My 3 Year Personal Growth Strategy

Last week I outlined a strategy for writing down goals. This week I am sharing my 3 year, 1 year, and 90 day goals, as well as my strategic road-map to get there.

If you have never written down your goals before you should.

A mentor of mine reached out after reading last week’s post and reaffirmed the importance of goal setting.

If you are serious about achieving your objectives it is imperative that you take the time to write out a plan.

3 Year Goals

  1. I oversee operations of the technical department at my current employer. I manage, teach, and help new employees get on-boarded and integrated in our processes.
  2. I maintain an open source web application with an active and happy user base. I create a platform where others can make an impact on the web.
  3. I own a duplex. I live in one of the apartments, I rent out the other for supplemental income.
  4. I teach a course at General Assembly and participate in local MeetUp’s on the weekends. I am active in my field and help others learn skills that I have mastered.

1 Year Goals

  1. I work directly with the marketing department to create an industry benchmark report. I have a good knowledge of data analysis software such as Pentaho, Mondrian, Saiku, and Hadoop. I help teach other employees how to use these software.
  2. I receive positive feedback and initial traction for my online web application. The start of a community is evident and others have begun contributing to the project I started.
  3. I live at home, and I save my money. I invest passively through an IRA account and maintain a long-term time horizon. I have a credit card and have started building a credit reputation.
  4. I participate in a local MeetUp, and have connections with a few of the organizers. I have built a small network of resources that I can interact with.

90 Day Goals

  1. I improve process for our production department. I contribute with other developers to create protocols and guidelines for code development, testing, and deployment. I have written the first draft of what will become a guidebook for new employees.
  2. I have written a business plan. I have mapped out what I would like to build, how I would like it to grow, and who I want to be involved. I calculate every step I need to take to create a successful web application.
  3. I transfer funds that I am currently actively managing into a more passive account. I have my direct deposit automatically contribute to my long-term investment account.
  4. I help teach interested friends and family how to write code. I work with a few people on the weekends to teach them the basics of front-end development.

The Goals

The list above is the result of visualizing where I want to be 3 years from now, 1 year from now, and 90 days from now. Each goal from the 3 year section correlates with a goal in the 1 year section, and each 1 year goal correlates with a 90 day goal. The overarching goals could be labeled as;

  1. Career advancement
  2. Open source application
  3. Real estate
  4. Teaching.

After this visualization process I wrote out why I wanted to achieve these four goals, and how I would know when I have achieved them.

Career Advancement

I want more responsibility, I want to learn by doing. This goal is intended to help me learn the in’s and out’s of managing others and hiring new employees. I want to take this experience and use it to help me when I start my own company. I want to advance my career over the next 3 years in an attempt to learn as much as I can before launching my own venture.

This goal will be fairly obvious to realize. As the company I currently work at grows, members from the initial team will take on more responsibility. I want to be a  part of this expansion. I will accumulate a wealth of knowledge, and actively share it.

Open Source Application

I want to create something that others find valuable. By creating an open source project I will be giving other people an opportunity to join a community of like-minded individuals. By engaging with people who have similar interests I will grow my network and build my personal brand.

This goal will be realized the day that other members of the community maintain the project. The moment where I am no longer the individual tasked with maintaining the application will be the day that I know users are happy and engaged. I want to spur the creation of something that others find immense value in.

Real Estate

I want to save my money. I want to retire when I am young. Buying real estate is a strategic investment for the future. I intend to live in the first property I buy, and with the purchase of a duplex I will have an opportunity to diversify revenue streams. I will also learn rather quickly how interested I am in becoming a landlord.

This is another goal that will be obvious to know when I have achieved. The day that I sign my mortgage and have a set of keys in my hand will be the day that this goal is realized.

Teaching

I get great personal satisfaction from helping others. Teaching a topic or skill requires mastery of the topic. By helping others I will be getting personal satisfaction as well as further mastery of topics I enjoy.

I will have met this goal when someone I have helped mentor has created or done something they are proud of. My teaching and mentor-ship will have played a role in their success.

