01 February 2010

Posted to the PragProg January Magazine (PDF epub mobiforum

re: Andy Lester’s NY Resolutions I find that my sense of contentment rests on having a combination of hope for a brighter future, a reasonable plan for getting there, and and reasonable standards in what I consider success at any given stage.

Let’s say I hope and plan on having my dream job by the end of this year. But, by relying on an idea of ‘dream job’, I am setting myself up for disappointment. My standards are too high and not well-enough defined. I would better serve myself by making a goal that is more specific and attainable. For example, I may decide that my goal is to have a new job or be in a more marketable place through developing my Ruby on Rails skills and getting involved in my local community. And so forth.

I may then say, that I would prefer a place that is more challenging, more social, has more room for creativity, and is good for my career, at an acceptable salary increase. But of these wishes, how much can I ‘settle for’ or achieve and still be happy? Setting reasonable goals and standards is key to feeling content about my progress.

Lastly, the well-known axiom “How does a project get behind? One day at a time” has a reverse corollary—that I should try to make regular progress towards my goal before time slips away, one day at a time.

Note: This applies to any kind of goal, not just vocational goals. Having reasonable standards is the key.

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