My 2013 New Year's resolutions

Dec 31 2012

It’s about that time again, isn’t it? For the past few years I’ve tried to make and keep a list of New Year’s Resolutions. Problem is that I’ve been changing my blogging platform so much that I can never link back to review it a year later. Here’s to hoping this time is different.

2012 was an awesome year for me, probably the best of my life. Here’s what happened to me this year:

  1. Got married
  2. Got a great job that I really enjoy
  3. Got to visit Paris, London and Brussels on our honeymoon. The first time I’ve ever been outside of the United States
  4. Got my Master’s Degree (pending, but I’m done with classes)

While all of this was awesome, it’s all stuff that I knew was going to happen and was already planning for in 2011. The challenge in 2013 is to keep the momentum going after getting a lot of the big life things done. So here’s what I’m shooting for in 2013.

Skills

  1. Learn HTML5 and the mobile web. I’ve started this already and it’s clearly where the future of technology is going. A sub-goal here is that every app I launch this year will look great on smartphones, tablets and traditional desktops and a majority of them will be designed for mobile first.
  2. Learn Android. Yeah yeah, you can make more money in iOS, but Android is going to continue to spread like a disease. Long term this is a really good skill to have. Measurement: release at least one app in the Google Play store. I’ve already got pretty solid ideas for three, I just have to wrap my mind around how it all fits together.
  3. Learn functional programming by the way of Scala. I’ve started this already by beginning the Coursera’s Scala class. How awesome is it to learn a programming language from its creator?! End goal: write one substantial application in Scala.
  4. Contribute to at least 3-5 open source projects. This could be creating and maintaining something that others find useful or having pull requests accepted for other projects.
  5. Attend five hackathons. They’re a good way to stretch yourself, code as a team under pressure and learn from others.
  6. Learn D3.js. Like really learn it, not just make a few bar charts. Make something cool. At least five original, substantial data visualizations.

Personal

  1. Run 750 miles. In 2010 I ran 1,000 miles, but I wasn’t able to replicate that in 2011 due to injuries and just a lack of free time. It’s not the energy that’s the problem but devoting 10+ hours a week to running can be challenging. But 750 miles is a pretty healthy number.
  2. Less distractions. I’m constantly swamped in Google Reader like it’s my job. I’ll have to make some subscription cuts to get my unread count down and maybe sometimes “Mark all as read” button. Also, cancel my magazine subscriptions (Wired and Fast Company). There just isn’t enough time in the day to read everything I want to read and I have to get used to that.
  3. Read 12 books. In 2010 (man, I had free time in 2010) I read 24 books, which isn’t insane, just two books a month. While devoting time to the above I think I can manage one book a month. Hopefully more fiction than technology books to give myself a break.

Self Quantification

  1. Get back onto Daytum. In the second half of 2011 I sort of fell off with Daytum which I was putting a lot of data into every day. In 2013 I resolve to be more dedicated to it, but not for everything but only the important stuff. Also, I’ll work towards visualizing the large dataset that I currently have about myself.
  2. Write five days a week in 750 Words. Writing in a journal helps me reflect, especially at the beginning of end of a day.
  3. Use at least one passive logging technique. Selfspy looks interesting.

And that’s about it. Some of this kind of scares me, but I guess that’s the point. I doubt that anyone will find this interesting, but I have to put this list out publicly to motivate myself to get to work. I’ll check back in the beginning of 2014.

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Dave Walk is a software developer, basketball nerd and wannabe runner living in Philadelphia. He enjoys constantly learning and creating solutions with Go, JavaScript and Python. This is his website.