Happy New Year!
Do you make New Year's resolutions? I don't do that. Instead, my family and I always go out first thing New Year's Day (we don't party much on New Year's Eve - I know, I'm kinda weird like that) and find a food joint that is open. We have a little leather book where we write down that year's goals. We write down things like educational goals, physical goals, money goals, professional goals and spiritual goals for each of us. We also have "family goals" where we decide what we all want to accomplish.
I write down some professional goals each year, like reading so many technical books and speaking at a few conferences or attending a class or two. It's probably similar to the goals or plans or whatever you're graded against at your work for a performance evaluation.
This all sounds great - and it really isn't different than a resolution when you think about it. But here's the difference: We drag the book out once a month or so and check up on each other. We hold each other accountable for what we said we would do. These aren't things someone else has put on each other, these are things we promised ourselves. Having someone else check up on you each month really makes a difference.
So I challenge you to do the same. Make some goals about your technical work this year, and tell someone at work about it. (Make sure it isn't your boss). Have them check you each month to see if you're meeting the informal goals you set for yourself.
Oh, and have a great new year while you're at it!