Last February, I was significantly inspired by David Seah. David creates “Ground Hog Day Resolutions,” which are a set of goals that he revisits monthly. The goals and the monthly check-ins are meant to provide a tangible means of fostering success throughout the year. 1 I came across this practice on Valentine’s Day, so my list of Valentine’s Day resolutions (VDR) was born.
Defining a VDR
A Valentine’s Day resolution is a monthly goal. I’m working on professional resolutions, not personal (like lose 20 lbs.). To be considered, a goal must meet certain criteria. Specifically, a VDR must (again, I borrowed this list from Seah, as it’s perfect):
- Make me more visible.
- Build a product inventory.
- Create a reason for people to visit the site.
- Build a new habit.
- Build excellence (practice makes perfect).
Valentine’s Day Resolution Review Days
A goal that meets all five criteria will be considered. Once a goal is set, it requires a monthly check-in, so that progress/success/failure can be determined. To make things easy, I’ve made the check-in date for each month equal to that month’s number on the calendar. For example, in April, my VDR review day (VDRR) is on the 4th. In May, the 5th and so on. Therefore, my schedule looks like this:
March 3 — VDRR #1
April 4 — VDRR #2
May 5 — VDRR #3
June 6 — VDRR #4
July 7 — VDRR #5
August 8 — VDRR #6
September 9 — VDRR #7
October 10 — VDRR #8
November 11 — VDRR #9
December 12 — VDRR #10
There are no goals set for January, as the beginning of the new year is set aside for reflection and relaxation.
March Resolution Review
In March, I resolved to write one tip per day for 31 days. It was a good idea that satisfied all of my criteria: it increased visibility, built a product inventory, created a reason for you to visit the site, built a new habit for me and built excellence on my part. How did it go?
Success was moderate. After a few weeks, I found it hard to come up with new tips. So I fell short of my goal.
First, I learned that I need to realistically address my ability to complete a task before agreeing to it. I have this habit of saying, “Yeah, I’ll do that!” and then walking away thinking, “I hope I can figure out how to do that.” Over promise and under deliver is not a good business plan.
Second, I have an Olympic-class case of self-sabotage. I don’t know why, but my system wants to reject success like a mismatched kidney. It’s a real problem and one I’m not sure how to address. One part of me says I’m not qualified to do X, Y and Z, while another puts obstacles in the way, just incase I should stumble upon the answer.
Which leads me to lesson number three: It’s OK not to have every answer. When you present yourself as knowledgeable in a certain area or even an expert in a field, I feel you should have all the answers, all the time. That is, I should have all the answers. Well, no one does, and I guess it’s OK to 1.) admit that publicly and 2.) lean on others for help. When asked, “How does [X] work?”, I should change my internal dialog from “I’m about to be exposed as a fraud for not knowing the answer” to something like, “Admit you don’t know and offer to research the answer and get back when you’re done.”
I also learned about my writing process, and this was the most helpful lesson of all. Because I have the attention span of a tsetse fly, 2 I often put off writing a tip until 10:00 PM or so. Wait, did I say writing? I should have said considering. This resulted in much stress, frustration and a real temptation to say, “Screw it.”
However, breaking the process down to very small steps over several days was helpful. Day one, simply brainstorm ideas on paper. That’s it. That’s all that needs to be done. Day two, draw an outline. Day three, write a rough first draft. After that, re-write and publish.
I’ve adopted this process for my larger projects, too, like my weekly posts on Unclutterer. It’s time-consuming and I’ll bet much slower than many writers work, but it’s working for me. No more late-nice stress tests.
April’s resolution is two-fold. The first is to publish great photos with almost every post. I’ll admit I’ve been inspired by the gorgeous photography on iMore. I can’t compete on that scale, as I’m not a pro, but I also think it’s time to move beyond screenshots and Photoshop hack jobs. So, I will use a nice, custom photo with most posts on 52 Tiger throughout April.
Also, I’ve created a magazine in Flipboard. 52 Weekly will be a round-up of the best posts from 52 Tiger during the previous week. I’ll update it each Friday. The nice photos should also serve to make 52 Weekly even more appealing. Go and subscribe (I’ll have a more detailed post about it up tomorrow).
So here we go! I’m aiming high in 2013. By December I should have accomplished 10 awesome monthly goals and moved my dream of running 52T full-time that much closer.