My Goals for the New Year 2017

The New Year is just round the corner and like many people out there, I too have been thinking about the resolutions for the next year. However, I understand that resolutions are made to be forgotten. Every new year I decide that I will regularly go to gym and by February or sometimes, second week of January itself, I forget about it. So this year I have decided to set myself goals. But isn’t it just another word for the same thing? Well, resolutions are just the things we decide to do and often without anything to measure our progress against. Goals, on the other hand, are measurable and time-bound. When I am thinking about setting goals for myself, they should hold some meaning for me — something that can help me grow personally or professionally. I read somewhere that it helps to write down the goals and hence, this post.

Every person has different interests and aspirations and one should set goals keeping those in mind. When I thought about my interests and my aspirations, I realized that there were some overlapping areas and working on one focus area could actually help me set the stage for another.

Reading

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

I love getting lost in the aisles of a bookstore, even an online one. But sometimes, it gets difficult to take as much time out to read as I would like to and so setting goals for reading makes sense. For this, I believe Goodreads can be very useful. With its yearly Reading Challenge, I can decide how many books I want to read in a year and keep track of my reading. I have decided that I will read at least 12 books in 2017 — one for each month.

Technology

Recently, I realized that Machine learning (ML) is not just cool, it is revolutionary and I must learn more about this area. I also realized that learning about ML can be overwhelming as well. To keep myself on track, I will take up MOOCs about the basics of ML algorithms, Octave (or MATLAB) and hopefully, dive deeper as I start getting the hang of it. There is a number of great courses on Coursera, edX and Udacity. Moreover, I will continue with my learning about the other tech areas I find interesting — Data structures, Algorithms and Java. I have chosen these subjects because as a Software Engineer, learning more about these will help me grow professionally. It’s difficult to decide the number of online courses I will be taking and which, but the goal is to keep learning and be able to participate in ML competitions on Kaggle and other coding competitions.

Travelling

“Not all those who wander are lost” — J R R Tolkien

In 2017, I will make a conscious effort to travel more and I will travel to at least 1 new country and 2 new states.

Writing

They tell me that writing is like any other skill and therefore, can be developed with practice. I do write sometimes but randomly. So I have decided that from 2017, I will put more thought and time into it and try to improve. I have discovered that apart from bringing together great articles to read, Medium can prove to be useful tool for writing as well, especially for beginners like me. In 2017, I will publish at least 24 posts on Medium — 2 for each month. I will write book reviews (overlapping with reading), movie reviews, travelogues (overlapping with travelling), thoughts and short stories.

Language learning

❝To have another language is to possess a second soul.❞
 ‒Charlemagne

For more than 2 years now, I have been learning Spanish with the help of Duolingo, Memrise and a few friends in Ecuador, where I have been travelling to over the last 3 years for work. In 2017, however, I plan to take and pass at least A2, and hopefully B1 level DELE certificate (as per Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)

I believe goals should not be judged on their difficulty level for as long as they help you get out of your comfort zone and grow. This is why I believe it will be okay to revise the goals during the year, if I find them too difficult or too easy. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

A very Happy New Year!