A Review of 2011 Personal Development Goals

Tue, Jan 3, 2012 with tags development , academic , running , habits , goals , personal , 2011

In January 2011 I made my 2011 Personal Development Goals public. In the spirit of complete transparency, here’s my scorecard of how I did on my quest to accomplish these goals. I’m not being quite as hard on these goals as I was on my 2011 Open Source predictions, but I’m still trying to be honest with myself.


  • Submit papers to FSE, CSCW, and ICSE - Two out of three. Didn’t get anything off for ICSE.
  • Submit at least one journal paper - Nope, but I’m getting close on two fronts. Still, I didn’t make it.


These are all covered in detail on my Review of 2011 running goals on my running blog. I’ve shortened the answers here.

  • Run a mile in under 5:50 - Nope. 6:10 was the best I could manage.
  • Run a marathon in under 3:50 - Nope, I got close. 3:57:45 in New York.
  • Bench press my own weight - Utter failure. I don’t recall ever really trying.
  • Get down to 170 lbs - I came close. 172ish was my best. I’m considerably over that right now.
  • Barefoot/Vibram race of 10k or more - Not only did I do a 10k in my Vibrams, I set a PR in the race too. After a bad experience going completely barefoot, I think I’ll stick with the Vibrams in the future.
  • Run to and from work at least five times - Never even tried this.


  • Release a new and interesting Open Source project - I kinda did this with the release of GovSciGraph but that was something that came out of a work project and not out of my own projects. Therefore I’m going to say that I missed this goal. Also, no one seems interested in GovSciGraph, so it’s not much of an Open Source project.
  • Visit a new country - I’m not certain if Hong Kong and Macau count as they’re only kinda countries and I had previously traveled to China. I did, however, visit Hungary, Slovakia, and spend far more than my previous eight hours in Austria.
  • Read two “Classics - Success. From the BBC’s list I read “Pride and Prejudice”, “Animal Farm”, “Winnie the Pooh”, and “Alice in Wonderland”. Combined with a decent stack of other books this was a decent book reading year for me. I look forward to reading more of these “Classics” in the coming year.
  • Win at least two of my existing video games before buying any new ones - I’ve been vacillating on this one. I haven’t bought any console games this year, but I did get some new ones. I traded my DS Lite and games for some Wii games during the summer, which is kinda like buying new games. I got a couple of games for Christmas, but I didn’t buy them, so I don’t think they count against my score. However, I’m going to have to say I failed at this. Stupid iOS games and AppShopper.com showing me when games go on sale. While you can’t “win” many of these iOS games, I certainly bought many games and this will keep me occupied for a long time. Maybe sometime this year I can finally win Planescape: Torment, Arcanum, and Fable 2. Also, stop buying iOS games.
  • Spend less than $60 at the cafeteria at work - 100% success. I never bought lunch at the cafeteria. I bought a few cookies and coffee/tea for some visitors, but according to Mint.com I only spent $24.32 at the cafeteria this year. This is a good thing because the food went significantly downhill from what I’ve heard.
  • Do four “10 day trials” - I tried going vegetarian for ten days, but I had to travel after seven and gave it up. My wife isn’t too thrilled with this idea of screwing with my body. I’m not certain if I’ll repeat it again this year.
  • Cook Creme Brulee - accomplished on 12/27/2010. That’s what getting a Creme Brulee torch for Christmas will do for you.

Breaking Bad Habits

  • Only 12 sodas in the year - No so good. I didn’t count, but with 78 flights over the past year I’m pretty certain I was well over my limit.
  • Only 6 packs of Starburst in the year - Complete and utter failure. Target keeps on selling the monster bags for $2 each. Do you have any idea how easy it is to eat a monster bag of Starburst? Furthermore, do you have any idea of what this does to your gut? It’s not pretty. Fortunately, the vending machines at work no longer stock Starburst.
  • Only 3 visits to McDonalds in the year - I think I might have been close on this. I can only remember three times, and that includes numerous trips through airports. I’m going to say I succeeded in this one.

Overall I didn’t do horrible, but it’s clear that most of goals where I tried to rid myself of bad habits or be more productive were failures. I’m either setting the bar too high or I’m not doing enough to maintain accountability with those goals. In any case, I should revisit my strategy. Sometime in the next few days I’ll post my goals for 2012. I’m still working on them for right now.