My New Year’s Resolutions for 2018

Photo of laptop showing code on PHPStorm

Happy New Year!

Now that the ball has been dropped, the champagne popped and the fireworks exploded, it's time for that grand tradition of creating New Year's resolutions and them breaking them before the month is up.

But as predictable as that cycle is, I think there's a lot of good motives behind it. I think it's good to reflect on how the past year went for your and what you could do better for upcoming 12 months. The new year reflects what could be and brings excitement and hope.

So keeping with my now three-year tradition, here are my resolutions for 2018.

How I come up with my resolutions

So before I get into how I did last year and my resolutions for next year, I want to discuss how I come up with my goals for the new year. The problem with a lot of our resolutions and why we fail them in the end is because we come up with them on the spot and don't think about how to accomplish them.

So to get around that issue, I focus on making my resolutions more of a road map for how I want my life to go in a particular area. It's somethings I want to focus on in an area in order to be better by the end of the year. And if life has other plans, so be it. I try not to focus too much on the goals themselves and rather the overarching theme.

How I did with my 2017 resolutions

So looking back at my goals for 2017 and how it actually played out, I didn't really hit many of them. But at the same time, that's because my path year went in a different, and much better, direction, and that's perfectly okay. The incomplete goals are something that I might keep in mind going forward. And besides, it's fun to see what I thought was going to happen at the start of last year.

  • Learn JavaScript deeply. This one I managed to do. I started to learn advanced JavaScript and learned how to use Gulp and Webpack. I became comfortable enough to be able to create a couple of starter themes with VueJS. I didn't quite learn Angular and React enough, nor was I able to redo my personal website with VueJS, but there were a number of other factors that went into that. Overall, I feel good about how I did with this in 2017.
  • Create a premium portfolio theme with the REST API and Angular/React. Yeah, about this. I never really got close to accomplishing this feat. For starters, I struggled to learn Angular and React. I found them to be much more complicated than VueJS. And while learning JavaScript and VueJS, I realized it might be a bit more of a pain to develop themes that will be out of my control. More research is needed for this.
  • Create an app for plugin and theme developers. This one failed simply because my focus for the year changed to WordPress and JavaScript and JavaScript frameworks. I just never really had the time to get to this. I did start some prototyping with this app though, and I have that code saved. So I hope to get back to this. I still think this will be a good tool for theme and plugin developers.
  • Create a JavaScript backend WP Admin. Yeah, I never really got close to this. While I feel good about my JavaScript skills now, trying to redo the entire admin seems kind of dumb. Especially consider that Gutenberg in on the horizon and the fact that it takes a team of people to do the admin. So this one's probably going to be shelved for a bit.

My resolutions for the new year

Okay, so now that we've looked back on the year that was 2017, let's look forward to my plan for 2018. I talked about a few of these in the video above, but here they are for prosperity. Let's get to it.

  • Create and maintain a YouTube channel on web development. I talked about this in more detail on Wednesday, but I do want to start and maintain a web development series on YouTube. I've realized that I something to give back and help those who are just starting out like I was a few years ago. I'm really curious to see how it goes. I've already got a couple of videos written, shot and edited, and I think that there's at least something people can learn from them.
  • Continue to learn VueJS, React and Angular. In continuing with last year, I still want to learn React and Angular. And I want to continue learning VueJS. There's so much value in these JavaScript frameworks and the little bit I've dabbled in it has been really cool. I'm really excited to see how these frameworks take off inside the WordPress sphere.
  • Become a better web designer. While I feel comfortable with my web development skills, my web design skills are a bit lacking at the moment. I'm not as bad as I once was, but creativity, particularly in art, has never been a strong suit for me. So I want to learn and do more with web design to get better.
  • Continue to learn the WP REST API and how to use it. This ties into the second item, but I would really like to learn more about the REST API in WordPress. And more specifically, I want to learn more about the REST APIs for plugins that I want and need to use. That was one of the hang ups in trying to create a VueJS theme for this site. I just couldn't get those APIs to work for me. So that needs to change.
  • Learn WooCommerce. Finally, I hate to admit this, but I've never really worked with WooCommerce. It's just something that's never come up for me. But I've had a few people in the past year ask me about it, and I've had to turn down their projects because I didn't want to waste their time or money. So I'm going to sit down and learn it. I don't want to become a master with WooCommerce, but I want to at least be competent in it.

So that's what I have lined up for 2018. I feel good about my goals and my ability to accomplish them. But more importantly, I'm excited to see where life takes me this year. I think there's a lot that can happen. And I'm embracing that with an open mind.

Happy New Year again and best of luck accomplishing your resolutions in 2018!