January 1st is the beginning of a new year thanks to Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII. This date is somewhat arbitrary, and many religions and cultures celebrate their own beginning of a new year at different times. Even though these celebrations don’t fall at the same time, I think the sentiment is similar.
The end of one year and the beginning of the next is significant to us because it is a chance to take stock of the previous year’s accomplishments and come up with new resolutions. These resolutions might involve health, fitness, relationships, work skills, or even bucket list items like writing a book. These are often broad statements such as “This year, I will get in shape” or “This year, I will earn that promotion.” Many of us are disappointed as we fail to meet these resolutions but are sure that things will change the following year.
One example is vowing to become more physically fit by buying a gym membership. I typically visit the gym twice a week and usually don’t have to wait for the equipment I want to use. I know that, starting the first week of January, things will change. For about three weeks, I’ll have trouble finding a parking space and may have to wait around to get my turn on the equipment. Gradually, things will get back to normal, and I can return to my routine.
As February approaches, people find excuses to skip their workout, cheat on their diet plan, or watch a movie instead of working on that online class. Some people say that “life gets in the way,” but often it is just waning enthusiasm.
Instead of making broad resolutions that you won’t keep, consider making specific, smaller goals. Here are some career-related ideas you may consider:
- Start a blog and publish a post every month
- Present a session at your local user group or SQL Saturday
- Learn git, PowerShell, or running SQL Server in a container
- Spend 30 minutes every day reading articles from SQL Server Central or Simple Talk
- Better yet, begin writing articles for these publications
- Try out the new features of SQL Server 2017 and 2019 that improve performance without code changes (Intelligent Query Processing)
To help you stay accountable, add your goal related activities to your calendar and tell your team members or manager. Take stock each day or week to see if you are doing things that get you closer to your goals. (There are countless articles and books on this topic if you want more ideas.)
I must admit that I have let some of my goals slide (I’m still not taking voice lessons), but, overall, this approach has helped me accomplish quite a bit over the past 20 years, often surpassing the original goal more than I could ever have imagined.