New Year's Resolutions 2014

For about a decade I published my New Year’s resolutions on my old blog; since Kaizen is all about continuous improvement, I have to say that there’s probably nothing more appropriate here than this year’s resolutions.

Now, in Kaizen, the attitude is very much to avoid vague goals — the key is focusing on audacious but short-term-achievable goals, then returning to the same goal again and again until massive improvements have been made. A good system to avoid vagueness and make your goals achievable in the short term is the good old SMART goal-setting criteria.

SMART Goals

SMART is a clever system that says that goals must be:

S pecific — that is, an unambiguous commitment.

M easurable — we must be able to measure our performance against a goal level and know if we’re doing better or worse, objectively and in a way that nobody would disagree with

A ttainable — many people overlook this one, but it’s key; the goal must be something that can be achieved. If you want to be the biggest movie star in the world but aren’t even an actor yet, don’t set the goal of being the biggest movie star, set the intermediate goal of getting extra parts.

R elevant — something else easily forgotten: it must be actually relevant and important to the bigger picture. If the goal doesn’t fit into life and larger strategic objectives, it’ll get dropped when the going gets tough.

T ime-Bound — there must be a when for this goal to be done. Otherwise, the goal can always be achieved “later.”

Good, simple principles to develop goals by — and simple ways to avoid both wasted effort (muda) and asking too much of oneself (muri).

My New Year’s Resolutions

Take the family out for a fun expedition monthly

There are so many things to do around LA, we should all share those. It’ll keep the wife happy and give the baby exciting experiences. Plus, it challenges me to be fun!

Take the wife out for a surprise date monthly

Speaking of keeping the wife happy, nothing works like a date. It’s my job to make these dates unique and special.

Have a monthly photo project

This is a big challenge — I’m going to do a photo project, probably of the baby, every month starting in February. A photo project means “at least 1 image posted on the Internet, taken using techniques new to me or at least unpracticed.”

Blog weekly

I love this blog. Some other priorities have come first, but this blog needs to be elevated. So long as those priorities don’t come up again, I should produce at least one entry a week.

Revise my novel

I wrote a novel a couple of years ago for NaNoWriMo. The next year, I edited it. It needs one more revision, and then it’s ready to go. I will complete this revision and release my novel on Amazon or something like that by my birthday.

Network regularly

I used to network every week, back when I was working for myself. Then I got a job and got out of the habit. Starting this month — because I’ve already found an event and signed up for it — I will find one event per month and go to it, focused around technology and/or Product Management.

Do a specific thing to advance my ability in my career

Becoming better at my job, Product Management, is important. I’m not quite sure what I want to focus on doing this year, although I have 2-3 good ideas. It’s important to put all of my powder behind one of those. By April 1, I will have picked 1 idea to advance my ability, and by May 1 I will have made specific, recurring commitments to do this.

Learn self-hypnosis

I have a number of food allergies, which have led me to, from time to time, be overly-sensitive to any digestive discomfort I’m having. There’s a medicine I can take that suppresses my allergies and relieves digestive discomfort. I’ve found a few times that the discomfort goes away when I only think I’ve taken the medicine.

I think I should think I’ve taken my medicine more.

I’ll figured out how to learn this, and made specific commitments to learning it, by my birthday.

OK, those are my resolutions. Hopefully, they’re all both SMART and smart! What are yours?

Wade Armstrong

Hi! I'm a dad in Los Angeles, CA. I work in tech, where I learned about lean & agile methods — thus the "Kaizen" part of the Kaizendad name. My hobbies include cooking and photography.

Los Angeles, CA