Credits: Unsplash

What happened in 2018 and resolutions for 2019

New year, a new beginning.

We’re at that time of the year when we look back at the last year and we evaluate our achievements and failures. Besides, most of us set new goals every January.

If you’ve been reading my blog during 2018 you’ll know that I set up goals for each quarter of the year, instead of yearly. But before that, let’s go and evaluate what’ve happened during 2018.

What I’m proud of:

  • We organised 15 meetups at LTUX Amsterdam. One of them I organised it almost by myself! Since I don’t have much experience organising events it’s a great achievement for myself.

Regarding the team, 2018 was a great year. We organised more than one meetup per month and we didn’t have any break! We grew the community to more than 2500 members and more than 400 members in Slack. It’s awesome. Besides, our members are more engaged with our community and we’re organising bigger events.

  • New job: I switched jobs two times during 2018 which might seem a lot but I did it because my previous company shut down. Now, I have a new job where I’m very happy at it because I’m working with more senior designers and I’m in a very challenging team. I have the feeling that I’m surrounded by people who push me harder to become a better designer. Exactly what I need at this stage of my career. In case you’re wondering where I work, I work at Coolblue, large e-commerce in The Netherlands.
  • I travelled to 3 countries and 7 cities: One of my goals was to travel more often. And last year was the first time that actually I travelled quite a lot. Most importantly, I had a great time in all those places and I enjoyed it a lot.
  • Start writing: Last year is when I started writing. I published 15 articles on Medium, which now that I counted them it’s a lot! More than 1 article per month!

I’m very proud of myself because I had this goal for quite long and also because for me writing is not easy. English is not my mother tongue and I’m not a writer either. So it takes me quite a lot of time until I’m satisfied with an article. Besides, by reading my first posts and comparing them to my latest ones, I can definitely see an improvement.

Lastly, I’m also seeing the benefits of it. Protopr asked me to publish my posts under their account and also a magazine asked me to write an article for them!

  • SMART goals: Last year was also the first year where I set up goals per quarter and I kept track of them. I’m glad that I did because I met more goals than ever before and also I’m realising that I’m improving a lot at setting goals. Now, my goals are much more realistic and achievable than before.
  • Start at public speaking: Last year I started speaking in public. All of them were small occasions. Like for example, presenting the LTUX meetup (around 10 minutes), presenting some project in front of key stakeholders, etc. But all of them are small steps towards a bigger achievement. Besides, I’m already seeing an improvement in my public speaking skills.

What I’m not so proud of:

  • Time management: I had a hard time managing my time last year. I’m that kind of person who likes to do a lot on a daily basis and hates wasting time. But as a result, I took on too much work and I barely had time for leisure. Even though it’s my own fault because I chose to spend my time that way, it’s something that definitely needs to change.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Last year I didn’t eat healthy enough and I didn’t go to the gym as often as I would like to. This has consequences and last summer I found out that I have the bad cholesterol a bit high. On top of that, I have high blood pressure since years ago. It’s not anything dramatic, but it’s clear that I need to do something about it.

Resolutions for 2019:

This year, professionally, I want to focus more on improving my soft skills. During the past years, I’ve been focusing a lot on improving my design skills. So it’s time to shift the focus a little bit.

Regarding my personal life, I want to focus on having a better work-life balance and having a healthier lifestyle.

Taking this into account, these are my resolutions for 2019:

Improve at public speaking: Having the ability to present my ideas to others is a must-to-have as a UX designer. Especially in big companies like Coolblue. And, even though I improved a lot during the last year, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Key results:

  • Present at a UX meeting: At my company, we have bi-weekly meetings with around 8–10 people. Both UXers and Front-enders. My goal is to present here a couple of times, to improve at presentation skills and defending my ideas.
  • Presenting at a demo: At my company, we also have bi-weekly demos where we explain what we did during the last sprint and what we’re going to do. This demo is in front of 20–30 people and most of them are stakeholders or business people from other teams. And of course, the CEO is usually there as well. This is quite a big step for me.
  • Give a talk at a meetup: If it’s possible, I would like to give a short talk at a UX meetup.

