Professional & Personal Goals for 2015

By  on  

The turn of the year is a natural time to get deep, think about how the past year went and put together goals for the new year.  Most goals become "pie in the sky" but it's important to aim high, right?  I've been thinking about the past year and where I feel I'm lacking, so hopefully publishing this will help me be accountable for achieving the goals I set.  Here goes...

Make My Mark at Mozilla

I mentioned in my last Confessions post that I hadn't made my mark at Mozilla yet, and it eats at me quite a bit.  If I left Mozilla today, I don't think anyone would ever know I had been there.  That sucks.  Mozilla was my dream job and inspiration when I was a teenage college student in Madison, Wisconsin, and getting to Mozilla was a dream come true.  But have I made the most of it?  I have to say no, I'm not essential to anything at Mozilla and I could disappear and no one would know (no projects would suffer).

In 2015 I need to do something important.  This is an intimidating goal due to Mozilla's new internal goal structure, but now is the time I need to make an impact outside of MDN.  I've had a few ideas and hope to execute them soon, but I have to leave 2015 feeling like I've etched myself into Mozilla's history.

Create a Useful, Popular Open Source Project

Back when JavaScript frameworks were all the rage, I created several MooTools plugins, a handful of which became popular and "essential" to many MooTools-based projects.  That was an awesome feeling -- I felt like I was really contributing to open source and helping people.  Of course my Mozilla work is open source, but I want to create a useful project which I can maintain moving forward.  Have ideas for me?  Let me know -- the idea is what's missing for me most of the time!

Create a Node.js-powered Site

When you're good with client-side JavaScript, people assume you're also a Node.js expert.  The truth is that outside of creating IRC bots, build scripts, and a few experiments, I don't have much experience with Node.js.  Even if it's the most basic of sites, I'd love to create a basic little app which uses a database and serves some purpose.  I'll be quite happy if I achieve that.

Network More

I love some banter on Twitter and IRC but the truth is that I'm really introverted in person.  I'm happy to sit by myself, avoid group discussions, and fly under the radar.  I tend to avoid conferences (mostly because I dislike travel) and even local developer meetups.  This year I need to find a way to network more.  Not networking for a job obviously, but I'd like to get to know people outside of the Twitter and developer world.  We're all people and dev is just a small part of us.

Improve Work/Life Balance

This is a never ending fight but I did really well to improve work/life balance in 2014.  My son is almost two now and for the first time in my life, I stopped feeling bad when I "left work" (I work remotely) to spend time with him.  There is room for improvement, however, and I want to get better.

Lose ~10lbs

I weighed myself yesterday and the scale read 152 -- not what I wanted to see.  I'm not "fat" but this is the make or break period where I either tone out now or I'll start gaining lots of weight.  I've always been skinny but when I fractured my leg last year, I lost all my momentum in exercising.  Losing one pound a month seems reasonable, and I'm going out to get a weight machine and treadmill later today.  I don't drink soda but I do have a glass of wine or beer at night, so I'll be cutting that out, as well as being more aware of what I eat.  Any tips in fulfilling this goal would be appreciated.

Improve Investing Skills

I've always been good at earning money (I've been called a workaholic) and saving money (I have very few vices, if any).  What I need to do in 2015 is learn to invest better.  I put some money into a brokerage account last month, bought and sold some stock, and ultimately settled on putting some of my savings into an ETF because banks are paying nothing for interest.  I'm up 1.5% since then, which is great, but improving investing skills will be the final piece in my overall financial health.


What do you hope to improve in 2015?  Have tips for how I can achieve my goals?  Share!

Recent Features

  • By
    How to Create a RetroPie on Raspberry Pi – Graphical Guide

    Today we get to play amazing games on our super powered game consoles, PCs, VR headsets, and even mobile devices.  While I enjoy playing new games these days, I do long for the retro gaming systems I had when I was a kid: the original Nintendo...

  • By
    An Interview with Eric Meyer

    Your early CSS books were instrumental in pushing my love for front end technologies. What was it about CSS that you fell in love with and drove you to write about it? At first blush, it was the simplicity of it as compared to the table-and-spacer...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Duplicate the jQuery Homepage Tooltips

    The jQuery homepage has a pretty suave tooltip-like effect as seen below: The amount of jQuery required to duplicate this effect is next to nothing;  in fact, there's more CSS than there is jQuery code!  Let's explore how we can duplicate jQuery's tooltip effect. The HTML The overall...

