Groundhog Day Resolutions - January 2020

My 2019 Groundhog Day project was 70% of a success. I'm trying again this year and I'm aiming to improve on that figure.

Primary goals for January

1. Finalize my 2020 major goals

I have a fairly short list of major goals I'd like to achieve. I still need to go over the list to see what I really want to do vs what I think I want.

2. Finalize my 2020 secondary goals

This list if much, much longer than my primary goals list. I figure achieving 70% of a lot of goals is better than achieving 70% of not many goals. I'm also trying to sprinkle in some smaller goals that I can use to build "Success Spirals" (as seen in The Motivation Hacker).

3. Set up the 2020 hub page

I want to track the completion date of goals this time, but otherwise I'll keep the system mostly the same.

4. Create (and follow) a release plan for The Book

Although I set (and mostly finished) "Write a small ebook" as a goal in 2019, I still need to launch version 1. By February I'd like to have a solid plan in place and the launch underway.

Secondary goals for January

1. Create a game for FFSJam

I created Mini Shinobi for FFSjam 2017, and it really helped me focus on getting something done. I'd love to enter something for FFSjam 2020 to make up for the complete failure of my 2019 "make games" goal.


Groundhog Day Resolutions - 2019 Review

2019 is the first the year where I've really made an effort with my Groundhog Day Resolutions; normally I burn out in a few months, but this year I managed to get something done every month.

Major Achievements

Ran a half marathon

I've never been an athletic person, so this goal was a big challenge for me. I'm extremely happy with how it went.

Restarted my GTD system

It's been years since I really put effort into keeping organized. I used Emacs org-mode for keeping track of per-project tasks, but I fell behind on the process and didn't really have a central inbox.

This year I started using FacileThings to keep track of all of my goals, projects and tasks. It's a little expensive compared to some of the other options out there, but so far it's worked really well for me.

Wrote a lot of words

I wrote more posts in 2019 than any other year since I started this site. I would have liked to have written more, but The Book took up a lot of my writing energy as the year went on.

Perhaps 2020 will finally be the year where I write once a week.

Wrote The Book

I'm not a very good writer, so writing a book was a win for me. I'm not totally happy with the initial version, so I plan on publishing some more updates early next year.

I fell into my usual trap of wanting everything to be perfect before releasing, rather than taking advantage of getting early feedback. One of these days I'll finally learn that lesson.

Minor Milestones

In no particular order:

Disappointments

My major goal of releasing four games was a total bust. I started with something way too big which derailed the entire goal. It's a little funny to me that I enjoy making games, but hate running and writing, yet the game goal was my biggest failure.

I would have liked to have released a new version of beeminder.el. It's something I use fairly frequently and I could really use some of the improvements.

Stats!

Major Goals Achieved: 66%

Minor Goals Achieved: 72%

Primary goals set in my GHD posts:

Month Goals Set Goals Achieved Percentage
January 3 3 100%
February 5 2 40%
March 4 1 25%
April 4 3 75%
May 5 4 80%
June 1 1 100%
July 3 1 33%
August 4 4 100%
September 3 3 100%
October 2 1 50%
November 2 2 100%
December 1 1 100%

Secondary goals set in my GHD posts:

Month Goals Set Goals Achieved Percentage
January 1 0 0%
February 3 2 66%
March 0 0 0%
April 0 0 0%
May 0 0 0%
June 0 0 0%
July 2 1 50%
August 2 2 100%
September 1 1 100%
October 0 0 0%
November 0 0 0%
December 2 1 50%

Overall Monthly Stats

Totals Goals Set Goals Achieved Percentage
Primary 37 26 70%
Secondary 11 7 64%
EVERYTHING 69 48 70%

Summary and Looking Ahead

Looking over the year's stats, I'm pretty consistent at achieving around 2/3rds of all goals I set. I'm not sure if that means I set my sights too high, or if they weren't high enough to motivate me.

I'm particularly happy with my physical improvements this year. I've run nearly 350 miles and lost just under 20lbs. I didn't start the year with a weight loss goal, it just happened as I started paying more attention to nutrition and exercise.

