Looking ahead to 2016

Every year, we make resolutions. Some make decisions, other make mantras.

I’m a fan of all these things, and relish in the chance to engage in self examination and set some goals for myself.

For 2015, my mantra and goal was to “trim the fat”. This meant a couple things:

  • Lose fat, not just weight, and be in better health.
  • Focus on one or two things professionally.

At the end of the year, the last three months of 2015, I lost about 27 pounds, and went from a 31% body fat count to a 21% body fat count. Not bad. I’d like to be at 12% or under. I’m adjusting my diet and workout routine to be rigorous enough to get there this year.

I also narrowed my focus from web development and copywriting to just web development. This suits my personality better, I enjoy it more, and it’s been the more stable work for me over the last year. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about it this year, but 2015 was a great opportunity for me to begin to stabilize as a freelance web developer.

So, what’s in store for 2016? This is what I’ve been thinking of for the past month, but I think the new phrase for the year is: “Go pro, write and be generous.

Here’s how this breaks down:

Go Pro

My goal, starting in February, is to get hired by a company as a either a junior developer or front-end engineer. Why get hired? Honestly, I want to get better at working with code and solving problems with code. A lot of my job currently revolves are interfacing with clients, billing, setting up and attending meetings, negotiating, etc. I’d like to cut a lot of that stuff out and spend more time on coding and problem solving. Also, i’d love the experience of working on a team, especially with people who have way more experience than I do. I could learn a lot from them. Right now, I either need to sub-contract or pay for consulting fees. And the buck stops with me on all my projects. I’d like to share more responsibility:-).

To that end, I’m trying to develop a position and body of work. What does that mean? I’ve been mostly listening the last year and a half about opinions on development and the WordPress community. It’s been really good to keep my mouth shut and listen to people who have been around longer than me and know more. It’s also given me a chance to sift through some topics and people. I now have a solid group of “go-to” voices whom I respect and have become familiar with their work and thoughts. I’ve started to form my own opinions and articulate my thoughts. I want those to be represented in the work I do and the things I write.

While it is implicit, for me, my physical health underlies my ability to work as a pro. If I’m not functioning well or taking care of myself, I cannot be efficient in my work or my life. So, I’m continuing to “trim the fat” this year and get in the best shape of my life. Website development can keep me seated for a long time, especially if I’m getting into a flow state. Working out and being mindful of my health promotes a better physical and mental state to work out in. I also have enjoyed looking better in my clothes and feeling good in my own skin.

Write

Two years ago, I actually wrote a workbook and put it on Amazon. It reflected the state of life and work I was involved in. While things have shifted dramatically for me since then, I found that writing was helpful for me to develop my thoughts as well as getting things “out there”.

So, my goal is to write 5 days a week here and other places, varying lengths of prose, recipes, thoughts, and reflections. If I miss a day, I’m not going to beat myself up, and I’m (probably) not going to try and make up the work, unless I’m writing to publish or have a deadline. I’m also going to look for opportunities to contribute and write on other blogs and news outlets.

Not only will I be writing words, but I’ll be writing code as well. I want to write more code, daily, and push it. This is the only way I’m going to get better at coding. I plan on pushing the public projects to GitHub, and any private projects, I’ll write about on my work log and push that, even though it’s not “real code”, it still counts (and it looks good on my GitHub contributions matrix!).

Be Generous

Finally, in 2016, I want myself and my wife to be more generous, professionally and personally. For me, this involves generosity in at least two areas: professional development and personal finances.

I want to start developing some things for free. This involves developing two plugins and a theme in the month of January. My goal is to get these up on the WordPress.org repository for others to use and benefit from. Of course, this also means that I’ll be able to have that added to my list of credentials.

Along those lines, I’ve been working through the exercises and projects on FreeCodeCamp (you can click there to see my profile). These are all Javascript based projects, and if I get my Front and Back End certifications through them, I can work on building projects for non-profits and work on a team of volunteers. I’m SUPER excited about this, and wish there was something similar in the WordPress space (maybe there is, or maybe there needs to be, and I’ll get that started this year). All that to say is that I would love to help out folks in the non-profit sphere, and I’m glad there’s a way to do that which teaches Javascript in the meantime.

Lastly, we used to give a good portion of our gross (not net) income as tithing or donating to charity and causes we believed in. 2015 was a hard year emotionally for us, and I think that made us feel a little jaded and not generous. I wonder if the best way to remedy that is to start giving again, not because it feels good, but because it is good, and it’s who we are.

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So, that’s the phrase and plan for 2016. I’ll be reviewing this post occasionally, and updating on everything soon.

Feel free to post links to your 2016 goals, resolutions, phrases, whatever below.

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Peace,

Nate

Filed under: Blog, Favorites, Life, Web Development

3 Comments

  1. […] year, I try to make some New Years commitments, and I’ve written about those here. One of the activities I’ll probably engage in on a monthly basis is setting some […]

  2. […] I think I’ll be looking to level up a bit and work with an agency for a while. I’ve written about this previously, but I think allowing myself to work with a team of people further along than myself will benefit […]


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