  • By
    Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Using MooTools 1.2

    As you can probably tell, I try to mix some fun in with my MooTools madness but I also try to make my examples as practical as possible. Well...this may not be one of those times. I love movies and useless movie trivia so naturally I'm...


  1. Ken Doman

    Thank you for the confession about Node.js. I too haven’t crossed over to the server-side yet, short of a few tools I run on my local machine. I’m curious about Node.js project hosting, since most of the hosting sites I’ve seen either don’t support it, support it but it costs a lot, or let you run one tiny project on their machine for free. Let us know what you find.

    Overall, those are some good goals.

    • From what I can tell, you’re looking at shared hosting. What you should be looking at is a VPS or dedicated server.

  2. I’d be happy if I could gain a certification of any kind (thinking PMP for plan B) but I’d be extremely happy if I could pick up some more js tips and tricks to start pushing me into another direction. I don’t know enough yet to brag about it but I have been tinkering with altering sites to fit my needs.

    Thanks for the updates here and keeping it real, Good luck at Mozilla and I can’t wait to see what you push out.

  3. Your list looks a lot like mine! This comment is mostly TL;DR: I know those feels!

    If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been at Mozilla for almost 7 years and I’ve yet to feel like I’ve made a mark. Don’t feel like I quite know how to make that happen. Thinking 2015 is when I try again, too.

    I’ve also tried spinning up some OSS projects for years & years now (Mozilla and otherwise). But, I tend to stop once I’ve learned some things and don’t really follow through to build something polished. If it doesn’t get a lot of interest from other folks, I just kind of wander off from it.

    Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m terrible at networking. Pretty much for all the same reasons you list. Though, that doesn’t stop me from continually guilt-tripping myself about it :)

    As for the fitness thing, I’ve got to say I’ve been getting a lot out of running. Started on Couch to 5k last April, ramped up to running ~9 miles a week by summer, lost about 20 lbs this year. Not sure if that would work for you, but it’s worth knowing something works for somebody.

    Anyway… if you have node.js questions, go ahead and ping me. I’ve been having a lot of fun in those parts for awhile now!

  4. For weight I do fruit salad for breakfast sometimes I’ll have oatmeal with fruit (no sugar added). I try not to snack at night. I eat a large salad for lunch with 1/2 avocado, hard-boiled egg, homemade salad dressing (vinaigrette). For dinner I try to eat less than normal. I don’t think most people need to go to such an extreme, I just can’t control myself when I’m out and about so I make up for it at home. I’ve lost 30 lbs so far without exercise.

    As for investing, the book *Your Money or Your Life* by Joe Dominguez fits my personality the most. I like passive investing, since I don’t want to become an expert on stocks, also, most people when they just trade stocks frequently all they are doing is gambling, you could call it gambling for the wealthy – of course, you don’t need to be wealthy to actually do that.

    *The Permanent Portfolio: Harry Browne’s Long-Term Investment Strategy* by Craig Rowland is popular among some for more of a passive investment strategy. Especially, if you earn lot’s and save lots.

    My big goal right now is start working full-time as a full stack web developer. I’m coming off of a five year “sabbatical.” I’m also pivoting from electrical engineering to software development. Fun times, it would be really cool to become an F#.NET developer, but those jobs seem to be for more of the advanced programmers and jobs for F# are few and far between.

  5. Ian

    I realise it’s not for everyone but the 5:2 diet is the *only* thing that has worked for me.

    I was 155 lbs 18 months ago and am hovering around 133 (and 10% body fat) today. The 2 days a week can be tough at times but the knowledge that I can eat what I want (within reason) on the other 5 days keeps me going.

    I have been cycling for years and still do 5-8 hours per week on the road but have only really lost weight since I started 5:2.

  6. Would be awesome having you contributing on the brans-new NodeJS site of MooTools.

    If you get the hands into it you will come out NodeJS iluminated :)

  7. Very nice list, David!

    I have a hard time making time for work, OSS and Freya. Something to consider when starting a new endeavor. I will admit that I learned very much from maintaining a project, however.

    I have a treadmill and bench, yet I have gotten much more use from a much cheaper P90X set. I guess I get bored on a treadmill. YMMV.

    Best of luck with your goals!

