Believe or not, another year is coming to an end! And I like to take a look at all the things I achieved, the ones I didn’t, and what I plan for the new year.
I think that writing your achievements and goals is a great exercise: it lets you organize your mind, and it’s great for accountability. We usually complain about not achieving our goals, but without a plan things won’t happen magically.
So let’s start!
2017: the year of Kotlin
Nobody expected that Google would announce Kotlin as an official language to develop Android Apps. At least I didn’t, so my plans required some tweaking during the middle of the year.
I had been writing and updating a book about Kotlin for a couple of years already, and also doing live courses for particulars and companies for almost a year.
Up to that point, this content was for very passionate people that wanted to discover a new way to develop Android Apps. But the announcement made the language mainstream, and now Android developers would need to learn it to stay up to date.
This changed the rules of the game: much more people interested, but much more competence too. Also, this made me to focus on something I had been postponing more than I should: the online course.
It’s also been a year of taking a lot of decisions: as you can imagine, after the announcement, lots of publishers contacted to publish my book through them, or record the online course with them.
It was hard to say no: reaching much more people without any effort. And saying no would mean having more competence, as they would write the book anyway with another person. But here is where having a plan and clear values help. Self-publishing gives me the freedom to do whatever I want without having to ask for permission, and I couldn’t leave that.
If I want a book that really helps people at this point, I need to be able to update it every time I want. As an example, I’ve released 4 updates of my book Kotlin for Android Developers this year (and I’m preparing the fifth these days, which could probably slip into January).
But anyway! Here’s a list of the things that went well and things that didn’t:
How goals went during 2017?
To know if I achieved my goals during 2017, first you need to know what my goals were:
1. Have a less chaotic life
Working home and having two jobs (my exciting remote job at Plex and my personal stuff) doesn’t make it very easy to have a balanced life. I can spend days without seeing the sunlight.
This year, I improved this a little, with better routines. I get out to walk every day and do some sport (more about this later), and my schedules are more clearly defined.
But I must admit I’m far from having a good balance between work and leisure hours.
2. Have more free time
Oh, free time… What’s that? ?
Well, I’ve managed my wife not to hate me too much, which is kind of amazing given the amount of hours per day I work. Again, having well defined priorities helped a lot. But the rest of time has been basically working, specially since May. Since then I:
- Updated the book three times
- Released the online course (both in Spanish and in English)
- Did like 4-5 live courses
- Joined Functional Hub team to help release a course about functional programming in Spanish (news about it in English soon)
- Prepared 3 different talks
All this while working 8 hours a day. So yeah, I could’ve done it better ?
On the bright side, I must say that I managed to automate and delegate most of the tasks related to my personal project, so I can switch off when I want and everything keeps working.
3. Have a healthier life
Last year, we proposed ourselves to eat healthier and do more sport.
Tania and I improved a lot on it this year, by being extremely conscious of the food that is good for us and what is bad. We ate quite well before, but I think it’s even better now: no added sugar, no unnecessary fat, no processed food…
And I became vegetarian! After lots of times thinking about it, but also convincing myself I wouldn’t be able to make it, a movie made the “click” on my head I needed. I haven’t eaten any meat since August which, as a side effect, also improved even more the variety of food I eat.
And, so far, it’s being easier than I anticipated.
Regarding physical activity, my problem is that I’m not very fan of sports. I’ve tried various things in the past, like running or gym, but I ended up getting bored and abandoning. So my goal for this year was to find an activity that I enjoyed, with a fixed schedule, that I could commit too. And I found it!
Since May, I’m practicing Kajukenbo. It’s a self-defense martial art born in Hawaii from the combination of several other arts. I didn’t know about it before I started, but I found that a gym close to home was doing it. I’ve always been quite interested in martial arts, and this one looked really fun.
Besides, the sense of progress and discipline helps me a lot to keep attending and improving. I’m very glad to have found it. Also, recently got my yellow belt! ?
Still far from having an active life by the way. I should move more given that I work from home and spend lots of hours sitting in front of the computer.
