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A Different Take on New Year’s Resolutions: Applying Software Design Principles for Personal Success


January 8, 2020 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Raising a Parent


A Different Take on New Year's Resolutions: Applying Software Design Principles for Personal Success | Baby & Beyond

Don’t be confused reading this title! Software design isn’t usually the kind of thing I talk about here, but hear me out. This is something I have been thinking about for a while now and it involves an experiment – applying software design principles I’ve learnt at work to my personal life (geek alert!) – to ensure I stick to my new year’s resolutions. Read on (and I promise not to get too techie on you)

The first week of the year is all about resolutions. Personally I’ve stopped making new year’s resolutions because I found I could never stick to one. My annual resolutions were either too grand to be achievable or too vague to be measurable. And in the hustle bustle of daily life, I invariably forgot all about those resolutions until it was December and time to reflect on the year gone by.

In my 2019 reflections post on Instagram, I had mentioned that in 2020 I wish to travel more, write more and work out more. But how do these vague goals actually translate into something tangible I will be doing everyday to work towards achieving them? I had no idea.

Recently at work I have adopted the sprint method for product design and software development. A sprint is a short, time-bound period during which specific work has to be completed. Sprints involve an iterative process of continuous development and rapid feedback. The idea is to break a large chunk of work into smaller pieces which can be completed within two weeks to one month, review the completed deliverable at the end of the sprint and use the feedback to work on the next sprint.

After seeing how sprints helped me achieve amazing results at work, I’ve been thinking about applying the same principal to my personal life as well. I wanted to see if I would be able to achieve my personal goals if I focused on small specific tasks each month and did a personal reflection at the end of each month, instead of waiting for December to come. And thus evolved my experiment of applying software design principles to my personal life.

A Different Take on New Year's Resolutions: Applying Software Design Principles for Personal Success | Baby & Beyond

How I Plan to Make This Work

1. Focus on working towards short-term goals

Set short-term, achievable goals rather than very daunting goals (I will lose 10 kgs and give up sugar) or vague goals which cannot be measured (I will exercise regularly and cut down on sugar). Breaking big goals into short-term goals also helps create a sense of accomplishment.

Imagine a goal like “I want to learn to play the guitar this year”. Now imagine breaking it into 12 smaller goals

Month 1: “In this month I will master A & E chords.”

Month 2: “In this month I will master D and C chords.”

And so on. Seems a lot more realistic and achievable right!  And once you’ve started accomplishing these smaller goals, you’re more likely to keep going and not give up.

  2. Constantly self-reflect and adapt.   

The best part about the sprint method is that it requires you to spend time at the end of each sprint to reflect on what worked, what didn’t work and what you will do to improve, so you are better prepared for the next sprint. So you are celebrating successes and learning from failures every two weeks / one month rather than waiting till the end of the year


Defining my Sprint Goals

Step 1:

To start with, I created a list of all the things I have been meaning to do but not getting around to (technically known as a sprint backlog). For e.g:

  • Learn to play the guitar
  • Learn to bake
  • Plan my finances for the year
  • Organize my wardrobe

Step 2:

I organized these goals into themes – Hobbies, Finances, Parenting, Travel, etc.

Step 3:

Then I listed out the steps / specific tasks required to complete each goal. For example, to organize my wardrobe, the first step I need to do is declutter and get rid of things I no longer need.

Step 4:

Lastly I selected 10 of these as my goals for the first sprint. So here are my Sprint 1 (January) goals for 2020:

My Goals for January 2020 (Sprint 1)

Fitness:

1. Eat one portion of raw food every day (fruits, salads, nuts & seeds)

2. Complete a 30 day fitness challenge (this is going to be the toughest one. More on this later on Insta)

Writing:

3. Publish 3 blog posts (this one counts of course!)

4. Publish 6 Instagram posts

Parenting:

5. Do two new activities with N

Hobbies / Interests:

6. Learn to bake a cake

7. Finish reading one book

Decluttering:

8. Find 5 pieces of clothing that I have not worn in the last 6 months and donate them

9. Find 2 pairs of shoes that i have not worn in the last 6 months and donate them

Finances:

10. Make an investment

I will be sharing progress on each of these goals on my Instagram page so I stay true to myself and validate if this experiment actually works.What do you think? Do you set resolutions for yourself and how __ are you with keeping up with them? Do you think this software development principle will be just as effective in personal life too? Share your thoughts below.

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