As part of my annual discipline of reflecting on the year that past, it's hard not to conclude that 2019 was a very tough year for me personally. It was one of the few times in a couple of decades where there were literal tears shed out of frustration and sadness. The challenge of the year can also be seen in the lack of progress in many of the goals for last year. To summarize:

  • I rode 508.6 Km which is about 50% of my goal last year
  • I completed 2 books (Good to Great, Playing to Win) which is 20% of my goal
  • I wrote about 18 pages and posts last year which was about 90% of the goal. Admittedly the quality of the pages were also rushed which I'm not proud of
  • I started my budgeting prototype but pivoted to a different project called Bunch of Stuff
  • I didn't make any progress towards my Machine Learning or Big Data learning objective

A large part of why I failed to complete my goals was because I didn't complete my stop doing objective which was to create a plan and keep track of it.

I came across a tweet reply from DHH which played a really large part on my reflection of the year that past. While I didn't fully agree with the comment itself, it allowed me to reflect on my thoughts on the subject. Looking back, this was an issue that actually started in 2018 and because there wasn't a major course correction, it also carried into 2019. Over the past two years, I've developed this really bad habit of losing focus on the people and things that mattered.

One of the things I continue to be grateful for is that I have a handful of people whom I care immensely about and I am privileged that this care is reflected back. The care is often times not reflected in the big things but in the little things like the genuine checking in on me when I seem down. It's really about the little things in the big things.

Some of the more extreme examples:

  • The gift of a black smart watch because what I had wasn't "on brand" for me because everything I own tends to be all black
  • The purchase of a mini fridge because I ideally could store white wine in my work space because how much I love white wine
  • The purchase of my favorite whisky because it's a new thing that I started to enjoy
  • The amount of time spent with me to teach me and troubleshoot a particular technical issue over the holiday break
  • Taking the time to understand my bigger ideas and helping me position the idea in a more succinct way
  • The diversion to Tremblant because it was an opportunity for me to do something I love
  • The gift of a used bicycle trainer because they knew it was something I have been pondering on for a while and was indecisive about getting one
  • The ask of me and my son to be groomsmen because it represents our involvement in their life

On the other extreme, there are people whom I pour a lot into emotionally but very little is reflected back and those are the people whom I have to consider over the next year as they take an enormous amount of investment with very little to show for it and it detracts me from the things that are important to me.

My Goals for 2020

Keep Doing

Focus on my health

While I didn't hit the 1000 KM mark, I did continue to ride which was both good for my physical health but also my mental health. This year, my plan is to shift to focus more on my overall health. A good friend of mine found an app called BodBot and my plan is to be physically active 3 times a week.
My goal is to be active 3 times a week and also hit the 1000 Km mark in bicycle riding

Focus on learning new things through reading

I've been excited about the discovery of audio books but given that learning through audio has never been a natural way for me to learn, the goal of 10 wasn't realistic. Instead, what I want to be focusing on is not only the learning of new things but the application of them as well.
My goal is to read 5 books and apply them in some form over 2020

Continue writing

Writing my blogs has always been a way for me to reflect on what I'm learning or observing in my life. I have always found it as a way to clarify my thoughts and to put it into a coherent format in order to share for it to be useful not only to future me but also to a broader audience
My goal is to write a combination of 20 high quality pages and blog entries

Stop Doing

Stop focusing on things that don't matter to me and on people whom I don't matter to

Time is my most precious commodity and I have to be wiser on how I spend that time. My focus this year is to keep better track on where I spend my time on with what priorities
My goal is to find an accountability buddy to create a plan in January and review and revise it on a monthly basis in 2020

Start Doing

Strategy to productize Bunch of Stuff

Bunch of Stuff is very much a personal tool to keep track of all the random pieces of information. As part of learning Good to Great and Playing To Win, it is an opportunity to use what I learned in 2019 to come up with a real strategy for it
My goal is to come up with a defined product strategy for Bunch of Stuff by December 31, 2020

Focus on keeping up with technology

Bunch of Stuff allows me to explore new technologies especially as a personal tool.
My goal this year is to implement new mobile and web clients for Bunch of Stuff through

Happy New Year!

Retrospective on 2019