December 2020 update: Fire and Ice

So it’s December. The year is coming to an end. Twenty twenty. What a year. My hair now covers one of my eyes and I have added a Cabin Fever tracker to my weekly planner. Ambition has begun to falter and the days seemingly blur. So, let’s jump in.

What’s New?

The blog has been going strong this year and we’ve surpassed visitors from 2018, which was my initial goal for the year. More followers have joined the site and I expect more to join as we head into 2021. Writing has provided a much needed reprieve from the chaos of the world and I’m happy with this year.

Articles in Advance

Perhaps one of the most exciting changes on the backend is that with the work that’s gone into the new blog format, I can now start planning more articles in advance. Instead of a stressful May and April, writing an article a week at a time, I’m gradually writing the articles as the ideas pop up.

Patreon and Marketing

Patreon has been updated based off of feedback, not much has changed there. As it stands, Patreon isn’t feasible as a sole source of income, which is fine. I’ll still tinker with it as I like having the option to have a little extra money on the side for expenses. Marketing has become much more exciting. Twitter posts are now threads and the official Facebook page is easy enough to maintain. I’m simply focused on having fun with each respective platform rather than putting pressure on myself to generate growth on each.

Time to Think

This year has been an experiment. In September I turned 27 and I’ve been in a mad dash to make the most of my twenties. I’ve since taken some time to slow down and not be so frustrated that I’m not learning to paint, play piano, learn French, and code all while simultaneously trying to find a new job. I did an informational interview recently to see about writing in a corporate setting and it made me realize that hobby writing is really what I enjoy. Editing would be fun, but anything more might be more stress than it’s worth. I plan to build a portfolio for my writing and coding but I’m honestly glad I studied Business Management and am planning a Masters in Data Analytics. If I can get through 2020, I believe 2021 will be my year as I become more focused in what I want to do with my life. 2020 was my year of bold and 2021 I want to be my year of change.

Goals for the blog

Understanding where I stand with my writing, my ideal is to simply keep growing on WordPress and eventually getting more engagement; I’m grateful that I get some engagement here and there but I dream of a world where every post has a discussion attached to it. I have the recipe for success after this year of soul searching, now it’s just seeing if the ingredients are of the same caliber.

Writing Outside of the blog

I am still wanting to publish a book! However, with my reassessment on life, I’ve come to realize that it is not a pressing urgency; a fun to-do that can continually be pushed back. More pressing would be building a portfolio and contributing to different writing communities from time to time. That’s the plan anyways.

Mike Cole’s Year of New

2018 has come to a close. And it’s a year best left buried. While I found “success” I’ve struggled. I feel my soul slowly seeping and what was once new has become routine. Now is a time for me to define 2019 before 2020 rolls around all too soon. To look at my life and see where I want to be in a year.

Last year I had written an article and meant to post it in January, to declare to the world “How to New Year Properly”. And the moment came and past. And I did not “New Year” properly. I played it safe and while I kept some goals for a time, most fell through and I was left to the mercy of the world.

So ultimately, my year is themed and having a month to reflect, I don’t think the “Year of New” is enough; I want this to be the “Year of Finishing” as well; A “Year of New Beginnings” so to speak. To clear out the clutter and find stable ground in an unstable world. In addition to a theme, I have chosen a word to represent the year, “Forward”. Forward can mean many things to many people but my focus is towards progress and being up front; not bottling in my emotions and saying what’s on my mind. It’s a year to stand up and put my foot down.

Goals for 2019

Language

I have not been diligent with my practicing. I am off and on again with my languages and in addition to Learning German, I have also decided to pick up French. Obviously I feel it’s important, however, I have lacked the motivation to maintain consistent practice as I am unable to see the long term benefit in the short term. I’ve tried fixing this by joining the Duolingo clubs and time will tell if this works. It’s the first step, but it is my hope to join more communities for my interests and ultimately expand my network.

For specifics at this point, my goal is to practice at least twice a week on Duolingo for both French and German. I would also like to start watching more shows in German and eventually watch a show in French.

My tangible goal for the year is to be able to help with translations for both German and French.

Run A Half Marathon

More and more I am realizing I respond well to what I can see. I need tangible goals to create the framework for improvement. So what better way to get back into shape than to start with a distant goal, one that will require training and discipline? As I write this, it sounds absurd and I think that’s exactly the point. This is just right outside my comfort zone.

So it boils down to this: Exercise 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes and it can be whatever I want it to be. I can go bouldering, running, or even do push ups as breaks when I’m playing video games.

My tangible goal is to sign up for a half marathon in my city and hopefully race close to January of 2019.

Learn to Program

This has been long overdue. If I want to move forward, I will need skills that position me as an acting agent and further my ability to create. I am starting with the basics; Javascript and Python. From there, I might branch out, but I do not want to bite off more than I can chew.

I’ve already started with Codecacademy and I’m trying to sit down to watch LinkedIn learning videos. However, each time, I have fallen short. So now, I have a long term goal in mind: to design a video game. This is the challenge I need and the goal to really push my ability further. The game will be either 8 bits or 16 bits and could be a minute or 60 hours, so long as I have something tangible to show by the end of the year.

Writing

This is the big one and perhaps the goal I’m most excited to achieve. Over the past couple years, I’ve been working on my creative writing and think it’s at a point where I can start pushing my comfort zone even further. My writing goal for this year is to publish a book.

As far as specifics, I am starting with Poetry. The goal is to have 30 poems written and once I have done so, I will publish (most likely on Amazon). Right now I am playing with different formats and trying to add variety to my writing.

My other goal is to re-imagine my posts never published and bring the majority of them to see the light of day.

Cooking

As the list grows longer and longer, I should be worried; however, this is the most excited I’ve been in a long time and I can’t stop writing; I had forgotten how great it feels to set goals to achieve.

For cooking, it is simply to cook a dish once a month. To go out, buy groceries, and make anything. Ideally, I’m cooking to be healthier and to find what I enjoy; cooking relaxed me in College and I should’ve never stopped.

The tangible goal is to make cheese sticks (weird, I know). I tried once before and had a breaded cheese blob and it has been my greatest cooking regret.

Painting

Truth be told, it can be painting or drawing. I am in need of relaxing hobbies that soothe the soul. I need a hobby where I can catch my breath and create more than just vivid descriptions; I want to see what I create.

I’m starting out small and small is all I need; I want to attend one art class and have one painting I can be proud of. Online tutorials are great, but for this, I feel the need to go out and be part of an art class.

Road Trip/Camping

I do not consider myself a great driver. I can get some bad anxiety and figured I could kill two birds with one stone. The goal for this is to get me out of the house and more comfortable with adventure. When I did study abroad, I nearly had a heart attack but I grew so much. This goal is of the same mindset. I already have a trip planned in May and am taking a week vacation at the end of February so things are already shaping up to be better than the last two years.

My measure of success will be if I bought the sleeping bag and tent I’ve been saying I was going to buy and to not only go on a trip to the beach but to go camp overnight or for a couple days.

Epilogue

So that’s it, I now have my goals in writing. A basic roadmap to get me started with the catalysts I need to jump start my life. In addition to these goals, I want to get out once a week; whether that’s getting drinks downtown or trying a new restaurant, seeing an art display, or visiting a park, this year is about stepping out and creating the environment I want to live my adulthood in.

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As always, thanks for reading! What are your goals for the new year? Have you started? Are you happy with your year so far? Let me know in the comments below.