January 15, 2019

Goals Review for 2018

When I was trying to write a recap of 2018, it became obvious to me that it would be easier to split what I wanted to say into two posts. The first, the one you're reading here, is a review of how I did on my goals for 2018. The second, which I will add a link to here when it is published, will be a general recap of how the year went.

You can read about my 2018 goals at length in this post, but a quick list of those goals looks like this.

  • (Get better at prolific creation, worse at prolific consumption)
  • Get stronger and more limber
  • Get financially fit
  • Get out of the country
  • Get to speak more (like conferences and meetups)
  • Get better at adulting
  • Get to teach more
  • Get back into golf

Let's break 'em down!

Prolific Creation > Prolific Consumption

I did poorly at this, but there are reasons to have hope. I'm still a very prolific consumer. The amount of Twitter, YouTube and Reddit I consume is astounding. I literally have YouTube playing on another monitor right now as I write this.

What really made this worse in 2018 was hitting some really bad burn out and losing my job in August. My brain was fried. Like Rachel-Leigh-Cook-this-is-your-brain-on-drugs level fried. I just didn't want to do shit. If you visit my Github profile and look at my contributions, you can actually see when it started to take place, my mild effort to overcome it, and then my failure. So to try and recover, I took a few months to rest and do nothing. Doing nothing is a great way to watch way more YouTube than is healthy. I'm not sure if it was really the best way to do it, but it did help me start to heal. I feel better now, and have been really productive the last month or so.

Moving forward, I'd still like to get better at this. I'll write about it a bit more in my 2019 goals post.

Stronger, More Limber

Yeah... this didn't happen. In fact, I got a lot worse. Hurt my back in three places through out the year. My ankles still hurt. My right knee is starting to ache. Getting old sucks. I ate a lot of crappy food as I recovered from burnout, too. I failed at this big time.

Financial Fitness

We did well at this (finally, a win)! I really learned a lot about how to be better with finances. I rolled over all my 401Ks, we started budgeting with YNAB (shamless referral link here) which has been great for us. I even setup some general investing accounts and a retirement account for Anna. It's been a solid year, even despite losing my job.

I can't stress enough how much YNAB has helped. It's helped me plan for joy in our lives, like golf for me and books and more for Anna. It's helped us find little bits of money to put to the student loans to pay them faster. And it was the biggest help when I lost my job, because we were able to budget our money and see precisely what part of our savings were being used for what and how much of it we were dipping in to (and it hasn't been as bad as we thought it might be).

I know I can do even better with this goal in 2019, so I'll have more to say about it in that post.

International Travel

Yeah... this didn't happen, either. You lose your job, you don't make plans to leave the country. Never got my passport (still need to do so, but I need that government to stop being shut down to do so). Maybe this year. Who knows?

Speak More

I was pretty successful at this. I spoke at several local meetups this year on a variety of talks. Some technical, some less so. I also spoke at several conferences. I spoke at RevConf, FluentConf, and ByteConf. I also led a panel at ChainReactConf. It was a really cool year regarding this.

I really want to speak more in 2019, but to be frank, the burnout really stymied me. I don't have a lot of ideas or momentum going into this year, so I might have to put speaking on hold until 2020. I did do an awesome brainstorming session with the venerable Gant Laborde recently, so maybe there's some hope for 2019. We'll see. More about that in the 2019 goals post, probably.

Better Adulting

This was a mixed bag. I did a few things well, namely the financial fitness parts above. I also took care of some big things like replacing the radiator on one of our cars myself (that was fun to learn). But there's other basic stuff I still failed to do.

I think I need to make some real concrete goals in this category, and I have to actually care about them. It's the only way I'm going to get better at it. Because let's face it, if you're like me, you still don't feel like an adult, you just have all this shit you gotta do and pay for all the time.

Teach More

I did accomplish this and am really stoked on what I might be able to do in 2019 to continue this trend. The big win of the year in this regard was releasing my first egghead course. It was a really huge success and made me realize that there's a possibility of a future for me in making courses and lessons like this. I've got to setup some real goals in this regard for 2019, so lot's more about this in that post.

Play Golf

I accomplished this pretty well, too. I joined the men's club at a nearby course and played about twice a month (hey, it's progress, golf is expensive and it's what I could budget). I got my handicap down to a 2. It's not scratch, where I used to be, but I'm getting back there.

The course I play is obnoxiously hard and everyone in Portland agrees it's not rated properly. If I played the same level of golf at other courses in the area, my handicap would be back to 0. This gives me confidence if I start traveling to play tournaments again.

I played in three tournaments this year, and "made the money" for all of them. These are amateur events, so we're talking "gift certificates to the pro shop" money, but it's still an accomplishment. I was in the hunt to win one of those tournaments, but never really mounted a charge in the second round. I've got a bunch of goals regarding golf, so you'll have to read about them in my 2019 goals post when it's out.


Like most goal lists, you're going to have some successes and some failures. I think it's important to learn from both. Now, it's time to take those lessons, make some new goals, and keep moving forward in the new year.

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Kyle Shevlin is a front end web developer and software engineer who specializes in JavaScript and React.