Recap of 2010 and Goals for 2011

{ Posted By : Eric Cobb on January 6, 2011 }
Related Categories: Personal

The new year is here (already??) and that means it is time to take a moment to reflect on 2010, and think about my plans for moving forward in the coming year. I'm excited to see what 2011 brings, and some of the plans I have for this year, but first let's take a look at 2010.

2010 was a pretty good year for me.

I had several exciting and unexpected things happen. I got to teach a Hands On ColdFusion course at NCDevCon, which was a blast! Aaron West passed the reigns of the Nashville ColdFusion User Group over to me, where I now serve as co-manger of the group with J.J. Merrick. And, I stayed really busy with my side projects and even picked up a couple of new clients.

On the personal side of things, after several months of looking we finally bought a house in September. Then, just a few weeks later, we had a baby! Well, technically my wife had the baby, but she says I helped out. This makes our second child, and we had a boy this go around.

As for my 2010 goals....

well, they could have turned out better. I'm right in the middle on what I did and did not accomplish, so I guess I broke even. Here's a recap of last year's goals for those of you playing along at home:

  • Get a new hobby - WIN - for Father's Day I got a new camera, and have started trying to learn photography. I still don't know squat about what I'm doing, but I'm hoping to learn more about it this year.
  • Learn Java and Groovy - FAIL - I started learning Java. Really, I did. I bought Head First Java and got through about the first chapter of it. But between side projects, house hunting, and being a full time family man, I quickly ran out of time. So, not only did I fail to complete the book, but I don't even remember any of what little bit of it I did read.
  • Get Certified - FAIL - I scheduled my CF certification, but later ran into a scheduling conflict between myself and the testing center, and I just never got back around to scheduling the exam again.
  • Lose at least 25 pounds - FAIL - I lost a little weight. Not the 25 pounds I had hoped, but I was on my way. However, in the last few months I have reclaimed the lost pounds and more. If you had asked me back in August I would have checked this one off as a WIN, but not anymore. Living off of drive-throughs for weeks at the time has taken its toll on my midsection.
  • Start cooking more - WIN - I still don't cook as much as I would like, but I definitely started cooking more last year. Especially during the warmer months when I could get outside and use my grill.
  • Read More - BIG WIN - While this has only really come about in the last few months, I've really started to read again. I finished Dune just before Christmas, and I started the second book in the series, Dune Messiah this week. I've also got a list of technical and business books that I'm working on for some book reviews.

One thing I noticed about the above goals is that there were only two items related to programming, and I failed at both of them. There are several reasons for this, some of them work related and some of them not, but for now I'm going to say that the main reason is that I no longer have the time (or much of a desire) to dedicate hours of my personal time to programming. Truth be told, unless I'm working on a side project for a client, I usually spend less than 2-3 hours a week on my computer at home, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Despite not meeting all of my goals, I'm happy with the way things turned out for 2010. It was a year of new experiences, as well as many eye opening revelations about myself, my career, and my faith. I hope to continue this growth in the coming year.

Now, on to 2011!

As with last year, I've decided to set some more goals. Some of them are just carry-overs from the previous set of goals, and some of them are new ones.

  • Get a new hobby, again - I've got my camera and I plan on learning more about photography, but I also want to get into a little wood working. We've got a great new house, and I want to build some bookshelves, work on the deck, maybe even build a play set for the kids. My wife gave me a nail gun for Christmas, so I'd better learn how to use it.
  • Focus on Professional Growth - This covers several things, some of which I can control, some of which I can't. I want to try to speak at a conference again this year, get a certification (CF or another), start working with a new language some and hopefully incorporate it into my day job, and focus more on blogging. If I can accomplish any two of those, I'll consider this one a WIN.
  • Work on some open source code - I've got some ideas for small little OS projects that I want to do. Nothing fancy, just some little tools and utilities that I think will be useful. Hopefully, working on this one will help ignite my passion for programming again. Who knows, I may even try to help out on some of the bigger OS projects already out there.
  • Eat Healthier - I guess this could be considered a combination of last year's Lose Weight and Cook More. The bottom line is, I'm tired of eating junk and want to feed myself and my family healthier food. No, I'm not turning into some kind of hippie health nut, but I'd prefer to have some home cooked veggies on the table instead of a bag of fries from a drive-through.
  • Keep Reading - I'm doing good with this one, but I want to keep it going. I mentioned that I just started the second book of the Dune series. There are a total of six books in the original series, and I want to be on the fifth (or maybe sixth) book by the end of the year. I also want to do a few technical book reviews this year as well, at least 2 or 3. That's 6-8 books for me to read by the end of the year. I haven't read 6-8 books in the last decade!
  • Help a child in need - This one is important to me. In today's fast paced society, it's easy to get caught up in our own little existence and lose track of the world around us. We can get so focused on ourselves, our family, or our career that we lose sight of the big picture. The sad truth is there are people, especially children, in desperate need of help all over the world, and not enough people willing to try to help them. My wife and I already sponsor orphans through Justice and Mercy International, and my goal is to try to go on a mission trip this year, specifically to the country of Moldova. There's so much more I could say about this, but for now I'm going to leave it at that.

