2015 In Review

This post has been somewhat delayed, in part by the fact that I dislike the burst of resolutions posts that seem to pop out around this time. However, doing regular and honest reviews of your past progress is important for staying on track with your goals and so here we are with a year-end review.

The Goals

In October of last year I set up 13 goals that I wanted to accomplish by the end of 2015. Here's the run down on how I did.


Goal: Improve rock climbing ability
Criteria: Be able to climb 5.10 gym routes consistently

This goal was completed successfully - at the end of 2015 I was hitting 5.10 routes regularly. I suffered a setback when I took an awkward fall off of a bouldering route and injured my left foot, but I'm mostly recovered now and getting back in the swing of things.

Goal: Improve baseline fitness by 10% or more
Criteria: 5RMs @ 335 DL, 135 Press, 250 Squat, 160 Bench; 15 pull ups; 50 push ups; 1.5 mile run in 12 minutes or less

This goal... well, it didn't do so well. Like I said, I injured my foot and wasn't able to put a lot of weight on it for almost a month - this ruled out most lifting, all running, and a lot of other activities. I stayed up to date with my pullups though and I can do 12 in a row.

Goal: Improve flexibility
Criteria: Be able to wrap fingers around to bottom of foot

It turns out that flexibility is hard to improve rapidly; while my posterior chain is more limber than when I started, I'm not quite to the feet-wrapping stage yet.

Goal: Improve body composition
Criteria: Weigh 165lbs (current 175)

I almost made it here. My lowest weight was 166.7lb on December 28th. Post-holiday gains, I currently weigh about 168.

Travel & Exploration

Goal: Learn how to ice climb
Criteria: Complete EMS ice climbing class with flying colors

This goal was delayed by poor ice climbing conditions in New Hampshire - I'm scheduled to go out in February.

Goal: Visit a foreign country
Criteria: Visit one or more countries outside of North America

Lauren and I went to Amsterdam and had an awesome time.

Goal: Explore the area
Criteria: Go on 3 local hikes

I'm ashamed to say that I totally failed this one and it's all on me - I just didn't muster up the tools I needed to hold myself accountable. I still want to do some hikes in the area, but it's clear I'll need to figure out some way to overcome my intertia.


Goal: Learn Esperanto
Criteria: Finish Duolingo Esperanto skill tree

I only got halfway through the tree, with 21 out of 43 skills completed. In part I think this was due to the fact that I was beeminding the number of points I put in on Duolingo and not my progress; it's easy to get 10 points just by doing a review session and not make forward progress in the tree.

Goal: Refresh Calculus
Criteria: Complete differential & integral calculus courses on Khan Academy

My math re-education took a mid-course turn and I decided to use a textbook instead of Khan Academy. This decision was mostly due to the fact that I prefer reading over watching videos for technical subjects; unfortunately, it had a bad side effect of making it harder to measure progress. I've been Beeminding my time on math with a goal of spending an hour a week on it, but it's been difficult to do even that much.


Goal: Finish a software project
Criteria: Launch Compost to the general public and announce it on Twitter and the blog

Compost isn't quite ready yet, but you can play with it at compost-app.herokuapp.com.

Goal: Write on the blog
Criteria: Write a post every week, and a status update on goals at least once a month.

Beeminder has kept me honest here.

Goal: Finish 6 books
Criteria: Read Thinking Fast and Slow, The Motivation Hacker, The Martian, Ancillary Mercy, and two other books

I finished The Motivation Hacker and Ancillary Mercy but not Thinking Fast and Slow (I'm on page 352), and I have yet to start The Martian. Over the holidays I did start reading Superforecasting and Internal Time, and I'm making progress in them.

Goal: Eat in more
Criteria: Eat dinner at home 4+ nights a week

Done! Beeminder keeping me honest.

Final Score

To sum up: I completed 4 goals, got a "partial" on 7, had one delayed due to outside circumstances, and failed one.

Overall, I think that the lifestyle changes and adaptations I needed to make were worthwhile. The tools and techniques that I've picked up are more valuable than checking off all of my goals, and I expect this coming year to be even more successful. Of the goals above, I did the best on the ones which were the most meaningful for me - and that's a lesson worth remembering as I consider what to put on my plate next.