There were lots of setbacks in 2018 – some of them enough to drive me back into depression just by themselves. So I am not going to pore over them. Instead I am going to take note of some of the successes…
I climbed at least 10 floors every day++
I averaged about 23 floors/day, with a peak of 154 floor equivalents* on a day when I went for a long hilly run.
I climbed 10 floors even in the days after injuring my ankle. Neighbours noticed as I hobbled up and down (down was worse) our steep drive way to get those 10 floors.
Steps target completed every day for 6 months++
I finished my step target every day for the later 6 months of the year. I started on 1st July, half way through the year, and a month and a half after the injury so the foot could manage 5K+ steps without discomfort.
Feet exercises – funny walk, jumping and twists++
These were advised by the physio after the ankle injury. After our last session, he advised that I continue with these exercises for another 3 months. It’s been 4+ months of successfully performing them every day. I have even slowly upgraded from 10 jumps of each kind to 50+ jumps each.
Duolingo – nearly every day (358 days)++
Yo practiqué español casi todos los días en 2018. I cheated a tiny bit by using the ‘protect streak’ feature in the app to get me off the hook on 7 days. Other than that, it was a success.
I recently ordered my first book in Spanish, after reading the adapted English version.
Waking up before 6, then before 5:30
In 2017, I had deliberately started moving my wake-up time earlier – from a lazy 10AM to 9 to 8 to 7. This year it got better.
Since I couldn’t run because of the ankle injury, I started swimming in the summer. Soon I wanted more time and space (less crowded lanes) in the longer 50m pool. My pool had lane swimming at 50m length from 6-8 AM every day. It was also likely to be emptier then as it’s not a time that most casual swimmers would frequent. This incentivised me to start waking up at 6 to take advantage of this morning slot. Even after swimming ended at end of August, I continued waking up at 6 – to work or read.
When clocks changed at the end of October, I made use of the extra hour to make another push. Since then I have been waking up between 4:45 and 5:30, and making the most of those morning hours.
I became a morning person
Already described above, and in the Morning Routine post – this was probably my favourite achievement of the year.
I ‘rationalised’ my apps and extensions portfolio
And one not from the strictly-personal space. Mid way through the year I decided to rationalise my portfolio of apps and extensions.
They were just too many for me to spare time to maintain and update. The Chrome Apps have been restricted by Google to only Chromebooks. That is too niche a market, and requires me buying a separate device to develop and test. Not worth it. (Todo.txt and WordCounter apps deprecated).
The original AutoConvert, despite being my most popular extension at the time, was incompatible with websites developed using newer technologies like React and Vue. It was deprecated.
AcceleReaders for Pocket and Instapaper clearly indicated at a very small potential user base. Further, unlike Todo.txt, the users of these extensions did not believe in donating to support development. So, I paused development, and put them into cold living for now.
Eventually, I decided to focus all my development efforts on 3 areas:
- Clutter Free. It grew by nearly 100% last year, and had the largest install base of all my apps – 17,000+ before the holiday dive.
- Todo.txt. It is low-capped in potential user base size, like the AcceleReaders. However, the users are engaged, and the community is supportive. I even (sort of) doubled down on this, with the first draft of an Android app for Todo.txt.
- AutoConvert (Select). AutoConvert was my first extension to show potential with 10,000+ users. Further, in its very short life, AutoConvert Select has seen good user growth and feedback.
The main difference between these three and the others is that I see need fulfilment – through user feedback, engagement and support (donations and subscriptions).
I have already added subscriptions to Clutter Free (“Support Me’) and AutoConvert Select (‘Currency Conversion’). I intend to add them to Todo.txt Chrome extension and Android app too. This way I have a clear indicator of where to devote future development efforts.
There are some common threads in these successes that make me particularly happy:
- Mind over matter
I got out and did things – walking steps, climbing floors, practicing Spanish, swimming, walking up early – even on days when I had good excuses not to. Particularly on days when I had good excuses not to – injury, work overload, depression, anxiety, tiredness, lack of sleep.
From starting work 2 hours before sunrise (or an hour after I my previous usual sleep time),
to trimming the app portfolio (with its ego-boosting benefit),
to swimming so early that I returned home before others in the house had woken up,
to slowly+steadily rebuilding foot & leg strength to be able to start running in time for London training
- all of them required focus and planning beyond the near term. They all got done.
They all also have another common thread that I should not be proud of – I am alone in all of them. They were not with friends, family, or colleagues. I had no support system, and I was not part of any one’s support system. This will have to change.
++: Streak continues unbroken in 2019.
*: Floors = floor equivalents = 3m vertical ascent, as measured by my Garmin watch.