Challenge Yourself This Year

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January 1st. Usually around this time of year I create a list of pie-in-the-sky resolutions for the new year, although they are almost always forgotten by Valentines Day. Like most people, I start out uber motivated with full intentions of keeping that pace throughout the year. But that eagerness fizzles out as the weeks go by. I think this happens for a couple of reasons. For starters, my goals are usually over zealous and unrealistic. Setting the bar high is important (very important) but goals need to be reasonable and attainable. For really large, long term goals, it helps to break them down into smaller easier to swallow milestones. The feeling on accomplishment after hitting a milestone will help keep the interest alive as you move towards the final, larger goal.

The second cause of demise in new year’s resolutions stems from a lack of accountability. It’s way too easy to put them off if you are the only one who knows what your goals are. So this year I decided to post my list of goals on this blog and will be submitting updates every two months to show my progress.

I would like to challenge anyone reading this to do the same in the new year. Set high, but attainable goals for yourself over the next 12 months. And don’t keep them to yourself! Advertise them. Whether that means listing them on a blog, hanging them up at work, or just sharing them with your significant other. Measure the progress at regular intervals and make adjustments if you’re not happy with where you’re at.

Technical Goals

Read the following books:

Become proficient with the following tools & technologies:

Get involved:

  • Two blog posts per month
  • Two technical presentations for coworkers to push agile methodologies at my current company.


  • Upgrade MCPD certification from 2.0 to 3.5

Personal Goals

Family Time

  • Take 2 one week long trips
  • Take 6 weekend getaways
  • By the end of the year, work from home regularly two times per week

Belief System

  • Read the Bible completely through


  • Reduce debt by two-thirds
  • Become familiar with some of the ins and outs of day trading, as well as how currency trading works

Side Projects

  • Finish the project I’ve been working on for the last year!
  • Start a new venture and grow it to produce $500 per month of automated income by the end of the year.

Would love to hear about goals that you’re pushing yourself towards this year!!

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About the Author:

Freelance software developer in the Cleveland area.


  1. Josh Schramm December 29, 2008 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    “Two technical presentations for coworkers to push agile methodologies at my current company.” HEAR HEAR… If you are referring to our company and not your client (which i presume you are) and want any help with this I’m all ears.

  2. John Miller December 29, 2008 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    @Josh Yep, I’m trying to set up an after hours presentation on TDD for early Feb. Interested in getting your thoughts on the scope of what to cover (maybe during the drive to CodeMash). Jumping straight into TDD might be too much to bite off at once since most people in the company are new to unit testing in general.

  3. Drew Auman December 29, 2008 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    Hey John …

    Awesome goals !! First step in achieving them is writing them down and you did what most people fail to do….

    Good luck with it!
    Drew Auman

  4. […] Miller has a nice post throwing his 2009 goals out there for everyone to see, and challenging everyone else to do the […]

  5. Al Nyveldt January 20, 2009 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    Well, I think you’ve set the bar high. I hope you are making good progress so far. My goals (not posted) seem much more attainable after reading over your list. 🙂

  6. David Welker February 3, 2009 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    John, it’s amazing to see how far you’ve come since college and WebX. If you even get half way through this list, you’ve gotten a lot farther than most people I know will even attempt to do in their lifetime (you actually plan on reading through a whole technical book, sheesh!). Anyways, through my job search I’m finding that Agile is a great buzzword to throw on your resume. Too bad I don’t have that skill… yet! My goal is to actually make it through a whole episode of Sesame Street. You know that ADD I have is a buzzkill when you want to actually learn stuff. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, if you need any advice on things like day-trading, reducing debt, or weekend trips, you know my number!

  7. […] just saw that Darrell posted his goals progress for the year which reminded me that I promised to do the same. (Thanks for the reminder, […]

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