2016 Challenges half way point check in

Earlier at the start of this year I made some challenges to myself for some things that I would like to accomplish by the end of the year. Being that we are hitting the half way point of 2016 I thought I would check in on these tasks and see how I’m doing. As I publicly declared them to start I thought I might as well share the progress, good or bad.

In 2016 I have the following goals:

Send my niece Olivia a letter every month

So far this year I am six for all six months. The letter for June has already been sent. It has been a lot of fun to write Olivia and tell her about the stuff going on here in Seattle with myself and Cassidy. Going back to using pen and paper to write an actual letter has been super weird, but also incredibly fun. My brother keeps telling me how much Olivia appreciates it and how she really enjoys reading them.

Perform a standup comedy set

This one is still on the list to be accomplished. I have been writing jokes that I come up with in one of my notebooks and I’m starting to really come up with an idea of how I would like to present the set. I have also recently found some places in Seattle where open mic standup comedy is done. I have one place in particular that I think will be the place I do it at. As a bonus it is close to my house and should be easy to get to when I’m ready. Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about this one so far.

Run a total of 400 miles

This one I’m not so sure about. As of now I am still under 100 miles in total which if I was on pace I would be at or beyond 200 by this point in the year. Right now I am sidelined by a minor foot issue/injury that is keeping me from running. But, I am doing some work outs to keep up my cardiovascular ability as well as give my foot time to get healthier and stronger for when I do start running again. This is really just a sign of my lack of physical experience with the sport coming out and I need to take it seriously if I am going to keep doing it, which is the plan. I may not make it with this one, but I am sure gonna try to get in as many miles as I can this year. Next year might be the one I do this in.

Make writing code my full time work

As of the time of my writing this my job function is not writing code full time. I have started to do support for developer’s that are using the Smartsheet API rather than the standard support queue. This has been really exciting and is very interesting to me. I am also getting more opportunity in this to show off the development skills I have gained in my learning. This is feeling pretty on track as well.

Learn to swim

I completed eight weeks of adult swimming lessons earlier this year. I took what I learned there and used it to swim almost every day when Cassidy and I were in Maui. It was awesome. I’m not calling this one complete as though I do feel like I have the ability to get places in the water I am not the best yet at treading water and staying afloat. This summer I plan on swimming more at the city pools and getting more comfortable in the water. Once I am swimming easily in the deep end I will mark this as done. But, we are looking on track.

Write 100 blog posts

This year has been the most active for me as far as blogging goes. I really like the format of this blog and the freedom I feel in writing it. My last post prior to this one was the 50th post I wrote this year, so it is looking good to get to 100 by the end.

So far the goals are all looking to be on track for the most part. I feel like I am making progress on all fronts and can accomplish most of them. Rally it is only the running one that I think is in danger of not getting accomplished. Anything I don’t do this year I am thinking I will move over into next year. I will have to complete it along with whatever challenges I have for 2017. Have you set any goals for this year? How are you doing on them?

My challenges for 2016 – putting my money where my mouth is

Yesterday I talked about making challenges instead of resolutions for a new year as a way to help make sure I grow as a person with each year. Yesterday’s post may have come off as a little preachy to some, so I decided to put my money where my mouth is and publicly declare my challenges for the following year. Then at the end of 2016 I can do a post about where I succeeded and where I fell short.

In no particular order they are as follows:

Send my niece Olivia a letter every month

Cassidy and I moved up to Seattle over three years ago now one thing I really miss is my niece Olivia. When we first got here I planned on sending her a postcard regularly as a way to stay in contact even though I can’t be around physically as often. I seriously failed at doing that as often as I wanted. This year I am challenging myself to write her a letter every month for the entire year. Yesterday I addressed twelve envelopes to her and stamped them as well. Now I have no excuse to not sit down and write her something each month. My brother recently had another child, his name is Archer and he rules, so I will have to figure something out for him too. But, for now I have this plan for Olivia.

Perform a standup comedy set

I have always been told I’m a funny person, both in terms of looks and my sense of humor. As a kid I dreamed of being an entertainer. Thinking back on it, being a standup comedian is the first thing I ever thought about as a kid that I wanted to be when I grew up. As I grew up I performed a few times in talent shows through school and stuff. I did pretty well for myself. In the city talent show I even got a shout out in the local newspaper with my picture on the front of a section. It was pretty cool. Then I had a performance where I bombed really hard. It didn’t go well. The jokes didn’t land with the crowd and I struggled through it. That was the last time I ever performed standup comedy. I still did drama in high school and performed in lots of other ways where I made people laugh, but that was the last time I did true standup. So, this year I am resolving to work on and write a new routine with some jokes and perform once at an open mic night or something like that.

