Happy New Years Eve!

Today, like most people around the world, I’m looking forward to the new year and the party that comes with it.  I love New Years Eve, but it’s not because it’s an excuse to have family & friends over or getting a day off on New Years Day, even though those things are nice.  For many, the new year is a chance to start over and recommit to the things they didn’t accomplish the prior year. Did any of us workout, write, or complete enough of our goals in 2014?  I didn’t and I imagine I wasn’t the only one.  I like to use New Years Eve to look back at my prior year goals, see what I accomplished, and what goals I need to make for the coming year.

What happened in 2014?

The two past years have been life altering for my family and I.  Towards the end of 2013 my son was born, which reshaped my entire 2014 priorities.  My main goal of 2014 was to figure out a way to make enough money so my wife could leave her job and take care of our son full-time.  My wife and I really wanted to make this happen and in 2014 we decided to do it, but I needed to be able to earn more money to balance the income we’d lose when she left her job.  I figured there were two options: find a new job with a salary increase and/or start a side-hustle to earn extra income.  At the beginning of 2014, I tried doing both but I quickly found out that trying to do both of these goals, take care of an infant, finish a graduate degree, while working full-time was not a good idea.  I realized I would only have enough time for finding a new job or creating a side-hustle. I had been in my position for a few years and knew I was due for either a raise or I’d receive a significant raise if I choose to leave my company.  Finding a new job was what I achieved in June of 2014.  Juggling a job search, a full-time job, completing a graduate degree, and helping to raise an infant was nerve wrecking but it gave my family the financial freedom to have us live on one income.  It’s been almost six months since my wife left her job and I don’t think we could be happier with our decision.  It’s allowed me to focus on my work while my wife is an all-star all day long.  We’re expecting our second child in January and I have no idea how she does everything.  It’s amazing.

Figuring out a way to supplement our loss of income was our main goal of 2014, but I also had a number of other goals that were a mixture of success and failure. I’ll list them here with a brief description:

  • Be an Awesome Father: Obviously, this was my main goal of 2014 and it will be my main goal for the rest of my life.  I think I did a pretty decent job, but my wife can probably give a more accurate answer.
  • Create a Side-Hustle: Quickly, realized that this was too much to achieve at the beginning of the year. I’m thinking this will be one of my big goals of 2015.
  • Write Everyday: I started out 2014 writing 750 words on 750words.com for almost 90 days in a row, until I tried to make it a blog post a day.  I eventually missed a day and I couldn’t seem to get back on track the rest of the year.  On the positive side, I wrote more this year then I’ve ever written in one year.  I started writing on and off on January 31, 2014 and with this post I’ll have written 121 posts over the course of 2014.  That’s pretty amazing for guy who didn’t write anything longer than a few sentence email only a few short years ago.  I’ve been blogging everyday for about a month because it’s one of my new Pick Four goals.  I want this daily habit to continue throughout 2015.
  • Learn to Code: I wanted to work on this a long with completion of my graduate degree.  It was one of the main reasons I went back to school for technology.  I want to be apart of the group of people who are creating the future.  I did a lot of coding in grad school but I don’t feel like I was able to get comfortable with anything because I didn’t practice everyday and I kept jumping to a different language each semester.  I have experience with a lot of languages, which I wouldn’t have without taking all these courses but I’m not great at any of them.  Committing to daily practice is another one of my 2015 goals.
  • Completing My Graduate Degree: In 2011, I decided to go back to earn a graduate degree, which for all of my peers meant an MBA but thought of it didn’t excite me.  I wanted something different and I was more interested in technology and programming.  This lead me to a degree in Information Science.  It wasn’t the most glamorous choice and an MBA would have probably been the quicker more profitable option but I wouldn’t have been doing any of the things I’m doing now if I had went to get an MBA.  This has been my thought process when I decided to not get an MBA then and it’s still what I think now.  An MBA is the right path for some people, it just wasn’t the right path for me.
  • Move (& Sweat) Everyday: I done a good job of this at times throughout the year.  Moving to a new job without a gym to workout at during lunch has been a major negative to achieving this goal but I’ve been doing a good job of working out in the morning and I’m saving some money. I ran my third half-marathon in 2014 but I wasn’t able to complete a Ironman 70.3 or another full marathon.  Two goals I want to achieve in 2015.
  • Organized our Finances: Completed the I Will Teach You To Be Rich 6 Week Plan.  My wife and I did a pretty great job of organizing our finances, cutting expenses, and setting a budget using YNAB.  This was probably the second best thing I achieved all year.
  • Build a Trail: I started this goal towards the end of the year and it will be one of my main focuses in 2015.
  • Speak in Public: Completed a number of Toastmasters’ speeches.  In 2015, I wanted to complete my CC & CL and speak to a few non-Toastmasters group.
  • Get More Involved in the Pittsburgh Tech Community: I attended the Pitt iSchool TEC Conference at the beginning of the year and I wanted to try to attend a Meetup once a month but family, work, job search made this unrealistic.  In November, I finally got motivated to attend Pittsburgh Startup Weekend and it was one of my best decisions of the year.  If you have a chance to attend a Startup Weekend, do it!  You can read about my experience here. I ended up being lucky enough to join a talented team, Agendafy, that went on to win Startup Weekend and place as the 1st Runner Up in the Global Startup Battle.  Now Agendafy is being developed into a product and beta testing will hopefully begin during Q1.  Next thing on my list is to attend a local TED event and start attending a monthly Tech Meetup like Code & Supply.

I’m sure there were plenty of other goals like a number of books I wanted to read, places I wanted to visit, or whatever.  I can’t think of them now so they must not have been that important.  Tomorrow, I’ll talk about my BIG goals for 2015.