Nick Ang

Goals for 2020

December 31, 2019

Hello world! It’s that time of the year again to plan to make dreams happen. I’ve summarised my learnings for 2019 already so in this post, I look into the new year.

I was born in 1990 and will be turning 30 this new year. So while I could be making a grand list of things I want to make happen for the decade, I chose to make this list about 2020 as a year and not the turn of a new decade. Guess I heard something in my mind to keep things simple, stupid.

So here are my 3 modest goals for 2020.

Create value for 1,000 people

I will write a lot of blog posts using my Freewrite

I will be writing many posts on this workhorse!

This year, my main focus professionally is to create value for 1,000 people through my blog.

I have only a semblance of a plan at the moment and that is by design. As Steve Blank said, no business plan survives first contact with customers. I’ll keep my execution flexible to bend to the momentum that we, you and I, create here on this blog by keeping sight on the general goal of creating value for 1,000 people.

Creating value can be:

  • Publishing a blog post that helps someone with a problem they’re facing
  • Listening and engaging someone in meaningful conversation
  • Teaching someone a thing or two about becoming technical in software development
  • Sending a newsletter privately to someone’s inbox to read for wholesome reflection and growth
  • Making technical, cultural, historical, and ideological thinking clearer for someone to understand

My plan currently involves writing blog posts around the topic of becoming technical. I asked myself, in what way can I immediately bring value to someone? And with a few iterations of asking and answering this question on my morning journal, I came up with this:

I can immediately bring value to someone who is considering or wanting to become technically competent in software.

So I’ll use that as a foot in the door into the rich and vibrant ‘learn to code’ community. I intend to have both feet in and teach and learn from the people inside, so my initial goal is, for the first 3 months of 2020:

  1. Publish 1 blog post on a relevant topic every other day (that’s once every 2 days)
  2. Send 1 newsletter to my mailing list once a week

From there, I will go with the momentum and do what it takes to continue creating value for people. 2020 is the year I try to maximise the value I bring to people.

Journal, read and meditate daily

I use the Calm app for meditating because I have a premium subscription gifted by my employer

Credit: Calm app (not paid or affiliated)

In 2019 I learned the value of journaling, reading, meditating through random spurts of practice.

In 2020, I want to firmly establish these as part of my daily routine.

I am soon to be 30 and I am finally beginning to understand that we are our routines. Great things are accomplished with consistency. One of my favourite quotes is by Gustave Flaubert:

“Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.”

Gustave Flaubert, French author in the late 1800s

I have found the effects of journaling, reading, and meditating to be profound in keeping me life calm and orderly. While none of these activities actually help me do the laundry, buy groceries, or make money, they give me the awareness to do these mundane things willingly and diligently. And that makes a big difference to my daily happiness.

If you are interested to know how exactly journaling, reading, and meditating helps me, tweet me to let me know.

For now, I’m set on doing what it takes to establish these 3 things as part of my daily routine. Journaling already is and has been a daily practice for me in the past few months, so that gives me confidence to work on the other two practices.

My goal in terms of time spent in each practice:

  • Journal: maximum 30 minutes in the morning
  • Read: minimum 10 minutes sometime in the day (still figuring out the best time of day)
  • Meditate: maximum 15 minutes in the morning

Just thinking about being someone who practices these 3 things daily makes me motivated. You and I know that we all could use a little more peace and thoughtfulness in this world.

Travel a lot in Europe

Our first traveling experience since we moved from Singapore to Berlin was a 4 day campervan road trip

Photo taken from our 4-day campervan road trip to the north of Germany

I will remember 2019 as the year we finally moved to live abroad. That was my New Year’s resolution for 2018. Good things take time to happen.

We moved from Singapore to Berlin in October 2019 and we intend to be here until we feel compelled to go home (if we do). I’m extremely grateful that my employer sees that I bring enough value to the company to grant me the request of an office transfer.

Anyway, one of the shared lifelong goals that my wife and I have was to work abroad together for at least a year. The reason? We wanted to witness firsthand the cultural differences between Singapore and this Berlin, and more generally, Asia and Europe. We believe that seeing how others live life will enrich our own by giving us a more holistic perspective.

So far, in the 3 months since we’ve been here, I have already learned a lot about Berlin culture and European history. I’ve learned most of these things from observation and talking to colleagues after work and I’m hungry for more.

To really fulfil our promise of enriching our lives, we need to travel more. Seeing is believing. Seeing is experiencing. Seeing is also needed for understanding. I find that reading, hearing stories, and watching movies just fall short in this regard.

Now that we’re more or less in the centre of Europe being in Berlin, we feel the compulsion to travel more around Europe. All we’ve done so far to travel is a 4-day campervan road trip to the north of Germany. Much more traveling to come in 2020.


What about you? I’d love to know what your goals are for 2020. Do you set goals, or prefer to have a bucket list of action points? I’m very active on Twitter, so tweet me up.

I wish you a happy new year, my friend.


Nick Ang © 2020

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