Looking back at 2015 goals

First off, can I just say I hope you've all had a fantastic Christmas/holiday break and are looking forward to starting a new year and perhaps turning over a leaf or two. In this in-between period between two festivities and as the new year approaches, we're presented with the ideal time to reflect on our achievements over the last year and to celebrate what we have accomplished and what we didn't manage to achieve (maybe even understand why).

My 2015 turned out to be the year I kickstarted this blog after reading John Sonmez's book Soft Skills: A Developer's Life Manual. John's book inspired me to start my own blog again and create a corner of the web where I can discuss and document my journey and thoughts as a software developer. In a serious way this time. Previously with my blog attempts, I was as reliable as a British train timetable (if you live in Britain you'll understand what I mean).

Back in June I posted an accountability post on my goals for the rest of 2015 entitled Setting Goals and Making Yourself Accountable. On reflection I was over-ambitious. Often we tend to want to achieve as much as we can irrespective of whether we have the time or capabilities. In hindsight, I felt it was overwhelming to try to add too many 'new' behaviours at once in a month and counter-productive. Writing regular blog posts, managing and growing a social media presence alongside a full-time job is probably more than I could have hoped for in 6 months of 2016.

As a recap here is what I actually achieved of the things I promised to achieve.

My Goals (2015)

Jan 2015
☑ Write first 4 blog posts for devangst.com

Feb 2015
☑ Setup Blog on devangst.com
☑ Write first few blog posts
☑ Complete blogging graduate course from simpleprogrammer.com
☑ Get blog delivered by commit to GitHub only (Continuously Delivered

Mar 2015
☑ Theme Devangst.com
☑ Setup sales funnel for Theme

Apr 2015
☑ List Angsty Theme for sale
☑ Subscribe and listen to lots of different podcasts
☑ Build a Contact Form for Blog

May 2015
☑ Subscribe to relevant podcasts
☑ Regular running in the morning

Jun 2015
☑ Start meditating
☐ Outline ebook "The Ultimate Ghost Blog"
☐ Come up with deadlines for ebook

Jul 2015
☐ Write X chapters of eBook
☐ Outline Java course content for getjavacertified.com
☐ Sort out a jingle / intro for devangst.com podcast
☐ Create AMI for Amazon Ghost Blog (cookie cutter blogs)
☐ Green-Blue (Zero Downtime) Blog deployment for devangst.com
☐ GOAL: 100 session per/day to devangst.com

Aug 2015
☐ Write X chapters of eBook
☐ Buy Equipment for podcasting (nearly bought all equipment)
☐ Create 4 podcast episodes for devangst.com podcast
☐ Setup productivedev.com blog
☐ Create theme for getjavacertified.com
☐ Create first section of content for getjavacertified.com

Sept 2015
☐ Write X chapters of eBook
☐ Create first section of content for getjavacertified.com
☐ GOAL: 200 session per/day to devangst.com

Oct 2015
☐ Write X chapters of eBook

Nov 2015
☐ Write X chapters of eBook
☐ Setup a strategy for marketing eBook

Dec 2015
☐ Write X chapters of eBook
☐ Finalise eBook ready for sale

End of Year Goals

☐ 400 sessions per day on http://devangst.com (only achieved 50/day)
☐ 100 listeners to the podcast
☐ 1,000 view for YouTube channel
☐ 50 subscribers to YouTube channel
☐ List “The Ultimate Ghost Blog” eBook for sale

Weekly goals

☑ Minimum 1 blog post/week
☐ Minimum 1 YouTube for devangst.com/week
☐ Minimum 1 podcast episode every 2 weeks

