New Year's Goals

2018 New Year’s Goals Review

Welcome to 2019! Like the last two years, I did a complete life review of how 2018 went and what I want for 2019. During that process, I evaluated progress on my 2018 goals and set new goals for 2019.

In past years, I combined the previous year’s goals review with the new year’s goals announcement. However, these posts have gotten quite long, so this year, I have split the review and announcement into two separate blog posts.

So let’s see how last year’s goals went.

Draw Well

I completely missed on this goal, and I knew it by March.

This project started in 2017 when I began working through Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. However, I never found a good rhythm or time to draw. Since I quit community wind ensemble, I had freed up my Wednesday evening from rehearsal. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the motivation to sit down and draw. Band rehearsal was easy because I was accountable to everyone else. Drawing was because I was on my own.

The real tell of my lack of commitment is that I never bought the book: I had it on loan from the library, and when it came due, I just returned it. I tried several other exercises to keep drawing, but none of them stuck.

I picked this goal to become more artistic. I still consider this one of my biggest weaknesses, but it isn’t so significant in my life. In my job and hobbies, I rely on other skills, so until this gap becomes more apparent, I don’t think it will return.

Work through the cookbook Plenty

This goal went really well! Julie and I made perhaps a dozen recipes of out Plenty, and although some dishes didn’t turn out as hoped, some are new favorites.

I can proudly show Plenty on my shelf. I didn’t like owning this highly acclaimed cookbook just for the pictures, but I can now say that I got my money’s worth out of it, especially since I’m pretty sure it was a gift.

I learned what a vegetarian main entree looks like. I learned to use new vegetables like leeks, parsnips, and baby zucchini. I regularly kept fresh herbs in jars in my fridge. Before, I couldn’t tell what parsley added to a dish, but now, I have eaten dishes and thought that they needed parsley. And Ottolenghi just cooks differently than I do with my sort of Chinese, sort of American cuisine. 

Submit an iOS app to the App Store

I completely missed on this goal as well. Again, I also realized it just a few months into the year.

I thought I could use my spare time to work on a iOS app, but I ended up working on more on Spawning Tool instead. Although I thought that the feature set wasn’t going to change too much, I made a big push to support Co-op replays and data on the site. 

The primary reason I wanted to learn iOS was for my day job. At Zanbato, we had a mobile apps, and I was unfamiliar with the technical implementation. I thought that I could appreciate and contribute more if I did my homework.

Although I didn’t build this app, necessity took over, and I am currently in a minor support role for our iOS app to our primary mobile developer. I configured a server to automatically test and deploy updates to the app, I wrote a variety of tests, I review the code, and I even made one very minor change to the app itself that will ship with the next release. I am not that much closer to knowing how to write an app from scratch, but I have a useful amount of knowledge.

I also wanted to learn a new software development skill for my long-term professional development and growth. However, my professional growth in the past year has been mostly non-technical, so I still feel like I learned a lot.

Study a Book

And my final goal of the year is a mixed bag. 

I to read Plato’s The Republic since it is perhaps the foundation of Western literature and philosophy. When I read it the first time, I thought it was ridiculous. It’s written as a dialogue where Socrates explains stuff, other people ask questions, and then everyone just agrees. It seems to pick (or make up) outrageous examples with many potential counter-arguments that no one ever makes. My initial opinion was that this book was a waste of time because we have had millennia of additional development in philosophy.

And then I read some analysis of The Republic and came back with a much more charitable perspective. I took his examples less literally and tried to get to the core ideas that he was grappling with. Then I realized that he was asking questions that we still don’t have answers for today.

What is good, and is it worth doing, or do the bad guys always come out ahead? If everything was created by god, and god is good, why is there evil? In an ideal society, how do you balance the happiness of the society as a whole versus the liberty of any individual to pursue their own happiness?

I’m in the middle of my second read through right now, and although I appreciate it more, it is still a slog. Even with a relatively modern translation, the language is difficult to get through, and my mind tends to wander when reading. Since it’s taking such a long time to read, it’s also hard to keep track of what is being discussed. However, I hope it builds character.

I don’t think I will continue to study this book past this read through, but I’m glad that I gave it a second shot.


I had a tough time with my goals in 2018, and in retrospect, I was too ambitious.. Three of my four goals were entirely new activities (rather than changes to existing activities), and I didn’t have a clear system for committing or making progress on them. I just didn’t set aside time for them, and these goals ended up being less important than what I was doing in my life already.

So I have new goals put together as well as a plan for implementing them. I’ll follow up in my next post to share those goals!

One reply on “2018 New Year’s Goals Review”

Reading philosophy by yourself is really tough. It is a topic better suited to discussion. That’s why Plato had the form of meeting with others to work out ideas. You might try a meetup with other philosophically minded thinkers, to learn about the material, and yourself.

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