  8. You’re list is great David and very inspirational,

    My goals are a little less impressive than yours David as I’ve only been developing for 2 years.

    I’d like to learn automated test-driven JavaScript. I to want to also have a crack at a simple Node.js backend.

    Now that I made my goal for 2014 of learning closures and how JavaScript handles prototypal inheritance I would like to properly learn an MVC framework such as Angular.

    Focus more heavily on website performance.

    Write more and better quality blogposts.

  9. From my experience, what you need to accept is that personal projects will take longer due to that life balance.

    My kids are 6-10 years older than you and when they “go to bed” I get 45 minutes to make sure they are not screwing around and going through the bathroom in turn – but that is my time to play. So instead of “playing” while they are awake I plan in my head what I am going to do in that 45 minutes. It focuses the mind as you don’t have all evening to screw around.

    It takes longer for personal projects but that does not make them any less fulfilling

    Enjoy the family while you can – kids will not be there in 20 years but the code will.

    Thank you for everything you do. I know as a blogger in my field it is a great feeling to help others – but that is not my primary responsibility.

    You get it :)

  10. My goal this year is to become a blogger of repute on technical and programming related topics. I plan to write at-least 60,000 words this year. I have been lucky so far with my professional goals but its losing weight which has so far eluded me. I can see that you also plan to reduce weight and let me assure you, this is going to be the toughest goal to meet, based on my experience.

  11. I would like to add on what you already mentioned David. I have heard and read many times that along with the goal we must also mention the reason behind that objective, it would motivate us on a long term basis and keep us focused. I found it to be true, it works!

  12. You are being harsh on yourself even with statements made in passing “If I left no one would notice.” My follow up to you is “Have you been consistent in your delivery?” and “Do you have a good sense that your team members appreciate you?”. I think you would know if your team needed more from you.

    I say this because you are a father of a two year. You need to make your mark with him as well, and this too will come by being consistent, kind and giving.

    Your blog has been immeasurable help to me and many others. I say kindly to you, with a bit of jest, that you suffer from the George Bailey syndrome from “It’s A Wonderful Life”, in that you feel stuck, you haven’t wowed ’em yet because you are “stuck in Bedford Falls”. Your blog helped me solved many issues this weekend. I know it’s not Mozilla, but you are making your mark with others, and with kids you have a never ending job that’s even harder than development.

    Regarding weight, many dads put on sympathy weight after their wives give birth. I did, and finally got back to my schedule when my first born was 3. Walking can kill may birds with one stone, so take your son for a stroll in carriage and walk a few miles; or, chase him around the park for a half hour. That puts him in a good state of mind while draining your extra calories.

    For diet, I have adopted a simple two approach plan. Part One: At least once a week I do a mini fast of 12 – 14 hours. Don’t eat after dinner – say 7pm – and skip breakfast. When you do eat lunch, make sure you avoid bread and sugar. During my fasts I drink water & coffee. Works wonders, as I avoid the morning sugar rise and fall, and stay really focused.

    Part Two: Have super healthy salads for lunch, made with good protein such as smoked salmon or chicken, greens like spinach or kale, and NO dressing other than oil and vinegar. I’m lucky enough to work from home so I can have fresh ingredients. It takes 5 minutes to prep some chicken, throw it in the oven and answers emails while it bakes. I have several easy and delicious recipes if anyone is interested. The wonderful thing about this style of food is that you don’t the bloat when you sit back down to work.

    As for exercise, push-ups are free :)

  13. Maybe you’d like to start Node.js-powered Site from webapp template, which include both client side and node server side

    And it’s (FxOS/Chrome) webapp friendly.

  14. Building website with node.js is wonderful idea, Its one of the server side Javascript where you do not need any other scripting languages to fetch data from your DB.

  15. Ambitious goals for the new year David! I hope at the end of this year, you have achieved them all and had become a more successful and prosperous individual. My story is not so good, it has been 8 days into new year and I haven’t lived a single day as per resolutions.

  16. In regards to networking, you’re always welcome at MadJS!

    • Yes! My schedule has changed so I can do Monday nights now. I’ll hopefully slip in soon!

  17. I wouldn’t say you haven’t left a mark mate. I’ve been watching your blog for some time now and find your posts really interesting with nifty tricks that you don’t find elsewhere.

    And I’m sure I’m not the only one that thinks this way ;)

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!