Happy New Year 2016

The last couple of years, I’ve been writing year-in-review/goals posts on New Year’s Day, and I’m going to continue with that this year. For reference, here are links to the 2015 and 2014 posts.

Weight & Health
This category is pretty simple, so I’ll start here. I was at 200 pounds on New Year’s Day in 2014, and 165 on 1/1/2015. Today, I’m at 150. I had set a goal at 160, and got there, then everything past that just happened very gradually. I’ve been between 150 and 155 for the last few months, and I’m comfortable with that. So, for 2016, I’m just going to try and maintain my weight, within that range. Using the Lose It app has become enough of a habit now that it would seem weird not to log all my calories and weigh myself (almost) every day, so I’m going to keep doing that.

On the fitness front, I haven’t made much progress, though I’ve kept up with my habit of doing as much walking as I can. I haven’t started doing any other kind of exercise, and any thoughts I had about that were put aside when I had my hernia surgery a few months ago. I think I’ve healed up enough now that I could consider some new exercise ideas, and I might do something about that in 2016, though I’m not sure what.

My neck and back continue to bother me a bit, and I’m still not sure what, if anything, I’m going to do about it. I will likely buy a new mattress in 2016, which should help, since my current mattress is ten years old.

Speaking of mattresses, I’ve started using Sleep Cycle on my iPhone to track my sleep. I’m still not sure if it’s really that helpful, but it’s at least a little better than my old alarm clock, so I’m going to stick with it in 2016. I used to go to bed around 11pm most nights, but I’ve gotten into the habit of going to bed at 10pm lately. I get up at 6am, so that’s giving me eight hours in bed rather than seven, which is probably a bit healthier. And I’ve started setting my alarm on weekends also, so my time in bed is a bit more consistent now, from day to day. I still have trouble sleeping on some nights, and I’m not sure why. I know that afternoon coffee drinking definitely affects me, but I can have trouble sleeping even when I’m not drinking much coffee. So I’m going to keep thinking about this, and see what else I can do to improve my sleep.

Education / Programming
I didn’t do much in this area this year. I did learn a lot about SharePoint development, for a project at work that never really came to fruition. And I spent some time learning Ruby (and Ruby On Rails). I took Michael Uslan’s Rise of Superheroes course on EdX, but didn’t take any programming courses on EdX or Coursera. And I spent some more time on F#, starting a new book, Real World Functional Programming. I haven’t looked at it in a couple of weeks, but I want to pick it back up this month and get through it. Aside from that, I’m not really sure what I want to do in 2016. My day job is still going to be mostly Dynamics AX work, and I don’t have any consulting work coming up. So I’d like to continue with F#, and Ruby, and maybe more iOS development, but I don’t have any concrete projects that I’m working on or particularly interested in right now. So that’s something to think about.

I’ve been at SHI since January 2013, so I’m just coming up on my three-year anniversary. SHI does performance reviews at year-end, so I just had mine recently, and it went well. I’m reasonably content with my day job, and I’ll likely stick with it through 2016. Since I’m only doing Dynamics AX work there, though, I should really try to get involved in some other projects, outside of work. I didn’t do any of that in 2015.

GTD / organization
I did pretty good on this front in 2015. I’ve kept up on my bills and paperwork, for the most part, and have finally switched over my Merrill statements to paperless. (I blogged about this last month.) I’m got things pretty well-organized in OneDrive now, and I’ve making effective use of my Evernote account. I had started consolidating all my personal notes into Evernote back in November 2014, and I’m pretty happy with the way that’s worked out, enough so that I recently paid for another year of Evernote Premium.

Comics and Books
I donated most of my comic book collection to Superheroes for Hospice early last year, and successfully avoided buying them all back. I have been on a bit of a tear with Comixology and Humble Bundle sales recently, but that’s all digital so none of that stuff is cluttering up the apartment the way 25 long boxes of comics did.

