It’s a few weeks into 2015 already, and I’m trying to redevelop a blogging habit as part of a larger effort to refocus my life. With that in mind, it seems appropriate to summarize the previous year, and then set some goals for the upcoming year.

Failures

  • My long-term side project, Boulder Problems, lost enough traction that it’s no longer worth developing in its current form. It failed for a variety of reasons: lack of marketing, lack of time, and lack of focus. Letting go of this project is emotionally challenging. I’ve poured huge amounts of time into it, and learned some difficult, important lessons. There’s unfortunately no way I can hope to compete with the upcoming logging tools that The Island has announced. I wish them success, as it seems they’re developing for exactly the niche that I believe needs to filled. (Despite all of the above, I am continuing to develop a new version of Boulder Problems, but focused toward personal, rather than social, logging. More on that another time.)
  • I got injured. A lot. As I mentioned on my other blog, 2014 was a bad year for my body. I ate poorly, drank too many beers, and didn’t exercise enough.
  • I stopped bouldering. Well, not entirely. But I barely climbed, and when I did, I lacked strength and motivation.

Successes

  • I got married! Weddings are surprisingly stressful and time-consuming affairs. Heather and I somehow managed to cobble together an unforgettably fun ceremony and reception with our closest family and friends. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, but also it’s a bit of a relief to put it behind us.
  • On the coding side of life, I fell in love with Ruby. I’ve been dabbling in it for a while, but this year I finally started to get comfortable with the language.
  • And I finally learned to write automated tests. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I only recently began writing tests for my code. Exercism.io introduced me to the practice, and Justin Weiss’s blog took me deeper. I’ve barely scratched the surface, but having learned the basics, I’m excited to keep learning and improving.
  • I did less cowboy coding. As a self-taught developer who’s worked only on tiny coding teams, I’ve never been exposed to many industry best-practices. The more I experiment with tools and ideas like Ruby, Vagrant, Git, Capistrano, Semantic Versioning, and SASS, the more I appreciate the value of doing things correctly. I still have much to learn, but I think I’m on the right path.
  • And finally, I helped Heather launch her business, The Topping Tree!

Goals

  • Write more Ruby. I’m not sure how well this meshes with my current job as a PHP developer, but I’m going to try.
  • Blog more. At least once a week.
  • Strength train consistently. Every time I start a new strength training program, it goes well for a few months until I injure myself. This year I’m going to try a more consistent, less ambitious program.
  • Climb regularly. I’d like to set a regular schedule for the spring and summer, so that I’m in shape for the fall bouldering season. I’d love to send a V8 this year – a difficult, but attainable, goal.
  • Take an extended ski trip. Skiing powder is one of my favorite pleasures, and now that Heather has also gotten the bug, we’re thinking about moving West for a couple of months to ski. In future blog posts, I hope to lay out a plan for achieving this goal.