Words by c.z.robertson

Twelve months of goal-setting

2007-05-03 17:06:36 GMT/BST

Steve Pavlina recommends setting an area of focus each year. I like that idea and I'd thought about doing it this year, but it wasn't obvious to me what I wanted to focus on. So instead I chose a different method: I would focus on one thing every month and set myself a challenge for each one. I didn't jump right in. In January I just planned out the tasks for the next few months and built up the excitement for starting the February challenge.

Then in February I got stuck in with a tough one: writing four pieces of music, one per week. In March my goal was to transfer my web and email hosting over to a Bytemark virtual machine. In April, work through four Michel Thomas German CDs. And now I'm starting the May challenge: making 8 blog posts.

So, my progress so far: February and April were entirely successful. March was a miserable failure.

I can make excuses for March: I'd taken the last week of March off work and was expecting to do a lot of the task then, but in the end it was a busy and emotionally intense week, and furthermore, due to switching ADSL providers, I had no internet connectivity for most of it. But actually the problems started long before that. In February and April, the schedule was clear. If I hadn't written a tune or got through a CD each week then I knew that I was behind schedule. But the schedule for switching hosting was a lot less clearly defined. How did setting up an email server compare to switching DNS records? The result of this was that I didn't do much work at the beginning of the month.

So I've learnt that for these sorts of challenges, a clear schedule is a must. I'll be applying that rule to the challenges I set for the rest of the year.

Quite what those challenges will be is not yet clear. I'm considering taking a break next month before deciding on the next set of challenges. I spent a few days at the beginning of the year thinking about my long-term goals, and I need to do that again soon. I need to be sure that the tasks I set myself keep me moving in the right direction.