I know there a lot of people who don't believe in new year's resolutions; I am not one of those people. As much as I think it is important to take stock of your life on a regular basis, I appreciate the tradition of taking extra effort to do so at the start of a fresh calendar year. And so, here are my thoughts and hopes on what this upcoming year has to offer.
Weight lifting is a large part of who I am and what makes me happy. As I posted earlier, 2009 was both a great year and a traumatic year for Project HUGE. After months off, I am now slowly, but steadily getting back into the gym. With four workouts under my belt in the last two weeks, I feel physically refreshed and mentally pumped about being back in the gym. In the coming year, I hope to keep that attitude and consistency going.
In general, I want to be more proactive about my health. I need to make it a priority to get in touch with my doctor for the proper referrals and diagnostics for my hand. Once that is done, I need to make it a priority to find a way to pay for any physical therapy required to fix my hand. Without my hand, there is no way that I can reach my potential in the gym.
As far as lifting numbers go?? Right now, I'm so concerned with just getting back in the gym, I hesitate to make any numeric goals. But, in the spirit of unbridled optimism, by 2011, I'd love to be deadlifting 405lbs and comfortably squatting 315lbs; these movements, after all, are the least hampered by my various injuries. Let's get huge!!!
Computer Programming Skills
I do my best to be learning all the time. I view my brain as something that has an infinite capacity; and as such, I try my best to cram it full of an over-abundance of technical goodness. So as far as hopes for 2010 go, I think not in terms of learning as an activity, but rather as what I want to concentrate on.
Object Oriented Programming (OOP) and Object-Relational Mapping (ORM). Learning object oriented programming has been an uphill battle for me; every thought I have on it leads not to closure, but rather to five more unanswered questions. And, to make matters worse, I haven't given it much thought in the past few months. With the release of ColdFusion 9 and its native ORM / Hibernate integration, I really need to get back on that learning track.
Groovy and Grails. It's been a long time since I've learned another programming language. This year, I'd like to build an application using Groovy and Grails. Not only is it interesting to see how different languages solve different problems, but I think learning another language can help me think more effectively about ColdFusion.
ColdBox. Yes, I'm one of those home-grown framework guys. But, no more! I've heard nothing but outstanding things about ColdBox; this is the year that I will fully embrace it and see how it can help me build applications more efficiently.
AJAX Applications. I want to continue giving a lot of time to jQuery and AJAX-heavy applications. I feel strongly that these are my future and I need to really master them.
In addition to picking these areas of concentration, I also want to make it a point to attend non-ColdFusion user groups and MeetUp.com groups; I want to collection a diversity of problem solving perspectives and broaden my horizons.
Two years ago, when I started my company, I needed to stop contributing to my retirement plan - I didn't know if I was going to have enough money to both keep investing and survive on. Two years later, I am still not sure that I can do both; but, I know that I can't keep putting it off. This year, I want to make it a priority to get my retirement plan back on track. I want to start "paying myself first" (ala. The Automatic Millionaire), and then worry about budgeting for it second; if I need to cut back in other areas to make retirement possible, well then that's just what I have to do.
I currently have a Roth IRA over at ING Direct (the one I haven't contributed to in two years). It used to be great; but, when they switched over to ShareBuilder, I lost confidence in it. It appeared to go from a managed retirement account to an online trading application. I'm a computer programmer - I don't know squat about investing; and, a plan that requires me to do research about investing just doesn't feel like the right fit.
I've heard good things about Vanguard's retirement account; and, with names like "Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 Fund", it just feels like the kind of hand-holding guidance that I'm looking for.
Love And Relationships
I love the holiday season - the snow fall, the christmas lights, the gift giving; but, as much as I love it, there's nothing like a jazzy christmas album, a romantic walk through a snowy park, or a hot cup of spicy apple cider to remind you that you are single. And, when money is not in abundance, that feeling is only amplified. The holidays can be a lonely time; and, lonely in a way that friends and family cannot change. As such, I have given a lot of thought to my romantic, intimate side lately and wondered what the upcoming year might hold.
