2016 Looking back

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I called 2016 as "Year of intentional focus". Looking back , it was 365 days filled with lot of action , some inaction as well. I doubled my focus on some of my passions but also got distracted from a few areas I did want to put some focus.  On personal front, my little angel is more than a year old now , Sakthi & I complete two years of marriage. At work, I survived more than a year in tech product management. Similar to what I have written in the past, I will review my goals and progress on my various passionate areas.

Technology :
For 2016, my goals outside of work are : (1) Swift programming (2) Machine learning basics.
  • I attended a basic course on "Swift programming" and reviewed my programming basics in February.
  • Dirtied my hands along with few other developers in understanding the bot framework and we managed to build a basic bot called AskHR Bot and demoed in our Hackathon
  • I did sign up for couple of MOOCs on Data analysis and machine learning and never spent dedicated time to complete them. I wanted to read few technical books , but ended up learning only one on web designing.
  • I did plan to build a basic mobile app and also write a classifier or spam filter to deepen my learning  - but never managed to spend time in this area
For 2017 my 1 top goals for this area : Take up a coding project online and work on that regularly over the year

Plan : I would spend time dirtying my hand with coding and spend time writing code at least one hour a week.

Health & Fitness
2016, my top 3 goals for fitness are  : (1) Get body fat level to below 20% (2) One day finish at STP  (3) Swimming : 300 miles , cycling 1000 miles
2017 , my top 3 goals for fitness are  : (1) Get body fat level to below 20% (2) (Completing Ramrod (if I win the lottery))Complete Everesting (3) Swimming : 50 miles , cycling 3000 miles
Plan : I would stick to the same diet of eating real foods (Veggies, egg, meat , fruits, skip sugar and grains), with intermittent fasting. Good base training with cycling and swimming with added strength training twice a week. I would also do kriya yoga at least once a week.

Personal Finance
2016, my top 2 goals : (1) Increasing the saving rate to move towards financial freedom (2) Continue to stay away from debt
  • Continued to stay away from debt, and doubled the focus on saving rate with lower focus on investment returns.
  • Continued my retirement investing to US index funds completely with 401(k), Roth IRA, Health savings account.
  • Finally managed to build the 6 month emergency fund and that also helped on overall asset allocation of my portfolio which was heavily equity biased. This will be my risk cushion
  • Biggest goal achievement was finally closing and getting my house in India which was bought for India.
  • Managed to complete the Living will through a local attorney. Also continued to regularly update the master document and managed to close on all real estate documentation work.
2017 goals : I stay with past goals and last year plan of  (1) Increasing the saving rate to move towards financial freedom (2) Continue to stay away from debt

Books
My goals for 2016, (1) Read 25 Books at an analytical level (2)  Write about 10 companies
  • Beginning of the year I started reading at a good pace, and after my India visit, I dropped my focus in reading big time. This is one of the areas where I did not hit my goal
  • I just read 8 books and had been on and off with reading. Facebook and other random web surfing had been a big time killer from reading books.
  • I did not write about even one of the company, I did start researching early in the year and that stopped mid-way.
For 2017, my top 2 goals : (1) Read 15 Books (2)  Write about 3 companies after deep research
Plan : Read 1 books a month, I already have a reading list for 2017 ready here. I will still  have the plan to read at least 25 days a day. Write a page every week and at least one post a month in the blog

Music
2016 goals were  (1) Play Aadi Talam in Mridangam fairly well (2) Memorize Rudram, and sukthams
  • Had been regular to the mridangam classes till holidays, but definitely this was lower in priority with my biking schedule.
  • I did learn the basic Aadi talam in Mridangam , but far away from playing it in greater fluency.
  • I also ensured I attended most of the monthly Seattle Rudram chanting event based on availability. I am able to chant most of the Namakam without book, but yet to memorize completely. I am able to chant most of the Sukthams.
For 2017 I keep the same goals , as I am yet to hit completely: (1) Play Aadi Talam in Mridangam (2) Memorize Rudram, and sukthams
Plan :  Practice Mridangam at least 1 day a week and attend weekly classes regularly. Memorize one stanza of Rudram every two weeks

Movies , Travel & More
I did want to reduce my movie binge watching, but definitely the movie buff in me could not control last year as well. I did watch most of the Tamil / Malayalam movies last year. Since Sakthi & Swara were in India for a good 6 months of the year, I spent most of the leisure time outside work in biking and catching up movies. This is where I could have doubled my focus on reading. On travel, we visited India in March and visited our extended family in Coimbatore, Chennai & Salem. In the summer because of biking I travelled nearby to Vancouver & Whistler. During the holidays we had a short trip to Los Angeles and Leavenworth. The biggest travel we had this year was a 10 day vacation to Hawaii. We fell in love with Hawaii, and would love to visit the beaches again. We spent good time in the beaches and a good break from the weather.  For 2017, we hope to make a visit the east coast.  Outside of work, along with my past colleagues we did spend a good amount of time in floating a math coaching company. But by the end of year just before signing up, we had to drop the plan because one of the major partner bailed 
I have been pretty bad with posting in the blog last year. But one of the posts I made on OCI application process is the most read and commented post ever in my blog. Hope to post at least one post a month in 2017. 

For 2017, my theme would be - "Year of learning". I would like to focus my learning at work and outside work in the above areas. All my goals are around learning. Hope to post more of my learning in the coming months. Happy new year 2017 every one, There will never be a day when we won't need dedication, discipline, energy, and the feeling that we can change things for the better!

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