A Product Designer’s Approach to New Year’s Resolutions

Christina Ou
4 min readJun 30, 2019

For the past few years, I’ve gotten into the habit of replacing New Year’s resolutions with more tangible goals because I always felt resolutions were too vague and that’s why we never keep them. Goals, broken down by categories such as ‘bad habits to break’, ‘new things to learn’, and ‘places to travel’ are easier to track and easier to accomplish because they’re specific and tangible. One of the goals I set for 2019 was to write at least one blog post per month. Halfway through the year and I’m still on track to achieving that goal, but as June comes to a close today, I have yet to post one this month.

I love to write think pieces and I love the Medium community, but inspiration doesn’t always come on such a frequent and regular basis. Sometimes I have multiple ideas that I want to write about in the span of a few weeks and sometimes I go months distracted by my job, a plethora of reality tv, or whatever else is going on in life and can’t put any words together worthy of anyone reading. But by forcing myself to write something, anything, even when I feel like I’m up against a writer’s block or could be doing other things with my time, has allowed me to feel less of a need for perfection. So what if one of my blog posts isn’t my greatest piece of writing? There’s always next month.

There’s a lot of ways this mentality can be applied to working in software development.

  1. Put something together, even if it’s quick and dirty, to get people’s feedback rather than continuing to debate in the theoretical. Working on a product team means there are many stakeholders involved when it comes to decision making and therefore it’s easy to get stuck in an ongoing discussion on theoretical elements, like what a user flow should be or what approach we should take for user research. What helps make people more decisive is putting together an actual prototype or writing out a first draft of a detailed research plan. Even though these may be based on assumptions not yet validated, it really helps to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and it allows you to get feedback on something tangible. It can be easy to want to wait until you have all the answers before putting together a design or wanting to have that design in its’ final polished state before sharing it with others, but when it comes to…

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Christina Ou

Senior Product Designer @ Apollo.io. Passionate about innovative SaaS product design, cohesive user experiences, and research-driven decision making.