Technical Books to read in 2015

Soft Skills by John Sonmez
Refactoring by Martin Fowler
The Cucumber for Java Book by Seb Rose
Design Patterns by Gang of Four
Growing Object Oriented Software Guided by Tests by Steve Freeman
Release It! by Michael T. Nygard
DevOps Troubleshooting by Kyle Rankin
Continuous Delivery by Jez Humble and Dave Farley
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Sussman and Abelsen
Java 8 for the Impatient by Cay S. Horstmann
Scala for the Impatient by Cay S. Horstmann
Scala in Action by Nilanjan Raychaudhuri
Vagrant: Up and Running by Mitchell Hashimoto
The Joy of Clojure by Michael Fogus
7 Languages in 7 weeks by Bruce A. Tate
Node.js in Action by Mike Cantelon

Personal Reading List

Game of Thrones: Dance with Dragons - Dreams and Dust (Part I) by George R.R. Martin
Game of Thrones: Dance with Dragons - After the Feast (Part II) by George R.R. Martin
Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
David vs Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Books Read Not On the List

The Global Minotaur by Yanis Varoufakis
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
Review of Power of Habit: Why we do what we do and how to changeBitcoin: The Future of Money by Dominic Frisby
The Martian by Andy Weir

Social Goals

☐ 500 Twitter followers for @developerangst (currently at 464)
☐ 1,000 Twitter followers for @jmurphyuk
☐ 200 Twitter followers for @productivedev
☐ Attend 6 conferences/meetups in 2015 (attended 3)

Future Goals (2016)

☐ Build a podcast with 5,000 listeners
☐ Launch ghostfordevelopers.com 1st Quarter 2016 to support the ebook
☐ Make sales of £10,000 from The Ultimate Ghost Blog ebook (so 500 sales at £20/book)
☐ Make sales worth £50,000 from getjavacertified.com (e.g. £199 ~ 250 sales)
☐ Pass the Java 8 certification exam with Oracle

As you can see, I only achieved about 50% of the goals I set myself in the end. Slightly dispiriting... I'm a firm believer though, that we should set lofty goals for ourselves that stretch our capabilities and even if we don't achieve them all, we'd have done better than if we set really low objectives we could easily achieve.

However, as always expect the unexpected. Sometimes we pursue opportunities that help us towards our main goals.

Unlisted Goals Achieved

☑ Appeared on #c9d9 Continuous Delivery webinar on Strategies for Deploying Mission Critical Apps
☑ Changed jobs. Now working for Rentalcars.com on their Rideways product.
☑ Regular Guest Blogger (on SimpleProgrammer.com)

After launching the blog back in February after a few posts, in particular the one around How to Drive Your Ghost Blog Using Continuous Delivery, I was invited to appear on the Strategies for Deploying Mission Critical Apps Episode by Electric Cloud.

This was a fantastic discussion and I would never have had the opportunity to get involved and share my ideas around Continuous Delivery without the blog - I can safely getting started with writing the blog it's the single best thing I've done so far. Blogging gets you on people's radar if nothing else - so it's very useful if you want to open up opportunities that you otherwise wouldn't get.

Also, I was given the opportunity to regularly write on SimpleProgrammer.com:

Practical Tips on Securing Your Next Technology Role
Achieve Supercharged CEO Productivity
How to Hire a Tech Team

Personal Goals

One of the ways you can change your mindset is to change your overall behaviours and routines. In February, I felt as though my health was in a pit. Although I was up fairly early each morning I wasn't feeling as motivated as I could be.

After listening to podcasts such as The Tim Ferriss Show, I felt inspired to change my early morning routine partly as a way to stay fit and motivated, but also as a way to handle stress. I've found that both the motivation and the exercise has really helped me to achieve the majority of the goals this year. Without changing behaviour we may not be in a position to accomplish what we need to.

All-in-all it's been a fairly successful 2015 and whilst it could have been better I was happy with the results.

What is clear though, is the things I didn't do in 2016 I absolutely MUST do in 2016 (or simply not bother).

How did your 2015 go? What are you planning to do for 2016? Are there things about your behaviour you'd like to change?

James Murphy

Java dev by day, entrepreneur by night. James has 10+ years experience working with some of the largest UK businesses ranging from the BBC, to The Hut Group finally finding a home at Rentalcars.

Manchester, UK
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