Josh's goals in 2019

Eating ramen in Kyoto, 2010

Eating ramen in Kyoto, 2010

I think most people have grand goals and dreams they’d love to achieve in life but for some reason they haven’t gotten around to. Maybe it’s because of fear of failure. Perhaps you’re just really good at making excuses why you can’t do it right now. Circumstances aren’t right. I know I’m definitely guilty of that. There’s been several things this year that I’ve put off because I made arbitrary mental blocks for myself.

I know I make too many excuses as to why I can’t do or achieve something, and that’s why I want to change that in 2019. I’m generally adverse to “New Year Resolutions” because there’s a general societal consensus that people don’t follow through on those. I’m not making resolutions, I’m defining my success for 2019. I’m particularly excited about the next year because it marks a big change for Caitlan and I. I feel like we’re moving in the right direction to living how we’ve always wanted. I feel empowered now that I will be working remotely and the flexibility and freedom that provides.

Like Caitlan said, accountability is a strong motivator. So I’d like you all to be my accountabilibuddies and ask me about how I’m progressing on the following goals in 2019.

Improve Japanese

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle

In my first degree, I majored in Japanese language and literature. I actually got pretty good at speaking, reading, writing and understanding it. I would say my proficiency was at a conversational level.

Over the last several years, I haven’t really been in an environment where I had to use those skills. And to be honest, I didn’t make the effort to put myself in those situations, which means I’ve forgotten a lot.

A couple of things have happened over the last 6 months that have made me really want to get serious about improving my Japanese again. Caitlan and I have been watching a few Japanese shows like Terrace House. I probably understand less than half of what they’re talking about without the subtitles, but I’d love to be able to turn them off and know exactly what’s happening and laugh at all the jokes.

Another thing that’s happened is so many people in my team at REA have visited Japan recently. Hearing their stories has really made me want to go back and just be immersed in the language and culture. It gives me nostalgic feelings of when we used to live there that I’m really longing for.

My goals for Japanese in 2019 are:

  • Find some Japanese speakers to practice conversational Japanese with.

  • Learn Remembering The Kanji and refresh my writing knowledge.

  • Consume more Japanese media (TV shows, music, movies etc.)

  • Visit Japan again for an extended period and make the effort to soak up as much Japanese as I can.


I’ve been interested in building furniture and other woodworking projects for a long time. I’m always watching YouTubers like Modern Builds, Homemade Modern, Crafted Workshop and others that share their designs and practices. The problem is we just haven’t always had the space to facilitate that kind of making.

An outdoor table project I built this year

An outdoor table project I built this year

What I’ve come to realise is that making things doesn’t really require a lot of tools or space. Ben Uyeda from Homemade Modern always talks about this on the Modern Maker podcast. He’s been a huge inspiration for me to just try regardless of my situation. This year I built an outdoor table and benches based on one of his designs using just a circular saw, speed square and a drill. It turned out great and has pushed me to experiment in making furniture and other items in 2019.

My goals for woodworking and making are:

  • Re-join the Men’s Shed in Ulladulla and try and learn more skills from the community there

  • Start with building projects that don’t require a lot of specialised tools

  • Build practical items for gardening and growing like raised beds, trellis etc.

Learning drums

Playing guitar at an event at uni back in 2009

Playing guitar at an event at uni back in 2009

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a huge fan of heavy music. Anything ranging from punk rock bands like New Found Glory and Blink 182, to heavier groups like Parkway Drive or August Burns Red.

I’ve been playing guitar since I was 14 and I originally started learning because I wanted to play Blink 182 songs. Turns out those songs are pretty easy but that naturally led into learning more technical songs from heavier metal and hardcore bands.

Arguably the most technical part of a hardcore band is the drums though. I love to tap along to these songs but I would love to be able to actually play drums along with them as well. I find myself at work listening to a song like Back Burner by August Burns Red and longing to be able to play drums like that.

My drum goals in 2019 are:

  • Buy an electric drum kit

  • Start taking drum lessons

  • Practice through learning and playing along to fun punk, metal and hardcore songs

Start beer brewing again

One of my brews. Circa 2011

One of my brews. Circa 2011

I used to back when I was living in Wollongong. I started mostly because a friend bought me a kit for my birthday but also because it was way cheaper than buying beer and I was pretty poor.

I found the process of brewing quite relaxing. There’s a certain monotony to tasks but it’s creative in how you use ingredients to make a unique tasting brew and it’s very rewarding to drink something you’ve created.

My beer brewing goals in 2019 are:

  • Repurchase the brewing gear I used to have

  • Pick up where I left off with brewing malt extract brews

  • Experiment with recipes

  • Move towards doing full mash brews towards the end of the year

Travel more

A recent trip to Colorado

A recent trip to Colorado

Caitlan and I have moved around a lot. We’ve lived in several cities in Australia, Japan and the US all in the last six or so years. Obviously we’ve traveled a lot, but there are places that I would love to visit but haven’t made the effort to because we’re always on the move.

Now that I will be working remotely, it’s really opened up a huge opportunity for us to take our time travelling. I can work on the road while we travel which means our trips aren’t restricted to how much annual leave I have saved up.

With my new job I’ll be travelling to the US twice a year for work as well. Our goal is to take advantage of this and extend our stays there and see some parts of the US we haven’t been before.

My travel goals in 2019 are:

  • Take advantage of remote work situation to travel slow and explore places I’ve wanted to visit like Europe

  • Go back to Japan and travel to places away from the normal tourist spots

  • Extend trips around work retreats in the US to travel

Learn more electronics

I write a lot of software. It’s how I make a living and I think I’m fairly good at it. But the idea of combining a skill that I’m good at and a new medium like hardware and electronics really appeals to me. I’ve played around with electronics a bit in the past (Caitlan even got me a kit for Christmas one year) but haven’t really spent the time to get good at it.

There’s so many interesting and useful things you can make with electronics. I have a few ideas in mind which I’d like to explore further. Hopefully they’ll become a blog post or YouTube video in the future.

My goals for learning electronics in 2019 are:

  • Learn more about physical hardware and electronics like microcontrollers

  • Build fun projects that blend my software, hardware, and woodworking skills

I guess my ultimate goal this year is to stop making excuses as to why I can’t do something I’m passionate about. The biggest roadblock to achieving our own version of success is our mindset. That’s why I’m trying to change mine and start making strides towards living my best, most fulfilling life in 2019.

In this post I’m sharing my goals for 2019 and how I plan to improve my Japanese, woodworking skills, beer brewing and also how I plan to travel more, learn drums and build more electronics projects.

In this post I’m sharing my goals for 2019 and how I plan to improve my Japanese, woodworking skills, beer brewing and also how I plan to travel more, learn drums and build more electronics projects.