Coding Your Goals: Set Intentional Goals with Computational Thinking

by Mégan McLean
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People give computers either too much credit or not enough credit. Computer are deemed genius, by non-technical people, because of the wonders they can produce; just look at all that computers and technology have allowed us to accomplish.
On the other hand, some in tech will openly call computers“dumb” due to how precise one has to give the computer instructions (through coding) to get a job done. I guess you can say it all depends on how you view it. I’d say computers just have a very unique learning style, I’m the exact same way. 

Computers require immense and detailed descriptions in order to achieve the goal the developer has for it. That process is typically described as Computational Thinking (CT). CT is a structured way to solve problems, and in order to ensure that the solution is clear, precise details are typically needed. The computational thinking process from start to finish includes: input + algorithm = output.
After completing a class lecture on Computational Thinking through Harvard University’s CS50x course on and reading Anthony Fraisier’s book Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness, the connection between how to connect CT and solving everyday goals became very clear, realistic, and inspiring to me.

I took out my notebook and wrote out a list of problems I was having and chose one to be very intentional about. Ironically, following up on set goals was the first one.

In Anthony’s book, he used the template he learned from Brian Moran’s book, The 12 Week Year which explains that it’s easier to accomplish developed short goals to potentially accomplish a long-term goal. Instead of aiming to achieve something in 12 months, strive to achieve a portion of it in 12 weeks which leaves you to achieve them in increments of 4 (12 months = 3 months (12 weeks) * 4).

It’s not about what you can do in a year in 3 months; it’s about getting things done a little at a time so that you can get closer to where you want to be in a year. Since the first day of Fall just passed, I’ll be planning my next 12 weeks for the Fall season.

To start, I made three goals from three areas I want to be intentional about. Typically, I’ll choose a goal in my personal, academic, and business.

For this post, I chose 3 as it related to my blog, self-care (fitness), and my side-hustle. In order to figure out how to solve a problem, you have to figure what the problem is. What kind of output are you looking for? What outcome would you like to happen at the end of 12 weeks? You want to make sure the goal you choose is realistic and specific so that you can surely accomplish it.
Now that you know what you want your end goal to be, you have to know what to do to start it. What do you have to input/perform to see the output/outcome? Understanding what you need to input/perform will allow you to outline in a specific detail how you are going to improve weekly. You also want to measure your progress over a 2 week period.  
Lastly, now that you know where you want to be (output/outcome) and how you are going to start (input/performance), it’s time to be intentional.

You want to now create an algorithm (a process or set of rules to be followed) that will be very specific in how you will perform your input in order to receive the output. Todd Herman has the best formula in how to do so: “Who is going to do What, When, and Where. If you can answer that question, then you will be set. Answering that question will give clarity, set responsibility on you, and give momentum on how you can achieve your goal. Your algorithm will give you a clear process if you’re one that gets easily side-tracked, like me.
Although it may seem like common sense to some, it just had to be given to me the right for it to click, very similar to computers.

With this post, I hope that you not only learn something new about computers, or how to intentionally solve problems, but be very intentional and clear on fulfilling your goals in any area of your life.

Make sure to follow Mégan on Binary Beauty , the new standard for beauty & brains.

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