That's a pretty heavy load! There are other things that I had considered adding to that list, but I think that's enough for now. As with last year's list, I'm going to try really really hard to get them accomplished. Wish me luck!

So, enough about me. What's on your list for 2011?

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Bob Silverberg's Gravatar Congrats on your wins and good luck with your goals for 2011. On the "Work on some open source code" goal, I suggest contributing to an existing project. There are lots of them out there and they can all use extra help. Do you currently use any of them? Are there any features you've been hankering for? Send a note to the mailing list for whichever project you choose and I can pretty much guarantee you'll get a pleased response.

Good luck!
# Posted By Bob Silverberg | 1/6/11 11:06 AM
Eric Cobb's Gravatar Thanks Bob! I have contributed a little to Mach-II in the past, but only in the form of helping with tutorials/documentation. Those guys are too smart for me to be monkeying around in their code! :) You make a good point, though. I should probably look through some of the OS apps I'm using and see if there's a tweak or bug fix that I added that I can contribute back.
# Posted By Eric Cobb | 1/6/11 11:20 AM
Steve Bryant's Gravatar Congratulations on your goals.

On the topic of Dune, I have read through "God Emperor of Dune" so far and I would say each book is about half as good as the one before it. Fortunately, the original is so good that you can go several steps down in quality from there and still have an enjoyable read.
# Posted By Steve Bryant | 1/6/11 12:00 PM
Eric Cobb's Gravatar Thanks Steve. I've heard mixed reviews of the later books in the series, most especially of the ones Frank's son, Brian, has written. You're not the first person I've heard say that "God Emperor of Dune" was as far as they got. I hope to make it through the whole series, but if not I guess this goal will get finished ahead of schedule. ;)

BTW, congrats on Neptune ( for those that don't know). I've been following the discussion on CF-Talk and I hope to give it a try sometime soon. I think it may be a good fit for some stuff we've got going on here at the office.
# Posted By Eric Cobb | 1/6/11 12:14 PM
Jen's Gravatar I can help you out with your reading goal. I saw you had 'The Tipping Point' on your wishlist. I have it at home (I think; the last time I saw it was in my daughter's room.). I can send that to you. Also, I might have one or two other Malcolm Gladwell books if you are interested. I've read them all. Hit me up on Google chat if you would like them.
# Posted By Jen | 1/6/11 12:23 PM
Eric Cobb's Gravatar Wow! Thanks Jen! I appreciate that, I'll definitely take you up on that one. Maybe we can have a book swap at NCDevCon this year. :)
# Posted By Eric Cobb | 1/6/11 12:31 PM
Steve Bryant's Gravatar Eric,

Thanks for the kinds words on Neptune. I appreciate it.

I still haven't decided if I am going to read any more of the Dune series or not. As it is, I usually have about a year between books of the same series (I like to switch up genres between books).

The first one was so amazing. It really took my breath away. I also just started the "A Song of Fire and Ice" series (starting with "A Game of Thrones") based on the recommendation of fellow ColdFusion programmer, Ezra Parker. It isn't "Dune", but it is still really impressive so far (also, fantasy, not sci-fi).
# Posted By Steve Bryant | 1/6/11 3:34 PM