Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019.
As I mentioned in my reflections on 2018, I’ve set annual goals for myself over the last few years.
I’ve found that having these goals in place, and revisiting them every month to check on progress, has been an effective method for keeping myself accountable and moving forward.
My New Year goals for 2019 are heavy on creativity.
Coding, writing, illustrations, podcasts, videos – my goals this year are heavily stacked towards making new, creative works.
Here’s what I’m focusing on this year:
- Complete coding courses & share the results.
- Do more creative work. Share it.
- Publish one new page per week to my site.
- Read at least one book per month, share the takeaways.
- Record and publish one podcast episode per week.
- Learn audio production, share my notes.
- Learn video production, share my notes.
- Get back into gaming & streaming.
- Send a monthly newsletter.
- Spend more time with family.
- Keep the road trips going. Share the experience.
- Return to a healthy lifestyle.
1. Complete coding courses, share the results.
JS, because it’s full stack and pervasive in web development. SQL, because I work with a lot of data. Python, because I want to get my feet wet in data science. And Bash/PowerShell scripts for general utility/productivity.
I’ve tried (and failed) to pursue this goal each year because I failed to set aside time to work on it. This time I’m structuring my weekly schedule to make sure there’s time allocated.
I want to spend at least two hours per week working on this goal. That includes completing courses, building small projects, and sharing as open source on GitHub.
2. Do more creative work. Share it.
This includes drawing, painting, illustration, lettering, and photography. These are all interests that have laid dormant for most of my adult life. Again, I haven’t done a good job of putting time aside for it.
So, as with the coding, I’m setting time aside in my weekly schedule and taking on courses and small projects, sharing the work on Instagram (and elsewhere).
3. Publish one page per week on my site.
This one’s pretty straightforward. When I relaunched my site early last month, I said that I wanted to do more original writing. So my goal is to publish a new page each week.
I’m following the advice I give: build a library of evergreen resources. That’s content you can update over time. Just because a page is published doesn’t mean it’s finished!
Of course, there should be a minimum threshold of quality before a page goes live. So I’m aiming for ~1500 to 2000 words per page before I hit the Publish button.
I’ve already started on my content calendar for the year, and have tentative topics locked in for Q1. It dovetails nicely into the next couple of goals.
4. Read at least one book per month. Share takeaways.
I have a “books to read” list in Todoist currently sitting at ~135 entries. Then there are the books I’ve added to my Amazon wishlists. In total, I likely have ~200 titles queued up.
So how am I going to power through this? By reading 20 pages per day, and folding the notes into what I publish on my site (kudos to James Clear for the advice). So now my reading goals support my writing goals.
5. Record and publish one podcast episode per week.
I’m bullish on audio as the next big format for the web, and podcasting is just the starting point. But how am I going to fit podcast production into an already-packed schedule?
My solution: Stack it on top of the content I’m already producing. It’s the same advice I’m giving in my proposed PodCamp Toronto 2019 session: from post to podcast, how to repurpose your existing content.
The concept is simple. Do an audio recording of the written content (similar to how audiobooks are produced) and sprinkle on some added commentary that’s exclusive to the recording. Throw on some show notes and publish.
For bonus points: Also do one video per week. Do slides based on the written content, drop on top of the audio track, and publish.
I’m not aiming for cinematic masterpieces here – just efficiently churning out video content and working on the discipline to ship on time.
6. Learn audio production. Share notes.
What I know about audio production is rudimentary at best. I’d like to get better at it.
With the podcast, I’ll have something to experiment with. The next step is to fill in the gaps and find ways to make the production quality even better. So I’m going to take some courses, read a bunch, share my notes, and apply what I learn to improve the podcast.
One of the things I’d like to learn in particular is how to play the keyboard and compose some music that I can then use in the shows I create.
It’s been on my bucket list since I was a kid. I remember being offered a choice between gifts one year: I could either get a PC, or I could get a Yamaha keyboard. (I chose the PC.)
Unlike the previous goals, I’m not planning to work on this throughout the year. Instead I’m taking one month to do a deep dive into audio production (tentatively scheduled for April).
7. Learn video production. Share notes.
Pretty much the same deal as audio production. What I know is basic, and I’d like to get better at it. And as with the audio production, I’m dedicating a month (tentatively May) to do a deep dive into the topic.
I’ll share the notes on my site and apply what I learn to anything I do with video.
8. Get back into gaming & streaming.
The first websites I ever worked on were gaming fansites and forums. Those websites were also the platforms I used to experiment with podcasts and streaming over a decade ago.
I haven’t been into gaming for a while – I just don’t have the time. Still, I’m interested in seeing the industry and community evolve, especially with the rise of eSports and mobile/casual games.
The dynamics of the gaming world are VERY different. So if I step back into it, it’d be under a pseudonym. And I’d likely wrap in my creative work.
What I’m thinking: Block off an hour each weekday, always at the same time, alternating between creative work and gaming. I can use that time to work on my projects while also figuring out the different existing + emerging streaming platforms.
9. Send a monthly newsletter.
A monthly digest will help me stay accountable to my goals by summarizing what I’ve completed over the last 4-ish weeks. It’s a good milestone for myself, and a way for others to follow my progress.
Weaving this back into my daily work – I’m using GoDaddy Email Marketing to handle my newsletter. I’ve been looking for a way to play with the product a bit more, and this seems like a good way to do it.
You can sign up for it here, by the way:
10. Spend more time with family.
Exactly what it sounds like! Need to visit the family more often.
11. Keep the road trips going. Capture the experience.
Whether it’s at home or abroad, brief road trips were a highlight of 2018. I want to keep those going into 2019. And I want to do a better job of capturing and sharing moments from those excursions.
Using Robby’s work as inspiration, I’ll do more road trips this year and try to capture the experience through photography and video.
I’m aiming to complete 6 projects by the end of the year. (I travel at least once per quarter for work, so there’s four right there!)
12. Return to a healthy lifestyle.
This is a big one to wrap up the list. I neglected my fitness for the latter half of 2018. Now I need to make up for it.
I’m getting back on the bike with least one spin class or ride per week, aiming for an average of 3x. And as we roll into spring I’d like to join a cycling club so I’m not alone on the road.
I’m also carving out time again for daily workouts and logging my food, water, and weight.
For big group rides, I’m aiming for 4x this year. There are two for sure: the Ride for Heart and Ride to Conquer Cancer. I’m keeping my eyes open for other Gran Fondo-style events.
I’m aiming for consistency, not perfection.
There will be days where I feel like crap, or unexpected things come up, or I have to shift my schedule around for some other reason.
But as much as possible I want to default back to a daily regimen, a routine of habits, that support the goals I’ve covered here.
Now let’s see how it goes…!