My SMART objectives for 2017

Last year I wrote about why new year’s resolutions suck and why I’ll be setting myself some SMART objectives for 2016 instead. SMART objectives have the following five attributes:

  • S pecifc
  • M easurable
  • A ttainable
  • R ealistic
  • T ime-related

I’ve used SMART objectives in business because they are good for motivation and accountability. Most new year’s resolutions are broken because they fail to possess some of these attributes. Let’s start by reviewing my 2016 SMART objectives, assessing my successes/failures and considering any lasting changes in my behaviour.

Reviewing my 2016 SMART objectives

Health and fitness

Reach my healthy weight range before the beginning of April and maintain it until the end of the year: FAILED

Here’s the data. I’ve defined my healthy weight range as between 18 and 25 BMI. I managed to get below 25 and maintain it for most of the year, but once I started DLM Consultants (part time from July, full time from September) my priorities shifted and my weight started to creep back up again.


However, I still weigh myself most days (the only significant gaps in the data are when I’ve been travelling either for work or pleasure). This awareness of my daily weight loss/gain has helped me to understand the effects of the exercise I do and the food I eat on my weight. I’m now pretty good at predicting my weight loss/gain each morning based on yesterday’s food/exercise and I do think much more carefully about choices I make as a result.

For example, I eat smaller portions now – especially if I haven’t done much exercise. I still binge from time to time, but less frequently and I do it with a better understanding of the consequences. I’ll often take actions to mitigate the effects, for example I’ll go for a long run the following morning and/or make an effort to eat much more healthily for a few days before/after.

When I started DLM Consultants I had less time so I started to exercise less and eat more for convenience than health. This is clearly visible in the data. However, I still weighed myself and since the beginning of November I have managed to stabilize my weight gain at around BMI 25.3. Had I not set this SMART objective I’m sure I would be over BMI 26 by now. In this sense, while I failed to achieve my objective, I still believe the SMART objective was a good one with positive effects.

Run from London to Cardiff in under 24 hours in June: FAILED, it took us 27.5 hours

Another failed SMART objective – but I don’t care. The event was brilliant, and given we were two and a half runners short of a full team and it was the first time we entered the event I believe that the fact that we managed to put in a time that was faster than one third of the other teams is something to be proud of. I’m hoping to run it again in 2017, let me know if you would like to join us.


Run a half marathon in under two hours by the end of the year: COMPLETED

I’m pretty proud of this one. 🙂


Track 100 runs in 2016: FAILED

I tracked 74 activities (after deciding that sometimes I’d prefer to go cycling, swimming or hiking instead of running and deciding that this should count too) so some way off my objective of 100. I did not track the number of times I played football, but it feels like cheating to include my Monday 5-a-side matches in retrospect.

It’s worth noting that once again, I had been tracking well ahead of target until I started DLM Consultants, at which point my priorities changed somewhat.

This was a useful metric that did drive the correct behaviours in me for most of the year. In the end I failed simply by lack of effort. I hope to try something similar in 2017.

Professional life

Get involved in a software project as a developer before the end of the year: FAILED

I’m not sure if strictly completed this objective since I don’t think my consulting work qualifies. I had planned to take part in a Redgate down tools week but I missed the first one because I was away and then I quit. I’ve since had other priorities.

Work out what my next career progression looks like and take a concrete step towards it before the end of the year: SUCCESS

If you have been following this blog at all you’ll probably know that I made a pretty bold career move this year.

Pass my current OU modules with a 90% score in any module that counts towards my final grade. Start my last second year equivalent modules: FAILED

I completed my OU modules with scores of 76% and 90%. I decided not to start any new modules in the 2016/17 academic year because I needed to focus my energy on DLM Consultants.

The 76% grade was lower than I’d hoped for, but it was largely due to an exam that I had to revise for at the same time as I was setting up DLM Consultants (in mid-September) and I made a conscious decision to only spend enough time on it to guarantee a pass and to focus the rest of my energy on setting up the business. (I scored 88% in the coursework and 76% in the exam. My final score was based on the lower of my coursework and exam grades.)

Private life

Take an amazing sabbatical in April/May. And don’t read anything about continuous delivery or databases for a full 6 week period: SUCCESS

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Organise my usual spring punting trip as well as a big 30th birthday party with as many of my friends as possible: SUCCESS

Well, my wife organised my birthday. It was a murder mystery party. Unfortunately I got murdered by a close friend before I could unmask Mr X.

Do something special with my wife at least once a week: REDACTED

It turns out some things should not be measured with quantative metrics. We’re very happy – I’ll leave it at that.

My 2017 SMART objectives

On balance, while I have not necessarily succeeded with all my 2016 SMART objectives, and some seemed less relevant as the year went on, in general these metrics did drive the sorts of behaviours and results that I wanted in 2016. I started 2016 overweight, a bit unsatisfied with my work and without a clear career direction. I’ve finished it slightly less overweight with exciting prospects and some fantastic memories.

So here are my SMART objectives for 2017:

Health and fitness

  • Log 100 activities in 2017.
  • Take part in an organised sporting event.
  • Reach my healthy weight range by the end of January and maintain it for the rest of the year.


  • Work on-site with at least eight separate organisations to deliver database updates more regularly and reliably in year 1 (Sept 2016-Sept 2017).
  • GROSS equivalent revenue to my final Redgate salary in year 1. (Stretch target: NET equivalent revenue to my final Redgate salary in year 1.)
  • Establish a validated plan to achieve a reliable and regular income in year 2 and 3 by the end of 2017 and take measurable steps toward it.
  • Secure enough sponsorship to support SQL Relay in 2017.

Personal life

  • Take a foreign holiday with my wife in 2017.
  • Organise my annual summer punting trip.

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