I really should start writing one of these during the regular part of the day. I’m starting this at 2AM and I have to get up in a few hours, but I love the idea of getting this done. It’s still 2017 for crying out loud, I might actually get this thing sorted out without that long lapse of time.

Standard disclaimer: This is a personal, rambling, unedited post. It’s for my own tracking, and it’s best to skip this one if you don’t care about this sort of thing.

What to change and what to keep

I’ve been bouncing around on how to manage my goals this year. I’ve done the “have a lot of achievable goals” thing and I’ve done the “have a few probably too big goals” thing. They both have good points and bad points. I think the thing that I like the least about last year’s method (a few very large goals) is that then I basically can’t achieve any of them completely.

Also, this year I started thinking in terms of projects more than goals, specifically.

Looking at 2017, I got into a pretty serious rut around August until the JLPT. Not that it was a bad rut, i was doing a lot of studying and so on, but it stifled my creativity and made me lose sight of the bigger and longer-term things. It was really just work-study-sleep.

I want to avoid that this year.

I’m also looking to add some side projects back in. While making money off of them isn’t really the goal, I don’t think it’s worth doing something if it’s not worth selling. So I want to make things that I can either monetize or sell. Even if I also give them away. It’ll make more sense as I go on.

Another of the things that I was frustrated by this year was the lack of creative outlets. By scrapping all the writing and art stuff I ended up without anywhere to express anything creatively. Yes, there’s some of that at work, but there’s a real difference between what you need to do and what you want to do.

So. I’m unfocusing a bit this year in general, and widening my goals a little bit. I have some big ones and some smaller ones. The purpose of the smaller ones is to build up momentum towards the bigger ones. General categories remain the same as last year: Heath, Career and Professional Development, Japanese Study, and Hobbies. Though this time I want to make a much harder push into making some of the hobbies professional level. Not that I think I’ll ever make a living off of them (though wouldn’t that be nice), but because I want to polish my work and produce quality things for people.

I’ve been mulling over this list for a few days now, trying to write out things and figure out what I want to do. I want to do too much, I think. So, while this is what I’m writing down now, it’s possible that the goals will change not very far into the year.

2018 Goals

Health
1. Lose 80 pounds

The same math holds as every other year. This time I’m going in with a concrete plan though. The one thing I noticed in my schedule is that I need to probably lose most if not all of the weight I’m going to lose in the first 4 months of the year. After that, I will have a much harder time controlling my diet since I’ll have a lot of things interfering. I should still be able to lose weight the rest of the year, but not nearly as efficiently. Among other things, I plan on implementing a pretty strict 16/8 Intermittent fasting regimen. We’ll see how that goes.

Career and professional Development

2. Get 4 new technical certifications

This is also maybe a bit ambitious with the other things on this list, but I’d really like to get a specific set of them done this year for a fairly good reason. The first is the AWS exam I’ve been studying for on and off for the last few years. Not that I need it, but just to get it done and in the past. I hate that I’ve put that much time into it and not pulled it off yet. Then, more related to my actual job, there are 3 Salesforce Certifications: The App Builder cert (which I can probably get via the transition exam, but if I don’t then I have to do it for real), the Sharing and Visibility Designer credential, and the Data Architecture and Management Designer credential to move on towards looking at jumping through the hoops to get the Application Architect Certification in 2019. Even if I don’t get all 4, that’s the direction I want to move in.

Japanese Study

3. Study for the N3 (and take? and pass?)

This is where things get a little weird. I took the N4 again in 2017. I really should have passed it, based on my knowledge level and practice going into the exam. I don’t have the results yet, but right after the exam I felt pretty bad about it. Somehow it seemed even harder than when I’d taken it in 2016. I think I might have psyched myself out instead of relaxing, and made the test harder for myself.

So what do I do if I didn’t pass? Well, I don’t want to keep rehashing the N4 stuff, because I think have most of that more or less down. So i want to keep studying and keep moving up and improving as much as I can. But can I make the jump to taking the N3 this year? I’m not sure. If I failed the N4, do I try the N3 anyway? I think I’ll have to make that decision more in September when the registration is. If I passed the N4, I think I’m going to at least attempt the N3 no matter what. If I failed it, we’ll see. But I am at least going to study for it in earnest.

4) Gain 50 points on the J-CAT

Pretty simple – just adding another assessment to my learning. I’m going to take a baseline exam in January, then take it again in October or November to see how much I’ve improved. I think it’ll be quite a bit, and I’m hoping to go up 50 points or more.

