As I head into 2019 I want to keep better track of my medium-term goals. There’s a few things I want to get done over the coming year, and right now I’m working out a big-picture broad-strokes plan for 2019.
In my 2018 retrospective I listed the following 4 goals:
- Build and launch a SaaS
- Blog more
- Read more
- Develop routines
But of course, I know better than to just have vague, open-ended “goals” – they end up being wishlists that go unfulfilled. So instead, I’m going to reformat them as SMART goals, and then actually measure my progress towards them as 2019 goes on.
(Totally stole this idea from Cory Zue’s 2018 review! Then expanded on it a bunch.)
Goal 1: Build and launch a SaaS
I’ve given this a lot of thought (had to narrow down 16 ideas) but eventually picked one I think is the most relevant: A cloud-based reporting solution for measuring digital marketing effectiveness, aimed at small-to-medium businesses (and possibly white-labeled to agencies).
Yes. There’s a defined set of capabilities the tool needs to have, it’ll go up on a website, and it’ll either operate or not. The specific requirements will evolve as I go, but there’s a clear core function.
Yes. I’ll know whether or not I’ve actually launched the first version, and every element of its success will be measurable.
Yes. Data integration, reporting, APIs, charts and dashboards, KPIs and metrics, and making all of that noise business-relevant is something I have existing knowledge of. I’m not diving into this blind.
Yes. Building this sort of stuff is in line with the bigger picture I have for my future, and it’s pretty much the reason I quit my job in 2018 for, so I’d say it’s quite relevant.
Yes. Looking at my current and anticipated workload, I’m aiming to have the first version of this out by end-February 2019. Chances are I’ll have to work a few nights and weekends to make that happen, but a prototype in that length of time is doable. I’ve built similar solutions before, and usually it takes about 200 hours to get to something good.
Goal 2: Blog more
I’m kinda doing this already, but I need to (and will) keep going.
Yes. There’s a clearly-defined and repeatable action (write a post), and I’ve set a target of at least 3 posts per week for 2019. I’m hoping to exceed that though.
Yes. I can measure whether or not I’ve uploaded enough posts for a given week, and can plan out time to do more of them if necessary.
Yes. I’m not half-bad at writing, and when I’m warmed up I usually have at least one topic to write about, so I should be able to do this.
Yes. I need to write for two reasons: One, to practice writing. Building up the habit will be vital if I one day want to produce lots of training and educational content, and maybe even a novel or two. This is a skill I really need. The other reason is that constant writing over time is a good way to build up an audience, which is another thing I’ll need if I want my SaaS businesses to go anywhere.
Yes. I’ve set a goal per week (3 posts every 7 days), so there are repeatable deadlines to hit.
Goal 3: Read more
If you want to write, you should read. That’s some solid advice that’s followed me around, but my 2018 reading stats are abysmal.
Yes. There’s a well-defined action here, and no shortage of books that cover my range of interests (business, startups, innovation, finance, sci-fi, fantasy).
Yes. I can track my reading habits either via Kindle, or via something like GoodReads. I’m not going to track actual time spent reading (that’s psychotic) but so long as there’s some daily activity on this, I’m happy.
Yes. Not only can I read, I like reading.
Yes. The books will mostly be relevant to my interests, and I need to keep learning if I want to succeed in my 2019 adventure.
Yes. I won’t set a limit for the number of books to read, but I should at least spend some time reading every day. At least 30 minutes, which is not difficult to make time for – I really just have to cut out a bit of Netflix.
Goal 4: Develop routines
This one is admittedly open-ended. I’ve tried consciously developing routines and habits before, but they tend to fail when I get distracted with work, or take on more than I can handle (which has happened a lot these last 6 months, with good reason).
No, but I’m going to revise this until it is. I think the above 3 goals (work on a SaaS, write, read) will need time every day/week anyway, and so carving out that time and being able to rely on it will become the routine in and of itself.
Yes. There’s about a billion habit-forming apps out there, but I already have a very solid, health-driven habit (morning blood sugar and weight readings), so I can just use the same systems to record whether or not I’ve done my 3 things for the day.
Yes. There’s nothing in here that I don’t already do, it’s just about being able to do them predictably and repeatedly.
Yes. Developing good processes is vital if I want this all to go well for me next year, and developing the ability to develop processes is itself a valuable thing to do.
Yes. Every routine needs to be completed at least once per day, so that’ll be pretty easy to measure.
So those are my 2019 goals. At the end of 2019, I plan to refer back to this page and track how well I did against all of them. With any luck, this will help me stay focused through the year.