Steps to Take

To achieve the above goals I will need to lay out distinct and actionable steps to take. This is the final aspect of a goal setting session, after completing this section you will have a road-map that you can begin to follow. If you struggle with creating these steps, remember that you can always add or subtract a step from your plan. This is a fluid document that you are creating.

Career Advancement

Steps required for achievement Deadline for each step
Master and innovate upon existing processes at work. 90 days
Create and implement new processes that help improve productivity and reduce costs. 1 year
Further gain the respect and trust of my peers and coworkers. 1 year

Open Source Application

Steps required for achievement Deadline for each step
Conduct market research and narrow down the possible application ideas. 90 days
Search for others who are working on similar projects or who share a similar vision. 1 year
Reach out to my network and actively share what I have been working on. 1 year

Real Estate

Steps required for achievement Deadline for each step
Don’t wastefully spend money. Immediately
Save and invest my money passively. Immediately

Teaching

Steps required for achievement Deadline for each step
Meet up with peers that share similar interests in programming and development. 90 days
Learn and be aware of the foundations of Computer Science 1 year
Master HTML and CSS, the dive deeper into JavaScript, and JavaScript framework. 2 years

What Happens Next?

Obviously I have a lot of work to do.

I have already gotten started on a few of the objectives I laid out above. Now, and over the course of the next 90 days is the time to buckle down and hit some of my milestones.

Please feel free to mimic the content above. This strategy has helped me immensely, and I hope you can use what I have written as a model to create your own plan.

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Thinking About Goals Isn’t Enough

In ten days I will turn 20 years old. And, as with every birthday, I will reflect on the year past.

On my birthday I set aside time to think of goals that I would like to carry out over the next 365 days. In the past, these objectives have ranged from personal to professional, entrepreneurial to academic.

This year, unlike the 19 preceding ones, I intend to write down my goals. As I have recently learned from a mentor, writing down your goals is a difficult but necessary step towards achieving them. Thinking about something you want to do is easy and pleasurable. Writing it down, although more difficult, makes that thought more concrete and feasible.

How to write goals

Fortunately for you and I, many smart men and women have figured out a fairly straightforward formula for goal setting. I’ll be sharing the techniques that I have recently been taught, but keep in mind there are plenty of other good resources for goal setting (I’ve listed some at the end of this post). The most important thing is that you go a step beyond thinking about your goals and take the time to write them down.

Here is the 5 step process I have adopted and use for my personal goal setting.

  1. Visualize your life 3 years from now, 1 year from now, 90 days from now. Write a short paragraph about where you are, what you are doing, what a typical day in your life is like. Describe what you see and feel.
  2. Take your 3 year visualization, 1 year visualization, and 90 day visualization to build goals. Write an affirmative, present tense, quantifiable, and specific sentence (or two) that correlates with the short paragraph you have already written. Start with your 3 year goals, then 1 year and 90 days. A 3 year goal should build on a 1 year goal which should then relate to a 90 day goal. Write down 3-6 objectives for each time frame.
  3. Write down why you want to achieve the goals you have outlined above. Do this for every 90 day goal, 1 year goal, and 3 year goal. What benefit will be achieved?
  4. In a few brief sentences describe what achievement will look like. How will you know you have hit your goal? Again, do this for every time period.
  5. Create a list of steps required to meet your goal. What is the deadline for each step? Do this for every 90 day goal, 1 year goal and 3 year goal.

You will now have an outline for how you can achieve your goals.

Writing down these goals, and the steps that you plan to take to meet them is surprisingly challenging. Yet, it is by writing your goals down that the next step, actually implementing them into your life is made easier.

By planing and attaching deadlines to specific actions you will find yourself more dedicated and focused while being less stressed and worried. Going beyond thinking about goals is not easy, yet the long-term reward is well worth the struggle.

Goal setting resources

Groove blog

UC Berkeley – goal setting

NPR – writing down goals

Michael Hyatt – goal setting

Ted Talks – goal setting

SMART goals