2016 year in review

This year I learned a lot, made progress towards some big goals, and tried some new things. And I also had some not-so-successful goals.

The fun thing is I set out 2016 with a specific list of 3 measurable things I would do, so it’s cool to look at how those went. Here they are!

Goals, how did I do?

  • Do [list of things] that will help me get better at Javascript
  • Take 25 minutes each day to meditate (10 min) and write in a journal (15 min)
  • Take two big trips in February and August.

Learning, yes. Fun, yes. Sweet 3 of 3 perfection, no.

Here are some highlights in bullet form:

  • Visited St John, US Virgin Islands in February for 10 days of swimming and snorkeling and beach going. I’ve never been in the Carribean before. Or even Florida. The water is really blue and the island was really beautiful. This was awesome.
  • Had a lot of fun at work and got to do some cool and interesting projects – made a Chrome Extension for debugging javascript, added knowledgebase article suggestions that auto-fill alongside our support contact form, added a couple simple internal tools to make workflows easier, and made some bugfixes on the product
  • Changed my job title… Support Engineer!
  • Worked a lot on advancing with Javascript this year to understand basic patterns and ways of coding - closure, IIFEs, higher order functions, different ways of creating objects, bits and pieces of ES6, APIs for the DOM, checking out React. I did the stuff on my list, and kept going. That has all been super fun and rewarding, and also extremely applicable for my work. I also learned a lot by creating a Rails API and then trying to use it from another small Javascript project. I’ve gotten a lot better at reading and understanding other people’s code, using APIs/documentation to get things done, and generally figuring things out. So that’s cool. I’m a bit better as well at basic developer things like searching and understanding code, git trickyness, etc. I’m still a beginner and there’s still [most things] – which I don’t know, but recognizing where I’ve improved is good and important. So here’s to these learnings!
  • I kept a pretty good workout schedule. There were some gaps during the year where I didn’t work out, but I was also pretty consistent and kept things going throught the year. It would have been cool to track things here so I could see how many times per month I worked out each month.
  • Had a lot of fun writing poetry and playing guitar.
  • I stopped watching football which freed up a lot of time on Sundays.
  • Took trips to visit family in August, November, December.

When I think about what I wanted to accomplish in 2016, that’s pretty good!

Goal number 2, whoops

I found out that meditating for 10 minutes and journaling 15 minutes each day for a year is an ambitious goal. It turned out that it was really hard to keep and I didn’t. I ended up doing 87 days out of 365 which is like 24% of days. Pretty valuable in itself, but also … very far away from every single day. That’s also a really frontloaded number, BTW. I started off with a great streak of successfulness in January, February and March and then things tapered off as the year went on.

The hardest thing I found was that I might want to get started on 10 minutes of meditation, but then think that it wouldn’t count unless I did 15 minutes of writing as well. So I’d end up psyching myself out and do neither. Booooooo.

If you added all days to the count where I only meditated but not both, it might go up to 95 or 100 days. But usually if I did one, then I was motivated to do the other as well.

I want to take another whack at this goal this year. I’ve decided to revise it, but I’m a little torn about that. It would be cool to try the exact same goal and see if I can better 87. Instead I’ve decided to try to meditate 5 minutes every day this year. Basically, I think this will be easier to get started on each morning, and be harder to talk myself out of for any particular reason that I can creatively come up with, as I know I will. Maybe next year, depending how this goes, I can switch back to the 25 minutes split.

Goal number 3. St John was awesome. I’m taking another trip this year

In February to somewhere warm. Unless global warming turns Boston into some sort of tropical paradise I think I’ll be keeping this tradition for a bit.

What could I change or do more of?

  • Save money by cooking
  • Random internet timewasting not directed towards anything. Do something else instead!
  • I spent a lot of time solo whether reading, learning, working, at the gym, etc. That’s good but felt isolating sometimes. Maybe plan more social activities this year.
  • Working with negative emotions. Whenever I actively do any work in this area it leads to really cool things and insights, so I’d like to do more of that this year.

2017 Goals

I’ve got these written down. I’m going to put them in a follow up post. See ya 2016!