New year, new goals!

Christian Clausen
7 min readJan 3, 2022

Earth has once again passed an arbitrary point in its orbit, which means it is time for self-reflection. This post is a personal retrospective, asking:

  • What did I set out to achieve in 2021?
  • What did I accomplish?
  • How will a successful 2022 look?

Looking back: 2021

One year ago, I selected three themes that should dominate 2021. Each theme then had specific goals to help measure whether I was working with the theme.

I used Yesterday’s Weather to determine the number and sizes of goals. A principle from Extreme Programming that states: Today’s weather will likely be similar to yesterday’s. So we can use the recent past to predict the near future.

Example. One year I set out to achieve 100 big goals each, taking 6+ months, 100 medium goals taking one month each, and 100 small goals taking one day each. After a year, I observed that I achieved one large, one medium, and six small goals. Now, Yesterday’s Weather suggests that I can probably also do one large, one medium, and six small goals in the coming year.

Here are the themes and goals I selected for 2021:

Practice building high-quality software

Make money on software (L) ✔️

After completing my book, I joined forces with a brilliant colleague, and we started a company. Since then, we have been quietly building away, and we are currently very close to launching our flagship product. You can follow that on our website, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

Improve my musical skills

Learn a new instrument (M) 🆗

I have practiced on my kalimba. I had hope I would be good enough to record it, however it is not to the level I would like yet. Now that I have the basics though, it is easier to pick it up and fiddle with, slowly improving over a long time.

Read more

Reading was the theme that scored the six small goals, each in the form of a specific subject or even a particular book. Mainly my guesses were pretty accurate, although I dropped one of the subjects and swapped in another.

Listen to the audiobook Japanese (mythology) (S) ✔️

I found this quite different from other mythologies I have read about. Therefore, it is exciting and requires more mulling, perhaps even a re-read. I am happy I read it; however, my favorite mythology is still Egyptian due to its nuanced gods.

Read a book about chess (S) ✖️

Chess is one of my tidal interests; it comes and goes, with a cycle of a couple of years. When my interest in chess ebbed again, I discontinued reading the book. I am sure chess will resurface in a few years.

Instead of chess, I chose to read about management with the books:

  • “Five temptations of a CEO” ✔️— I felt like this was just a shallow retelling of the more excellent book “Five dysfunctions of a team.
  • A seat at the table ✔️— I enjoyed it. Especially the first half. The contractor-control paradigm was beneficial to me as a consultant!

Listen to the audiobook “I’m afraid Debbie from marketing has left for the day.” (business) (S) ✔️

I read this book to completion. However, it was not my cup of tea. The concepts in it are exciting and powerful, so if any of my readers are interested in this type of behavioral psychology, I recommend you read instead “Thinking fast and slow.

Listen to the audiobook “Diagnosis” (medicine) (S) ✔️

This book was a great read if you are interested in diagnostic medicine. It presents extraordinary cases humanely and concisely. I am going to read more from Lisa Sanders.

Listen to the audiobook “Lord of the flies” (classical fiction) (S) ✔️

Another good read, despite its brutal and dystopian view of humanity.

Listen to the audiobook “Ready player two” (modern fiction) (S) ✔️

Good. Not as good as the first one. And I somehow found myself missing “Ender’s game.


I also ended up doing some things which were not on the plan.

I have had a “summer project”; some spontaneous ideas to learn during July. 2021 was no different, as I suddenly got the idea to learn how to make cocktails (M) ✔️. I bought some equipment, some exotic liquors, invited some friends over, and started mixing. This experiment has given me a neat little recipe book of great cocktails. My favorite is Bramble.

Another project I picked up unexpectedly was learning to solve a Rubik’s cube (S) ✔️. At first, the goal was to solve it, but after I discovered the YouTuber J Perm, progress was so quick that I am now aiming for 45 seconds, or maybe even 30.

I also started parachuting (S) ✔️ to overcome my fear of heights. Weirdly it has not had any effect on my fear of heights, but I am beginning to feel comfortable in the sky.

Looking forward: 2022

This year I am going to try something a bit different. Instead of three independent themes, I have selected one theme with three scopes. The overarching theme is ‘joy’ with the scopes:

  • Strangers — I want to bring joy by inspiring and persuading people to build better software, use better tools, and learn more techniques.
  • Close relations — I want to bring joy by designing an experience for someone in my life.
  • Myself — I want to increase joy by trying to become a better human and adult.

This theme plays well into one of my core values: “Make humans happy.” It also allows for new goals similar to goals I have completed in the past, again using the past as a guide for the future.

In 2021 I completed one large, two medium, and nine small goals. However, I continue two small goals: Rubik’s cube and parachuting. I am also a prominent advocate for reserving at least 20% for unplanned activities. Therefore, I will leave a medium and two small goals unplanned to be spontaneous. Here are the goals I have chosen:

Bring joy to strangers

  • Writing, speaking, selling (L)
    Since I completed my book, I have taken a break from writing, so now I think it is time to get back into it a bit, maybe by writing blog posts, perhaps something else.
    Now that corona is becoming endemic, I also want to resume my interest in public speaking. I cannot predict which, if any, conferences I will speak at, but I will submit a bunch of calls-for-paper.
    Finally, with our forthcoming public launch, I need to learn how to sell a product.

Bring joy to close relations

  • Make a wooden toy (M)
    As my siblings and friends are growing the human race, I have decided to revive an ancient project. I will try to make a marble run toy similar to the one of Matthias Wandel.

Bring joy to me

  • Be more generous (S)
    I have been very fortunate with my career and general circumstances. Therefore I intend to increase my regular donations to charities in the categories: reduce sickness, protect kids, increase education.
  • Get fit (S)
    Like many others, I put on some ‘rona-weight, which I am still trying to shed. I plan to dedicate a few hours every week to cardio, like playing squash. In addition, I may adjust my calory intake.
  • Get organized (S)
    I live alone and stay very busy. Therefore my home can be pretty messy sometimes. Having an untidy environment can be both embarrassing and stressful. I want to find a sustainable solution to this.
  • Become stylish (S)
    When I studied theater, we had a rule of never bringing anything to the stage without using it. Therefore I try to match my outfit to the task I have to solve that day. When I was a business consultant, my wardrobe consisted of suits. I transitioned it to shirts with funny Easter eggs when I was a teacher. Now I am a coach, which means my tasks are varied, and I talk with people from every organization layer. Therefore I think it is time to get a youthful elegant wardrobe.
  • Gain perspective (S)
    I have long wanted to get into meditation. Last year I mentioned this to a performance coach, and he suggested that I read something by Ken Wilber, a philosopher and spiritualist. My knowledge and background are pretty specialized, so I think studying spirituality could give me some interesting food for thought.

And that is how I expect my 2022 will look. I hope this has given you some inspiration and motivation for how you can make your 2022 awesome! Happy new year!

Christian Clausen

I live by my mentor’s words: “The key to being consistently brilliant is: hard work, every day.”