4. Build a real business
I’m not planning to dedicate only to my personal projects, I love working on a product that millions of people can use and love.
But this year I proposed to show myself that, if I want, I’m able to build a business that produces enough income to cover my basic needs. As part of my plan towards financial independence, understanding and putting passive income into practice was really important.
This point was completely achieved. Right now, I could live only from my personal projects. I won’t deny it was in part thanks to the rise of Kotlin popularity. But I honestly think that, in our profession, there are opportunities like this each few months. There will always be people interested in learning new stuff, and you can learn about it and show it to others.
My goals for 2018
I always say the same two things each year:
- This was the most exciting but busy year ever
- Next year will be different
So let’s try it again ?
I want 2018 to be the year when I recover a little of my free time. Things will be changing quite a little personally, and I won’t be able to devote so much time to creating new content. So having this into mind, these are my goals.
Keep updating the book and online course
I don’t plan to release new products for 2018, but I want to keep taking care of the current ones I have.
I am already preparing a major update of the book, which all current owners will receive for free, of course. Updated to Kotlin 1.2, API 27 but, above all, with new chapters and content.
But I also want to keep adding content to the online course. Here it is not so easy to keep it up to date, because that means recording all videos again, but I’ll do my best to find a formula that prevents the course from getting old, and also add new content.
Reach more people
The big pain point of self-publishing is reaching people. I don’t have the power of big companies to do massive offers and ads campaigns. But I don’t think everything is lost on this side.
I’m working with some other people to make my content reach a lot more Android developers that may be interested on it.
One of the most powerful tools is content creation, so of course I’ll keep writing articles (which is one of the things I enjoy the most by the way). But I’ll also try some other formats.
We’ve been bombarded with the idea that we need to do more to be more successful. But what “success” means shouldn’t be given by the society. It’s a very personal decision that I’ve discovered it keeps mutating year after year.
For me, success and happiness are really close terms, so I follow the idea that I should do whatever makes me happy at each moment.
The difficult thing here is to make a difference between short-term gratifications from actions that reach to the biggest personal fulfilment.
Second ones usually require doing difficult things that get you out of your comfort zone, which means that your brain will try to refrain you from doing them. It will look these are things that are not making you happy, you’ll feel lost, dumb and overwhelmed sometimes. But that’s the price you need to pay to go bigger.
These are the kind of goals I like to pursuit. But it doesn’t mean I need to work without rest. You certainly need some push at the beginning, but now that things are rolling by themselves, it’s time to set some reasonable schedules.
I usually devote a 2-3 hours during weekdays, before I start my regular job, to do my own personal things. My goal for next year is not getting into things that need more time outside those hours. I’ll probably devote some more time, but just when I want, not because I forced myself.
Be more active and healthy
I did some good improvements last year, but they can be better.
So I won’t repeat myself too much here. I’ll continue with Kajukenbo, but I’d like to add some more fixed routines regarding active work, like some simple home exercise and/or setting daily steps goals… I still need to decide.
Also, I’ll keep discovering more about vegetarianism and moving a little more towards veganism. I see it impossible nowadays to become completely vegan, but I think that learning new recipes with no animal ingredientes, doing some vegan days per week… will help me get prepared in case I finally decide to do it.
Leave some space to the uncertainty
Yeah, every year I plan lots of things, but then other opportunities appear and it’s good to be flexible. So as you see, I don’t have very concrete big plans for this new year.
For 2018, I prefer to get out there and see what happens.
What are you asking for 2018?
I’d love to hear about you. Have you thought about what goals you want to achieve this year? And if not, now it’s the perfect time to do it.
Write a list, and set some actions (with estimated dates) to achieve them. I wrote some general ideas here, but you really need some more concrete measurable goals, specially if it’s the first time you try to do something like this.
Anything you decide, I hope you find the strength to achieve it.
Author: Antonio Leiva
I’m in love with Kotlin. I’ve been learning about it for a couple of years, applying it to Android and digesting all this knowledge so that you can learn it with no effort.