My New Year’s Resolutions for 2019

fireworks on new years

Ah, yes. The calendar has flipped to 2019. All of the “Best of 2018” posts have been written and now everyone is looking ahead to what could be in 2019.

And one of the looking ahead traditions is the yearly “New Year’s Resolutions” which will typically last maybe two weeks on average.

But despite the abysmal success rate, there’s something addicting and comforting to setting goals for the new year. Though arbitrary, it’s a great time to evaluate where you and are where you want to be 365 days from now.

So, as has been tradition the past couple of years, here are my resolutions and goals for 2019.

How I determine resolutions

Now, before I start looking back at the year that was and what I look to do in 2019, let’s go over how I come up with my resolutions.

I try my best to be specific about my goals for the coming year, but not too specific. So for example, if I want to lose weight, I don’t want to just say for my resolution to only lose weight. But at the same time, I don’t want to specify the exact amount I want to lose. It becomes easy to be too focused on a number and not actually changing anything.

So instead, I might be more specific about a part of the larger goal. So I might say that I will eat out only a certain amount each week and I’ll exercise six days a week. And in the process of completing those goals, I’ll also accomplish the bigger goal.

And then for what I actually want to accomplish, I try to roadmap what I want to do and where I want to get better.

If you want to learn more about how I come up my resolutions, and maybe grab a few tips for your own, here’s a video I did on New Year’s resolutions last year.

A look back at last year’s resolutions

Before we look towards what I hope to do in 2019, let’s look back at what I hoped to do in 2018. It’s probably not going to be pretty, but hey, what resolutions are when December 31 rolls around. It’s all about accountability and figuring out where you can be better in the next 365 days.

Create and maintain a YouTube channel on web development

Well, this one, like all resolutions, got off to a pretty good start. I managed to get through the basics of web development. I put out series on how to get started, HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript and MySQL.

But then life got in the way and I wasn’t able to put much time or energy into it. I did kind of try to restart it, focusing on small businesses and their websites, but life got in the way again. Still, I’m glad I got those videos out there. Even if I’m not able to put out more videos on a regular basis, at least those beginner ones are out there to help others. And that really was the point of doing them.

If you are looking to start learning web development, here’s a video to get you started. And here’s the rest of them to help you out.

Continue to learn VueJS, React and Angular

This one, like the video series, gets a kind of rating. I did learn a little bit about React, but not in the way I thought I would at this point last year.

I didn’t learn VueJS, Angular or even React in a way to put a really cool WordPress website together. But thanks to Gutenberg, I ended up learning more about React, JSX and more advanced JavaScript.

I tried recreating parts of this website with Gutenberg blocks built from scratch. It was quite challenging and involved many a Google search into how to do something with React and/or JSX. In the end, I moved onto building the blocks with the new ACF Blocks that should be coming out soon, but I no doubt learned a lot about building with React during the process. Maybe I’ll do more this year.

Become a better web designer

There’s not really a way to quantify how much I accomplished this goal in the past year, but I at least feel like I became a better web designer in 2018.

I more-or-less designed a website for Faith Growth that sadly hasn’t seen the light of day. It wasn’t the best design in the world, but it got the job done and looked good considering it was mostly done on the fly.

Other than that, I designed a premium newspaper theme that’s still in the development works and hopefully is finished this year. But I continue to look at cool websites and learn what they do and to add elements I like to my repertoire. Maybe 2019 will be the chance to show them off.

Continue to learn the WP REST API and how to use it

This one kind of falls into the same category as Angular, React and VueJS. Gutenberg really stole the scene in terms of my development and pushed this to the side.

Still, there was a little bit of learning about the API while developing with Gutenberg. There have been a number of times when I need it to add posts, teams, players, etc., to a select dropdown. And as I get deeper, I’m sure I’ll figure out more uses for it.

And besides, I feel really good about the REST API going into last year and feel confident if I ever need to use in my day job or some other project.

Learn WooCommerce

This one I feel like I can confidently check off my list for last year. I didn’t necessarily learn much from the development side of things, but I did get a really good feel for how to use it.

I helped set up WooCommerce on two sites in freelancing gigs and got a chance to see some of the inner workings of it all. And really, that’s all most small businesses are going to need — to just get it up and running so they can start selling.

I would love to learn how to develop with Woo and get it to work with a theme, but I feel good about being on the right track.

This year’s resolution

And finally, let’s get to what I hope to do in 2019.

Better understand accessibility and make sure everything I do is accessible

So in taking this new job at the UNT Health Science Center, I have waded into the world of accessibility. And it’s the first time I’ve really been forced to think about accessible websites, which is kind of embarrassing.

I had heard about it a lot recently, especially being a part of the WordPress community, but it was always something that got put on the back burner when things got busy. “It’d be nice to get to that,” I’d always think. However, since UNT HSC is a school and schools are required to have accessible websites, I’ve got to learn and understand it now.

And that will trickle down into my other web development. I hope to make this website, Sports Bench and my other WordPress plugins and themes accessible early this year.

Helpful blogging for starting web developers and small businesses and their website

I kind of started this towards the end of 2018, and I would love to keep it up for the next year as well. A lot of small businesses are jumping to either get online or to get a new website. And why wouldn’t they? It’s the place to be and those ads make it look so easy to create a new website

But it can be a tricky place, and I figure I have enough experience now to help small business owners go down the right path. I can share that expertise through blog posts that cover the wide array of areas involved in a new small business website. And hopefully they’ll be of some use to small business owners.

And who knows, maybe it leads to a new client and a new project.

Complete a solo freelance project

Speaking of projects, I would love to complete a solo freelance project for once. Everything I’ve done so far has been through someone else — essentially I’ve never really had contact with the end client.

So I would love to go through the entire cycle with a client by myself, from the initial meeting and discussion through discovery, design, development, content and then launch and support. It would do wonders for my confidence as a developer.

Learn React

I know I said this last year, but it’s still true for this year as well. With Gutenberg more or less based off of React, it’s really a good idea to try and pick up more and more of the language.

The “trial by fire” I’ve already received trying to build blocks has been a really good starting point and I feel more confident than I’ve ever been with the language. Now I just want to build on it and keep the momentum going.

Read more books

Finally, I want to read more. When I was freelancing, there was always that nagging of I could be working, even in the evening after a long day of work. But now with a more defined work schedule, I feel like I have more time in the evening to relax.

So now I want to spend some free time reading. I don’t know how much I want to read. There’s no way I can do 100 books in a year like I’ve seen some people, but one a month seems like a good starting point.

As I said before, this is a roadmap to how I would like my year to go in some ways. But life ofter has other plans. I’m really curious to see what my 2019 looks like when I’m writing my plan for 2020. Oh the possibilities.

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