John Leonard an audience of one.

About Projects Now Archive

Programming progress

I’m developing my programming “skills” and have decided to commit all my work publicly in a series of Github repositories. Interested in watching a programmer learn? Go take a look.

Projects and Goals

Here’s what I know. Over the last six months, I’ve gained and lost a load of weight. I’ve studied for a project management exam and passed it. and done a metric ton of day job work. I’ve tried to learn javascript, stopped and started more times than I care to remember, and regularly cursed myself for constantly stopping and starting again.

I came up with an idea for a project. It’s a good one, it’s currently stalled, but i’ll make it go. It’s worth it.

I have lots of ideas. They mainly die on the vine.

Last year I had so many projects on the go at once, they totally overwhelmed me. I ended up canning almost all of them - in hindsight, I did can all of them - and then started again with fresh new projects. I complain and moan and stare at myself in the mirror and try to convince myself to start, and instead I come up with lots of ideas that start, struggle a bit for my attention, and then just go away because I convince myself they aren’t any good. 14by17 was a good idea, sadly ruined by my ability to actually lose weight (I started a project to hit 14 stones in weight by 2017, and for the entire duration of the project I gained weight instead).

I mean to write a lot. I have two books in a todo list that I intend to write and probably never will - well, I won’t until I can sustain attention and drive myself through the boring bits. And that, my friends, is the heart of it.

I give up too easily. Way too easily. I’ve read (and listened to) a lot of books in the last six months, and the topics are all generally the same.

  • just start.
  • don’t stop trying.
  • keep going, even when it’s boring.
  • learn to love what you do, don’t just try to do what you love.
  • there are checklists, and deep work, and 5 second rules, and a whole host of tips and tricks and hacks and deep studying processes and ways to meditate and avoid stress and avoid distractions and pomodoro techniques and lists and stuff like that…

But none of the techniques can (and ever will) give me the ability to keep moving when the going gets tough because that particular skill can’t be taught.

Here’s what I know.

I like my day job. Mostly. I’m a good doer, less of a manager. No matter what I do, I can’t just do the day job. The ideas keep coming in. I’ve dropped hundreds of ideas because I can’t commit, but some keep coming back. I’ve stopped and started programming more times than I care to admit, because there is something inside me that keeps wanting to go back and give it one more try. I do have drive. I can do hard things. I did a 53 mile bike ride for charity simply because I wanted to - that needed six months of training, but I did it. I beat cancer - yes, staying alive is a hell of a motivator. I can, and do, get up at 5:30 am just so I can drive to work, park the car 2 miles away from the office and then walk the rest of the way. I lost two stones in weight because I needed to (the next stone is tougher, but i’ll get there).

So next on the list, is lots of little projects - dumb stuff, that i’ll throw out here on this blog, github projects, medium posts, other posts here, there and everywhere. I have book reviews to write (mainly bad ones). I have thoughts about stuff that perhaps I’ll just share because they are writing in its purest form - my thoughts, on the page. I have dumb little programming projects that i’ll throw into a repository so you can see what I’m doing (or not).

I can do these things, so I’ll just do them. And maybe, just maybe, they will become a habit, and I’ll ship something bigger. I’ve just got to get into the habit of shipping lots of little things first.

This is not a proclamation of things to come. This is an intent, and i’ll do my best to deliver, simply because it’s the way I lean. I don’t just do one thing, I do lots, so now perhaps is the time to make them live, in whatever form they take, and remind myself that I do actually make a lot of things, and I can make more.

14by17 - 2016 summary

So, a summary.

Nearly 5 months ago I wrote the last post on my weight loss journey, and it was never really all that good. Despite my goal to be 14 stone by 2017, the exercise was not successful - instead, I put on weight every time I weighted myself, and I didn’t manage to follow through on eating healthily.

So, instead, I took a little time off. I went on holiday, and wasn’t really the weight I wanted to be.

Then, I listened to the recommendations from family, and went to Slimming World instead. And now, I have managed to drop nearly a stone from the weight I was in July - from 16 stone 3 pounds to 15 stone 4, and I’m on track. Weight keeps going down. I eat better, and less, and I move around more - more walking to locations, playing badminton once a week when I really work up a sweat, and more often than not turning down dessert and snacks.

When I do eat, I eat better - mostly - and the best thing Slimming World has taught me is that every time I eat crap, I have a price I have to pay. In Syns, as far as Slimming World is concerned, and in extra exercise for the day to day moving about.

Yes, Christmas is not going to be a particularly healthy one, but I know I have a pathway out of it and a strategy to get lighter and fitter.

Right now I’m back to where I started. I managed to turn around the weight increases over the 14by17 exercise, and I’m now on a downturn in weight gain to actually hit the 14 stone goal. In 2017, I will definitely hit that goal.

Here goes - I’ll keep checking in.

14by17 week 27

Once again, I have reason to believe that while the overall trend is up, it is slowing. I haven’t done anything to help that, and I’m still occasionally snacking and not doing as much exercise as I really should be doing. I really should sit down and write the post I’ve been meaning to write about how I make promises to myself and others and then summarily fail to deliver.

Anyway, self loathing aside, I am all about the super slow changes - but I’m also mindful that in september I have a beach holiday; so I should really do the best I can to get into a semi decent shape for that. graph to week ending 8th july

14by17 week 26

So, six months in, on my 46th birthday, what have I got to say for myself?

Well, let’s just say that the preceding six months have not been kind. Far from losing weight, I’ve put it on, and I’m now - if anything - eight to ten pounds heaver than when I started.

That, in itself, is having an effect on my self confidence, my wardrobe, and my goals. I really want to be lighter, but it’s never as easy as it may seem.

I distinctly hope that I can turn it around in the last six months. I very much don’t want to be posting that I am even heavier than I am now in another six months, and right now I’ll settle for just getting back down to 15 stones in weight. At least all my skinny clothes will fit me then.

So it’s rapidly turning into 15by17, and not 14by17 as originally envisaged. hmmm. Onwards and upwards, then! oh my god the weight to 1st July