When I think about relationships, I try to go beyond the longing. When you're single, it's easy to think only about the good parts - the new year's eve kiss, having someone to wake up next to, a movie companion, inside jokes, someone to hold hands with. But the truth is, relationships are not just about the good parts; and, they're not just about You - they're a lot of work (I don't mean that in a negative way). So the question I must pose to myself is, am I in a place in my life where I can make that a priority?
To be completely honest, I don't think I am. I have too many other priorities right now that would vie for dominance. I know there is no "right" time to have a relationship; but, for the moment, I think I am going to concentrate on working towards my many other goals. And, if it happens to happen, well I'll just figure out then. But, as for 2010, I have no real hopes in this department.
Friends And Family
I've never been the best friend or family member. This year, as with every other year, I hope to be better about that; I want to see my friends much more than I do now.
Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone
As Clark pointed out to me the other day, it's been a good while since I've really stepped outside my comfort zone. As my last hope for 2010, I want to find more opportunities to push myself to do things that I'm not comfortable with and to force myself to grow as a person. I have no idea what that entails exactly; but, as I encounter things, I hope to have the mental fortitude to respond with determination rather than with fear.
Here's to a good year!
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Those are excellent, insightful resolutions, Ben. Some might call it narcissistic or navel-gazing, but it takes more than that to be so honest and open with not just yourself, but those around you.
Good luck in 2010 (the frickin' future, man!) and keep doing what you enjoy.
Great resolutions! You've obviously given them a lot of thought and you deserve to succeed in every one of them in 2010, good luck!
I wish you good luck for 2010 and hope you can fulfill all of your resolutions. I'll be coming back to check on posts about gym and programing. Two things we share and love!
Excellent insights Ben. I've recently come to a similar conclusion about relationships. They sound great, but then I think about all the work, and how I love doing whatever I want whenever I want and just don't know if I'm ready for that again.
I look forward to your posts about coding and hopefully your working out will inspire me (going to school along with working has put a damper on my schedule) and maybe we can find ways to pull you out of your comfort zone at cfunited this year. Dancing and karaoke? I can see it now!
Nice work Ben, gives me inspiration to write my own 2010 goals. Hope it all goes well for you in the new year!
Smart resolutions and it looks like you have the action plans to go with them - which is where most resolutions go off track. Good luck!
Impressive and very well thought out, Ben. I wish you the best of luck!
Your thoughts made me think about my "plan" for this year, kind of enlightened me, thank you for that and good luck in your journey!
I wish you all luck with "Love And Relationships" and "Friends And Family". Those require real investments and, as such, pay off the most. With rest you'll have success I am sure, as you already proved.
Best wishes for the new year Ben. I think it's very important to set short term goals for the new year. Without set and defined goals life will just flounder in a never ending "ground hog day" type of existence.
Relationships are a lot of work and they need their own set of goals and priorities. I find it especially difficult in our line of work as we get "obsessed" with our passion for what we are doing, which can leave very little room for nurturing a relationship (bad).
Making a conscious decision not to search look for a relationship is a sure way to find one :) Be careful and make sure you only go out to user group meeting or you will run the risk of finding what you don't really want :)
Thanks all for your words of encouragement :) I'm already feeling good about this year!
I'll be putting that theory to the test ;)
If you take a longer term view, friends, family, and relationships are the lasting parts of your life. They do take energy, but those parts of your life renew your energy also. They make life worth living.
Connections with family members and friends needs to be a priority. These are the people you can count on. Who else is going to help you move?
I would encourage you to keep open to the idea of a long term relationship while not going on a hunt for one. Many of us geeks are not social gurus so we don't always know the cues given out by people. Just keep your eyes open and live life to the fullest. That is amazingly attractive to people.
It is impossible to explain the different ways that a good partner adds to your life. Clients and contracts come and go, but they are not going to change your diapers when you are old.
Thanks for sharing your resolutions. Some are similar to mine and the others gave me something to think about.