For 2020 I want to avoid having as many goals that involve creating software. It's still something I enjoy, but it feels like I'm stuck in a bit of a groove and need to push my boundaries a little.

I didn't track completion dates for goals, but I'm pretty confident that the majority of them came towards the end of the year. I have a habit of putting things off until the last minute, so I'd like to make some improvements there for next year.


Groundhog Day Resolutions - December 2019

November's Primary Goals

1. Complete the MVP of my book

There's still a lot of editing required, but the core content and structure of the book is now complete.

At this point I think it's realistic to have it finished by the end of the year, with release date in early 2020.

2. Complete at least one secondary goal

I made progress on a couple of goals, but only finished one:

Primary Goals for December

1. Finish version 1 of The Book

There is a lot of work to do. Chapters need editing, layout issues need fixing, screenshots need to be taken and all of the code in the book needs testing to make sure it's accurate.

Secondary Goals for December

1. Complete three secondary goals

I won't be able to complete all of my secondary goals for 2019, but I'd like to hit 75% completion, which is another 3 goals. It will be very tight, given that there are only two weeks of the year left, but I'll give it a go.

2. Set my primary goals for 2020

With only 19 days of 2019 remaining it's time to start thinking about what I'd like to achieve in 2020.


2019 half marathon race report

Running a half marathon was one of my three primary goals for 2019. My race was October 6th and I'm very pleased with how everything turned out.

This isn't very interesting to read.

Race Information

Date October 6th, 2019
Distance 13.1 miles
Time 2:22:56

Goals

Goal Description Completed?
A Finish in under 2:30 hours Yes
B Finish in under 3:00 hours Yes
C Finish the race Yes

Splits

Mile Time
1 11:28
2 10:29
3 10:49
4 10:37
5 10:09
6 10:40
7 11:01
8 10:25
9 10:48
10 11:44
11 11:49
12 11:50
13 11:22

Training

I signed up for the half marathon on New Year's day. I'd thought about running one for a couple of years, but it was never really a concrete goal; it would just appear in the back of my head from time to time.

Prior to sign up the furthest I'd ever run without stopping was 2 miles. I'd tried Couch to 5K with some success, but I was still firmly in the "run/walk" cycle.

For training I followed Hal Higdon's half marathon Novice 1 plan.

Training was not without its issues. I started running properly in July when temperatures regularly hit 80 to 90f. Most of my runs were early in the day, but as they got longer I would end up hitting the heat.

My soccer season started in August, and although I'd worked it into my plans it still game me some surprises. The first game I ended up splitting my eyebrow and getting it glued together with liquid stitches. It healed pretty quickly, but I couldn't run the day after which was my day for long runs. Injuries aside, playing soccer on a Saturday made it hard to run distance on Sundays.

Two weeks before the race I gave myself hematuria after my longest run. I was tested for infections and kidney stones, but thankfully it was just due to running without drinking enough. I took a couple of days off and everything cleared up on its own. Tip: drink something before and during long runs.

The weekend before the race was probably my worst run. The first 5 or 6 miles weren't too bad, but the last couple of miles I had no energy and ended up walking home. It was extremely disappointing and didn't fill me with much confidence.

Pre-race

My diet for the days leading up to the race was heavy on potatoes and protein. The night before was fresh pasta and meatballs. I'd tested both these meals during training and knew they wouldn't make me feel heavy the day after.

The race start was 7am. I woke up at 3am to eat a small portion of oatmeal. I'd tried it the week before with some success; it wasn't fun to wake up early it did help keep me going.

I went through my checklist, made sure everything was packed and then headed off to the race. Nervous excitement is probably the best description of how I felt. Seeing all the other entrants made me realize I was actually going to do it.

I went for a little jog and stretched out before heading to the back of the pack. The race starts as a combined 5k and half marathon, so the start area was quite busy.

The nerves were still jangling, but there was someone behind me on stilts which took my mind off things. During the national anthem a dog was singing along.

Race

I knew I needed an 11:25 pace to meet my primary goal.

