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.