I struggle to get really excited about New Years. It's just a calendar. Why is January 1st special? Why couldn't it be April 1st, and then we may not have to deal with April Fool's Day. I'm sure there is some complicated reason. My lack of involvement with New Year Resolutions and the general festivity never bothered me but I felt I was missing out on some of the positive aspects.
Back in 2013 I tried a new approach, inspired by Peter Bregman's book 18 Minutes. It's really simple: define 5 Areas of Focus and spend 80% of your time and energy there. I don't think that's the right level of energy for me based on what I'm doing in life right now, but the idea is sound. It's good to have focal points and to make little steps each and every day to get closer. Maybe at some point I can spend 80% of my energy towards these areas but it won't be 2015. In any case, simply keeping in mind these focal points has made huge differences in my life, motivation, and enjoyment.
It's difficult to think up these areas and commit to taking action. It took me most of the month, and many discussions with my wife. Now I feel quite stable and a feeling of optimism abounds. I know what I will work towards for the next year. It's way easier than figuring out what you want to be when you grow up. I hope I never discover what I want to be when I grow up.
More Effective Conversations
I'm going to begin certified coaching courses, and hopefully obtain certification in 2015. I may not make it, since coach training is a long process. I still plan on taking courses and workshops as often as possible. The goal is to feel more confident and be more effective in having important conversations that help others at a deeper level.
Travel More while Working
If I have an Internet connection and a computer I can work. Now that my kids are older there are a lot of opportunities ahead to travel and explore more of the world with them in a deeper way than what many others can do. Through 2015 I will take 2 trips where I will be working. This is a burden on my wife, since she will still primarily take care of the kids while traveling and we will be outside of our home comforts. I'm mindful of this, and believe I can be more engaged while traveling to alleviate some of that burden.
Expand my Capacity for Building Products
I don't feel I'm great at working with users to deliver a great experience. I can certainly build products, but they lack that final step of awesomeness. I want to build something specifically within the guidance of user feedback. This will require putting my ego and opinions aside entirely. I have an idea that I want to work on, which I will write about soon.
More Public Contributions
I consume Open Source Software for my job and daily life constantly, and rarely do I give back in the form of documentation, bug fixes, patches. I want to improve on this, and I want to develop more with a default of "Open Source". I'm learning Go, and building a command-line and server based daily note tracking system. I may Open Source The Daily Practice as well. The best validation is to contribute to existing Open Source projects as often as I can, when situations come up where I can make them better. Those opportunities arise frequently, and each time I move away.
Focused and Specific Writing
I want to further study writing, and improve my abilities here. I'm going to write both fiction and non-fiction. Through 2015 I will write 2 (terrible) short stories, and continue a rewrite of Be Better. Writing is such an interesting aspect of my life. I enjoy writing, and enjoy the clarity of thought it provides. However, it's one of the first things that I put aside when I'm under any time pressure. Out of all the things I should give up, writing is not there but is the first to go. This year I want to be more focused and keep up on it.
Wish me luck and hold me accountable.
Happy New Year