At the beginning of 2023, I set some goals for myself. Here are those goals and how the year turned out.

Learn a new word each week (50%)

Clear and effective communication is important to me. My thought process was that I could improve as a communicator if I further developed my vocabulary. I also find it particularly satisfying to conjure the perfect word to describe a situation, experience, etc. Each Monday, I would find a new word and record it, it’s part of speech and definition in Obsidian. Periodically, throughout the week, I would review the new word and all previous words using spaced repetition. This approach was relatively effective at first, but not so effective over the year. In total, I learned 24 new words. About halfway through the year, I would get a reminder on Monday to add a new word to the list, and the timing was bad. I would put it off, then I fell behind and never caught back up. I could have changed up when I scheduled this reminder, but I didn’t. I’m not sure if I will try something like this again. I like the prospect of learning new words, but I think I’d prefer to do so less is a rote memorization kind of way and more in a “search and discover cool words” kind of way.

Read a book each month (25%)

In 2022, I read about a book a month from January through September, but after September I stopped. I aspired to get back to a similar cadence in 2023, but was unsuccessful. I read 3 books in 2023. I didn’t discover anything that really pulled me in, and I didn’t make much of a habit of it. I love getting wrapped up in a good book so this is something I will continue to pursue, likely in a different form, next year.

Write 40 blog posts (100%)

At the time of this writing, I’ve written 42 medium or long blog posts, not including any daily entries. I’ve had a public blog since 2013, and given my historical lack of consistency with writing, this goal was a stretch. As I’ve begun experimenting with language models, it’s been exciting to learn and summarize my findings. I took this excitement and directed it into summarizing other technical learnings as well. I typically write one of three types of entries. Longer form posts, a “today I learned” style post or a daily log of something interesting I’m thinking about or recently read.

Move to NYC (100%)

At the end of 2022 decided to move to New York. We did this in 2023.

Learn to juggle four balls (10%)

I learned to juggle three balls in 2022. I aspired to learn to juggle four in 2022, but was unsuccessful. I didn’t practice the new pattern with enough consistency. However, I did conceptually learn what the pattern was, so I’m giving myself a bit of credit for that. Towards the end of the year, I did knock off the rust and continue refining the three ball pattern. I think I will try and learn a few three ball tricks before attempting four balls, but I don’t think this will be too big of a priority for me. I’ve been more focused on building technical skills lately. Learning to juggle was a validating experience. It’s motivating to see yourself improve at a new skill.

I enjoyed setting and working towards these goals and intend to set new ones in 2024.