Have you thought about a traditional IRA? I'm in the same boat as you and have zero investing savvy and really don't care to pick up any. A few years ago when I changed jobs I had to roll over my old 401-K and I put it in a traditional IRA which is nothing more than a glorified savings account with limits on the amount of $$ you are allowed to contribute. There is no management involved, no shifting of stocks, etc. You just let it sit and build collect a very modest interest (I prefer safe and conservative approach).
I've never been good on new year's resolutions myself. I've been telling myself this will finally be the year when I get my own CF/Web development blog rolling. Only time will tell. For starters, I decided to buy a membership to Costco and do most of my shopping there. Gimme that 5 gallon box of soy sauce... oh yeah.
As for the lady situation, you're not alone in that department. I would imagine many of us geeks are still single. All in due time, bro. Keep it real fo' 2010!
I'm all about safe and conservative :) I think the only real difference between an IRA and a Roth IRA is when the tax is paid (when you take out vs. when you contribute).
I just want to know enough to put it in the right hands and then not have to think about it for 40 years.
Why not use your last resolution as a guide? Get out of your comfort zone and learn something about personal finance and investing. Take a class at a local community college or a workshop. Don't assume that someone else is going to take the best care of your money.
At your age, you should be taking more risk than your parents. I like the Vanguard funds, but you should be looking to put some of your funds in more aggressive growth funds. Vanguard has some of them in their portfolio.
All the mutual fund sites have a lot of educational info too. Hey, maybe we should have a session at the next CFinNC! Investing for Geeks! :)
I like the idea; but learning about personal finance is not about a comfort zone; it's just something I don't want to invest time in (ha ha, that's a play on words).
Really though, at "best", I'd only ever be a "hobbyist" and really, that's not the kind of person I'd want to have handling my long-term finances. I want to just let the experts do it.
Now, that's not to say I would get a good deal of value taking a class on this stuff - in fact, that sounds rather fun! But, I wouldn't want to do it in an attempt to be the master of my own finances.
I really liked your thoughts and the resolutions. I am quite inspired by you.This year I will try my best to achieve all my resolutions I have thought off.
Im new to this site and actually this is the first blog ive read. I must admit that it makes people thinking about their own plans not only for the upcoming year but for their whole future.
Good read and best of luck for 2010.
Ben -- this is great stuff. You've motivated me to write some of my own!
I too struggled with OO/ORM. After reading Rocky Lhotka's C# business object books, it all became clear. The job of objects is to support use-cases, governed by their behavior, not data. Part of their responsibility is knowing how to fetch and save themselves to the DB. It seems the ORM mindset tends to model objects around data relationships, not behavior.
Yes, It's a .NET book, but there are a couple chapters devoted to developing the mindset around how to build object models vs. data models.
BTW -- great blog. Keep it up.
Sorry for apparently double-posting - but I forgot my question for Ben. Are u probably planing some short reviews throughout 2010 for like each months or like every task u planned for urself to let everyone know if u did make it or whatever else happened?
No plans - but I'll post success when I achieve it (and hardships as well).
I am hoping that learning about Groovy / GORM might help with this as well; since I am totally out of my element in Groovy, I am hoping that it forces me to stop thinking about data.
Re: retirement plans
I personally prefer the Single-K option. Not many people know about it, but it's really a great alternative to IRAs, it basically is like a 401K plan that you administer yourself (basically nothing more than filing a form to get it started). Very easy to set up and best if you want to put away a fair amount of money tax-free (I've yet to hit the ceiling in a year). I have mine through Fidelity which gives me a wide range of investment options for the money, only downside is that they don't allow you to borrow on the funds in an emergency, as some Single-K plans do, and contributions have to be mailed in (can't transfer funds online as of yet).
That sounds great, thanks for the quick response.
RE: Relationships and Love
My dreamboat... sigh!!!!
You mean I have to wait yet another year :(
For you I will wait a lifetime!
Good luck with your goals.
