Patrick Owens

My 2019 Goal Post-mortem

  • personal

With a month left to go in the year, I’ve been reflecting more on my year. Overall, my 2019 has been a relatively successful and exciting year.

What happened during the year?


  • Travelled to Japan and Korea for vacation
  • Travelled to Vietnam for work

I spent 2 weeks in Japan, and 1 week in Korea while on vacation. It was the best vacation I’ve ever been on. I’d love to go back to Japan.

I also spent a week in Vietnam for work. While I didn’t get much of an opportunity to be a tourist, I still really enjoyed my time.


  • Got promoted to a senior position
  • Got a new job with my first successful wage negotiation
  • Finally got my blog off the ground…ish

I learned to acknowledge my successes, and skills more. It allowed me to actually negotiate salary for the first time in my professional career. Prior to this, I’ve always felt embarrassed, or awkward of the process, and asking for what I felt like I was worth. Thanks to guidance from sources like, the Soft Skills Engineering podcast and an amusing anecdote from a coworker, I overcame that mental block. Turns out that salary negotiation isn’t that scary after all!


  • Got a personal trainer - achieved some lifting goals
  • Volunteering with Canada Learning Code, VECTOR, and PyCascades 2019
  • Improved my tech skills
    • Participated in my first CTF
    • Worked on the OWASP vulnerable app
  • Practiced minimalism
  • Started learning another language: Japanese

I’ve been finding myself wanting to give back more to the community. This year I was a volunteer for PyCascades 2019. I also frequently volunteered with Canada Learning Code. I even signed up to be an instructor - but the one class I was going to teach was cancelled.

I also completed my first CTF in March. I placed lower than I had hoped; 14th out of 80, but am proud of the work I did.

Resolutions I have yet to complete


  • Bike to work at least 3 times a week - got a remote working gig
  • Do the Grand Fondo - didn’t train enough
  • Beat my previous year’s Sun Run 10km time of 47:45 - I got 50:07. Training issues due to vacation


  • One blog post a month - I’m at about 6/12
  • Do at least one OSS PR a month - I’m about 4/12
  • Write a cheat engine for a game
  • Do 1-2 crackmes


  • No screen time 1 hour before bed
  • Read at least a book a month - I’ve only read 1 book this year

I was solely focused on big-ticket blog posts for more one-a-month posts. I wanted every post to be big, and impactful. These posts were very time-consuming, and I’ve had a few posts stuck on the backburner for months. Also turns out these big-ticket posts aren’t actually ever read. Moving forward into the next year, I’ll be working on smaller more concentrated posts.

Key Takeaways

While I made a decent effort to make my yearly goals SMART, I definitely could have made the goals SMARTer.

I also need to be more defensive about my free time. If I’m having problems reading a book, writing a blog post, doing some security training every weekend, and do an OSS PR in a single month; I need to acknowledge that I don’t have that much free time.

All-in-all, I view my 2019 year as one of the most successful, and best years of my life. I’m ready for 2020. Bring it on!

Patrick Owens
Patrick is a full-stack software engineer. He is a UI architecture specialst, infosec enthusiast, and mentor.