Recently I went on my first personal retreat. I spent two days in a hostel in a small town in the mountains to reflect.

I heard about the idea of personal retreats from Rob Walling on the “Startups For The Rest Of Us” podcast, Rob and his wife talk about retreats in more detail in this podcast episode. A personal retreat is basically “time in” away from distractions where you have a chance to look inward to reflect and plan. I found it incredibly helpful. On this retreat I had two goals: think about my objectives and direction for the next 12 months and think about improvements to my daily routine to be more productive (I’m a master procrastinator and escape artist when it comes to things that even remotely stress me out).

I came up with three goals for the next 12 months.

Goal #1: Give myself more daily time to reflect

I am a bit of a mess when it comes to emotional stuff. My default way of dealing with stress is to ignore it. In order to ignore it I jump into things that take my mind off the problem, such as computer games, watching movies, etc. I could spend endless hours playing games just to avoid fixing something because in my head I believe that it is easier to avoid facing the problem and leaving it for another day. This tactic comes with all sorts of problems, not least of which is that it is a totally inefficient way of dealing with stress. Luckily I’m beginning to realize this. I’ve realized that I feel far better when I actually face what’s causing me to worry and so I want to give myself more space to be able to think about these things. I’ve decided to get into the habit of meditating for 5 minutes straight after lunch. 5 minutes is nothing, the idea is to trick my head into believing that it’s easy, just for long enough to form the habit. As well as this I’ll be much more conscious of my tendencies to escape and make an extra effort to find healthier solutions.

Goal #2: Make NimbleCI into a profitable business

My “business” goal was between making courses on Udemy or building a SaaS product. Although courses could bring me income much faster I feel like it’s not what I really want to be doing. I have had a dream since childhood of building a business that works, of building and guiding a team that loves what they do. So, despite the fact that building this SaaS poses massive challenges for me because I’ll need to learn and practice marketing, I’m determined to make it work.

Goal #3: Build up my audience

This goal is to build an audience so that I can leverage it in the future. Once I have a bigger audience I will be able to use it to sell my products much more easily, it will give me a jump start if you like. To this end I’ve set the goal of going from 1000 twitter followers (as of June 2016) to 7000 in June 2017. I also want to grow my blog subscribers by 150% each month. I’m starting from nothing so I have no idea how realistic this goal is but it’s something to shoot for.

I’ve already scheduled another personal retreat for 6 months time, I’m excited to see what these 6 months bring!