Third time is the charm, or sometimes the fifth or twelfth, but this time we’re on the third. This time around, I’ve made some changes to when I started, what I am working on, how I track, and now writing more about it along the way. If you’re curious, here is the log repository for my most recent attempt, if my math is right, I've already caught up to my previous progress both times. This site will also give a bit more background what the challenge is as well. While you’re reading on, this recap post will be covering what I had adjusted this time to set myself for more success, what hasn’t been as great, and what has been working so far.
When running through multiple iterations of the same process doesn't sound like such a great thing, it can be if you are able to review what occurred, make changes and adjust for future iterations. That is exactly what I've done with this third challenge attempt that has already made a positive impact in a few ways. The first major change was time of year; the two previous attempts began and were meant to go through spring and summer; where the goal was to continue coding despite long, sunny days. Unfortunately, those did not exactly pan out how I had planned. Since it’s dark, cold and wet here in the winter, the lack of wanting to spend time outdoors has made it easier to stay in and work on my progress.
There was a slight change with the second attempt, keeping the season in mind, even adjusting to only completing 30 minutes rather than an hour was, for some reason, not attainable for me to complete consistently. I also had noticed that my first attempt did not reach a month, the second was barely over one, and this one has met and will easily surpass both. One last thing I had noticed was the lack of focus on previous attempts for "what will get me to my goal fastest" or "this will get me to x" and then I was stuck on some topic; following the freeCodeCamp curriculum and keeping on it has deterred the mind wandering. This curriculum is where I got my start, has a clear labeled trajectory, community and drive to finish what I started nearly four years ago. I have also made a Google document that mirrors the curriculum that contains each challenge's title, checked off once I had completed it, percent complete and room for notes when they have been. Each certificate gets a tab and a main tab for the big projects to be highlighted all in one space. I'm a visual person, so having them all in one place to easily view helps me move along to get that 100% mark!
After noting what I have highlighted as some habit hacks for myself, it wasn't all smooth sailing up until now; that's why it's called a challenge. Despite getting a head start on the New Year's resolutioners (some begin Jan 1), I began December first where there was some overlap with holiday events and downtime near the end of the month. For Christmas, I did visit my family and intentionally took off that week to relax and recoup with them and not to worry about logging progress. Although this lowered my amount “logged,” I still came back to it and kept on going! With the stats at the end of this post, you'll see I'm a little short on hours per day, where another goal for this challenge was only to come back and keep working; not worrying so much on "making up" for that time missed.
I was a little bit impatient with these, but I have good reason for myself. I figure, more of the algorithm practice will come in due time in the projects where it will be easier to come back to these problems I have documented and use the notes I have made into these projects. When the solution was available, I would comment each line what was occurring and then copy over the code solution with comments into my aforementioned Google document so I can come back and review what I could do to solve a certain problem with the examples. Most times, I would additionally write out the problem in a coding notebook I've had for a few years with similar comments and notes to explain what is occurring where. I was used to lots of note taking and school where writing it down over and over was a way to memorize or solidify the content.
You may wonder why try this out AGAIN? Well, I’ve seen others have success getting through a slump, finish a project or course, and well... why not? Keep challenging myself! So far, this round has been a way to complete what I had highlighted before, keeping on a semi consistent and focused path, and documenting and sharing what I've been working on. I want to have this year to be a big change year for quite a few reasons and this is one of them; I’ve been in support roles since starting in the technology section and enough talking about moving on to development, this is the time to do it!
If you’ve made it to the end, awesome! I have some fun stats for the progress so far:
- 33 days logged (when I started writing out this blog)
- ~ 24 hours coding!
- 106 challenges completed (one away from a certificate!)
- Basic and Intermediate Algorithms
- Object Oriented Programming (OOP)
- Basic Data Structures
- Functional Programming