Writing: I tested the writing habit in 2018 and I realised that I like it. Plus, it’s very beneficial as a UX designer to know how to communicate my ideas through writing. My plan is to improve this skill and publish regularly.

Key results:

  • I would like to publish 2 blog posts per month.
  • Set up a strategy for my blog.

Portfolio: Having an updated portfolio should be one of my priorities. I want to have an online presence which shows the type of designer that I am and what I can add to a team.

Key results:

  • Develop a side project to add to my portfolio.

Learn about business and strategy: Business and strategy are two things that I would like to learn during 2019. Both skills are very important as a UX designer, and now that I have more responsibility it’s even more necessary.

Key results:

  • To achieve this I’ll try to be work more with data in my company. Understand why business analysts set some K.P.I, analyze the trends, etc.
  • Read a book per topic.

Learn how to say no and defend my ideas: With difficult stakeholders, defending my ideas and decisions it’s a big challenge. But it’s also a great opportunity to learn and practice this skill.

Key results:

  • Read the book: Articulating design decisions
  • Put this into practice at work.

Feedback: I don’t request enough feedback to my colleagues and it’s something that I should do more. Without feedback, I won’t be able to grow as a professional.

Key results:

  • Request feedback: At least request feedback to one of my colleagues at the end of each project.

Reading: Last year I was a disaster at reading. I remember those years when I read around 30 books per year. But last year I read only 7. It’s a total shame, not only because I enjoy reading, but also because I learn new things and I improve as a professional

Key results:

  • I want to read a total of 20 books.
  • At least 5 of them has to be related to my profession. (I accept recommendations if you’ve read good books about UX:) ). These are some of the topics that I want to read about:
  • One about business
  • One about UX Strategy.

Gym: I like going to the gym and more importantly, I can feel it’s good for my health and to manage my stress levels.

Key results:

  • Go 3 times a week to the gym
  • Go to pilates, yoga or something similar at least once a week.

Eat healthier: As I mentioned before, I would like to focus on having healthier habits.

Key results:

  • Eat at least two pieces of fruit per day.
  • Eat fried food once a week.
  • Set up a format to keep track of what I eat on a weekly basis.

Taking into consideration my resolutions for 2019, I’ll accomplish the following during Q1.

Writing:

  • Write a total of 6 posts.
  • Make a strategy for my blog: plan the content for Q1 and how I’ll promote it. Set yearly goals for my blog.

Speaking:

  • Present at a UX meeting once.
  • Present LTUX Amsterdam, with this I mean presenting the meetup, the introduction of LTUX.

Reading:

  • Read a book related to my profession. This should be easy because I already started Articulating design decisions.
  • Read a total of 6 books.

Portfolio: Think about the characteristics of a side project. Which are the requirements? What do I want to learn? What’s my goal?

  • Choose one project and its scope.

Eat healthily:

  • Set up a format to track my eating habits and fill it in every day.
  • Evaluate what I’m eating each month. Am I eating well enough? Can I improve something?

Feedback:

  • Ask for feedback to one colleague at the end of each project.

If you have read this far, thank you! I hope this post helps you, maybe with some inspiration to set your own goals or on how to set them.

Tell me about you! Do you have new resolutions for 2019? How was your 2018?

English is not my mother tongue and I’m always looking for improvements. So if you spot any typo or any phrase that could have written in a better way I would love to read that feedback!

Do you want to know more about me?

  • You can check my portfolio here: www.sabrinacouto.com
  • You can also follow me on Twitter where I share my thoughts about design: @SabrinaCouto_
  • Or if you are more curious about my personal life you can take a look at my Instagram account: sabrinacoutosc
  • And of course, you can find me on Linkedin.

I'm a UX & Interaction Designer based in Amsterdam working at Coolblue. | Co-organiser of Ladies that UX Amsterdam.