Happy New Year you lovely lot!
I can’t think of a better way to kick off the year than with my goals for 2020.
The first few days of January are some of my favourite. Whilst many others are wishing they didn’t have to head back to work and how they are going to make it through this long month until pay day, I am excited. I am ready to head back to work and start my second year in science communication. BUT I also have this feeling that 2020 is going to be a big year for me – not very scientific I know. But I think I’m going to have to make some rather important decisions and build on 2019. And that means setting new goals for the year – another thing that I love to do, because sometime it means I get to buy new stationery for planning – yes I’m a stationery nerd!
With this feeling that 2020 is going to be a big year, I have to make sure that a set myself some goals that I can achieve. I have written before about this and how to make your goals SMART aka specific, measurable, attainable, timely and relevant. In other words, not too out of this world!
But this year I want to build on that advice with 10 steps to setting those goals so your 2020 can be as awesome as you dream that it will be. Ready?
STEP 1 – VISUALISE
Use your imagination and dream big – what do you want the next year to look like? What do you want to have achieved by December in your ideal world? Don’t limit yourself at this stage, but don’t go too crazy and say you want to have found the cure for cancer for example. Do this visualising right now. If you’re stuck for ideas, think about career, money, family, hobbies, skills and so on!
STEP 2 – BRAIN DUMP
Once you’ve opened your eyes from your visualisation, grab yourself a piece of paper or your laptop and brain sump. Write down all those ideas, no matter how big or small! Anything and everything that comes to you! Don’t hold back at this stage!
STEP 3 – LINK TOGETHER
Take a look at what you have scribbled down and you probably can spot a few goals that will fit nicely together. If you are a scicommer like me, maybe you have written “learn to make videos”, “start a YouTube channel” and “share videos on IGTV”. Link these all together to create a video goal, for example.
STEP 4 – PRIORITISE
Now it is time to whittle down. Ask yourself the question “if you could only do one of these things this year, what would it be?” Figure out which ones are the most important to you and start writing them down in order of priority in a new list. Keep going until you have 10 things and then stop because too many goals is not a good thing!
STEP 5 – PLAN
Now you have your list, which one are you going to tackle first? Some are obviously going to take longer than others and some may not be possible until September after you have achieved a different goal, but try and map out roughly when you are going to start working on these goals.
STEP 6 – EVALUATE THE PLAN
Take a look back over your plan. Is it realistic? Does the order make sense? If you had ticked off all these things by the end of the year, how would you feel? Or is there something that you really wish you had done? Make sure you have given yourselves enough time for each goal and make sure that you haven’t got too many on the go at any one time.
STEP 7 – JUMPSTART
A fab trick I learnt is to plan a few quick wins for earlier in the year. Being able to tick a few off as early as possible will help with motivation for the rest of you goals for the rest of the year.
STEP 8 – FINALISE
All of this considered, take a bit more time to edit and refine your goals and you are ready to embark on your best year yet!
STEP 9 – ACTION
Time to take action! It’s a bit pointless having a list of goals if you are not going to do anything about it. So you can either plan how to achieve all your goals now, or plan January’s now, and then time later on to plan the next few and so on. Whichever way works for you, make an action plan for your goals. make sure you know what you need to do to achieve each one.
STEP 10 – EVALUATE
In all likelihood, things will change over the course of the year. Priorities change. So it is really important not to just leave your goals in January and dig them out again in December to see how you did. I have my goals on a board in my “office” so I have a constant reminder of how far I’ve come and what I need to be working on next for myself. make sure you keep track of progress throughout the year, and don’t be afraid to pivot as you need.
I hope this little exercise has been useful for you, and if you haven’t already, I really would encourage you to give it a go and set yourself some goals for the year – even if it is only 1 or 2. If you have already set your goals for the year, I would love to hear what you have planned. Share them in the comments as you might inspire someone else reading this too!
So – what about my goals?
If you have read my 2018 and 2019 goal posts before, you may have noticed that there are a few I have repeated, and some that I haven’t achieved. And from my reflection post, there were a few things that I also want to achieve this year, and there have been a lot of things I’ve thought of over the past 12 months that I have been putting off. So, I am going to ignore my advice of not setting too many goals just for this year because of this weird feeling that I have about 2020 being a big and important year for me. So, I have set myself 20 goals for 2020!
I like to set myself goals in three broad categories; career, scicomm & personal – even though the boundary between career and scicomm is a bit blurred for me. But I still went through those 10 steps and I have still made them SMART – but no goal board *yet* as it is still packed away in boxes as we await our house move, and I’m not sure its big enough for 20! But here are my goals for 2020!
♥ Publish my other two stem cell research papers
After publishing my first paper in 2019, I just wanted a break from my PhD research especially with wedding planning too. But I am still keen on getting my data out there, so I want to finish writing those papers and get them out there and published!
♥ Get PhD thesis hard-bound
One of my jumpstart goals – but I passed my viva, resubmit my corrections and finally graduated from my PhD last year, but I don’t have a final hardbound copy of my thesis – so I want to get that done!
♥ Find myself a mentor
I’ve heard a lot of talk about mentors over the past few years and I have got to the stage where I really think I need one, especially as I am navigating this scicomm world that I still don’t really understand. It will be good to have someone that I an discuss all these career thoughts with that isn’t my boss and get another perspective
♥ Secure some funding for a scicomm/scicomm research project
I really miss the research bug even though I love my job right now. So, I am really keen to explore some scicomm research to get some data and prove to scientists why it is worth communicating their research. But to do that I need funding, so I want to secure some.
