New Year's resolutions for this year

A mix of red and blue fireworks as a crowd watches on

So here we are. It’s 2020; it’s a new decade. And yes, that means it’s time for some resolutions for the new year.

Resolutions can be a fickle thing. It’s all too easy to let these goals drop by the wayside just weeks into the new year.

But one of the best ways I’ve heard of thinking is by looking at them more as themes for the year. That leaves you focused on higher things than the smaller, day-to-day things.

So here’s a look back at what I accomplished from my last year and a look at what I hope to do in 2020.

How I determine my goals

This is from this same post last year, but it’s worth going over again.

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.

Last year’s resolutions

Better understand accessibility and make sure everything I do is accessible

Well, a year after setting this goal, I can confidently say that I have a much better understanding of accessibility. And I’ve done what I can so far to make everything I build be accessible.

When I rebuilt this website back in the summer, I made sure that it had the accessibility it needed. I will say, however, that I might have missed something (I probably did), so if you run into an issue, please let me know. Also, all of my new videos have subtitles included.

Next up is rebuilding the WordPress themes I have with accessibility in mind, checking Sports Bench for accessibility (there are many issues there I know) and keeping things accessible.

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

This has been an on-and-off thing I’ve been doing this past year, but I feel like I’ve been pretty successful with this. There are a lot of resources — from blog posts to videos to resources and more — to help small business owners with their websites.

Complete a solo freelance project

I kind of did this and kind of didn’t. I worked on two websites in conjunction with Graphic Design Resources and a family friend. They weren’t completely solo projects, since they didn’t go through my process directly. But it did feel good to build a couple of completely custom website. And hopefully I can put them in my portfolio soon.

Learn React

Welp. I can definitely say I didn’t really learn React in the last 365 days. So it goes.

Still, I definitely got better with understanding how to create Gutenberg blocks, which was sort of my underlying motive for setting that goal. So that’s definitely something.

Read more books

Well, I didn’t really accomplish much with this one either, to be honest. I did some reading during the year, but nowhere near the 12-book bar I set last year. Sigh.

Oh well. That being said, I hope to do better this year. And I’m starting with a golf book, “The Last Stand of Payne Stewart” by Kevin Robbins, my sports journalism professor in college.

This year’s resolutions

Okay, with that out of the way, here are some things I’m looking to do here in 2020.

Better understand digital marketing

I’m a pretty good developer (or so I’ve been told). But in order to step up the freelance side of things, well, it turns out I’m going to need to up my digital marketing game. So I want to learn some things, watch some LinkedIn Learning videos on the subject, get better at Google Analytics and try some things out. And then if I can do it, I can help others out.

Be a better contributor to open source

One of the best parts about WordPress is that it is open source, meaning anyone can contribute to it. And I would love to continue to give back to WordPress and open source for what it has given me. Whether that’s being better with the themes and plugins I have, actually contributing to WordPress core in some way or something else, I want to be a better contributor this year.

Get better with advanced PHP

It’s been about eight years since I started to learn PHP (and really web development in general). With PHP 7.4 coming out last month, I think it’s time to learn some more advanced PHP things, like namespaces, better object oriented programming and PHPUnit testing. It’s time to take things up a notch.

Read more this year

Well, let’s try this again. I’m hoping to read more this year — whether it’s about digital marketing, web development/design or just something random. As I said before, I’m starting with “The Last Stand of Payne Stewart” and going from there. Hopefully I’m able to hit a book a month goal.

So there you have it. Those are my overall goals or themes for this year. Will my review this time next year look better than this year? Only time will tell.

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