2015. I did it and even went an extra step and prepared a nice poster with my goals that I printed and placed where I can see it almost every day. Then I even prepared an Excel file to track my progress. And somewhere along the way I actually started caring about all those goals I’ve written, goals that were the first to come to mind, goals that got no special consideration or thinking over when being jotted down on a piece of paper during a public transportation ride.
The only thing I made right about setting my annual targets was that I remembered and used something from college – S.M.A.R.T. goals. For those unfamiliar, SMART is a system to set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-constrained. This ensures that the goals are well set and progress towards them can be adequately tracked.
I had a goal about reading 20+ books during the year. I didn’t meet it, as I wasn’t counting technical literature, so I read around 15 books, mostly fantasy. What I did to try to stay on track, every book I read, I noted down the title, date I finished the book, the author. I did the same with other goals that were of similar specifics.
Leave the country 3+ times… I can now check my Excel file and see when exactly I went to Greece, Romania, Italy, Slovakia.
Arrange and shoot 4 photo sessions… I have the dates, names, photo count… it’s all there, although one was a video session, but still 🙂
There were some goals I failed to meet, but on some accounts I overdid it… I wanted to visit 5 concerts/ballet performance/theatre plays/operas during the year. Instead I did 11, including 1 ballet, 5 theatre plays and 9 concerts.
I spent some days skiing, I spent some weekends out of the city, I got my masters, I started a hyper-lapse project for my home town, I did not publish a poetry book and did not lose any weight… my point is that by the approach I took, I managed to clear 80% of my annual goals list, even after taking into account that this year was a year of a huge change for me, that rendered some of my goals irrelevant after the summer.
It is one thing to think about what you want to do and what you want to change. It’s completely different to write it down as a list of goals. Figuring out how to follow-up and track the progress towards those goals is yet another step further. And reflecting on where you stand on a regular basis is how you can actually get the most out of the exercise.
It doesn’t matter that I didn’t put aside 10% of my net income, it doesn’t matter that I read 15 books instead of 20, it doesn’t matter that I didn’t lose weight and that I did not publish a poetry book. But it sure as hell matters that I did all those other things. Breaking things up to simple goals and taking step after step towards their completion helped lead a more healthy life in 2015 than in 2014. This helped me get out more, spend more time with friends and loved ones, travel more, experience new emotions and acquire new perspectives, it helped me figure out a bit better what matters to me in my life and take a small step towards having a better sense of accomplishment.
I never believed in new year’s resolutions. I never thought writing some goals stretched over 12 months of unpredictability and change can actually improve my daily life. But it did!
Just to recap… 2015 was the year I tackled my hardest clients at work, the year I got my masters while working crazy hours, the year I was selected to partake in the implementation of the new software at my firm. In 2015 I got back one of my best friends, I started an ‘art’ project, I learned to code Swift, I started this blog, I restarted my photography/video hobby, I started shooting on 35mm film for fun, I programmed my own watch face for Pebble, I even quit my job, I started my own initiative and almost came to the finish line of releasing first version of my first app to go live (it got postponed for about a month)… most of those happened while updating my annual goals list… although the largest part of them were not on the list.
Plans constantly change and evolve. But only by having a plan you can actually find the right direction towards self fulfilment and happiness.
No 2016 annual goals set yet?!… The sooner you start, the better!
Thank you for reading so far,