This year, for the second time, I publicly set myself some goals for the year ahead. New Year’s resolutions but in the open, so that I’m accountable to whoever was checking in.
In 2018, I failed at basically all of them. Nonetheless, I took away a feeling of accomplishment. For 2019, I set out to improve on the formula by making my objectives SMART1, and by setting a broader range of goals.
I ended up with 6 goals:
- quit Facebook
- write at least 12 blog posts
- learn to ride a bike
- start a podcast
- save £5,000 by 31 December 2019
- be physically active for 30 minutes every day
I deliberately set myself stretching goals so that I could get away with some slippage and still get the sense of accomplishment from having done lots. Success, therefore, is if I complete 80% of a goal.
How did I do?
It is 26 December 2019, and as I write this, I have achieved two of my goals and I’ve made substantial progress in achieving a third. Go me!
Let’s break it down.
No more Facebook
At the end of last year I made the decision to quit Facebook.
The success criteria for this goal was to delete my Facebook account and not log in for 365 days. With only a couple of days to go, I think I can safely say I have achieved 100% of this goal.
Honestly, I don’t miss it. It’s not a choice everyone feels they can make, but I’d say it has been a net positive for me.
Keep writing blog posts
Last year I ridiculously said I’d write a blog post a week, but only managed to write 16. This year, my aim was to keep up that pace, and I have broadly have.
The success criteria for this goal was to write and publish 12 blog posts. By the end of this month, I will have published 12 blog posts, meaning I’ve achieved 100% of this goal.
You can read all my blog posts, from this year — and all the way back to 2011 — over on my ‘Writing’ page.
Learn to ride a bike
Success in this goal was simple; I aimed to correct a childhood mistake and learn to ride a bike.
It sounded simple, but I did not account for two things:
- my crippling social embarrassment of practising doing this in public
- my own laziness
The mistake remains unfixed; and I doubt it ever will be.
Start a podcast
I had a great idea for this. I set up a website, and even recorded a preview episode before getting it listed on the Apple Podcasts and Spotify podcast listings. What I didn’t do, was actually finish the job.
Success here was defined as recording and publishing 5 episodes. I put in a substantial amount of preparatory work here, but I have published no episodes. So I’m going to say this is 15% done, and I’m going to roll it over to next year.
Save some money
I’ve made relative progress here compared to 2018. Then, I saved basically no money over the year. I wanted a do-over for 2019, and I’ve saved a good chunk of money in doing so.
The success criteria for this goal was to save £5,000. Keeping track of that is a bit messy because my bank accounts are generally a mess, but I think I’ve saved at least £1,900 this year. That’s 38% of my goal achieved; a substantial increase on last year, even with some big ticket purchases throughout the year.
It’s challenging saving money but I’m going to stick at it again for 2020!
My previous goals focused on exercised have zeroed in on running as a method of exercise, but I find myself both uninterested in it and incapable of doing it thanks to a recurring knee injury. I abandoned the idea for this year, and instead decided to focus on being generally active in day-to-day life.
The success criteria for this goal is defined as 30 minutes for activity a day, as tracked by my Apple Watch. With a few days to go, I have on average this year been active at least 5 out of 7 days each week. That means I’ve achieved around 70% of this goal.
I’m pretty happy with that, but I can and should do more given my youth is slipping away from me. I’ll try to be a bit more proactive, rather than passive, with exercise for 2020.
Not too shabby
Overall, I think I’ve done substantially better at making progress against this year’s goals than I did with last year’s. Whilst only 2 goals meet the definition of ‘done’, I came very close to success on a third goal, and two others I made substantial inroads on.
I’ll be setting some more goals for 2020, because I think I can do better again next year. Now I just need to decide what they are.
You can follow my progress with my goals by visiting my goals dashboard.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timebound ↩