How Some Badass Women Are Designing Their 2016s

design your 2016

We’ve been getting some feedback from women who have done Design Your 2016! (Get the download here – it’s not too late!)

Here we have a mind-map style plan from one woman who wrote, “Thanks for helping with designing the next 365 days of awesome adventure. I’m attaching my plan if you’re curious, and it’s fine with me to publish on the site”:


Here is a letter from an anonymous software engineer who successfully designed her 2015 with the help of our worksheet:

I had been reading Bullish articles for a while, and turning over the ideas in my head, especially the posts about breaking free from bad situations and about responding to disappointment with awesomeness. Thanks to my hard work in high school and college, I’ve had a stable and well-compensated career as a software engineer at major tech companies for the past few years.

However, throughout 2014, my work life started to feel like it was spiraling out of my control. My manager fired two of my teammates whom I had thought of as very good engineers. My own project also fell way behind schedule. I wanted to step up and get us back on track, to do what my senior teammates were not quite doing, but I had lived with stress for long enough that I was starting to make myself sick from it.

At this point, I had plenty of resources — quantifiable skills, more than enough money in the bank, and a strong support network — but I felt trapped in a situation that I had grown to hate, and didn’t know how to break out of it. The prospect of looking for a new job was demoralizing because I was convinced that every company was the same, therefore I would be equally unhappy elsewhere.

2013-12-01_1385934474 copyIt wasn’t until I sat down in a local coffeeshop with a pint of Guinness and a printout of Design Your 2015 that I was able to gain any clarity on my values and my next direction in life. Writing down my accomplishments pumped me up. Examining whether the way I spend the bulk of my time is consistent with my values made me vow to cut the crap, including some social things that weren’t sufficiently pleasurable or productive. And I followed your instructions to contact somebody to ask for help with a goal immediately — that checkbox worked wonders.

The free-form plan at the end was the most powerful part for me. I didn’t make anything visually compelling. I just stuck with my usual habit, which was to write text on a page until the page was full. I ended up with two or three sentences about each month of 2015. Writing out that planning page gave me the courage to quit my job, take control of my health, and travel overseas to explore my family’s roots.

Don’t worry, I’m not writing to you from a beach after spending the whole year on vacation. Throughout my time off, I applied to jobs, brushed up on technical skills, attended conferences and meetups, and practiced the habits and communication skills that I would need when returning to work. I also took risks that I’ve been reluctant to take before, including applying to a programmer residency.

I finally settled back down in [city] and started my current job in July. Thanks to my long-term planning, I still had plenty of money in the bank and was entirely willing to walk away, which I used to negotiate myself a 5% salary increase, a 100% equity increase, and all of the benefits I needed.

As I’ve revisited my one-page plan for 2015, it pleases me greatly to realize that month by month, and as a whole, my current life is even better than the most fantastic thing I was able to imagine last fall. Thanks for giving me the tools to design my life.


And here are a few of our favorite Instagram snaps from ladies Designing Their 2016s! (We’ve also been informed that a few dudes are doing this, too. Hi, Boyicorns!)

Ending 2015 looking forward. #yearofthedrunkenuniverse #goodbye2015 #lateforthetrain #getbullish @getbullish

A photo posted by Katie R. Herman (@katieeerh) on

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