Run a total of 400 miles

I am incredibly out of shape and need to do something about it. I can finally admit that I enjoy running and want to use it as a method to get healthier and be in better shape. This year I am going to run a total of 400 miles over the whole year.

Make writing code my full time work

I have learning to code since not long after we moved to Seattle and I have been finding ways to make it part of the work I do professionally. This year I am challenging myself to make it so that writing code is my full time job.

Learn to swim

I am a 34 year old man who does not know how to swim. Most of the time this isn’t a big deal, but living in a place where water is so prevalent it really isn’t a good thing that I don’t know how to do it. If I were to be on a boat and fell in the water I could endanger someone else as they attempt to rescue me. Also, Cassidy and I just booked a trip to Hawaii in May and I would really like to be able to have fun in the ocean with my wife without having the thought of possibly drowning in the back of my mind the whole time.

Write 100 blog posts

Finally, a challenge that directly relates to this blog. I am going to try and write 100 blog posts this year. That works out to about a couple a week. With all of these challenges to work on and my other ideas for posts I think I will have enough material to do it. Plus, I’ve always wanted to seriously post to a blog as a form of expressing my thoughts. The best part is that this post takes care of one already. 99 to go!

I am of course tracking my progress on these challenges in Smartsheet. I have a 2016 challenges sheet as well as a 2016 running log to track the miles I run. I will try to check in on my progress to these over the year and will definitely revisit this post at the end of 2016 to see where I landed on them.

Do you have any challenges for yourself in the new year? Let me know in the comments!

The end of the year is nigh! – Happy New Year to everyone

The last day of the year feels like a good day for a blog post. I really enjoy celebrating the coming of a new year. It is a great opportunity to reflect on the past year of your life and see what you enjoyed and what you would have preferred never happened, even to your worst enemy. Most people don’t like the reflection part and just go for the celebrating. I assume this is because reflection on one’s life is a one way ticket to a rabbit hole of worrying about one’s mortality. But, I still think it is important.

This past year I have made some big strides in learning code and making code a part of my work which I plan to continue in 2016. I made the trip of a lifetime to Japan with the best partner for my lifetime. Who is my amazing wife Cassidy if that is unclear in any way. Overall, I am really happy with how 2015 went and I look forward to working harder in 2016 towards new goals. When it comes to a new year I don’t like the idea of resolutions. Resolving to do something feels like setting up failure which doesn’t feel good. It feels like you are flipping a switch to make something good happen when life doesn’t work that way. For real change to happen real work needs to be put in. Instead I try to view them as challenges for the new year. It helps me to keep them in the back of my mind throughout the year and if I don’t complete them I can at least measure how close I came and what I could have done differently to accomplish them. All in all, personal growth happens. Huzzah!

This time of year the most common thing I see online is people talking about how much the last year sucked and how they are looking forward to the next year because it won’t be the last year that just happened which was crappy. The thing is that this happens year after year and in some cases it is the same people saying it every year.

Now, I’m not making any claim to have all knowledge of people’s lives and there is no way I can truly know how the last year of someone’s life was because I am not them. But, if you find yourself thinking this kind of stuff I suggest you try looking back at the past year and asking yourself what you could have done differently. Of course, there are the inescapable tragedies that happen in our lives which are beyond our control. I’m not telling people to ask themselves what they could have done differently in those situations. Sometimes the chaotic universe throws us a curveball and we have to find a way through the mess. But, in many moments in our lives we have the opportunity to make decisions. It is those moments I suggest people reflect on. Ask yourself, could I have made some better choices?

It may seem like the universe is a random place where nothing is controlled by anything. As an atheist this is my general view in many regards. But, there are plenty of moments in our lives where we have a chance to do something and what decision we make can greatly affect our lives. We have a lot more control than we give ourselves credit. I see a lot of people who put blame on the events of their lives for things not turning out a certain way. I also see lots of other people who have similar events, but take charge of their decisions and succeed. I’m not trying to preach to anybody here as that is not the intent of this post, but I just want to offer some perspective that we can accomplish the things we want. We just need to decide to do so.

So, Happy New Year everyone! I don’t know about you, but I’m all outta bubblegum. Let’s kick 2016’s ass!