New Year's Goals for 2013

Times Square Ball 2013

I don't think I really have any huge problems in my life that I have to spend a year defeating. So, rather than calling these "resolutions," I think it's more apt if I call them "goals."

Publish More Content

Like many bloggers,1 I have a huge backlog of links, bookmarks, and topics that I intend to write about. Occasionally, I would start to write something, not get back to it for week, then just publish it. I'm usually not happy with these articles.

Create "Good" Content

Of course, I don't want to simply publish a link or picture and call it done. I don't want to just add to the noise on the Internet. If I have nothing to say, then I have nothing to write or publish. That's what Twitter/Tumblr is for, not a personal domain.

Relax My Standards on My Writing

I tend to be a perfectionist with my writing. Paradoxically, this leads to crappy writing as I give up and move on. Yesterday, Patrick Rhone wrote something that helped me realize that.

The truth is, most of those great things we read — in books, magazines, or blog posts — started out as chaos as well. Half baked ideas, notes scribbled on some scrap of paper, a freely associated stream of consciousness full of typos and mistakes. These things were all cleaned up before they were published. Thoughts were completed. Typos were corrected. Associations became direct connections.

The mess is something we generally reserve for only our closest friends and trusted sources. The mess is the imperfections we know others know but would only reveal to those willing to forgive us for it.

Yet the mess is the very essence of creation. The planets and stars and life itself is born of chaos and disorder and confusion.

And part of my being able to publish here daily will mean that, some days, it will be a bit messy and you will just have to forgive me for that.

Now, I'm not nearly as talented as Mr. Rhone in writing. Although I'm not writing daily, like Mr. Rhone there's no way I can try to be completely satisfied with what I write if I want to ever increase how often I publish something. I need to let myself leave a little bit of chaos on the page.

Take More Photos

Beyond Good and Evil

I love my camera. I enjoy photography, but I never really get to do it. Any pictures I do take get shoved into a to-sort folder. Somehow, I stopped maintaining my pictures. That needs to change.

Although I won't be doing anything as exciting as starting an uprising against the Alpha Section, I need to get myself to explore with my camera again. I'm not looking to create hipster street photography, but an occasional picture of a landscape would be nice. This point kind of ties in to the next point.

I Will Go Backpacking This Year

Les Stroud

I've always wanted to go camping. I watch way more Survivorman for my own good. This year, I'm going to do it. I don't need to intend to put myself in a survival situation; I can bring a backpack. I can't start as a Les Stroud. I have to start as an unfit computer nerd in the woods.

Once the initial gear is purchased, it's a cheap, fun activity that is also good exercise. I've never been able to justify the cost, but I've learned that I don't need to buy everything that is marketed toward a hobby. When I started my amateur woodworking projects, I bought a bunch of expensive power tools. They took up a lot of space and were way too loud for an apartment. Rather than repeating my mistake, I bought books on backpacking to figure out what I need. A few books are a lot cheaper and smaller than buying lots of things that I don't need. I'm steering clear of buyer's remorse this time.

As a plus, backpacking leads to good photography opportunities, too.


Actually Use My To-Do List

I've been trying simple systems to get myself organized. Zen Habits has been a good resource for this.

I keep to-do lists everywhere, and then I never use them. For example, today I was going to bring more plastic forks to work. I had my lunch, but I forgot the forks.

Homemade Fork

My Leatherman and a plastic spoon worked in a pinch, but I can't do this every day.

My Home


As my fiancée will attest, I have a lot of unorganized stuff. Specifically, I have a lot of electronic components that need to be sorted and purged. I haven't used any of these very application-specific components for years. When I do need something, I can't find it. I'm not even sure what I have anymore.

Reading and sorting microchips is tedious and, for my particular chips, usually not worth it. It's time to make room for stuff I will actually use.

1 I've never called myself a blogger before. It feels kind of weird.