For reading, I’d set myself a goal of 50 books in the Goodreads reading challenge for 2015. I came in at 96, so that’s good, but many of those were comic book TPBs, so it’s not as impressive a number as it could be. In fact, I see that the last prose novel I finished was a Dresden Files paperback, in August. So I should probably start reading a new novel soon, just so I don’t forget how to read the darn things. I’ve done a fair bit of non-fiction reading this year too, long form (but not book-length), mostly New Yorker articles that I read either in the printed magazine or that I’d saved in Instapaper. (I kind of wish that Instapaper had a statistics page I could look at to see what I’ve read recently, but if they do, they’ve hidden it well.) And hey, this article on good news from 2015 looks like one I should save and read!

Life-logging, journaling, and blogging
I’m not sure if I’m using the right terms here, but I’ve definitely been doing more and more of this “quantified self” stuff over the last few years. And also more of the “qualitative” stuff via blogging and journaling. It looks like I wrote a little over 100 posts on this blog in 2015. That’s a pretty respectable number, and some of them took a bit of work and thought to put together. Overall, I think blogging has helped me work through problems, set goals, and keep track of them. (And I occasionally write a post that might actually be useful to someone else, though not as often as I’d like.)

Via my iPhone, I’m now tracking everything I eat, my weight, my sleep, and my daily step count, and I’m actually paying attention to all of those things. I’m not sure how much good it’s doing me, except in the weight loss area, where it has definitely made a huge difference over the last few years. So I’m going to keep doing all that in 2016.

In addition to this blog, I’ve also been keeping a five-year journal for the last nine years. (I’m just starting the last year on the second book.) It’s somewhat useful, but there’s not much room to write anything beyond a few lines, and of course it’s old-fashioned paper, so it’s not searchable. I’ll keep up with it this year, but I’m not sure if I’ll start a new one next year.

I bought Day One for iOS about a year ago, when it was on sale for a buck, but didn’t really start using it. I bought the Mac app last month, when it was on sale for $7, and I want to start using it this year, to supplement the stuff that I post publicly on this blog, and the stuff that I scribble in my five-year journal. If using it becomes a habit, I’ll probably drop the five-year journal in 2017. The guys from The Sweet Setup wrote an ebook on Day One that looks interesting. I may pick that up, and see if it gives me any good ideas.

Hardware and Software
I didn’t do too much with major hardware or software purchases in 2015. I didn’t buy a new desktop or laptop computer. I didn’t buy a new iPhone or iPad. I did buy a $35 Kindle Fire, but that’s a pretty minor purchase. My biggest purchase of the year would be the TiVo Bolt, which is working well for me. I replaced a hard drive cable in my MacBook and the speaker in my iPhone, so I could squeeze a bit more life out of those.

I think there’s a good chance I’ll buy an iPhone 6c in 2016, if such a thing is actually released. My iPhone 5s is working fine, except that the battery is clearly on its last legs, so I’m going to need to replace either the battery or the phone before 2016 is over.

I’m almost definitely going to buy a new desktop computer soon. My current machine was purchased in 2010, so it’s about time for a new one. I’d rather just upgrade some parts in it, but it’s old enough that it’s not going to be able to run Windows 10 without replacing the motherboard, and I don’t want to do that. (And I’m not even sure if I can, and don’t want to waste a lot of time trying to figure that out.)

For software, I’m going to keep up my Office 365 subscription. Even though I’m not doing much with Office itself, the subscription is worth it for the OneDrive space. And I’ll keep using a lot of the applications I’ve been using, like Evernote and 1Password.

Well, this has turned into a long post, much like last year’s one. I started writing this around 10am, and it’s now 11:45, so I should really wrap this up and start thinking about lunch. It’s nice to have nothing important to do on New Year’s Day. It’s been quiet outside on Main Street all morning, and pretty quiet here in my apartment building. I’d like to go out for a walk, but it’s a bit cold out there today. Maybe after lunch it’ll be warm enough for a quick walk around the block.

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