YearCompass 2022-2023

In this post, I use the free YearCompass booklet to reflect on 2022 and to plan some professional goals for 2023.

Table of Contents


I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Life moves fast! The idea that goals set on a given day will still be relevant in six or three months (or sometimes even one!) should be taken with a pinch of salt. Especially after working in technology for a while!

I prefer to not wait. My attitudes towards forward planning are best summed up by these quotes:

The best time to write a story is yesterday. The next best time is today.

R. A. Lafferty

The best time to do something significant is between yesterday and tomorrow.

Zig Ziglar

Enter YearCompass – a free tool for reflection and planning. I first heard about YearCompass from Brent Ozar:

I put it on my calendar for December and, well, here it is.

Additionally, on December 1st Paul Randal of SQLSkills posted an offer of mentorship. Paul wants to see a blog post from interested parties, which overlaps with YearCompass pretty well.

With this post, I can meet both goals at the same time. Whichever choice Paul makes, I’ll have a strong list of 2023 goals that I can refer to in the new year.

Let’s start by examining YearCompass.


From the YearCompass site:

YearCompass is a free booklet that helps you reflect on the year and plan the next one. With a set of carefully selected questions and exercises, YearCompass helps you uncover your own patterns and design the ideal year for yourself.

YearCompass started as a reflection tool for a small group of friends and was made publicly available in 2012. It is available as an A4 and A5 PDF, with options to fill out the booklet both digitally and by hand. YearCompass is currently available in 52 languages.

YearCompass positions itself as an alternative to New Year’s Resolutions. Each PDF has two sections. The first half examines the previous year and the second half considers the next one.

Each section consists of a series of prompts and questions. These guide the user through the reflection process and help them identify their priorities and plan for the future.

Some of the questions are:

  • What are you most proud of?
  • Who are the three people who influenced you the most?
  • What does the year ahead of you look like?

While prompts include:

  • List your three biggest challenges from last year.
  • This year, I will be bravest when…
  • I want to achieve these three things the most.

There are no hard and fast rules for completing YearCompass. The book suggests a break between sections, although some prefer to do the whole thing in one sitting.

Personally, I dedicated an hour to each section on separate days, then went back to it for the rest of the week as I remembered other things. This helped a lot with the sections I struggled on.

YearCompass 2023 Goals

In this section, I examine my 2023 professional goals from my YearCompass booklet.

Confidence Building & Anxiety Management

One of the reasons I started amazonwebshark was in response to the imposter syndrome I felt after becoming a Data Engineer in 2021. In the first half of 2022 I got the balance wrong, as what I was posting wasn’t really improving me as a Data Engineer. This ended up fueling the very anxiety I was trying to control!

My recent projects and posts have boosted my confidence and improved my data skills. I’ve been able to apply learnings from here to my working role, and have tried things here that have increased my fluency with our current codebase.

In 2023 I want to continue this momentum. I have some ideas for future projects that will flex my creativity, focus my development and further boost my confidence such as:

I also have subscriptions for A Cloud Guru and DataCamp, and want to explore those sites more next year. I’m going to have a proper think about prioritisation over Christmas, and will get some peer advice when I have some ideas.

Collaborating & Communicating

In the first few months of 2022, my confidence and anxiety issues led to slips in my communication and teamwork. I found it hard to ask for help and struggled to articulate myself, and was in a bad place for a while.

Thankfully I was about to get some help and turn this around over Summer. Although I’m still mixing things up when I talk at the moment, I’ve been about to bolster my communication skills and increase my value within my team.

If 2022 was about repair, then I want 2023 to be about strengthening. I have more Data Engineering knowledge than I did a year ago, and feel like my finger is more on the pulse at work now. I want to continue to add value to and bring resilience and agility to the projects we are responsible for.

Knowledge Sharing & Presenting

This year I’ve learned about a range of languages, tools and methodologies as part of my role. I’ve also earned the AWS Certified Developer Associate certification and the Microsoft SC-900 and AI-900 certifications, so I’ve improved my knowledge of topics like development, deployment, security, monitoring and machine learning.

While all this knowledge is great, it’s no good if it just stays in my head! On the back of boosting my confidence skills and bolstering my communication skills, I want to improve my knowledge-sharing and presentation skills.

I want to link my knowledge-sharing efforts to my efforts to improve my confidence and communication. Opportunities to apply my knowledge and skills at work are frequent, and being able to give knowledgeable, confident and persuasive suggestions and feedback will help both me and my team create value and meet our goals.

I also want to improve my presentation skills. We have regular departmental meetings that encourage lightning talks, and having presented twice this year I now feel that I have some good foundations to build on. I want to get more competent at presenting, with long-term ambitions to speak at a user group or community event when my confidence allows!


In this post, I used the free YearCompass booklet to reflect on 2022 and to plan some professional goals for 2023.

On reflection, my YearCompass 2023 goals relate to each other pretty well. Improving my communication skills and anxiety management will make it easier to collaborate and will help me present better. Improving my confidence will help me become more influential and persuasive, and I will feel more comfortable when sharing knowledge.

If this post has been useful, please feel free to follow me on the following platforms for future updates:

Thanks for reading ~~^~~