The fourth quarter of 2010 has come to an end as has the year, so it’s time for a final evaluation and wrap up of the year since the first and second, and third quarter check-ups.  Here’s how things went, followed by some thoughts on what I learned about setting goals, and some thoughts for 2011.

1. Weigh 180 lbs by December 31, 2010. Finished the year at 181 lbs. I’m still not in the physical shape I’d like to be in, but my diet definitely improved during the year–mostly as a result of newly discovered food sensitivities in my family, including some I discovered for myself.  The new limiting diet made it fairly easy to hit this goal and naturally encouraged me towards better eating choices.  Now if there were only an easy way to stop eating sugar–that craving seems to have gone up.

2. Play 365 games of chess. The year ended with 254 games completed–probably 240 games more than I usually play so this was a good accomplishment and yet it was 100 games or so shy of the goal.  A lot of out-of-town travel in the last quarter of the year–five weeks total–disrupted my regular routines as did new responsibilities at Red Hat.  The farther behind I fell, the more I lost interest.

3. Provide weekly reminders to each Fedora team so that Fedora 14 ships on time. The weekly schedule reminders rolled out like clock-work and we nailed the final release date of Fedora 14.  This set up Fedora 15 for a full six month development and release window–a first in a long time.

4. Help create 25 new Release Engineering SOPs. As I mentioned last quarter, it is hard to complete a goal where so much depends on other people.  I helped and prodded where I could, but most of this quarter was spent hiring a replacement for my position and then transition my Fedora responsibilities.  In the midst of that, two large and very interesting projects at Red Hat landed in my lap.  More on them when they leave the doors of Red Hat.

5. Post 52 times to this blog in 2010 with at least one post each week. It was close on  a few occasions, but every week of 2010 had at least one post and many had more with that.  Total posts for the year was 91!  This was the most satisfying goal to keep pursuing as I watched consistent posting build a stronger reader base.  Total page reads for the year was 21,500 pages, an increase of 7,000 over last year.  I capped the end of the year by making the leap to self-hosting at my own domain–don’t forget to update your bookmarks.  That was a definite learning experience and more work than I anticipated.

The best lesson I learned about goals this year, partly through this experience and other reading is being clear on the “why” behind a goal–the reason you want to achieve it or how it will make you feel when you do.  It’s easy to make a list of things you’d like to do or see happen, but the goals that did really well were the ones with a compelling “why.”  The chess goal didn’t have the same compelling personal reasons as the blogging goal, nor did it have the natural feedback loop the blogs stats provided.

It remains to be seen what my goals for 2011 will be or how many of them I’ll publish here.  Derek Sivers, via Donald Miller, suggests people are more successful when the do not share their goals.  I’m not convinced, though the study he sited seemed to validate his position.  For 2011, I’m taking my time thinking about what I want to focus on and the areas I want to go deeper in.  I’m looking forward to generating them though a process I learned about in an interesting book called Your Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzler.  It is a good book and I recommend picking it up.

Image by JF Sebastian via flickr used under a Creative Commons license.