A list of goals

2022 in Review: Personal Goals

Every year, our family writes down goals for the next year and stashes them into a time capsule (aka a cardboard tube) to be opened the end of the next year.

These were my 2022 goals (and new 2023 goals at the end):

Visit the Rockies together.

In 2013, I visited the Rockies for the first time and fell immediately in love. I attended a CSS conference at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. I can’t remember a thing about the conference, but I can remember the way being small made me feel. Hiking up to Chasm Lake at the base of Long’s Peak’s eastern face. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to take my family out to the Rockies so they could experience it for themselves.

Chasm Lake at the base of Long’s Peak (near Estes Park, CO)

We weren’t able to make it to the Rockies this year, for a few reasons that I alluded to this in a previous post. In short, when I was working a full-time job, I didn’t have the time; and when I left my job, I didn’t have the money. I’ve set some specific financial goals to make this happen in 2023.

Start making videos teaching people.

I actually made some progress toward this goal. I started doing this as a shared challenge between me and friend, but I didn’t have much of a plan. I wanted to get into the habit of creating video content, to flex those content-creation muscles and get comfortable with coming up with ideas, speaking to a camera, and editing quickly. I created quite a few educational short 1-3 minute videos and posted them to my TikTok channel. I’m going to continue this as part of the content creation I’ve got planned for my consulting business. Follow along if you’re interested in design, technology, and human behavior!

The QWERTY Phenomenon: When design decisions stick around long after the reason they were made.

Exercise more.

Some success, some failure. See that big spike? That’s when I hiked part of the Appalachian Trail with my friend Arjen. After that hike, I kept up a pretty healthy walking regimen throughout the summer, walking several miles each day with my son. When the weather got cold, I really fell off. I don’t have any better ideas going forward, so I’m just going to keep plugging along.

The bump in May was my big 80 mile hike.

Feel better about work. Either get a new job or figure out how to make the current one better.

This was the hardest goal to write, let alone contemplate doing something about. I had just gone through a very challenging transition at work and was facing even more unknowns headed into 2022. I was overwhelmed by stress, and I knew the status quo wasn’t sustainable. A friend helped reframe my thinking, and the following months were some of the most personally and professionally satisfying of my career.

In August, a big organizational restructure put me in a position that I wasn’t comfortable with, and I left. I wrote at length about why at the time, so I won’t belabor the point here. But since then, I’ve been researching, writing, and consulting about design systems.

Of all my goals, this feels like the one I accomplished most thoroughly. I figured out how to make the job I was in better (and helped better myself and others in the process), but I also started a new job (consulting) that I feel much better about! Win-win! Much more to come on that front in 2023.

2023 Goals

After reviewing last year’s goals, I wrote out new goals for 2023.

Take my family to the Rockies.

I mean come on. Look at this.

I’m determined to make this a reality in 2023.

Write publicly (ideally, email newsletter) every weekday in 2023.

I’m just about ready to launch a newsletter where I plan to write every weekday about design systems, team building, and how better to connect design, product, and engineering disciplines. I’ll be announcing that next week. For now, I’m keeping my daily postings here on my blog or on LinkedIn.

Grow my design system consultancy to be 75% of my target income by the end of the year.

Leaving a good-paying job to start a consulting gig is a big risk, especially with tech layoffs and recession in the news. But I believe in the value of the help I can bring and want more control over when and how I work. December was my first month of being profitable. I’d like to keep that trend going into the new year.

I need to be honest. It feels a bit intimidating to share these goals publicly, especially the last two. Saying this out loud puts me firmly “on the hook.”

But I’ve got 20 years of experience in this industry: 13 years as a solo practitioner, and 7 years in various leadership roles. I’ve been a designer and a developer. I’ve built back-end and front-end systems, and I’ve managed teams who do the same. I’ve spent the last several months eating, sleeping, and breathing design systems.

I’m ready for the hook. Bring it on, 2023.