2019/01 - 2018 Retrospective and "2019 goals"

Hey folks! 

2018 took a bit of a detour, as I wanted to change jobs to work with Spring rather than the Guidewire tech stack. I ended up focusing a lot more on my interviewing skills than anything else, but here's what was accomplished last year:



In general I've found over the years that it is neccessary to balance your goals with your work-life balance, be realistic with your goals and estimate them rigidly. Sticking to several year-long goals doesn't seem to be an effective way to actually reach those goals, as you'll only do the ones that you really want to or can afford and push everything else onto the backburner. For example, porting over the Encroaching Death 360 project from Vuforia to Androids new ARCore was a lot more appealing to me than reading the Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding because:

  1. I find programming much more fun than reading.
  2. That bodybuilding book is enormous. It's 800 pages long.
  3. I could easily convince myself that since I had a third of an entire year left, I could easily read the bodybuilding book in the time I had left.

This resulted in the project port being finished and the book barely being touch. It also seemed to (And I think still will if I continue to do my goals this way) be a very effective method of not achieving my goals. That's not to say that I was wasting my time (Which is another important point I'll make after this one), but that my original goals at the start of the year simply were not being hit. It's easy to hit goals for work in this manner because it's, well, work. You have a goal to reach with a definite deadline, a carrot (Pay, praise, greater skill in the task completed) and a stick (Getting bad feedback). I'm beginning to believe that it isn't possible to apply this same system to personal goals because you simply can't work all of the time without a break. I think you kind of can if you have an excellent support system (Think of the sims where all of your sims needs are fulfilled) and do a bit of cardio every day, but it's pretty hard to keep a routine like that going. It's very easy to skip your daily run because a project requires overtime, and once you start down that path it is a very slippery slope. 

I think that the best way of combatting this negative cycle is to not judge yourself harshly for failing. Rather than think "Oh no, I smoked my first cigarette after not smoking for 20 years! Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound, let's buy a few packs", just think of it as a little hiccup on your journey. Right the train when it starts to derail, but not too forcefully or you'll just derail it on the other side instead. A nice lifehack/shortcut to change how you judge yourself is changing how you judge others, if you judge them at all. I've found that people hate any hypocrisy in themselves, and if they judge someone else harshly, then they will judge themselves just as harshly. Trying to take more time to be more empathetic is a very effective way of making yourself a better person overall, so give this a shot if you find yourself failing your goals and being unable to get back on track.

Long-term personal goals are also ineffective by nature I think. It is very easy to make big commitments, but continuing your commitments after either interest has waned, or when you have so much time to finish them that you feel like they will require little effort, are great blockers. It is very easy to think at the start of the year that you can get a bunch of things done (Because you CAN! You just... "won't"), but such thinking is foolhardy. Looking at my sparsely updated warhammer blog, I can see that my aspirations to paint my entire collection of models is far too overly optimistic (My old manager actually brought up a very interesting point that people are overly optimistic in their Jira estimations. I'm not sure of the cause/solution to this problem, but not feeling too excited at the prospect of your project being completed would probably help, and I am liable to feeling too excited quite a bit!). So that is a definite factor to take into account when working with your goals. You are almost certainly optimistic, so cease such an attitude when estimating projects (Inside and outside of work, but especially outside of work where your manager has no input. Or at least they shouldn't. It'd be weird if Gary popped up in my apartment when I am whiteboarding my yearly goals to give his opinion on them). I have heard of people building systems instead of goals, but that didn't quite work out with my "one pomodoro a day goal", so I'm going to try something diffierent.

I have a bunch of goals (Short-term, long-term, very long-term, you name it) that I want to acheive, but yearly quotas just aren't effective. So I think I'll try to diversify and minimize my goals instead of taking these grand approaches that never reach 100% completion. Basically I'm going to take a lazy/easy approach without a deadline, and see how it goes. So these aren't really 2019 goals, moreso they're just "goals that I want to do now". A focus to work with if I want to, but not something that I'm tied to. I'll also be adding some fun goals, as well as emphasising coding alongside reading.






So that's pretty much it, I'll recap at the end of the year but I'm only going to aim for this goals. I'm not holding myself to achieving them like I have previously, and we'll see which approach is more effective. It might end up not being a good idea to list goals at all and just DO things, but we'll see.


Best of luck!