A new year has come upon us, and along with it a lot of people making resolutions. I’ve never been a fan of resolutions (at least as far back as high school). They’ve always seemed empty to me, just words that never find any meaning or purpose the majority of the time. Instead I’ve always been a fan of having personal goals. The majority of my life I’ve never bothered to orient my goals around the new year, but instead just worked towards them until they are completed and then re-evaluate what I wanted to do next and set new goals.

This year is not horrendously different, but the timeframe falls in line very closely with the new year so I may as well put my goals in writing today. Because just as much as I don’t believe in resolutions, I also believe that goals don’t have any real commitment if you’re not willing to put them in writing.

I spend over two hours every day commuting to work. This provides me with time to do a lot of things. One of the things I enjoy most about my drive is the opportunity to honestly evaluate myself, who I am, who I want to be, and how I’m doing at getting there. I’ll simply say that, right now, I have a long way to go. With that in mind here are my current goals, which are a pretty big shift from some of my past goals.

My Current Goals

  • Say no to “side-work”

    Side-work is a project that I take on for little extra tidbits of money for whatever reason. Often I take on side-projects just be nice and help someone at a very discounted rate (either for my portfolio I’ve never created, or just because they’re a friend, etc.) This year I’m going to focus on finishing up my last three or four side-projects within the month of January and then just say no.

  • Only accept extra work to support life-goals

    I’m not opposed to taking on projects just because I’m saying no to “side-work”; however, those projects will require being billed at a significant enough rate to put a large dent into something our family is saving towards (e.g. our new car, or a down-payment for a house, etc.) In other words, this is my commitment to stop giving out discounted work. It has been impacting my family too negatively to let it continue. I feel that my reputation and skill-set is strong enough after 10+ years of full-time web development that I don’t need to build my portfolio by offering discounted rates.

  • Spend time with my family

    This goal implies several things for me. In the past my work schedule has been pretty flexible, and I tend to stay up late if I want to for whatever reason –> wake up at varying times –> get in to work at varying times, and therefore get home at varying times (usually between 4pm and 8pm). It wasn’t quite as big of a deal when I only lived 20 minutes from work, but now that I’m an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and forty-five minutes (depending upon traffic) I want to ensure that I don’t lose that commute time and let it be wasted on the road. I also don’t want to lose the chance to be home for my wife and kids and spend the most important time of the day with them. This goal will take the following forms:

    • Go to bed by midnight no matter what (weekends and all)
    • Wake up no later than 5:00am to ensure that I beat rush-hour traffic
    • Leave work no later than 3:30pm to ensure that I get home at a decent time
      * The exception to this would be meetings that are outside of my control

    This goal will be the hardest one for me to successfully achieve I believe. But at least it’s now in writing and I can remember to strive for it daily.

  • Take time-out for myself

    Whether it’s my first iPhone application (3 years after I wanted to create one), my personal website, portfolio, company website, Ruby books, video games, or snowboarding I don’t care. I’m simply committing to spend time on myself doing things I want to do.

  • Do at least one chore a day

    No more slacking off or postponing because of deadlines for other things. From here on out I’m committing to working on at least one chore every day in order to try to keep up with my share of the household work.

  • Organize!

    Messy desk

    My desk is an absolute mess, as is my digital life. I’ve long been too overwhelmed and swamped with extra projects to take the time to properly organize my files (in both formats) and I’m ready to do something about it. This also applies to the rest of our house. Clothes, bins in the garage, and boxes we never unpacked have to be taken care of and now is the time.

  • Save!

    For too long we’ve lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Now that our old townhouse lease is almost up it’s time for us to focus on actually saving. We need to get a second car so Katie can take the kids around town while I’m at work, and we really need to start saving up towards our down-payment of a house so we can actually buy one in several years from now.