Goals for 2019

Over the holidays, I started to do some thinking about my goals for this year.

My team lead at work has talked to me a number of times about “right to left” thinking, which I’ve found to be very helpful when pondering goals and ambitions.

The idea is to start by envisioning the future that you want to see, and what you want to accomplish long-term. If you draw a timeline, this would typically be on the right-hand side. Then, work backwards one step (moving to the left on the timeline) to determine what needs to happen just before you are able to make it to that outcome. And then work backwards another step, and another, until you arrive at actionable items that you can work on right now.

So let me share a bit about my long-term vision for the future, and then work backwards into what I’m going to do this year in order to move toward it.

Vision

After a good bit of reflection, I’ve been able to summarize my long-term vision with three words: Lead, Give, and Live.

Lead: I want to become a better leader, develop more of a leadership mindset, and eventually lead my own business or organization.

Give: I want to make a positive difference in the world, whether that is by creating products that make the world a better place, investing in charitable causes, etc.

Live: I want to generate some wealth, for the purpose of generating more ability to have a positive impact, and to create financial security and freedom for myself and my family.

Strategies

I have some strategies that I’m going to focus on this year in order to move in the direction of my vision.

Improve leadership and management skills

In order to be an effective leader, I feel that I need to be continually growing and learning. In my job, I am already expected to manage my own time and energy, and to have somewhat of a leadership mindset toward projects. I’m encouraged to come up with ideas, take initiative, and think hard about “why” to do something, rather than just doing what someone else tells me to.

But I want to take it further. I have aspirations to take on more responsibility and leadership at work. I also want to dig more into the literature and try to better understand effective leadership and management strategies. I’m also interested in understanding motivation, company culture, and employee happiness. Those things will be very important to me when I start my own company someday.

Improve networking skills and practice

Ah, networking. I’m a software developer who deeply enjoys working from home full-time. Suffice it to say, networking is not my forté.

That said, I have a great appreciation for its value. My best opportunities in life have come at least in part through connections with people. I feel that getting better at networking (striking up conversations, finding ways to connect with people I meet, following up when it’s appropriate) is a very valuable and fruitful skill.

Put more effort into creating and sharing

I feel like every year I tell myself I’m going to blog more. Well, this year I’m actually going to do it! Heh…

But seriously, I feel that it’s all too easy to fall into the “consumer mindset”. Where I watch Netflix, read books and blog articles, and never actually produce or share anything of my own.

Creating something and showing it to the world is scary and uncomfortable. But in order to make an impact, it’s mandatory. Best to get used to it now!

Look into investing

I read a great book a while back called The 10% Entrepreneur. Pretty neat read. It talks about creating side income by investing in startups, either through actual money, or through other efforts like advising.

It’s something I could see myself doing someday. It would potentially build up side-projects that generate some wealth, and diversify my income a bit. I would also be able to invest time and/or money in businesses and causes that I believe in and care about.

That said, I think that this might be a longer-term goal. If an opportunity arises, I would consider it. But it needs to be the right sort of thing (something that fits my interests, doesn’t take away from my work, isn’t a conflict of interest, etc). As such, I don’t have any concrete goals for that this year.

Speaking of…

Goals

To move in a positive direction, I wanted to set some pretty achievable goals in each of the above areas. If I can improve a little bit all around, then it will go a long way toward growing, creating good habits, and pressing closer to my longer-term vision.

Goal 1: Read more

Specifically, I’m going to try to read at least 25 books this year (that’s just over 2 books per month), at least 5 of which will be directly related to leadership, management, networking, or entrepreneurship in general. It’s not a huge goal, but it will be helpful, and I hope that I can surpass it. I’ve been reading a bit every day so far this year. Ok, I know we’re only 11 days in, but hey, it’s a start!

Goal 2: Network more

Last year, if I counted correctly, I went to 6 networking events. I want to double that this year and go to one per month. There will be a few that I will travel for (I’ll probably do WordCamp US again, and the Automattic Grand Meetup), some in Halifax (WordPress meetups, etc), and some local events. Again, this number is a minimum, and I would really prefer to surpass it.

Goal 3: Create and Share more

This one isn’t quite as nailed down, but I want to write a new blog post at least once a month (I only wrote 8 posts on this blog last year) and do at least one “creation project” per quarter.

I haven’t completely defined what a “creation project” is yet, or what the specific projects are going to be. I will probably decide as I go.

Last year I created a quadcopter from a kit and made it fly. So a potential project idea for this year might be to get it to fly FPV (First-Person View) and record video. I’m also thinking of possibly getting solar panels installed on my house this year, which could count. I wouldn’t be “creating” something per se, but I would be doing lots of research and making decisions, and I’m sure I’ll have a lot to share from the experience.

Here we go!

I’m looking forward to seeing 2019 unfold! I’m sure there will be bumps along the way, but I’m going to endeavour to stay on track with my goals, and end the year closer to my long-term vision than I am now.

How about you? Any big goals for this year? Leave a comment below 🙂

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