New year, new goals. It’s an excellent time to reflect on 2019 and set new goals for the new year.
I had intended to write this in January, but life got interesting, and soon I was facing the challenge of starting a new job. I had to wind down my role at my old job, help with the transition, and prepare for the changes in my life coming with the new position. But now, I’m ready to get back to some writing.
Work was very stressful in the first half of 2019. There were a lot of problems with the systems, and it required several changes to processes to bring stability and sanity. Still, I tried hard to ensure I was also spending time on my own needs. As I get older, it becomes evident that there is only so much time left, and if I want to do things someday, then they need to start happening now. So while I managed to stay employed and continued to do great work, I don’t want to be defined solely by my day job.
Physically, I stayed in good health much of the year, having to fight a cold and allergies a couple of times. My back muscles also flared up a couple of times, which isn’t fun at all. For the most part, though, I was able to stay healthy and do the things I wanted to do.
Surprisingly, the stock market’s performance exceeded the expectations of most people. Despite all the hatred for Trump, the economy’s been doing rather well. Bitcoin rallied strongly until July and has slowly receded since then. Still, it was up about 90% for the year. Ethereum was down for the year, though, and most of the other altcoins lost a lot more. Stellar, Tron, EOS, XRP (Ripple), IOTA, Dash, and most of the other major alts were down a ton, sometimes losing over half of their value. Binance Coin was an exception; it was up big like Bitcoin was. Still, when Binance kicked their US customers off the system, their value reduced. They moved some of them to Binance.us, but residents of the largest states aren’t allowed to transact there, forcing them to trade on other exchanges. I still think cryptocurrencies are a good investment but should only be a small part of a larger portfolio, and one should probably focus more on Bitcoin. Predicting which of the altcoins will be successful has been very problematic.
So, how did I do on last year’s goals? Let’s see.
A year ago, I set a series of goals. Here’s how I did on each.
❌ Write 4 short stories. Another year has gone by without making much headway on this. I tried writing backgrounds of characters, and sort of did a draft of one but basically failed at this goal
❌ Write 24 blog posts. I only wrote 7. I really thought this would have been easy. It turned out that I just couldn’t maintain an interest in writing blog posts. I did do a few on cryptocurrencies mid-year.
❌ Make new friends. This has never been a strength of mine. I do have people I game with, and I had some interesting experiences with some people, but none that I would really elevate to the status of “friend”.
❌ Achieve certification as an AWS Solutions Architect. Work was too much in crisis mode for me to spend a lot of time working on this.
✅ Finish 4 online courses related to cryptocurrency or blockchain technologies. I put this off until the fourth quarter but then managed to get through it.
✅ Master issues with cryptocurrencies and taxes. This was a big priority in the first half of the year, and I feel comfortable that I’ve figured it all out now.
❌ Develop some kind of exercise habit and lose more weight. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t develop any exercise habits. And I paid the price by hurting my back a couple of times.
✅ Gain 15% on my portfolio. Amazingly enough, I managed 17% this year. Woot! I’ve been anticipating a recession for so long, and it always surprises me when we continue to have good years.
✅ Read 25 books. I track these on Goodreads, and read 35 books last year. I really feel great about this; reading all these books has been such a joy.
❌ Sell or donate more old stuff. The donate pile grew, but I didn’t take the time to organize it. Nor did I spend much time trying to sell things on eBay. My wife’s had some bad experiences with returns on eBay, so selling things there is discouraging.
✅ Take two vacation trips. They didn’t happen until later in the year, but I did get my two trips in.
✅ Stay employed and do great work. This seemed harder than it should have been, but things improved as the year went on. By the end of the year, though, I was wondering if there better opportunities with companies more worthy of my efforts.
Six goals met, six goals not met. Is it too ambitious setting so many goals? Perhaps. At least it’s a good target to shoot for.
Write 4 short stories. I’ll keep this as a goal until I accomplish it. I just feel that once I start writing, it could be the beginning of something big.
Write 24 blog posts. Not only that, but I’m also relaunching my blog with a change in technology. Medium was good, but I hoped that being on Medium would attract readers because of their curated content. Instead, Medium has focused on blogs behind its paywall. I don’t feel people should be obliged to pay money just to read my silly little blog posts.
Make new friends. This will be tricky as my new job involves a lot of travel. But maybe I’ll find a way.
Complete 4 online courses in new technology. Whether it’s blockchain or Rails or Python or something else, in my field, you have to keep learning, and I will definitely do that.
Catch up on periodicals. One of my bad habits in the past couple of years has been not keeping up with the periodicals I subscribe to. This year I’ll catch up on them and cut back on the less interesting ones.
Develop some kind of exercise habit and lose more weight. Actually, it’s not just about the weight; I’ve lost a few pounds just through changes in diet. But to avoid future issues with my back, I want to strengthen my core some.
Gain 15% on my portfolio. As I write this, the market is entering a bearish phase, so this could be a challenge.
Read 25 books. I’ll be spending a lot of time in the car because of my new job, but I will likely use that time on podcasts instead of audiobooks. So reading will be the traditional way – with an iPad.
Sell or donate more old stuff. There’s still boxes of stuff that I need to go through. After that, I should probably sort through older possessions and trim down on those as well.
Take two vacation trips. This will likely be later in the year as I just started a new job. Plus, there is the whole virus thing going on right now.
So those are my 10 personal goals for 2020. Not included in this list are business goals, as those are separate and unique to my company, and less interesting for a blog. In January of next year, I’ll review these and see how I did. Hopefully, I’ll do better this year.