2013 has been a very productive year. It's seen a new job, a house move, the birth of this blog, a couple of talks, the loss of a laptop and a couple of conferences. Not all of these were foreseen but a number of them were down to the goals I set myself at the beginning of the year. I haven't completed everything I set out to do but I do think that giving myself these clear objectives has pushed me to get more out of 2013 than I otherwise would have done. Being self motivated isn't only important for the self employed, it's also important to motivate yourself outside of work if you want to improve. Giving yourself a clear set of goals to complete in a set time is a guaranteed way to squeeze more out of your year. Here's how I got on:
- Eat something I've never eaten before - This will have been completed on numerous occasions. I officially crossed it off the list after eating a treat a colleague brought back from India.
- 1 month without alcohol - January was totally dry and it was great. This is something I am going to try to do more often.
- Attend a technical user group - I went along to Leeds Sharp in January and have been going since.
- 3 months without XBox - This felt more difficult than the dry month at the time but I've probably done another two months without it since.
- Brew my own beer - Brewed a bitter for April and have the kit now to make a pilsner and a stout.
- Write a portfolio website and blog - This is it. I've actually removed the portfolio part whilst I polish of a number of my projects. It will be back soon.
- Write a Google Chrome plugin and get it submitted to the chrome web store - I published SecurePass (now re-branded as Uniquify.it) however I have a number of breaking changes that I want to make before re-releasing it to the general public.
- Visit a foreign country - You can't get more foreign than Disney Land
- Pass a Microsoft exam - I am official a Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist in Web Application Development in .NET 4 (70-515). I actually quite enjoyed the process of taking the exam so I will look to become an MCPD or MCSD in 2014.
- Climb to the top of a UK mountain - Climbed to the top of Pen-Y-Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons, on 13th July.
- Contribute to an open source project - I have a few open source projects of my own that I regularly contribute to such as ASafaHarbor and Uniquify.it but it's my contribution to Sandra.Snow that counts for this one. I am planning on contributing significantly more to the community in 2014.
- Raise money for charity - November was Movember and I raised the lofty sum of £35. Our team did much better, pulling together £400 between us.
- Give a talk at a technical meet up - In November I gave a talk on Event Store at Leeds Sharp. This was great fun and fantastic motivation to learn something new. Giving more talks will definitely be a focus for 2014.
- Find a diet that doesn't give me acid heartburn - I haven't really found a diet that works but I have found prescription drugs. Yay!
- Read a non technical book each quarter - I'm not the fastest reader so this was always going to be a struggle. I have read most of The girl with the dragon tattoo and World War Z, both of which are good books but I've not hit the target of one each quarter.
- Read a technical book each quarter - As with the last one, this was going to be a struggle, especially when it turns out that I read the vast majority of content online - not in books. That said I have read most of a number of technical books:
- Write a blog post each month - Since this blog went live in March I have posted 14 articles so in some ways this has been completed.
Maybe Next Year
- Write an android app and get it submitted to Google play
- Write a Windows 8 app and get it submitted to the windows app store
- Write an IOS app and get it submitted to the apple app store - I had this grand plan to create a fantastic app using PhoneGap and deploy it to all the stores. How misguided I was. I have been much more focussed on web technologies than I have been with native apps. It'll never catch on anyway.
- Go to the gym regularly - As so many others I started the year with healthy expectations but life takes over. I kept it up for a good few months but I've not set foot inside a gym since June.
- Finish a marathon - I started training, I even ran 10k on the treadmill but this goal was probably a little overambitious. I think I'll reign it in a little for next year an try to do a half marathon.
- Make my own cheese - I got a cheese making kit for Christmas so this one will only just miss out on being part of 2013.
- Spend a week with my mum and dad - I managed four days in July and three over Christmas so technically it was a week but the point of this goal was for me to see them more than usual - which I haven't.
- Go to a comedy show
- Go to the theatre
- Go to a festival
- See an established band I've never seen before - I'm really disappointed that I didn't get around to doing these. They will have to be pushed over to next year.
- Learn a new programming language - I started learning Node but someone rightly pointed out that it is a framework, not a language. In fact I have spent a lot of time in 2013 playing with frameworks. Perhaps I need to move away from the .Net safety wheels.
That's 15 done, 3 started and 12 missed out on. I'm really pleased with what I've achieved in 2013 but I do think I could have spent more time one the non-technical things in my life. Setting these goals has definitely been a success, so much so the idea appears to be spreading , so I will be doing something similar for 2014 although I will be cutting down the number of goals to something a little more manageable.