2017 in Review: My Goals

Not the year we expected. But a good year nonetheless.

December 24, 2017Filed under blog#2017-review#family#fitness#podcasting#productivity#software development#writingMarkdown source

As has been my habit for a few years now, I’m taking some time to reflect on the year as it comes to a close. Thinking about how this year went and what I accomplished, and how I would like the next year to go and what I would like to accomplish then, has become an important part of my life. There is value in taking stock and making plans—as long as you hold those plans loosely. And this particular set of reflections majors on holding plans loosely.

The best place to start seems to be with a review of my goals for 2017, set out here. In a post later this week, I’ll write up some thoughts on what I hope to accomplish in 2018—though, as you’ll see, there are some hints of that here.

One other note: there are many things going on in our lives that don’t end up in these reflections—because these reflections (as I conceive them at present, at least) are about the kind of public-facing things I did this year. A blog is not a journal, even if there are some analogies between the two.

Major goals

  1. Graduate seminary.

Done!

  1. Spend good time with my family.

This isn’t really a thing you can ever call done in a real sense; there’s always more to do. But we did it well this year, and better than any previous year. I’m looking forward to building on the foundation we laid this year as we move into 2018.

  1. Love our church well.

I have much the same to say here as I do about family time. I’ll add that we did move across country and join a new church (and a new denomination!), and I expect to write at much greater length about the convictions which drove the way we landed on our new congregation after moving across the country.

  1. Work hard for Olo.

I shipped a massive amount of code this year, including making some pretty significant architectural contributions for the main app I work on—laying the foundation for it to transition from being a mobile web application to being a responsive, progressive web application in 2018. I also built True Myth and made some pretty substantial progress on TypeScript in Ember.js.

  1. Save money for a house.

Done! And, to our surprise relative to the beginning of the year, we’re moving in less than a month from now!

  1. Replace Pelican with Lightning for this site.

Not done. I basically ended up putting Lightning on hold entirely this year. New Rustacean and all of the things we had to do around moving just left me with insufficient time to make any sustained progress on it.

Minor goals

  • publish two episodes of New Rustacean every month (of various formats—not all the full-length teaching-a-subject type)

On average… done. But only on average. I put out a lot more episodes in November and December than any other month, courtesy of the micro-interviews I conducted at Rust Belt Rust. The rest of the year, I did publish quite a few episodes, but not nearly as many as I would have liked – more like an average of 1–1.5 each month.

  • publish 16–20 episodes of Winning Slowly

Very much not done. Winning Slowly did not go at all the way we thought this year. Our ambitions were… ambitious, given we were both planning to finish graduate degrees and knew that at least Stephen and possibly both of us would be moving across the country. Total episodes published this year: 4.

  • complete a full-length sprint triathlon1
  • run a marathon

Not done. The spring ended up busier and, most importantly, more unpredictable schedule-wise than I hoped, and than allowed for sufficiently regular exercise as to be ready for a triathlon in the summer. And our move across the country both eliminated the final six weeks of training I would have needed for the marathon, and also left us 1,800 miles away from the marathon.

  • be able to do 15 consecutive pull-ups and 100 consecutive push-ups

Not sure! I haven’t done a max set in a few months. I have been doing a bunch of push-ups and pull-ups since arriving in Colorado, so… maybe. I’ll edit this in a couple days after I do a max set!

  • lose ten pounds and get back down to my target weight

Sadly, not done. I have not yet gotten a good handle on what specific dietary changes I’ll need to make to accomplish this goal, but the ones I tried this year didn’t do the trick. I’ll try something new in 2018.

  • document all the undocumented features in Rust, and get the Rust reference all the way up to date (tracking issue)

Not done: I made a fair bit of progress at the beginning of the year, but this is a mammoth task. That said, it’s on my radar to try to help drive it forward (hopefully with community involvement) in 2018—it would be great for a complete and accurate reference to be part of the Rust 2019 epoch.

  • finish a couple side projects (and bring in the associated money!)

Done. In particular, I fixed the last couple bugs and tightened things down in the implementation of HolyBible.com. While there’s a lot—oh is there a lot!—I would do differently now (3 years after I finished the base implementation of the app), I’m really delighted that in the last six months I’ve had exactly zero bug reports.

  • teach in our small group at least a half dozen times

Not done, but this was an intentional choice as we started into the year, because there were a couple other guys who it was more helpful to have in that role for their own training. I’ve taught a lot over the years, and both of those guys are going to be actively in church-planting roles in the next year or so.

  • write at least one long essay for Mere Orthodoxy

Done. I published one essay on our family worship and another (just last week), a book review essay on William T. Cavanaugh and James K. A. Smith’s _Evolution and the Fall_.

  • publish the scripts and transcripts of New Rustacean as an ebook

Not done. I do expect to tackle this in 2018, but it just ended up not being a high priority in 2017.

  • publish hard copies of the archives of my blog, in a way that mirrors the style of the site at the time it was written

Not done. Same as with the New Rustacean ebook.

  • fully archive the Blogger and WordPress versions of this blog as static HTML

Started, but incomplete. I pulled those archives down for the Blogger site, but have yet to do some systematic cleanup on the HTML. (This might actually happen by the end of the year, depending on what all I do on my week off, but as of the time I’m drafting this, it’s not done.)

  • move all the sites I host (mine and others) out of shared hosting and into a server I manage (probably Digital Ocean or Linode)

Not done. I did get a Linode server configured, on which I’m running our family blog (krycho.com), and which I should pretty easily be able to use for other non-static sites going forward. Though, as I’ve thought about it over the last year and change: it’s likely I’ll split it up into a small handful, with one consisting of a kind of “shared hosting” for the various friends’ WordPress blogs I host; and one consisting of my own and my family’s sites.

In summary

This year didn’t really go as we thought it would. A lot of that came down to finding a house plan we loved and could build on a lot that we equally loved—it shifted financial and temporal priorities alike. Add in some pretty serious family health issues in my extended family, and, well, no surprise some of my plans and goals didn’t pan out. That’s how it goes! The point of making these kinds of goals, for me, isn’t so much that I accomplish everything on my list as it is taking time to orient myself and to choose what I will and won’t focus on in the year ahead. And in 2017, I did focus on many of the things on this list. Some of them ended up more important than expected; others less. Interestingly and importantly, though, almost nothing I really spent my time focusing on wasn’t on the list. And that’s why I keep doing this year after year!


  1. 750m swim, 20km (12mi) ride, 5km (3.1mi) run