♥ Define my 5 year career plan
My first year in scicomm has been great and I have learnt so much. But because I haven’t really seen anyone progress in a career like mine, I’m unsure of what my next steps should be even though I know people have done it and my options are endless. So, I want to define that 5 year plan after some discussions and workshops and so on. Or at least what I want it to be at this stage.
♥ Grow a Soph talks science mailing list and start a bimonthly newsletter
I have seen many other scicommers do this. And I think it will be hugely important if I ever can or want to take Soph talks science full time. So, let’s see if I can grow a mailing list to 50 by the end of the year and have published 3 newsletters as I will need a bit of time to prepare freebies and design it.
♥ Make 10 meaningful connections in the industry by networking
Networking is something I am not very good at, especially in person. But it is something I am working on, so I thought setting myself this goal in 2020 might push me out of my comfort zone and force me to make those connections that will help my career also.
♥ Develop the “professional” pages of the Soph talks science site
I have been lucky enough to work with a few different science companies, but I have no portfolio of work anywhere. No-one knows what I can offer from visiting my blog. But I need to work out whether I want a professional website with a blog as part of that, or whether I can add those pages about what I have done before and what I can offer if you want to work with me to this site. So, I want to have made that decision and have those pages live on whichever site I think is best.
♥ Secure another 10 features, partnerships and collaborations
Building on previous years, I want to continue building that portfolio of speaking events, hosting events, consulting, writing, video making and so on. I was surprised I managed to secure 10 last year, so as I have more goals this year I think I will stick to 10 again.
♥ Develop my children’s science storybook idea
I have always loved the idea of being an author, especially of a science book. So, during a storytelling workshop last year I started writing a piece that I thought I could turn into a book and self-publish it. I started making work on it last year, but then things got in the way. I reached out to someone to illustrate it and also had some tips from another scicomm friend who has published before. So, hopefully by the end of the year, I can have a full draft ready with illustrations. That’s the aim anyway.
♥ Organise a UK scicommer network
This was something that I wanted to do last year in the form of a meet up, but this year I want to change it slightly. I want to set up a network for UK scicommers where it can be a hub for ideas and collaboration and more. Taking inspiration from some other online networks, but with the aim of creating local hubs and also national events inspired by ComSciCon and Scicomm Camp in the US and Canada so we can build the UK scicomm scene. But for this year, let’s just set up the network and try and build it to 100 people.
♥ Increase my yearly blog pageviews by 50%
Each year so far I have increased my yearly page views by at least 50% so that is the target I want to set myself for another year. And hopefully that will bring with it more likes, comments and shares.
♥ Grow my Twitter to 10k and my Instagram to 20k by posting engaging content consistently
2019 was a bit stagnant for my Instagram even though my Twitter continued to grow. I would take a guess that was because my content was not consistent, and probably because I was in a shift from the lab so hopefully new ideas will help in 2020.
♥ Develop my content strategy
I spent a lot of time faffing about trying to work out what to write about and what to post on social media. So, I want to define what features I want to do routinely on all platforms, plan those well in advance, and then work out how to repurpose that content for other platforms to be more efficient with my time. So, by the end of the year, I want a strategy in plan and to have been using it for at least 6 months to plan.
PERSONAL & WELLBEING GOALS
♥ Find a sporting hobby I enjoy and stick to it!
A common one that crops up in my goals, but I really need to focus on this for 2020. So, once our house move is done, I want to find a new sporting hobby, or rekindle an old one so I can meet some new friends and get fitter and healthier again.
♥ Read more books
Another that I tried last year and didn’t fully complete, so I want to give it another crack this year. I am setting myself the target of reading more so want to read one book a month.
♥ Explore 7 new places
Exploring new places is always on my list, but I usually only put 5. As I already have 4 planned for 2020, I thought I would push that a little further again, and aim for 7 new places by the end of the year.
♥ Put savings away every month
We have many friends who are engaged now and so I want to put money away every month so that we dont miss out, but also so I can stretch my holiday wings now that I have an actual salary and not a PhD stipend. And of course for a rainy day. Let’s say save at least £200 every month.
♥ Get back into cooking more
I used to enjoy cooking, but it hasn’t been that way for a fair few years even though I love food. So, 2020 is the year I start to get back into it. I have plans to do more cooking science communication on my Instagram, but I also want to give myself the task of trying 2 new recipes every month – all in the hope that I refind my love for cooking and I get better at it.
♥ Go on a course and learn something new
I will always be a lifelong learner, so I want to learn something new this year. Right now I have too many ideas – maybe its coding, or languages, or cooking, or photography. But I want to identify one, go on it and learn that new skill!
♥ Be more active at work
Last year I went from constantly being on my feet in the lab, to sitting on a train, sitting at work, sitting on a train again and then heading straight to bed and I can really feel the effects now. So, I want to be more active at work by getting a standing desk, making sure I don’t eat my lunch at my desk 3 days a week and using my lunch breaks to go for a walk when I can, as well as using my FitBit to get up every hour even if its just to get 250 steps.
♥ Have at least one date night per month
With all these other goals I have set myself, let alone other goals I will have at work and for my blog, it looks like its going to be a busy year, so making sure I spend time with my husband will be really important.
2020 is going to be a big year for me, but I am excited! Make sure to set yourself your own goals too using those 10 steps I shared earlier. But let’s see what 2020 holds together.
♥ You’ve got this! Here’s to an amazing and goal-smashing 2020 ♥
Now it’s over to you! What are your goals for 2019? What do you want to achieve? Have you thought about how you are going to achieve it? Share in the comments below and we can help each other out this year, and you might inspire someone else reading this post too.
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