It’s December already? 2009 seems to have gone by altogether too fast. As I had some time to reflect about the year, it’s been a mixed 12 months for me. I’ve accomplished most of my goals, missed a few, and endured the still slow economy.  Yet, somehow there’s that nagging feeling that I could have done more – ever feel like that?

I like goals rather than resolutions. Only one difference between them. There isn’t much accountability for resolutions! It’s easy to set goals; the hard part is setting goals that require you to work hard and stay focused but are also doable.  Set too many or set them too high, and you can end the year feeling like a loser. Set them too low, and you might end up feeling like you could have done more.

No easy answer for that problem, but this year I’m going to try to set goals 3 times a year. I think four months is long enough to accomplish something meaningful, and if a project needs to stretch over the year, I’ll just break it up into three phases. Hopefully with a lot of work that will have me thinking I did a much better job at the end of 2010!

So what goals should we set? This is where a couple hours in a quiet place will do you a lot of good as you think about this list as a starting point:

  • Work – it pays the bills, maybe you want to shoot for a promotion, a pay raise, doing a pet project that will add value to the company, maybe finding a new job. Are you still challenged? Maybe the challenges just require you to look for them?
  • Family – it’s why we work, so maybe you aim to spend more time with them, pre-pay their tuition, take a much dreamed of ‘real’ vacation.
  • Personal & Professional Development – I see this as separate from work, it’s where you invest in YOU. Typically we see this as work related; learning a new skill/version/language, but it could also be taking a certification exam, loading up SQL 2008 R2, taking a class on managing or networking. But…it should also be about things that grow you – maybe you want to learn a new hobby, or get better at an existing one, or put more time into volunteering for something.

Got some goals? Right them down and put them some place you see every day. Try hard to achieve them, but just like with projects at work, sometimes you’re going to have to re-scope or cancel a goal. Writing it down is important; it can’t be a list in your head!

Hope you have a happy holiday season.

Andy