↓ Skip to Content Start of content

Groundhog Day Resolutions 2021 - Major Goals

I fell a bit short of where I wanted to be last year, so I've been stewing on how many goals to try this time around. Right now I have a list of 11 primary goals, although I will probably add one more goal to make it an even 12.

Here's what I'm thinking of so far:

Publish 100 blog posts
My 30 day blog trial was challenging but enjoyable. I'd like to increase my output this year and publish 100 posts on this site. It will be the same mix of reflective posts (like this one) and more useful, tutorial-style articles.
Release a small game for the Atari ST
Revisiting my nineties development setup brought back some really fond memories for me. A couple of my really old games got picked up by AtariMania, so I'd love to release something that's actually worth playing.
Improve my marathon time
Last year was my first time running a full marathon, but I was a little disappointed with my time. I'm training to improve on it this year.
Enter Ludum Dare
It's been 7 years since my last Ludum Dare entry. It's a great way to get feedback - and to actually release something - so I want to try against this year.
Release Craft Roulette 3.0
I started rewriting Craft Roulette in Rails in 2019, but I stopped short of actually releasing it. Since then I've upgraded it to Rails 6, made it mobile-friendly(ish), and come up with a long list of features I want to add. I want to release it this year.
Release a demo of The Game
I tried this last year and failed, but I made some pretty good progress. There's still a lot to do, but I think I have enough pieces to started building the finished article on.
Release version 1.0 of Writing PHP with Emacs
I published version 0.6 at the end of 2019, and I'm getting close to finishing version 0.7. All of the major content I originally planned is now in the book, but I want to add the "Recipes" section and get the whole thing edited and tidied up. My plan is to have it all finished and released in the first quarter of 2021.
Deliberately practice
This one is a little hard to quantify. My plan is to pick small projects to work on, and then write about the experience once they're complete.
Complete a maniac week
This is another 2020 goal that never was. I still like the idea of shutting myself away to work on a project for a week, although that might change depending on how the year progresses
Release a game and earn at least $1 from it
I've wanted to make games since I was a kid, but I've never sold a game I've created. I'd like to change that.
Release a side project and earn at least $1 from it
Nearly all of my income comes from freelance work. Given how things went last year, I'd like to diversify where my money comes from.

My list of secondary goals has around 20 items, but I'll be adding more to it as the year progresses.

My areas of focus for 2021

I'm currently figuring out the goals I want to work on this year. I'm going to try and focus on a few specific areas instead of throwing out a bunch of goals and seeing what sticks.

Here are the areas I'm looking at so far:

I like to make things. In 2020 I reduced the amount of goals that involved making software, but I think that was a mistake. Even though I've been doing it for a long time I still enjoy creating games, tools, libraries, or little code snippets. I also found my 30 days of blogging experiment really helpful, so I want to write more this year.
Last year I submitted a couple of minor fixes to other projects - mostly typo fixes - but I'd like to do more. I'd also like to spend more time and energy helping others.
Finishing things
I am really bad at this. I want to get better.
Deliberately practicing
This is something I wrote about last year and I really want to use it more often. I've been doing the same job for over a decade now and I feel like I've let my skills stagnate.
Improving my processes
This is somewhat related to deliberate practice, but is more about refining my existing approach to things. I recently read "95%-ile isn't that good" and it gave me a couple of ideas about how to improve the things I do.

Looking over this list shows that there are two main things I want to concentrate this year: making more things (either for myself or other people), and getting better at how I make those things.

Groundhog Day Resolutions - January 2021

January is here. Let's get straight into my Groundhog Day Resolutions for 2021.

Primary goals for January

1. Finalize my 2021 major goals

I have 6 goals planned out, but I'd like to add another few before finalizing the list. I figure even if I only achieve 60% of 10 goals, it'll still be better than I did in 2020.

2. Finalize my 2021 secondary goals

Normally I have around 15 goals for this list, but so far I only have 3. This year I'd like to bump it up to around 20.

3. Set up the 2021 hub page

I'm adding completion dates to my goals this year, but otherwise I'm sticking to the usual format.

