When I was in high school, my art teacher used to tell me that once you hit 25, it’s all downhill, fat and wrinkles from there. Funnily enough, throughout my teens and early twenties I made a point of remembering this. Keeping this in mind, I have decided to prepare myself for the big milestone by setting numerous personal goals. It’s going really well so far, so I’d thought it may be good to capture what I did differently this time.
A friend of mine told me about Habitica, a RPG app that helps you set and attain personal goals. Finishing tasks or improving your habits lets your level up, choose rewards and buy cool gear. Being a gamer, I’m completely hooked on this. By the by, Habitica is an open source project running on NodeJs and welcomes contributors. Habitica also makes your goals social by allowing you to join a party. Missing dailies or bad habits will hurt your whole party. Some positive peer pressure, gamified.
Speak Up and Share
In the past, I’ve made many a grandiose plans and goals (including becoming catwoman, but that one didn’t pan out so well) in my mind, without sharing them. I think it depends a lot on your personality, but for me it has really worked be open about my goals. I think it adds some pressure and accountability, as most people are bound to enquire about your progress now and then.
Planning is everything. Plot your week out so you can realistically see where you’ll have gaps to complete your tasks. Be realistic.
Stick to Routine
Again, it depends on your personality. But sticking to a routine has aided me in getting all the emotion out of it (I’m too tired, I’m not feeling like it, yada yada) and pushed me to just do it. It’s only once a week, after all.
On Fridays, apart from work, I do nothing. Small rewards recharges and refreshes you so you can keep going. Persisted effort without any breaks spell burnout and give-up like an overnight success open source developer.
Keep track of your wins. And your loses. But focus on the wins.
Keep Jabbing At It
One of my favourites blogs is the Coding Horror. If you are a coder and haven’t roamed that side of the web, do yourself a favour and head over there now. This one particularly cheers me up on a buggy day. I digress! Jet Atwood is open about how his blog changed his life. He stresses getting stuff done, and keeping at it consistently, as the key to his success. By consciously setting personal goals, it keeps pushing you forward, even if is one jiggly step at a time. Going somewhere slowly is miles better than staying put.
I know, most of these sounds pretty cliche. Yet, we keep so busy being busy and then being tired that we neglect thinking about these things. Nothing beats looking back at a period of hard work with satisfaction. If you haven’t already, set goals for yourself.
And really check out Habitica, man. 😉