Software skills

5) Build 2+ software projects

I have a piece of writing software I want to write for me. I had the idea about a year ago, but I never really started on it. So this year I want to hammer that out at least far enough for me to use it. The lack of side-projects last year was part of the rut, I think. Kept me from feeling the joy of messing with new languages or frameworks or ideas. So, make that writing thing for myself and build it out to let other people sign up if I have time. Then I want to write a plugin for Trello to support my own work cycle. Probably don’t want to start that one until late spring at the earliest though, for a variety of reasons. While I could keep this out of the goals list, I think that having it here will make me feel less guilty about working on them during the year. So here it stays.

Writing

6) Publish 4 books on Amazon

There’s a lot of lead-up to get this going. I need to figure out how I want to deal with the publishing arm of the whole thing – figure out the legal and tax pros and cons of the various options. Then I need to make some contacts for editing and cover art. So the first one is going to take a while to actually get through the pipeline, even if I get it ready to go within the first few months of the year. The issue I might have with editing is timing too. I know that most editors work with a 6 month or more backlog. That might lead me to going to someone smaller and more independent. If I can’t get anyone faster than 6 months, then maybe I take one book/series and let that go into 2019 (probably), and publish shorter books with less occupied editors and/or just risk going more or less unedited.

Anyway, I want to make a point of getting at least one book through the process this year and out. Then once I’ve got one done, I think getting a few more won’t be a big deal. They don’t all need to be full-length novels, or even short novels. I’d be fine with at least 2 100 page novellas, to be honest.

Music Production

7) Release 1 full length album for sale

I know this one seems out of the blue. The truth is that I’ve loved music since I can remember, and I’ve enjoyed it on a technical level since maybe my freshman year in high school. I’ve spent some money on some tools, and I’d even be willing to spend some on classes to develop some skills here. I know that a lot of amateurs will often just follow formulas to generate music, and I’m not above doing some of that. I want to spend some time learning music theory as well so that I can hopefully pull above just reproducing a formula.

Anyway, I love music and I want to spend some time learning how to make it. Even if I spend a year or two learning (in public) and never really do more than gain an appreciation for the work of the producers I listen to, I think it’ll be worth it. This one is, likely, the most hobby-level thing on the list. Everything else I want to treat professionally.

Other Things

The last couple of years, I had stretch goals and support goals and whatnot. This year is more project driven, and I don’t really see the need to do either this year. The list is already probably too big to handle in one year, and the “support goals” thing is really just a set of smaller goals that belong in a Quarterly breakdown or something. So I’m not going to bother. Except I am. I drew some stuff up while I was putting things together. Might as well post it. This stuff won’t be tracked in a pass/fail sense, but it’s more of a way to record my thought process.

Side and Intermediary Goals

1. Set up a publishing company – print
2. Set up a music label
3. AWS Certification
4. SF App Builder Certification
5. SF Sharing and Visibility Designer Certification
6. SF Data Architecture and Management Designer Certification
7. Build 4 week writing challenge
8. Build Trello plugin for scrum/sprints
9. Try out 2 or 3 editors
10. Release 2 singles (2 or 3 songs each)

Extended Goals

1. Lose 120 pounds
2. Lose 150 pounds
3. Get over 200 on the J-Cat
4. Get over 250 on the J-Cat
5. Have 5 new Japanese language exchange friends – minimum of 5 conversations
6. Make 1 new Japanese friend
7. Have 50 followers, etc on some Japanese/English platform
8. Write at least 20 blogs/journals in Japanese

Other Projects/Directions/Systems

1. Keep 1 day/week in Japanese as much as possible (planner, notes, etc)
2. Blog Translations (Facebook page? Blog?)
3. Lessons
4. Daily Writing
5. Planner upkeep
6. Daily Journaling / Junk Writing
7. Sales training

Final Thoughts

I’m going to push a lot harder in 2018. Aside from the certifications, this blog doesn’t even address the advances I want to make in my career. But I think I can do it. It’s the split-focus year that I was trying to avoid last year. Last year I was too focused to the point of getting into a rut. This year I’m still going to focus, but I’m going to try to turn out a lot of new things. Actually produce finished work on the side.

I’m not sure how I’m going to manage my schedule between the major projects (writing, music, certifications, software), but I’ll figure something out. I’m going to try to get that 4 week writing challenge software written up in January if possible, but beyond that I need to sort out what’s daily and what’s a start-stop project. Maybe I’ll write about it, maybe not. I haven’t been good about writing blogs this last year, but maybe getting back into fiction writing will make spinning out a blog post easier here and there.

That’s enough for now. Expect these goals to change as the year progresses. I’ll try to get out at least quarterly posts. Hopefully.

Oh yeah, and I’m going to be managing my time with numbered sprints this year as long as I can. We’ll see if it works better.

Hoping for a good 2018! Let’s go!

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