I've been reading your blog for a while and I'm, quite simply, glad to see a software engineer who actually visits a gym. There might be more in your particular species, but they certainly aren't in the majority.
I hope one of your resolutions for 2010 is to continue blogging about your intellectual achievements along with your physical accomplishments. Most folks don't realize that the two go hand in hand.
As cliché as it sounds, it really is true, a healthy body does really lead to a healthy mind.
I'm in the support industry now and one of my goals for 2010 is to change careers and move into software development by the end of next year.
Reading your blog is so inspirational and you can bet that I'll continue to be a regular visitor.
As for the romance department, you're dead on... finish what you have to do now and then move to the next step. It's like employing guerilla tactics. You take on too much and you're bound to get bit where "the sun don't shine".
All the best for 2010!
I love both working out and being a computer programmer; I am not sure if I could be happy if either of those was removed from my life. I certainly hope to keep getting better at both.
Best of luck to you in move into software development. We're here if you ever want to talk.
"But the truth is, relationships are not just about the good parts; and, they're not just about You - they're a lot of work (I don't mean that in a negative way)."
It depends on who is your partner. If person drains your energy it is a lot of efforts indeed; if person gives you energy you just start flying...everything becomes easier, simpler, more enjoyable.
For your programming skills, what about ASP.NET?
You are very true - finding the right person is absolutely key; I am a very driven, very passionate person and I suppose I would work well with the same. I am just saying that I am not making it a priority at this time.
I have used a bit of .NET in the past, specifically C#. The whole code-behind concept was interesting. I think I'd like to see Groovy for a bit because it is a smaller step from ColdFusion being that it is a typeless, dynamic language built on top of Java.
You can't plan or prioritize two things in life: love and death. They just happen without any mental involvement on your part :)
Is the market for .NET and C# much better now?
I think the marker for .NET is always pretty good. I just heard from someone that the city (NYC) government is standardizing on .NET. Not sure if that is true, but it just goes to show that people are liking .NET... or least big businesses are.
Hey Ben, the year hasnt been running for long now but I wanted to kindly remember you, that you wanted to post all you successful climbed barriers this year. You have posted some great news in the last two weeks where you have tried out different things and started to post videos for better explanations and stuff like that. In my oppionen, trying out new things and success IS successful :D
So far the year has been going pretty well. I've really been trying to move ahead with my resolutions, although some are more successful than others.
1. I've definitely been getting back into the gym much more consistently and it's been feeling GREAT. I've really started to integrate it back into my life in a full-time way. And, so far, my injuries are not acting up much at all.
2. For the retirement, I've finally gotten my asset transfer form into Vanguard where I just opened up at targeted retirement account. Not sure if the transfer has gone through, but once it does, I'll start to contribute to it again.
My other resolutions are not going as well, but I plan to put them all into action.
As an update: I finally closed out my ING ShareBuilder account and transferred the balance over to a new Targeted Retirement account with Vanguard. The transfer *finally* went through (only took a couple of weeks actually) and after I figure out what my taxes are gonna be in April, I'm gonna start contributing again.
I think you're having a pretty awesome year all around, don't you? :)
Also, my dad says to tell you a big thumbs-up on Vanguard: his $ is mostly there as is, apparently, mine (who knew?) and money set aside for my kids. Hope when my b'day (aka Tax Day) rolls around, the gov't is good to you! :D
Yesterday at the gym, I hit a few sets of squats at 315lbs. I was in the 3-5 rep range with big Ken (one of the trainers) watching my form and depth. Said I handled it well. This is super exciting - I haven't squatted 315 in a looong time. I think I hit one rep like 2 years ago... but before that it was several more years.
My right knee is definitely feeling it today though. Very achy. Time for another round of Active Release Technique (ART).
Looking forward to handling 315 with confidence in the next few months.
Do bodybuilders from our generation take glucosamine supplements to strengthen joints for this type of exercise? I'm assuming in your early 30s, no?
Turning 30 this year. Not sure about glucosamine. I've definitely read about it before, so I assume it's still in use.