What I Accomplished in 2015

My three themes for 2015 were Write, Give, and Code. I believed these themes would lead me to another great year.  Those three themes lead me to create 10 BIG goals for 2015:

1) Publish a blog post for every single day of 2015.

I didn’t publish a blog post every single day. For most of the year I post every day, but I did miss a few days and then I’d catch up. Not every day did I write a full blown blog post some were quotes and others were simply on sentence. In the end I wrote more than I have in any year. I took a week off in September and I was still able to complete over 355 posts in 2015. This was my most successful goal for the year and in 2016 it will again be another one of my big goals except this time I want to publish a post every single day.

2) Teach myself Ruby

I started the year with the goal of learning Ruby then I switched to Python because after completing some research I realized this was the language of Data Science which was something I concentrated on during the year. Throughout the year I coded more than I ever have. I worked with Ruby, Python, R, SQL, and JavaScript.

I switched from Ruby to Python and the worlds on Python and R for Data Science while I used SQL At my day job. Then, around June, I discovered Free Code Camp  which teaches Full Stack JavaScript.  I proceeded to program with Python most of the summer but by the end of the year I decided I want to focus on Free Code Camp because I love the community and I want to learn how to work with the full stack.

3) Raise $2,000 for the American Heart Association in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

I didn’t achieve my $2,000 dollar goal but I did raise over $1,000 dollars for the American Heart Association and completed my fourth half marathon. Plus, my original goal was to simply raise enough to satisfy the minimum requirement which was $400. I raised that amount in a matter of days and then I decided to raise my goal.

This was a goal I wanted to accomplish for the past few years and it’s probably one of my proudest moments of the year. It changed my outlook on charity and asking others for help.

4) Raise $10,000 for DIPG in an Ironman 70.3.

Unfortunately, at the beginning of the year I drastically underestimated the amount of time I would have available to spend training after my second child arrived. Lack of free time, gym in the beginning of the year, and discretionary spending ( I needed a road or tri bike, a cheap bike, could cost anywhere from $500 – $1,000, a wetsuit, new running shoes, clothes, swim club membership, and fuel).

5) Get involved with the Pittsburgh Tech Community by attending a Meetup once a month.

I didn’t get a chance to go to many meetups. I think I went to one around May at a local Google Analytics firm. After work, I really want to come home and spend some time with my family, not run to a happy hour. I’m going to try to achieve this goal in 2016 by attending some programming related Meetups to get some help while I work on my Free Code Camp related projects.

I want to get involved in a community but it doesn’t mean it necessarily has to be a local organization. It could be through free code camp, slack, Twitter, LinkedIn, or wherever. I just need to put myself out there and network.

This year, I did get involved in an organization but in didn’t deal with technology. It was Toastmasters. This year I attended meetings twice a month at the beginning of the year and then helped start a group at my company that meet every week, I became an officer at one of my clubs, gave a presentation at the district conference, and completed a panel presentation at a conference my company sponsored for young employees.

6) Become debt free.

This is one of my long term goals. It won’t happen over night but my wife and I made serious progress. We organized our finances, created a budget, found some big wins, cut the cord, and we’ve worked hard to stick with it. We’re not perfect and not exactly where we want to be but we’re on the right track.

7) Give one speech per month.

I got pretty close to completing twelve speeches in 2015. I didn’t complete one per month. I don’t think I completed any till about May but I completed three by the end of June and earned my Competent Communication and leadership awards from Toastmasters. Then I didn’t complete another speech until September. In October I got feed up with my lack of consistency and declared through a toastmasters speech that I’d be giving a speech every week until the end of the year. With the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s weeks I think I completed that goal. I gave about eight speeches through end of the year.

This will be one of my main goals in 2016. I want to give a speech every week in 2016. If i don’t have a venue to give my speech than I’ll simply record myself and post it on YouTube. Similar to the way I developed the habit in 2015 of writing a daily blog post, in 2016 I want to developed the habit of creating a weekly speech.

8) Start a Side-Hustle

Due to time constraints this goal got left by the wayside. It will be one of my main goals for 2016.

9) Run a project for a non-profit.

At the beginning of the year, I submitted a plan to a local nonprofit to complete this goal but the project fell through. I like to try to complete this but I’m not sure if time will allow it.

10) Self-publish a book.

I’m working on two books. One is, Dad’s Life Lessons, which I’ve been posting on this blog. I want to get about fifty lessons than trim it down to the best 10 or 15. Include a photo I took for each of them and then elaborate on each lesson to turn them in chapters.

The other book is from the suggestion of Zig Ziglar. It’s about how I think someone should live there life to be successful. It’s really going to be a mix between Zig’s advice and Austin Kleon’s, write the book you want to read. This one will also be a collection of modified blog posts

I didn’t totally complete everything but I made some good progress on seven out of ten goals. I consider that a win but I’m looking to improve in the coming year.

I also had a reading goal for 2015 which was to read a book every other week. I completed 22 books in 2015 and some of them were audiobooks. In 2016, I want to read at least 25 books.

Tomorrow, I’ll writ about my big goals for 2016.