Updated: Jan 12, 2020
HAPPY NEW YEAR! First let me greet you and congratulate you for making it this far. Whatever your situation is within the last few days give or take you moved from one decade to the next.
And that means its time for you to move on to the next. Read on for 4 steps you can take to approach your 2020 New Years Resolutions for Engineers.
Naturally it's time to look at resolutions but more importantly, if you're reading this post, likely resolutions for engineers.
New Years resolutions can be a bit gimmicky - and don't get me wrong they can be. But there is an engineering approach that would be effective.
That is - 2020 is your engineering project.
Step 1. Define 2020 as your engineering project
You have been hired to be the lead engineer, the technician, the project manager, the customer, the client, all of the stakeholders, the owner. You.
Step 2. Create a mission
The overarching goal or vision is to say you leveled up as an Engineer. Yes. I'm giving you a free mission statement if you can't think of one of your own.
This is a bit subjective but its meant to be because everyone's individual goals will be different. But if I can get that to be your north star that's a start - and it's absolutely necessary for you to even begin the next step.
Step 3. Vision 2020
Have a vision of the end game, imagine yourself at this point in time next year looking back and saying, yes, I achieved x. And feel infinitely better than you did this year if you have no goals or resolutions that you can visibly say you achieved. I recommend something like Jordan Peterson's future authoring program. But you can do this yourself - write down what it would look like at the end of 2020 having leveled up as an engineer.
Step 4. Set SMART goals
I'm referring to SMART goals:
I would love for you to write yourself some goals that are smart only. Particularly put dates. I think start with 4 goals you can achieve every 3 months. Set a January goal (easy one). April goal (build upon Jan). July a more challenging goal that you've had in the back of your head since January and an October Goal - this one can be a challenging goal that is so challenging that you have a couple months buffer to pull it off by the end of the year.
Here's some examples of the above for myself:
High Level Goal: Be more organized.
Smart Goal: Execute against daily updated calendar. I'll ask myself at end of January "Did I update calendar daily?" "Did I use it to guide my time?"
High Level Goal: Get sponsored
Smart Goal: Close a sponsorship deal and run pre-roll for the sponsor on the Engineering IRL podcast.
High Level Goal: Complete training courses that improve soft skills
Smart Goal: Complete the 5 assigned LinkedIn Training courses on Storytelling and technical presentations by April.
High Level Goal: Lift Engineering IRL podcast to the next level
Smart Goal: Reach 10k downloads with regular episodes and interview 3 guests by October.
Now that's just a snippet each of those months I have a few more goals and in the July one's they are a bit more specific to the technical aspects of my Engineering role. But my goal here is to give you some ideas that are beyond the scope of your engineering job. Since some of these will be given to you or driven by your companies goals for you as an engineer.
Let 2020 be the year you execute your vision
The pun is there, it's the turn of the decade and it's a new year. I implore you, give yourself the chance to hit a goal by actually aiming at something. Thinking you are above setting goals is a silly lens to look at it. Think of it more as an engineering project. If you want any shot at successfully completing an engineering project you must define the scope and have a vision of how it's going to be done. Then you need a plan and the right time and resources. And then you need to execute.
Like I said earlier this project you are all of the constituents. And only YOU benefit.
If you want somewhere cool to put the above into action and place your 2020 resolutions I recommend our Engineering Quotes Notebook. It's designed for engineers and is covered with famous Engineering Quotes.
Don't let your usual excuses or faith in your skills hold you back from writing a couple things down. Even the mere exercise of thinking it through and writing it down is proven to be valuable. You don't need to store them or put them on your wall.
Even do easy ones, I prefer you aim and miss then not aim at all.
"Get certified", "Complete SAT for a project", "Present product", "Get training in x,y,z", "Get promotion", "Achieve bonus", "Increase salary", "Increase responsibilities", "Work on a large project".
There's going to be something you can come up with that will make you happy and a better engineer.
So Happy New Year, use 2020 as an excuse to take you to the next level and thanks always for supporting Engineering IRL.
Here's a fun video we did for how Elon Musk sets goals and achieves them.
Now go and set your own goals.