Despite it being seen as a silly exercise by some, I like to make a few new years resolutions each year. I do it because I think setting a few goals to try to achieve by year end[1] gives you something to aim for, and acts as a kind of 'health check' you can refer back to during the year and ask the question - am I progressing towards the goals I set?

Publicly committing to them also adds a bit of extra pressure to put in the work. First, last year:

Goals for 2016

  • Travel to at least one new country - Achieved - The US for work and Japan for a holiday.
  • Learn to play the piano - Not Achieved - I stuck to this for about a month but in the end decided that the time it took wasn't worth it for me. It was a lot of fun but to balance university and other more productive activities like reading, I dropped this one.
  • Finish Uni - Achieved - Finally finished the last subject of my degree and got the OK to graduate with a double degree in Computer Science and Mathematics (Statistics). All up it took 2.5 years full time study, half a year on exchange, 1.5 years full time internships/part time study, 2.5 years full time work/part time study; you could say it's been a long seven years.
  • Start a regular blog - Achieved, although the regularity is still fluctuating between weekly and fortnightly.
  • Read a book per week - Not Achieved, Uni and a few other things got in the way and I let this lapse. I averaged a book per fortnight instead.

In addition to those 5, I also always have a career related goal - I think it's important to make sure not all your goals are external to work, otherwise you risk neglecting it.

Goals for 2017

My five going forward:

  • Travel to at least one new country - Keeping this one again. I've got trips planned to both the US for work (one week from now) and Japan in February, but neither of those are new countries, so I'll have to find time towards the end of the year.
  • Read a book per week - Keeping this one as well - reading is important, nuff said.
  • Blog post at least once per month - Dropping this one back because I want to focus on other things, but I do still want to keep posting about stuff when I get the urge to.
  • Read a book written in Japanese from cover to cover - The big new one on the list, I'm trying to learn Japanese this year. About 800/2200 kanji memorised so I'm not starting from square one, but it's still going to take a lot of time.
  • Save $$ - I have a number in mind to hit, in terms of savings.

Here's hoping I do better than 3/5 this time next year!

What are your resolutions? Feel free to comment publicly and I'll check back in next year to see how you went.

  1. They have to be quantifiable, measurable goals. Goals like 'go to the gym more' are harder to measure, so I prefer things that are a definite yes/no answer. ↩︎