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Sep 06, 2019 22:25:02

Where can I reference and compare my goals, month on month, year on year?

by @jasonleow | 830 words | 366🔥 | 404💌

Jason Leow

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A few of us here on 200wad had recently started doing monthly goal-setting and reviews. Thanks to @craigpetterson who started the Awesome August idea! It was great fun doing it with the group, and nice to have a discussion around our individual goals. We're all in our September goals now, adding our own unique twist by using different adjectives to the word "September" - Super; Singular; Social; Spectacular September. I love it.


The monthly framing of goals feel like just the right time unit to do so. There's too much variance day by day, while one week feels too short to see any difference. Tracking days/weeks are probably better off using a habit tracker. So one month feels like the Goldilocks zone of just enough time to try new habits/projects/experiments, without the pain of needing too much effort to plan and track (but of course, to achieve the goals of the month, you probably need to plan and track it in some form through the days and weeks). 


I tried using daily habit trackers before but it often just feels like too much work, and invariably I would drop off after an enthusiastic few weeks of using it. But with a one month time span and just a rough sense of how to go about it, I feel I have some wiggle room to manoeuvre between different work schedules, some breathing space to relax for a day or two between on and off days, and correspondingly less guilt and stress around having to be killing it every single hour and day. I love goal setting and tracking, but too much too often stresses the hell out of me and kind of defeats the other objective of enjoying the journey. It shouldn't have to feel like pulling teeth every day just trying to track things. I want to enjoy the ride, even if it can be hard, diligent work.


So if habit trackers don't work in my context, where else can I track my monthly and annual goals? 


Currently my goals are all over the place - in my physical notebooks (I have different ones for each year), Trello boards (yes, plural), 200wad, personal blog, Telegram app. I find myself having to toggle between the August goals and the September one just to compare and reference, then I have to dig for my notebook to find the yearly goals I set out. Afterwards, I recall I wrote some goals-related stuff on 200wad too during my year-end retreat, so I have to scroll through my profile here. 


I wish there's a place where I can drop off these goals, and a way to make it easy to reference and compare them, month on month, year on year. Over time, perhaps it can even become some sort of record of my life timeline, showing the evolution of what my priorities were, what I valued and what I worked on. Kind of like the act of reading back on journals from decades ago and realising how I had grown and changed, but for life goals. 


I love how Tim Urban of the great Wait But Why blog made it visual by showing all the weeks of your life in one page. Buster Benson also made something similar, kind of like a life timeline/resume of key personal events. Buster also used Github to version-control his belief system (his "Codex Vitae"), which I thought was a super unusual but intriguing way to use Github. That way, when he updates some of his beliefs years later, either due to experience, new knowledge or just change of mind, he can track and compare the changes, or create/merge branches to the master for any experiments in his beliefs, using the versioning control features that Github provides for developers to track software versions. Not quite fit for original purpose, but seems to work pretty well for this purpose!


I really want stuff like that, but for my goals. I love to be able to compare changes in goals like Buster did for his beliefs using Github. I want to be able to see the overall journey I'd taken through life like how Tim Urban did in his life in weeks diagram. Right now, when I piece these disparate pieces of information together, I get a good picture of where I had been, where I'm at, and where I can go. A deeper sense of fulfilment, gratitude and appreciation of life emerges with that long view. And it helps me with whatever I'm planning for right now. But it's just a little too much work right now to do so easily and conveniently. I guess that's why I only do it once a year, at the end.


How about you? Where do you track your goals right now? How do you think we can improve it? Would these ideas work?

From Jason Leow's collection:

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    @jasonleow use notion or trello, every column represent a month so that you can compare months side by side. starting of every month, I will create a new column and listing out what I want to do and bring it to a WIP board, and split out details. When end of the month, I will move the column with the results back to the annual board and compare with the previous month and planning for the next month.

    Knight avatar Knight | Sep 08, 2019 06:54:11
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      @knight thanks for sharing your hacks. That sounds slightly better than using a spreadsheet. I guess that works functionally, but not the best solution I wish was available if I can be honest. Feels like lots of moving things around different apps - I wish I don't have to do that. Being able to share and discussion and socialize around the goals feels harder with those tools - they feel more built for personal tracking. Being able to have a good overview like Tim Urban's life in weeks for example, is also difficult without putting in a lot more work creating a visual format for it.

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Sep 08, 2019 20:02:56
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    @jasonleow - Jason - we have the same problem. I write my goals in notebooks, just a piece of paper, google docs, my own fear hacking journal, 200 words a day (since June 2019) and flash cards. I have the exact same problem you describe. I used to have a diary years ago where I would write my goals and reading them now is an interesting experience for me. I have made changes to my goals within the last few months as well so I think it is a useful exercise to compare and contrast goals.
    Having a diary/journal is a good exercise since it involves using analog way of recording. There is research that says that it is a good thing.
    However, I have found that having a google doc in a folder where I copy/paste from my 200words a day entry, keeps my thoughts well organized.

    But I agree with you - people like me and you may need a product/solution that takes the best of the things that work into one and helps execute better... Potential business idea?

    Keni avatar Keni | Sep 06, 2019 13:02:37
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      @keni yes i love writing them in my journal too. More free form and in the moment. Many posts here were initially scribbles there. Yes I feel like I can make something that can help...scratching my own itch. Let's see how I can do it in Rails...

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Sep 07, 2019 19:53:09
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      @keni I made some sketches of an initial idea of what this product might look like...can I run it by you? ;)

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Sep 11, 2019 20:31:10
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      @jasonleow - Of course.. I am honored you asked.

      Keni avatar Keni | Sep 11, 2019 13:51:53
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      @keni will telegram you :)

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Sep 12, 2019 20:44:34
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      @jasonleow - Awesome.

      Keni avatar Keni | Sep 12, 2019 11:52:51
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