New Year's is an opportunity to stop, take stock, and reflect on everything we've done in the past year. While it's usually a good idea to do this more often than once a year, the seasonal holiday presents an opportune moment for the too-busy-to-otherwise-schedule-things.

I fall into that category.

Today begins a new annual tradition of recounting the successes and losses of the prior year and setting clear, actionable goals for the year to come.

2017 in Review

It's common to spend New Year's lamenting how horrible the previous year has been; this might be a recent occurrence, but it's also increasing in frequency. In hindsight, however, I'm pretty happy about my 2017.

The Ups

This past year saw me speak at several conferences. From Florida to Portland to Washington, D.C. I spent time teaching, learning from, meeting, and building friendships with some truly great people!

Welcome to the world, little one!

Summer saw the arrival of our daughter. She's an absolute delight and I love learning more about her personality each and every day. Having a little one in the house reenforces so many of my personal goals for self growth - now it's not just my own ego that depends on my doing what I say I'll do!

2017 also saw me become a regular contributor to php[architect] magazine, writing the monthly Security Corner column. This year I also wrote and published my first book, a handbook covering all things related to PHP application security.

Back in the personal realm, 2017 saw me continuing down the path of custom building furniture for our home. After finishing a coffee table in 2016, I made two custom end tables and a rocking chair in 2017!

I'm another year older, have a few extra line items for my resume, and hopefully have picked up some deeper levels of wisdom and knowledge along the way.

The Downs

Like many people, my year wasn't all smiles. I lost family. I lost friends. I gained more than a few gray hairs worrying about the future of my community and nation.

Each of these is a lesson learned. Never a regret. Life is too short and moves too quickly to waste time on regrets.

The Year to Come

I typically set myself a small handful private milestones to achieve each year. By "small handful" I mean a bulleted list on a Post-It note. This year is no different.

By the close of 2018,  I will:

  • Master a new software technology related to machine learning (currently studying TensorFlow)
  • Run a half marathon (I've run 3 full marathons already, but I need to get back into this. I have two tentative races on the calendar)
  • Start a new business (Paperwork is filed and the domain is purchased. I'm putting the time in to get things off the ground within the next month or two)
  • Write a book on secure application design (Currently whiteboarding topics and potential outlines)
  • Take the family on a fun, memorable vacation (Planning something for later in the summer/fall)

What's on your list? What steps are you taking right now to move closer to accomplishing it?