Ah, a fresh New Year. That time when most people make New Year’s statements about the things they wish would happen automatically in their life and make half hearted attempts to make them come true.
I do not believe in “New Years Resolutions” but I do believe in making a plan for the new year and setting some SMART goals and following through with them in the coming year. In case you have not heard of SMART goals before they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
First we will review how we did last year.
Last Year’s Goals
At the beginning of 2015 I set some public goals for myself (public being used loosely here because a new blog like this has 0 readers). Let’s see how I did.
Goal 1 – Write 1 Blog Post per Week
You can see for yourself that I only got half way there on this goal writing 26 out of the 52 planned posts.
What Went Wrong
I started out good and was writing and posting every Sunday for the first 4 months, then I met Resistance (aka “Life”) and let my writing ritual become sporadic.
The Resistance in this case was I moved cities on a little shorter notice than I liked and spent at least 4 weekends in a row in the new city looking for a new apartment before the move.
I allowed this to break my writing streak and did not recover from it for the rest of the year.
Also, in August I was in Thailand for 2 weeks and traveling everyday without access to internet (which was surprisingly enjoyable) and although I had already planned to be gone and unable to write or post for those 2 weeks, I failed to build a buffer of posts ahead of time.
As far as I know, I have 0 readers for this blog. Which is entirely my fault as I do 0 marketing currently. Planning on changing that this year.
What Went Right
I wrote 26 freaking blog posts!!! Which is 25 more than I wrote the year before and a bunch more than most programmers wrote this year. Definitely a major improvement.
I did stick to a schedule for the first part of the year.
I learned the importance of having a buffer for when Resistance shows up so that the goal will be met. This is similar to insurance or an emergency fund in financial terms.
Goal 2 – Make 1 Game per Month for 11 Months
Again I got about half way there and was doing well until the same Resistance mentioned before but for this one, I also made additional mistakes.
What Went Wrong
First of all, letting resistance break my streak and not recovering same as with the writing. But I made 2 additional mistakes.
First, I started making a game by building a part that was not essential to the game. Game number 5 is a space ship tactics game and instead of starting by building a game board with ships that could move and fight, I built a fleet construction menu which handicapped me when I actually tried to make the playable part of the game. It became easier to start again from scratch than to try to untangle the mess I had made for myself.
Having this mess to slog through to try to finish the game made working on it no fun and so I kept putting it off to do more enjoyable things like reading a book or playing video games. It took me a while to get around to the solution of starting over with a playable MVP.
Second, I switched programming languages/platforms in the middle of the year to one that was not game focused. While this is not really a bad thing, it did cost me a little time learning the second new platform.
What Went Right
I learned a ton. Having never made games before, this was a fantastic learning experience. Now I can say that I have made 5 games.
I got to watch some people try my games. A few friends and family members tested my games for me and it was an great learning experience watching them learn the controls and ask questions to help me learn what was missing. Play testers are invaluable. Try to find as many as possible.
There are now 5 “completed” programming projects that I did that I can put on a Resume in the event that I ever need another job. This is worth it just by itself.
Goal 3 – Take on and complete 6 Freelance contracts
Zero is the number you are looking for if you want to know how many freelance contracts I got.
Not entirely for lack of trying. Admittedly I made no effort until after I moved and then my effort was not focused or very determined, there was no real desire.
I did manage to have a discussion with a guy about a possible job, but it was an overly complicated app idea that I did not feel was in my wheelhouse or would make a good app.
However, I was able to pass along some advice from a freelance and entrepreneur podcast to a friend of mine so not all of my research was wasted.
Nothing went overly right or wrong for this goal because nothing really went at all. Not worried about it though.
2015 was another year of learning, but with action. I wrote more than I had in any previous year and programmed 5 video games that I can show to people.
Sure I did not meet my goals, but having goals and planning things got me to do more than I ever had before. For that, I say 2015 was a success.
Stay tuned for goals for 2016.