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2012 Goals Monday, 01/02/2012

Posted by Percy in Holiday, Personal.
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Sarah and I have a New Year’s Day tradition that started a few years ago. I’m not really sure how it came about, but I’m really glad we’ve kept it up. The tradition is simple. We go out to a decent restaurant where there aren’t many distractions (usually The Melting Pot so we can take our time), we look at our goals for the past year, discuss whether we were successful and then we lay out our goals for the coming year. We don’t do resolutions, because it’s much harder to track the status of things like “save more money” or “eat healthier”. It’s a lot easier to look back over the year and say “did we ‘have x amount in our savings account'” or “how did we do on ‘getting new carpet'”.  It’s actually a bit harder to do goals vs. resolutions, because you have to be specific.  It has to be something you can go back to later, and simply say “yes” or “no” to it being completed.  There should be no gray area here.

Too, it’s all about beginning with the end in mind. As many of my work colleagues know, I’m a BIG proponent of defining success before you start working. My favorite question at the start of every sprint is “what defines success for this iteration?”. My favorite question at the retrospective – “were we successful based on the definition of success when we started?” If you don’t define what success is (and you’re not extremely explicit about it), how do you know that the small decision you are making today will keep you heading in the right direction? I think that’s important at work, but how much more important is it for the other parts of your life?

So, we went through this exercise on Sunday evening and I think we’re going to have a good 2012. It feels really good to look across the table and know that you and your partner in this life are heading in the same direction.  Too, it’s neat to find out what your wife wants to accomplish this year – sometimes, it even surprises and inspires you.  I actually came up with some personal goals that I’m excited about.

One of the goals that we’ve committed to together is reading through the entire Bible this year.  Both of us have read through most of the Bible, but I honestly can’t say for sure that I’ve read every verse. That changes this year, and I’ve got the best accountability partner along for the ride. We’re starting the One Year Bible together, and I’m even doing a chronological one on my own – ’cause I’m geeky like that.

I’m also committing to reading 8 books this year. Last year, I tried to commit to one a month, but got off track in February which just discouraged me and caused me to not want to read at all. So, I’m trying a more realistic goal this time around. Too, I’m not confining myself to a timeline. If I read two books this month and none in the next two, I’m still right on track and won’t get discouraged.

I’m also committing to writing one blog post a week. FYI, this one does count for this week. 🙂 I want to improve my writing skills, and also keep track of some cool stuff I’ve been working on. Too, I’ve started about six other posts that I need to finish. This goal will (hopefully) force me to finish those and improve my writing some. I’ve even had some requests for posts (gasp!) and I’ve completely let those people down (sad trombone). This will hopefully kick me in the pants about that as well. Plus, I hope I can contribute to the online community in some small way. I’ve got the next few lined up, but I know that there may be some weeks where it’s just something simple. At least it’ll be something. This part of my plan was inspired by Hanselman’s post on productivity. I want to attempt to produce more this year.

Along the same lines of producing more, I’ve committed myself to submit at least one talk to a conference.  I’ve actually had two separate people tell me I should do something like this (for two separate talks), and I think it would be a good idea.  I can’t control if they are picked or not, so my goal isn’t actually to present.  If a talk I submit DOES get picked, then that’s just icing on the cake.  I’ve done some internal presentations, but never one in public like that.  I may not enjoy it, but I’ll never know unless I try.

We came up with a bunch of other goals for this year – most of which we want to get done before late February. 🙂

So, what are you doing different/the same this year? How do you judge the success of each year?

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Santa??!?? Sunday, 12/16/2007

Posted by Percy in Christmas, Holiday, Personal.
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I found this artice on Gizmodo (from Digg), and I had to share it.

Merry Christmas!

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