Monthly Review: December 2015

I publish a monthly review of habits, work, etc. You’ll be able to find them all here.

December was a really amazing month. I wrapped up a freelance project that I was working on for quite awhile. I was able to spend some time offline with my wife and friends. We went skiing for the first time this year. And, of course, we celebrated Christmas (although not really on Christmas Day). It was an amazing finish to an unbelievable year. I’ll be posting a reflection on that in a few days, but for right now, here is my December review.

What were my goals for November?

Fail: Finish up the React JS course on Udemy

I made progress (I’m up to 25+% complete right now), but it’s a longer course than I previously imagined. I’m going to work on finishing it up through January and February. With the holidays and the time off, finishing in December turned out to be a bit much.

Semi-fail: Publish 8 blogs posts

I ended up publishing 5. Still having a hard time sticking to a routine publishing schedule. I’m going to further temper my ambitions to four posts a month through 2016.

Fail: Publish 4 code challenges (moving them to a new post format outside of my normal feed)

I fell a bit out of the routine with getting these up. I found them very worthwhile in the beginning while I was getting the basics down. Then, I started to put them aside preferring to work on bigger, more detailed projects. Looking back, I think the code challenges actually served more as interesting puzzles than helping me to learn JavaScript. I might restart these at some point, but for the next month, I’m going to leave them off the list.

Success: Read 3 books

I actually was able to read five total (list below). I spent five days completely away from the computer and dedicated the mornings of those days to reading. I would typically read for an hour or an hour and a half each morning. I was actually surprised at how much I could fit in. For those that are curious, I read physical books and use a technique similar to the one I described for Maria Popova here.

Semi-Fail: Complete 8 pull requests to Calypso

I hit a stumbling block in December with this. In reality, I just underestimated how big of an impact the holiday time would have. I should’ve known better. I ended up with a total of four commits so there is definitely room for improvement.

What habit did I focus on?

Meditation. I failed miserably in November. I’m happy to report that this month went really really well. I meditated 30 out of 31 days. I really don’t have an excuse for the day I missed other than laziness.



Most notable changes: I switched to Chrome for my browser and added Momentum to track some habits. I’m also dabbling with both Headspace and Calm.


I had a great month of reading and finished five total books. I’ve also been working on posting more detailed notes from every book I read.

I’m hoping to continue a similar pace throughout January with the goal of reading 40 books in 2016. You can see what I’m getting into over on Goodreads. Detailed notes will be posted on my bookshelf.

For January


  • 4 commits to Calypso
  • Read 3 books
  • Finish 100% of the React course
  • Create a mock-up of the React-based Pomodoro Timer I’m working on
  • Publish 4 blog posts
  • Finish 1 freelance project


I’ve found a to-do list system (pen and paper) that’s been working well to keep me moving throughout the day, but I haven’t been organizing my days in the best possible fashion. Rather than segment out my week, I try to touch each goal (learning, reading, coding, writing, etc) a little bit each day.

In January, I’m going to segment out my days so that they’re more focused. The current idea is to work on code-related projects on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday with writing projects taking the lead on Sunday and Tuesday. I’ll have a wrap-up of how it worked out next month.

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