I'd run most of the route before, so I knew what to expect which was a big help. The weather was quite chilly at the start, but once the sun came out it warmed up to the mid 60's. It stayed dry throughout.

Nearly all of my training runs were solo, so it was a big change to have so many people around. Getting cheered along was a huge motivator, and just seeing people along the route kept me going. There was someone playing the trombone, and someone else was dressed as a cow with a sign that said "Moo-ve it". They made it a little easier.

The first few miles I ran with a friend who was taking part in the 5k. He's much faster than me, but hadn't trained for distance so he kept his pace slower for me. The first mile was slow and pretty hilly, plus there were a lot of people to navigate around. Things flattened out after that and we found a good rhythm.

It was nice having someone to talk with and to keep me focused.

After he split for the 5k I stuck on some music and got myself mentally prepped for the next couple of hours. I didn't put together a proper race playlist which I regret. Towards the end I really needed a boost, but I didn't have the mental energy to mess around trying to find music.

Everything was fairly smooth in the early miles and I felt pretty good - my pace was faster than my training runs and I felt full of energy.

I made sure to take on a little Gatorade at each aid station, and I had some energy chews that I ate every couple of miles near the end. I don't know if they actually worked, but even if they didn't they were still a useful placebo. They also gave my mind something to focus on, and I counted down how long to go until I could eat the next one.

Mile 5 and 6 were extremely tough. It was a little hilly, but nothing out of the ordinary. I felt like someone had wrapped a chain around me and was pulling me back. The pack had really spread out at this point and there were already people running the other way (the race looped back on itself at mile 6.5). It was a little disheartening.

Once I'd got through this part I was back to familiar territory for the rest of the race.

By mile 10 I was starting to slow down considerably. I knew that my pace was good enough to get me over the finish line in time, so I eased off a little. I did try to run faster for the last mile but just couldn't muster up the energy.

When I finally turned the corner and saw the mile 13 marker, I felt a huge wave relief. All I wanted was to stop moving. I did manage a final speed up for the last few meters as I crossed the line. They had an announcer calling out times and congratulating finishers, but I was so focused on finishing that I didn't hear a thing.

Post-race

I was handed my medal and then walked to the recovery area. I felt quite light headed and my jaw was clenching once I stopped. I couldn't really enjoy the immediate post-race feeling as I was worried about fainting.

Post-race food was a protein bar and a sports drink. After that I and paced around for a bit, and then put on a clean shirt and some clean socks and shoes. After about 10 minutes or so I felt much better and got some photos taken. I stayed to cheer on some more finishers and watch the awards ceremony.

Made with a new race report generator created by /u/herumph.


Groundhog Day Resolutions - November 2019

October's Primary Goals

1. Complete the MVP of my book

I still achieved quite a lot for October, but I fell short of having an MVP ready for editing. What I did get done:

  • Set up a word count goal on Beeminder
  • Set up the book on leanpub and got everything hooked up
  • Planned out my MVP along with version 1.0
  • Wrote notes for 5 chapters

I'm not much of a writer and I expected this goal to be tough. So far it's been even more difficult than I expected.

2. Complete FOUR secondary goals

I completed the following goals:

Primary Goals for November

1. Complete the MVP of my book

Let's try this one again.

2. Complete at least one secondary goal

At this stage it's unlikely I'll complete my entire goal list before the end of the year. I'd like to make at least a slight dent in it before January rolls around.

Writing is my priority for the month, but any additional goals completed are a bonus.

Thoughts on October

The first secondary goal I completed was updating crypto ticker mode. It took under an hour to do and it made me wonder why I left it until October to work on.

After that I finished writing the "Exploring my Emacs packages" series. I already had notes for the remaining posts, but they still needed writing and editing. I also needed to grab some screenshots to spruce things up.

The 6502 simulator was finished a couple of days before the deadline. It's still not 100%, but it's functional and can run some basic programs. I originally started the project so I could learn to write assembler for the Commodore 64, but I think that might be a little too advanced for me at this stage.

Finally I read the revised version of "Loving Common Lisp, or the Savvy Programmer's Secret Weapon". It's definitely worth a read if you're interested in learning about lisp.