I began the year 2019 with a genuine desire to grow; to make it my best, most fulfilling year ever.
I openly challenged myself that I would accomplish at least one fit each month that would give me a feeling of deep joy and fulfilment, and then write it down in my journal.
Thus began what I call The 12 Months Achievement Challenge or what is commonly referred to as The Year 20XX in Review.
I have kept my word. I went through the year ticking off my goals one month at a time, tiny though they are. Here is an account of these goals I recorded as I achieved them:
Writing has been a passion for me since before I knew how to read or write. I know this from the way that, as a grown-up, my mind takes great pleasure in flirting with words and phrases and poetry. I had this same attitude when I was a kid. Back then, instead of words I took pleasure observing the awe-inspiring mountains, the surging rivers, the vast expanse of vegetation on the highway when I traveled, the indefatigable colonies of ants. I reveled in these things. I would engage my mind in them for hours on end. I had what you might call an overactive imagination.
I have been writing on and off for about 3 years now but there is no bookshop online or offline in the world with a book that bears my name as the author. My writings have always remained to myself, in diaries, journals, note apps, private word documents. This year I decided to create a blog so I can put some of my writing out there. I did this in January and this is a great step for me.
I designed a full blog website from start to finish using HTML and CSS. I designed this website to use it as course material for my YouTube channel where I create courses that teach my viewers how to code.
Towards the end of the month, I was able to record a video tutorial and publish it on Youtube as one in a series of tutorials that will teach my viewers how to build a website.
Last month I created a project for one of my courses on YouTube. This month, I recorded and published 10 video tutorials in which I explain how it’s done. This was a monumental task for me as one video would take days to complete. It was also a great tool for self-development because I learned how to communicate better to be understood. Also, I learned that teaching something is one of the best ways of refining and cementing your understanding of it.
This month was special to me for many reasons. For one thing, it is the month in which I was born. Secondly, it is the month in which I took one among many of the great big steps in my life: April 1st, 2019, I started work at Andela as a Software Engineer.
I am however not counting the resumption of my new job as my prize accomplishment for this month. That honor goes to my first contract work since joining Andela: Two weeks after resuming at Andela, I was contracted to develop a mobile application (Android & IOS) for online fast food ordering and delivery.
It sounds like a simple application but the work was immense. I gave up on it several times. I was fortunate to have my brother, who has more experience in developing mobile apps who would give me a hand every now and again to unblock me from one challenge or another.
I published an article: The Bane and the Glory of Introversion.
I achieved something in the month of June, but I have managed to forget what it was (I am writing this particular entry in the month of August by which time the stream of time has washed away what memories I might have had of my June achievements.)
I recorded and published a 50-minute long video tutorial on YouTube, completing a tutorial series I’d started sometime earlier this year on how to design a blog website. I also deployed the android and IOS versions of the mobile app I had been working on some months past on the Apple Store and the Google Play Store.
My first Youtube tutorial series was based on how to design a website. It focused on the look of the website. This month I was able to implement all the functionality of the entire website to make it dynamic and database driven. I also recorded and published 11 video tutorials showing my viewers on Youtube on how to make the site dynamic.
I lost my job when Andela laid off about 400 employees. I published 10 video tutorials on my YouTube channel. I bought myself a MacBook Pro and a professional microphone for my software engineering work and for recording my courses.
I applied for an Intermediate Software Engineer role at my former company and made it successfully through 3 levels in the application process. The last level will determine whether I get the job or not. It is an interview that hasn’t yet taken place at the time of this writing. We don’t know what the result will be. We’ll probably find out in the next entry.
I also recorded and published 5 video tutorials on my YouTube channel.
I graduated from Lambda School, an online training academy for software engineers. This marked the end of a 7 months journey that was both fun and bloody hard, especially near the end.
I also recorded and published 5 tutorials videos on YouTube.
And yes, I got an offer for the role I applied for. Yay!!!
I got the chance to travel. I visited my home country Cameroon from Nigeria. It was a great opportunity for me to reconnect with my friends and strengthen the bonds that hold us together. I did a lot of traveling within Cameroon. I had a lot of deep, meaningful conversations with friends and family. I was inspired. Challenged. Humbled. Grateful.
All this got me to contemplate a lot about things in the grand scheme, which is very healthy for a fulfilling life.
It took me a certain amount of courage to publish this because I felt I could have done better. However, I firmly believe I wouldn’t have achieved this much if I had not openly challenged myself to do it.
Before 2019, every year I would come up with a comprehensive list of New Year Resolutions and I would think about them throughout January and probably a few times in February and that would be all.
This year was different. I thought about my goals at least once every month. I tried to do better at least once every month. I was consistent in putting efforts and that is what I value most.
So… this year I got my best job yet, moved to a new country, made many friends and learned a lot in the process. For all of this, I am most grateful.
I look forward to the next year. I consider it a fresh opportunity to learn the lessons I’ve picked up over the course of this year.
I plan on doing something similar next year but I dare to be a bit more specific than the year 2019:
- I will forge better bonds with God, family, and friends.
- I will eat healthier, drink more water than sweet drinks, and get quality sleep.
- I will save at least 3 times more money than I did last year and invest more in my learning and development.
- I will create at least one paid course.
- I will read every day to better educate myself and to grow into a better person generally.
That’s it for now.
Thanks for reading.