Posted on Wed 05 June 2019

2019 mid-year review

I save all my favourite moments and media for my end of year review, so this is just a quick check-in on my goals to see how I'm going and whether I need to adjust my priorities for the second half of the year.

Let's look at the goals I set for 2019 in January:

Finish Drawabox

Well, this is not going to happen. Actually, the person who runs Drawabox says not to set a goal like this, because you don't want to rush through it and tick it off, but take your time and learn. This seems fair. I'm a bit undecided about whether to continue at all at this stage, though. I was lucky enough to get an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil a few months ago, and I've been trying different styles and approaches to improve my drawing on the iPad. Since then I've really lost my motivation for the Drawabox lessons, so I need to figure out whether I want to knuckle down and keep going or give it up completely.

Release 12 Hello Code podcasts

Ha. We've actually recorded two, and released one so far. But releasing one per month just isn't happening. All my enthusiasm for recording podcast episodes waned early in the year when I was dealing with some personal issues and I haven't been able to get it back since. I'm not sure our podcast has a great rate of return for us in terms of marketing, so it's probably fine to only do it when we feel like it. I'm going to drop this goal for the rest of the year.

Publish 30 blog posts (across my blog, Hello Code, Larder, and Exist)

I really thought this was going to be a snap, since 12 of these posts would be monthly reviews, but after January I stopped publishing monthly reviews again. In the past couple of years I've lost the feeling that it's not only okay, but useful or interesting to publish stuff about yourself on the internet. I think it's probably the fact that my in-person socialising dwindled as my time online took off while I was working in content marketing and building up Hello Code, but I feel weird these days about publishing online, or even interacting with other people on social media. I do it rarely, and feel funny about it when I do.

I'm not sure how much I want that to change, but I do know blog posts are useful for spreading the word about the work we do at Hello Code, so it'd be nice if I could find a way to get over my weirdness and write more words on the internet for the rest of this year.

Make 12 code-related releases (across Hello Code products and open-source projects)

This goal is half complete! It's probably the goal I'm making the most progress on so far. All but one of my releases were updates to Exist for iOS, with one small side project update at the start of the year to round out my first six releases. I'm hoping to release at least one other side project before the year is out, but I also have lots I want to get done on Exist for iOS, so either way this goal should end up complete.

In Exist for iOS, it matters more how many user-facing updates I release, rather than the pure number of releases, so I'm not sure this goal makes the most sense anymore. I'll adjust it to instead focus on the particular things I want to release for the second half of the year.

Read 20 books

Another goal that surprised me in how quickly I filled it up. I've already read 15/20 books for the year. 20 might seem low, but I'd really struggled to enjoy reading recently, and wasn't reading many books as a result. Two things happened to help this goal along so far. The first is that I stumbled across graphic novels and found there were plenty I really enjoyed. I read a handful over a couple of weeks and they bumped my total up quickly. The second thing was that I stumbled across the book Bad Blood, about the Theranos debacle, and found it so fascinating I read it in a few days. I was enthralled, and was lucky enough to read a couple of books after that which were also gripping enough that I read them in a week. Then Josh bought me a Kobo, since I'd decided to try to avoid giving Amazon any more money and thus wasn't using my Kindle, and I've been reading at a moderate pace ever since.

I'm going to leave this goal as-is, even though I could probably hit a higher number by the end of the year. I'm enjoying reading more than I have for years, and I'd like to maintain that enjoyment without adding pressure to tick off a certain number of books.

Try 5 vegan recipes

This goal has been a major failure. Although I ate entirely vegan for a year or two in the past, I managed that by eating fewer foods, and I didn't cook regularly at the time. Now that I'm used to cooking and eating more varied foods, I've found it harder to give up cheese and eggs again. So I planned to eat vegan meals a bit more often this year, in an attempt to reduce my intake of animal-based products without trying and failing to cut them out completely.

Since I like baking, my initial plan was to try baking some vegan snacks and desserts, but I quickly realised most of the recipes I'd planned to try relied on a vegan baking butter that's not available in Australia. I did find one recipe for chocolate chip biscuits that essentially used oil instead of butter. They were okay but I could taste the oily flavour and ended up only eating a couple because I didn't love them.

I also tried a vegan toasted sandwich at a café once, thinking perhaps the way to transition is to try vegan restaurant food, which will be yummier than anything I make myself. I didn't like it, though, and didn't finish eating it. The texture of the vegan cheese put me off and I didn't like the jackfruit.

Since I'm also trying to increase my protein intake to account for lifting heavy at the gym, I'm finding it hard to reduce my intake of dairy and eggs. I know it's possible, but it's not enjoyable or easy so far.

So I'm cutting this goal going forward, and going back to a general idea of reducing or cutting out animal products when it's not hard to do so.

Go to 5 social events

I've done three social events so far and have another planned already, so this goal is going well. It's one of the hardest goals for me to complete, but also probably one of the most important for me this year, so I might increase this goal to push myself to socialise more.

Save up to $10k

This goal was always a stretch, but it's definitely seeming far away now. Although our income has increased a little this year, I'm still finding I'm not saving much most months, and right now I'm in the middle of a series of payments for things like dentist appointments and clothes that have holes in them, which are soaking up any breathing room in my budget.

I might adjust this budget down to something that's achievable, rather than leaving it as a stretch goal.

Do 12 art/culture things

I've only completed four art/culture events so far, but I have three more planned already, so I'm well on the way to hitting this goal. Most of these events are theatre so far, which I'm happy about, because my theatre attendance has dropped a lot since I stopped working in the industry, and I've missed it. I also went to an art exhibition at NGV and saw Tim Minchin live, who was excellent.

That's it! So, looking ahead to the next six months, here are my adjusted goals for 2019:

  • Do 12 art/culture things
  • Save up to $5k
  • Go to 8 social events
  • Read 20 books
  • Release one side project
  • Release the review redesign in Exist for iOS
  • Release support for new Apple Health attributes in Exist for iOS
  • Release iPad support in Exist for iOS
  • Release correlation ratings in Exist for iOS
  • Release more trends in Exist for iOS
  • Publish 30 blog posts

I used to set out goals and habits to work on each year in my annual review. I've stopped focusing so much on habits recently, but there are some things that are better suited to daily focus than a specific goal, so I'm going to try working on a few habits for the rest of the year as well:

  • Practise French
  • Practise Danish
  • Draw
  • Practise piano

My plan with these habits will be to carve out specific time to get them done, and focus on getting a single one solid over a month or so before focusing on another. Making time and space in my day on a regular basis is definitely the hardest part, but also makes building a habit much easier, so that's got to be my first step.

P.S. I make some stuff you might like: Exist, a personal analytics app to help you understand your life, Larder, a bookmarking app for developers, and Changemap, a roadmap and changelog for transparent teams.

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