6 min read

Into the Unknown

Shadow Sketch

I wrote about my expectations and habits building for 2017 in my other article What I’m Doing in 2017 and I’m honestly getting tired of new year resolutions especially writing about them. I’m not an extrovert and I feel less inclined to share personal stuff about my life on the internet, having read other engineers new year article and in my opinion it looks way too expressive, oppressive and gratifying one’s accomplishment. I’d rather be an outlier, quit writing new year resolutions and highlighting previous year.

Likewise, I’ve read some friends end of year reviews for both last two years but I was so busy I couldn’t write mine. I thought I would take some time and highlight key appreciations for 2018 and how I’m carrying my unfinished 2017 – 2018 plans and habits into 2019.

TL;DR: Habits rule.

In 2018

2018 was blurry, busy and challenging both professionally and personally, I focused on processes instead of outcomes (e.g. goals) and have probably grown more, notwithstanding, I had short term goals I didn’t make known but accomplished, nonetheless, habits building took priority.

I had to constantly manage my time due to switching teams, having to learn new engineering processes and I’m so grateful I was privileged to do meaningful and fulfilling work with the smart folks on my team. I certainly contributed more to open source, read more books (but not as much as I’d like), published few articles and did few travels.

Regarding books, I enjoyed and ingested most books I read while applying to my daily life. Although I wrote some articles in 2018, I’m not entirely proud of my progress all due to managing time between work and personal life. I’m predominantly thankful for my family, safe trips and I’m definitely planning on maximizing the ways I can contribute more to open source.

Regarding 2019 and Beyond

2019, is here and I’m unquestionably checking off huge milestones of my list but I’d rather focus on habits in this article. I’ll analyse how last 2 years was with habits I listed and also set new habits for this year. I strongly believe habits shape us into what we become as we grow much older. By constantly fine-graining my habits, I foresee myself becoming a better human.

Late 2018, I started on a path of being more conscious about my space, stuff I choose to keep and now shifting towards a minimal lifestyle, when I got back home in January I found out I owned so much stuff that I didn’t need and I felt trapped. I began packing all the stuff I don’t use anymore and gave them out to someone that would truly use it. The decision to be a minimalist has been on my mind for couple years but I guess I was too scared to effect. I didn’t know what the outcome would be, but now I’m beginning to spend little, only buy stuff I truly need and occasionally decluttering my space, computer, phone and notes.

Habit is a continuous progress so I’ll just repeat the same habit from 2017 and add a few, I’ll be focusing on both simple and minimalist habits this year and really hope I stick to them. You know how you want to do something but you find yourself slipping gradually. Like I fell short tracking my habits using the Momentum Habit Tracker, I guess it’s not for me. I will instead just read through this article whenever I slip off.

  • Avoid multitasking and reduce browser tabs I open on my computer.
  • Rewind, recharge and reconnect my mental state.
  • Enjoy life, keep on being happy and help others.
  • Spend time with family instead of co-workers.
  • Spend at least 30 minutes per day working on open source.
  • Start a new reading habit. By the end of the year I want to be in the habit of reading for at least one hour per day.
  • Start a new exercise habit. By the end of the year I want to be in the habit of exercising for at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week (take a walk, hit the Gym, ride a bike – something).
  • Start a new writing habit. Aim to publish articles every week.
  • Give at least one technical presentation at a programming meet up. I’m a pretty shy guy, I don’t think this was necessarily a bad thing but would like to make myself step out.
  • All I’ll ever have is now and the most precious things in life are moments, I can never get moments back. I want to be fully present and create memories that will last forever.
  • Align my actions with my values.
  • Unplug. Get devices outside sleeping area to avoid mindlessly scrolling or disturbance due to notifications coming in especially if going to bed.
  • Avoid going to work when I don’t need to be there. I’d rather hangout with friends or read a book.
  • Separate myself from my job. It can be common to put a lot of hours into work, but I’ll set a cut off time when its 10 – 11pm and won’t work pass that time.
  • Practice saying NO. Saying no can be incredibly liberating. Culturally it’s very easy to feel like you have to say yes. Saying yes to attending a gathering because I don’t want to hurt someone feelings. I just want to remember its okay to say NO if I don’t want to do something or its not something that is going to help me feel my best.
  • Stay hydrated with healthy beverages and limit / drink less soda drinks to help me feel my best and energetic, I will start carrying a reusable water bottle when I’m at work or home.
  • Tidy up my apartment for 10 minutes per day.
  • Chill out with friends every end of month.
  • I’m finally at a point where I can do a bit of casual travel, and this year I plan on doing some more.
  • Take some time to look at the things I have and if it’s serving me or if not give it out.
  • Review my personal and professional progress every month, etc. Certain things like this are easily overlooked as time passes, but are things that I’d like to ensure I do so that I can make necessary adjustments to myself when necessary.
  • Save money and pay of debts.
  • Zero waste lifestyle – Reduce waste and eat everything in my cupboard before restocking it, basically just valuing the food and understanding its a privilege having that food and minimizing waste.
  • Weighing purchases if it adds value and not letting emotions guide my purchases thereby leading me to make negative choices that won’t help my finances.
  • Take time for myself, it can be tough to take that intentional time for oneself. Just get some me time, simplifying my space and mindset, reflecting on the day so far and the next coming up.
  • Feeling positive about the way I dress and not give to trends, reduce colors and wear what serves my body shape.
  • Bring less new items into my life, if I have a broken item I will just research about repairing the item instead of buying a new one and not waste money.

In broader terms, I’ve other things I’d like to do this year (at least, I hope!), but I really want to work on the habits listed above, if not all.