chinese_symbol_for_chaos_bagIt is time to setup new annual goals. I have started to setup annual goal since 6 years ago. I had difficulties in reach goals and feel depressed around December every year because I haven’t been able to finish them. It was in chaos mode for December, preparing for holiday, summarize what has happened and plan out other bold annual goals.

Last year, I have found the “S.M.A.R.T” rule for setting up goal. It has helped me a lot in achieving goals. And I did some changes in how I discover my goals too. I want to share my learning and feedback are welcomed.

Find mission and goals

I often found my list full of career development achievement.  Several of my friend did the same thing. Except the ambitious part, another biggest roadblock with list was unbalanced list. My goals didn’t include other parts of my life like personal health, family and community, my life was unbalanced for sure. I was workaholics. I were not happy and didn’t achieve what I want, and there were no big improvement in job satisfaction too. I started realized that I am in unbalanced life around December 2014.

I started listening to Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits for Highly Effective People”. The ideas in the book resonated with me. The biggest taken for me in the book, we need to goals fall into each category including:

  • Health
  • Job
  • Family
  • Community

We need to include most of them in our annual goals. I highly recommend  the mission build tool from them;

Other things that I found helpful are:

  • Don’t try to setup your goals at first week of year. Take your time thinking about and prioritize them
  • Communicate your goals to your family
  • Have agreed family and community goals with your family member
  • Communicate your goals to your close friends and get feedback

Now I am running a part time business help people’s career development. And I am able to drop business related stuff in hand and spend time with my child any time. And I am much healthier than before.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

smart goal setting conceptSMART rule brings structure and track-ability to your goals. The clear and quantifiable SMART goal will make people focus and easily setup milestones for your 12 months ahead.

With SMART rule, you can evaluate your objectives.


You need to very specific about your goals. For example, I had set up goal in 2004 like ‘bring Agile into workplace’. I didn’t do much at the time because the goal was NOT specific enough. With “Specific” in mind, I would like setup as following: ‘setup Automatic function and unit testing in workplace for core components and increase test coverage to 60%’

Questions you may ask yourself when setting your goals and objectives are:

  • What exactly do I want to achieve?
  • Where?
  • How?
  • When?
  • With whom?
  • What are the conditions and limitations?
  • Why exactly do I want to reach this goal? What are possible alternative ways of achieving the same?


Measurable is the most important part of a goal. Without it, you will achieve nothing and won’t feel satisfied even when you hit something big. And it helps you thinking more detail about your goal. I want to be happier. But happier can’t be one of your new year resolution. It is not measurable and not evidence.

Using health as example, I were thinking that I must live in a healthier lifestyle. It will be very hard to achieve it if you don’t measurable goal.

My last years’ health goals:

1. Lose weight to 70kg at end of Jan 2015

2. Have Vitamin D checking to 30 Jan 2015

3. Other general health checking should be kept same as before or better (I have last year result)

4. Minimum 4 hours exercise each week

You will notice, all of them are measurable and I have setup expire date too. And I have been using Runkeeper to track my goals and using medical check every six months to check how far away from the goals 2&3.


I made some very bold goals between 2010 and 2012. I did make one of two of them. But I do feel depressed every December when new year was coming.

I feel happier and more achievement to setup reasonable goals while considering my commitment to family, community and health.

Don’t think that you gona have 80% commitment to your career goals. And you are a new mum. Please setup as less goals as possible. Just enjoy time with your kids.  Knowing your focus and what are other commitments will help you reasonable goals.

If you setup goals related to workplace, you need to understand cost, your supporters, business benefits and more.


You goals should be relevant to missions that you and your family setup. The more relevant and more you are passion about, the more chance that you gona work harder and get it done.


Annual goal is time-bound, 12 months. I personally found that starting a goal from February is much easier and achievable than starting from January.

In the same time, setting up milestones for your annual goals will increase your awareness towards goal and make yourself learning more from the journey.

My 5 cents: Track, Review and Adjust

Setting up milestones for your goals and review them are very important. There are several tools existing tracking progress toward goals. Please see last part the article, you will find mobile apps that I have been using.

With that, we can learn

  • What are biggest road blocks
  • What are working great
  • Whether we need to adjust goals
  • Celebrate success


Tools Keep Track of Your Goals

After setting up your goal, keep tracking your actions towards goals and make adjustment are important to your life. The following are the ones that I am using:

Health and Exercise Tracking Tool, Runkeeper (For most mobile device)

Career Development Tracking Tool, KareerTracker (developed by us, Android only)