Goals for 2024

New years resolutions never work, so here I am writing out my 2024 goals. I figured if I write them down, I might have a better chance of sticking to them. I'm not going to be too hard on myself if I don't achieve them all, but I'm going to try my best. I'll try to publish updates to my goals throughout the year to see how I'm doing, and to hopefully help keep me focused and on track.

Goal #1: Read 12 books

I've been guilty over the years of buying interesting looking books on a whim, but then putting them up on my bookshelves and never actually reading them. Reading 12 books should be easily achievable, but the side effect of doing this for me is to prioritise reading over other things like gaming, doom-scrolling on my phone, or watching TV. It's still a very sedentary activity, but it's undoubtedly a better use of my time.

I'm off to a decent start, as I'm already midway through a second book for the year. I went camping for the first five days of the year, and enjoyed reading Androids: The Team That Built the Android Operating System by Chet Haase. There was briefly an alternate history for me that saw me join the Android team, so it was an interesting read on the early days of development of the Android operating system. It was amazing to see the amount of hard work that went into the project, and how it was a real team effort. I'm glad that I ended up at Microsoft, but it was interesting to see how the Android team worked, and how they were able to build a successful product. It was really quite motivating in the sense that it showed that a small team of people can build something great, and that it doesn't have to be a huge team of people if people are willing to put in the hard work and pick up the slack when needed.

Androids Book Cover

The second book that I'm reading now is Retro Tea Breaks Vol 1, which is a collection of interviews with "pioneers of the computer, console, and video games industry". I backed the Kickstarter for this book, and it's a really interesting read so far. It's a collection of interviews with people who worked on some of the most iconic games and systems of the 80s and 90s. It's a really interesting read, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book. I have to admit though that I missed out on all the early hardware systems, as I didn't get my first computer until 1990 (an Apple IIe), so it is always interesting to hear people with strong opinions of Amiga vs Atari ST vs Commodore 64 vs ZX Spectrum vs BBC Micro, etc. I'm still enjoying reading about the early days of the industry though, and it's interesting to see how things have changed over the years.

Retro Tea Breaks Book Cover

Beyond those two books, I've got a pile of books still to read, so I'm hoping to keep up the momentum and get through them all this year. I prefer to read non-fiction, and I prefer to have physical books - although I do wonder if I'll end up buying a Kindle at some point. My next book that I'll probably read is Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs, which I ordered over the Christmas break and expect it to arrive any day now.

Creative Selection Book Cover

Goal #2: Write 12 blog posts

I've been guilty of not writing much on my blog over the last few years, so I'm going to try to write at least one blog post a month. I've got a few ideas for posts, so hopefully I can keep this one up. I spend a lot more time building the technology behind this static website than I do actually writing content for the site! In fact, I spent some time a few weeks back doing a major overhaul of my SiteBuilder templating engine that builds this site to simplify and make it more flexible. I'll try to fix my focus to instead write more content, and leave the site technology itself alone. I'll like to write more about my day job at Microsoft, as well as my personal observations and life goals. I feel it is better to take the time to write here, rather than just posting on social media, as I feel that I have more control over my content here, and I can also take the time to write longer form content.

Goal #3: Get weight under 95kg

Because of the way I am, I've always found it hard to prioritise myself. I tend to prioritise being omni-present at work or for my family, and that means I find it hard to disappear to the gym or go for a walk without feeling bad. At least that's my justification. Working remotely has its own challenges - time zones - my team is based in Redmond, Washington, and I'm based in New Zealand. This means that I'm often working early in the morning to sync with my team, and then I tend to work late to sync up with colleagues in China. This means that I often don't have time to exercise, and I tend to eat poorly. Even though I have a standing desk, and a treadmill not far from my desk in my home office, they go unused.

At my worst, my weight was around 110kg, and today it sits at 102.45kg. Last year I got my weight down to 95kg (briefly hitting 93kg). Unfortunately, that was right before I went on three overseas trips (to Fiji, the United Kingdom, and Japan), and I'm very guilty of treating myself to nice meals when on vacation. I'm hoping to get back down to 95kg and sustain at this level. I would love to get lower, down to 90kg, but as I experienced last year, 95kg seems to be a pretty big barrier to get through first. I'm not going to go on any crazy diets, but I am going to try to eat a bit healthier and exercise a bit more.

I know I felt better, and I looked better, when I was at 95kg. I also know it isn't easy - but I feel like this is the one where I need to be the most disciplined. I'm hoping that by writing this down, I can keep myself accountable and achieve this goal.

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

I would love to have a decent sized personal (i.e. non-work) project that I could sink my teeth into programming, but of all my goals, this feels like the one that I just won't find the time for. In my day job, I tend to do a bunch of prototype work that then gets thrown over the fence to another engineer to finish off, and I miss the satisfaction of seeing a project through to completion. Right now I don't have any ideas for a project, but I'm hoping that I can find something that I can work on.

Goal #5: Increase net worth by 15%

I mean - why not? I'm not going to publish any actual numbers of my net worth, but my goal this year is a relatively conservative 15% increase from what I have today. Last year I had an approximately 36% net worth increase, but this year I'm starting to become slightly more conservative in my investments. Of course, this is dependent on the stock market, and I'm not going to be too hard on myself if I don't achieve this goal. I just invest in index funds and let the market do its thing.

That's it for now. I'll try to post updates throughout the year to see how I'm doing.

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