Goals for 2024 - Update 1

At the start of the year I posted about my goals for 2024, and I wanted to keep myself accountable by posting updates throughout the year. Here's my first update. I'll reuse the same structure as my original post, and I'll try to keep it brief.

Goal #1: Read 12 books

The books I've read so far

I've done well here, and established a small library of unread books on my bookshelf! The books I've read so far this year are:

  • Androids by Chet Haase: I read this January 1st through 4th, and it tells the story of the early days of the development of the Android ecosystem. It was a really interesting read, and I enjoyed it a lot. I've been a fan of Chet's work for a long time (not quite overlapping with him at Sun Microsystems, and at one or two points I spoke to him about joining Google). It was great to read about his time at Google.
  • Retro Tea Breaks Vol 1 by Neil Thomas: I read this January 6th through 9th, and it's a collection of interviews with pioneers of the computer, console, and video games industry. I backed the Kickstarter for this book, and I'm glad I did.
  • Creative Selection by Ken Kocienda: I read this January 19th through 22nd, and it tells the story of the early days of the development of the Safari web browser and the iPhone. Like most people, I know very little about the inner workings of Apple, so it is interesting to peer behind the curtain.
  • Doom Guy by John Romero: I read this through March, and it tells the whole life story of John Romero, including his childhood, how he came to develop Doom (and numerous other games), and what he has done since (web games, mobile games, and Doom extensions). I was gripped by the story of his life, and found it fascinating. Highly recommended!
  • Press Reset by Jason Schreier: I read this March 14th through 23rd, and it tells the turbulent times that game developers have in the video game industry. You often read stories of game developers being overworked, underpaid, and generally mistreated, and this book is full of such stories. It's a real eye-opener, and I highly recommend it.

I started Factfulness by Hans Rosling back in January, but I put it on the backburner to get through some of the books above. I have a bunch of other books sitting around that I plan to read next, but rather than explain each one, let me just include another photo of them piled up:

The books I've still got to read

Goal #2: Write 12 blog posts

I've not done so well here, having only written three posts (including this one). I do have drafts (or at least, titles) of things I would like to blog about, but I just haven't prioritised it highly enough. I need to do better in the next three months! My posts, excluding this one, so far this year are:

Goal #3: Get weight under 95kg

When I posted last, my weight was 102.45kg. Today it stands at 96.35kg. That's more or less 6kg down in the last three months. I could probably have done better here, but I'm on the right path, and in any case, it's good to see the weight coming off. I'm also eating far more healthily - my diet has done a massive u-turn over the past months. I alternate between using my treadmill, my newly-purchased rowing machine, and exercising in front of the TV most days. I suspect a small amount of my reduced weight loss is simply due to converting fat into muscle, but I definitely still have plenty of fat to burn!

A big reason for wanting to get my weight down (and fitness / health improved) is to fight my genetics, to avoid the need for any cholesterol medication. My doctor would love to eagerly put me on statins for cholesterol, given my family history, but I really would rather not just accept that as my fate. We will see if I manage to beat my genetics - I have a blood test scheduled in May to track my cholesterol levels, and I hope to see my efforts reflected in the results.

Goal #4: Work on a non-trivial software project

I'm putting a little bit of time into TeenyHttpd, but not enough to really call it a non-trivial software project. I need to do better here.

Goal #5: Increase net worth by 15%

My goal was 15% increase over the year, and right now I'm sitting on 8.51% growth since January 15th (for historical reasons I track my net worth on the 15th of each month). That's pretty awesome obviously, and well exceeding target. I'll note that I've paid a huge amount of tax recently, which saw the growth drop by a 1.25% or so, but I never really begrudge tax - it's the price of living in a civilised society.

I do expect to see the rate of growth slow down going forward though, as I've done a lot of work reshuffling my finances this week (before the end of the tax year here in New Zealand). I moved my investments out of a small number of individual stocks (that did really well for me) and into a more diversified portfolio of investments. It's still heavily aggressive, but spread over a bunch of different companies and sectors.

That's it for now. I hope it is insightful for anyone who reads this, or, at least for me, I hope it continues to motivate me to keep moving forward on my goals!

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