New Year's Resolutions as a Developer

Pretty much every year, I make resolutions that I just never do. Almost always, they are something like "lose this much weight" or "give up snack food" or something like that. I did some thinking, and I'm going to take a different approach to New Year's Resolutions this year.

Since I'm a developer, I of course have to over-complicate it, so here is the system I'm going to try and stick to:

  • 1 year-long resolution
  • 1 per-month resolution
  • 3 at-some-point-this-year resolutions
  • 1 per-week resolution
  • However many "passive" resolutions

Now, the weekly one will be the most difficult to keep up with regularly. I'm hoping it will become a habit eventually, and I figure that would be a good place to stick my health-related resolution. As for the "passive" resolutions, I figure it doesn't hurt to map out some things to just keep in mind or try to focus on improving.

Year Long Resolution - Finish...something

Over the course of 2015, I want to completely finish one major project. Something that has my name on the author slot and can really impress people. This might be the game I'm working on, or maybe something completely outside of the world of programming. Maybe I'll write a short story compilation, or maybe I'll start some kind of organization. Who knows? I have noticed that, more often than not, I give up on a side project, usually because something else catches my interest, or I don't have time to keep up with it. I plan to section off time to actually get something great done.

Per Month Resolution - Open Source Goodness

I love open source stuff. I use it every single day of my life, and when programming, I'm probably using some open source project, or trying to make one of my own. Each month, I want to contribute something to an open source project that is not my own. Big or small, I plan to do my part in the awesome world that is open source.

"At Some Point" Resolutions

1. Purge some crap

I've got SO MUCH CRAP lying around. I don't want to make this sound like I've just got everything there is to have; it's mostly junk. I, and a lot of other people, work best in a clean, simple environment, and I want to do that to every place in my life. I want to cut down the clutter and simplify everything. Electronics, clothes, gadgets, doo-dads, whatever. Ultimately, I'd like to donate as much as I can. If you have some extra stuff lying around that you don't really need lying around, I'd suggest you do the same!

2. Consolidate my environments

I've got a work laptop (mac), a personal laptop (chromebook), a personal desktop (windows/ubuntu), a production linode for work, 2 production linodes for pet projects, and a personal linode (not to mention random other machines lying around - see "purge some crap"). A few weeks back, I pushed a bunch of my configuration files to github so I could standardize them across my machines. That is a good start, but ideally, I want to minimize the context switch between environments.

I don't really want to give up the different operating systems. I have a use case for each one, but from a hardware, software and workflow perspective, I'd like to standardize as much as I can.

3. Learn a brand new skill

I realize that this is a lot like the year-long one, as you can't just instantly learn a skill, but it also isn't as massive of an undertaking as the year long one implies. I have a short list of what the skill I'd like to learn would be, and most of them are in the world of art. I've always been absolutely terrible with art, especially digital art. It shows in my older games and most of my pet projects that are done without a designer. I'm hoping that I can put some focus into learning something that will entertain a different side of my brain and still help out with my general goings-ons.

Per Week Resolution - Do something screenless and healthy

Walks, working out, meditation, anything. I'd like to spend some time each week without a screen and without notifications. A designated "digital life doesn't exist" time. I don't think I could get away with doing it the same time each week, but maybe when I see a free evening coming up, I'll just shut everything down and head on a hike or go for a long walk around the neighborhood or head into the city. I think everyone could benefit from some screen-off time.

"Passive" Resolutions

Everything up until now is pretty goal-oriented. Everything has a way of saying "yes, I did this." I want a few things to just keep in mind, maybe influence some decisions. I don't really have a full list, but here's the gist of some:

Avoid unnatural foods

I feel like I've gotten into some bad habits after college. I got used to eating and drinking things that are just outright unnatural. Lots of processed things, dried foods, canned stuff. I'm not saying I plan to go 100% organic, but I'd like to focus on eating a simpler diet. Stuff that makes sense to eat. Black beans instead of refried beans. Stuff like that.

Stop rushing

I used to feel like I always had to rush, especially throughout my education. That is all behind me now, and I really want to focus on slowing down and enjoying moments as they happen rather than focusing on one happening down the road. In my work, I'd like to think less of getting things done asap and more on progressing to the goal. Life isn't a race, and I definitely don't want to try to be the first to the finish line.

Nothing is absolute

I have a bad habit of seeing things as black and white. The sad part about that is that usually the grey is the best part. I'd like to stay open to more things in work and life. From the smallest disagreement to the biggest life decisions, maybe I can consider more sides to each discussion.

Man, thats a lot to think about. 6 resolutions and a handful of "keep in minds." I used to think that resolutions are a waste of time, but really it is just a way to think about all the good things you can do for yourself in the coming year. Can't hurt, right?

You should take some time for yourself as well and jot down some ideas. The near year is just around the corner, so take a breather and think about all the things you could do to make your life better, big or small.