7 things I will do in 2018 that you also should

It is New Year. Everyone has some New-Year Resolutions, things that they have planned to do this year. I have set up a list of 7 things I want to achieve or make a habit of in 2018. I am sharing it with you because I think it can be beneficial for you to try to do those things as well. So here they are…

Read more books (1 book a month)

This is one of the most common things people put on these lists. The challenge to achieve this for most of us is time. We simply cannot find time for reading. The solution for this problem is to make time. Well, you probably think that it is a silly thought, because how can we make time if we do not have one. For example, while you are eating breakfast you can take a book and read it. Do not worry if it is only 15 minutes of your lunch time, it will be worth it. Whenever you have some kind of pause from what ever it is that you are doing, take a book and read it. One chapter is enough, because chapters you read will pile up and before you notice it, you will read the entire book. Just try it.

The good thing to have is a daily schedule for reading books, like half an hour before dinner. Just turn your computer or TV off and take a book ( or Kindle ) and start reading. You should make a habit of it. Also nice time for reading is before going to sleep in your bed. Instead of scrolling down on your mobile, you can make yourself sleepy by reading a book.

Some of us like to listen to audio books also. Each day my traveling time from home to work and back is 1 hour long. That is the perfect for an audio book. Service that I am using and that I recommend is Audible from Amazon. You can even get one free book every month which is perfect for this goal of reading 1 book a month. You should definitely try it.

Currently I’m listening to The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide by John Sonmez and I’m reading Domain-Driven Design in PHP written by Carlos Buenosvinos, Christian Soronellas and Keyvan Akbary.

Learn new programming language

This one should be every year goal for every software developer. Pick a language or framework that you are interested in and try to get the syntax and main logic. The goal should be to write a small working side-project in this language.
In 2017 for me this was Vue.js, a javascript framework, that really took off in the last year. As you can see it does not have to be a language, it can be a framework as well.

You can choose a language to learn according to its popularity. For example 10 most popular technologies in 2017 according to Stackoverflow were:

1. JavaScript
2. SQL
3. Java
4. C#
5. Python
6. PHP
7. C++
8. C
9. TypeScript
10. Ruby

One language that can be beneficial for you to learn is the language that came in 11th place, Swift. Since now this is a recommended language to create iOS apps. Two languages that are most popular for these kinds of things ( fun language to learn ) are GO and Rust. So if you like challenging things you should check those two out. If you are working in financial or statistics sector then MATLAB and R could be very useful to be learned.

My language of choice for this year is Kotlin. Kotlin is slowly becoming recommended language for developing Android apps and it starts to challenge Java. Since I am doing some Android development I am very interested in this language, that is developed by Jetbrains, company that produces best IDE for Android, AndroidStudio.

Run every day

This one is the most common things people try and do in new year. Gym membership skyrockets each January. The problem we all face is inconsistency. By March a very small percentage of people that signed at the beginning of a year, are still going to the gym as they planned they would. That is why it is important to motivate yourself with some facts that you should repeat each day. Working out is healthy. Running is healthy. Not only for your body, but for your mind. That is the reason I like to run. After each run I am mentally full of energy.

I would recommend anyone that have job from 9 to 5 to run after the work. It will help you clear your mind after job and freshen you up so you can do side-projects or write a blog like I do.

Wake up early every morning

It doesn’t even have to be very early, but what is important is to set up your morning routine. Each day should start the same and each day you should create some value for yourself. It does not have to be spectacular, but just a sense that you accomplished something very early in you day will give you a good motivation sense for the rest of your day. If I wake up at 6 in the morning and take 2 hours to write this blog post, by 8 a.m. I already have a feeling that this day was not wasted. And it is only 8 a.m. Most of other people did not even wake up or they are drinking coffee and preparing for work.

You should definitely make some accomplishments, small or large, it does not matter, as long as you finish it. It can be either 10 push-ups, or reading one chapter of a book, or that you write a blog post. As long as that is creating value for you, you should do it. Make it a routine, every morning, without exceptions.

Drink more water

Drinking an enough amount of water is essential for your health. There are a lot of studies that list reasons for that, and I am not even going to mention that. I am going to talk directly from my experience. My biggest problem in certain days are lack of energy. I understand that is normal, because I work around 13 hours each day, 8 hours on my day-job as Senior Developer, and 5 hours on my side-projects ( book, blog, etc.). I am certain that during the days when I drink more than 2 liters of water I have more energy. Water fights fatigue.

Big reason to drink more water is that if fights headaches. How many times did we decide not to work on some project or read some book because we had headache. Drinking more water will help with that. Start your day with a big glass of water and continue to drink it during the day and you will feel more refreshed and ready for action.
Cut sugar entirely from my diet

This one has very similar effect as drinking more water. If you cut sugar in you diet I guarantee you that, when your organism gets used to it (1-2 weeks) you will have more energy then ever before. Sugar is the main reason for heart diseases, diabetes, metabolic diseases and it can even increase risk of certain types of cancer ( esophageal, small intestine, colon and breast ). So cutting sugar is really a no-brainier. I know that it is hard to do it because I myself love sweets, but in the long run it will payoff. Because your health is the most important thing you should watch for yourself.

Finish writing my book

Getting back to professional habits, in this year, to be exact in May I plan to finish writing my book “Living with legacy code”. That is going to be my first book, in which I explain how to deal with old projects that are breaking all the time. I am writing each day 1-2 hours, reviewing what I already wrote, because I always have something to add or change on existing content.

Currently this book is my side-project. What I want from you in this year is to start your side-project. It does not need to be a book. It can be some small mobile app, it can be some web app, and you can do it while learning a new language so you can do things at the same time. And if you think you have something to say, then start a blog and even write a book.

Just do not forget to take a rest.

Write at least one post on my blog a week

My opinion is that every software developer should have a blog. Nothing too fancy, just simple WordPress site, just like this one. Even if you are a beginner, there are still stuff that you can write about. There are other beginners out there. That is your audience. You should write while you are studying. If you have just learned how loops work, excellent, write about the process of how you learned that and how you understood it.

Not only other developers will benefit from that, but also when you write and teach about stuff you have just learned, you are securing yourself that you will never forget that. It is a learning process. The final step in learning is when you teach what you learned.

My goal is to write at least one post a week, all kinds of content. Concepts I already know and concepts I have just learned. It is important for me to be consistent and have new content every week and that should be your goal as well.

So those are my eight goals for this year. What are yours? Do you have suggestions and comments on my? Leave a comment and I will try to respond to you.

Anel Bejtović

About the Author

Anel Bejtović

30 year old software developer from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, currently living and working in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

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