4. Release Splodey Boats 2000

Adobe is completely dropping Flash this month, so it seemed appropriate to rebuild one of my Flash games. I'm entering FFSjam 2021 and rebuilding Splodey Boats for Windows and GNU/Linux.

I'll be tracking progress on the Splodey Boats update page.

Secondary goals for January

1. Run 70 miles

I had a marathon scheduled for March, but it was postponed to May. Training starts again this month and I'd like to start strong.

Groundhog Day Resolutions - 2020 Review

2020 sure was something. There's plenty to say about it, but I'm not the right person to do it. So instead I'll talk about my groundhog day goals.

Major Achievements

Ran a full marathon

I ran a half in 2019 and committed myself to a full in 2020. It didn't go quite how I'd imagined, but I ran the full distance.

Wrote for 30 days straight

My 30-day blog trial wasn't exactly exciting, but it was the first time I'd ever written every day for an extended period. Towards the end I was actually enjoying writing new posts.

Kept better notes

Early in the year I started using zetteldeft to keep notes. It's made my note-keeping experience much more enjoyable.

Stayed (relatively) healthy

I started regular bodyweight workouts in August - tracked with Emacs, naturally - and I ran a total of 600 miles. I don't feel like I'm much fitter than last year, but the numbers say I'm the fittest I've been in a long time. I'll take that.

Minor Milestones

In no particular order:

  • Published the first version of "Writing PHP with Emacs" (and 10 updates to it)
  • Planted some trees
  • Made some art (badly)
  • Got a nice letter from the people at Beeminder
  • Some of my old games ended up on AtariMania


There were two major goals I that I failed at. I really wanted to do a maniac week, but once lockdown measures started in March it didn't seem quite so appealing. I also failed to release a demo of The Game even though I made some good progress.

I'm also disappointed that I had to run my marathon alone. I scheduled a half for October, but that was also canceled. I don't really like the training part, but I do enjoy the actual event.

Given events of the year, it's hard to be too disappointed at things that didn't work out for me. I'm happy that I finished with my health and a stable income.


Major Goals Achieved: 60%

Minor Goals Achieved: 60%

Primary goals set in my GHD posts:

Month Goals Set Goals Achieved Percentage
January 4 4 100%
February 4 4 100%
March 4 4 100%
April 3 1 33%
May 4 3 75%
June 4 3 75%
July 3 1 33%
August 3 2 67%
September 3 3 100%
October 3 2 67%
November 2 2 100%
December 3 3 100%

Secondary goals set in my GHD posts:

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

Overall Monthly Stats

Totals Goals Set Goals Achieved Percentage
Primary 40 32 80%
Secondary 7 3 43%
EVERYTHING 47 35 74%

Summary and Looking Ahead

My yearly goals had a 60% success rate - down from 70% last year - but a couple of my secondary goals were basically filler because I left it so late to set them.

I also did much better on my primary monthly goals, but worse on my secondary goals. I didn't set many secondary goals and they were usually filler like "complete a secondary goal on my list". There is definitely room for improvement there.

My focus for 2021 is creation and contribution. I'll have more information on that in my 2021 kick-off post in a few days.

Groundhog Day Resolutions - December 2020

November's Primary Goals

1. Finish my 30 days of blogging trial

I wrote a summary of the experience, but the short version is that this was a big success for me.

2. Start planning my 2021 goals

I now have a list of goal ideas for next year. I don't have everything planned out, and I may come up with more goals between now and January, but I have a good idea of the major goals I want to achieve.

Primary Goals for December

1. Create plans for my 2021 major goals

The goals that I had most success with this year had clear plans (and were usually backed by Beeminder), so for 2021 I want to make sure my major goals have detailed plans.

2. Release version 0.6 of Writing PHP with Emacs

I have notes and rough outlines for the remaining content, but that's no use unless I actually publish it. Version 0.6 will contain the first few entries in the "recipes" section, and I want to have it published by the end of 2020.

3. Publish my GHD 2020 summary

2020 could have gone better, but I'd like to publish my summary/breakdown post by the end of the year.

There are only a few weeks left in the year, so there isn't much time to get things finished. At this point I think it's better to spend time planning next year instead of trying to rush through my 2020 goals.