Categories
Life Goals Uncategorized

2019 Status Update

Let’s see – it’s been almost exactly a year since my last update. Having said that, looking through my backlog, I have 38 drafts in the backlog that I never wrapped up, so there’s been material to work through; I just haven’t written much in the past year. So with that said, what have I been doing for the last year? Come to think of it, what the hell did I do in 2018?

A partial backlog of half assed drafts

Highlights of 2018:

  • Spent first half of year in China (Can’t recall specifics besides frittering my time away, really)
  • Moved back home from China
  • Spent a couple months job hunting
  • Got a new job

Highlights of 2019:

  • Started job, moved to a new city.
  • Found out about online language tutoring services, started to learn some languages
  • Started seriously applying a regular regimen to classes. My first month of language classes, I took on average 2-4 classes a week at one hour per class. Now I average 1-2 classes a day. That’s roughly 10-14 classes a week. My total lesson count for the year so far is about 250. That’s not bad – almost a class per day. Let’s see if I can crack 300 by EOY.
  • Made some serious headway into certain languages. My Cantonese has improved significantly since starting online language classes. My Mandarin probably improved modestly, or maintained around the same level. I’ve also started learning Spanish, though my Spanish is easily the worst of the three. To be fair, I was learning from scratch.
  • Also learned a lot about the general methodology of learning languages. I’ll have to do a write up about that – In fact, I’ll make sure to link it when it’s done
  • I’ve regained what I once lost, meaning I gained a bunch of weight lol. Weird how my China weight fluctuates so drastically from my America weight – the only explanation I can give is how each area lends itself to a certain diet. American diets tend to be calorie heavy when eating out, whereas Chinese places have various options.

Can’t really think of any other major events. This is why I advocate for following a smaller project based timeline for targeting goals, AKA SMART goals. Hitting concrete targets lets you break down what it is you accomplished, and makes it easier to broadcast it. SMART goals are generally binary – you either reached your goal or you didn’t. That’s really easy to measure. However, even if you don’t reach your goal, you can still expound on it at length. I’m really going to try to move to smaller timelines (say, monthly or even biweekly) in which I recall what I did. From there, I can do a meta analysis at every 3 or 6 months and then the annual write up.

Having to do this annual write up with no written material makes it a lot harder to break down what I did throughout the year besides my most memorable accomplishments. This is especially flawed, because the things that stick out to me most might not necessarily be the things that had the biggest impact. If I could quantify all my accomplishments over the past year with perfect clarity, I’m sure there will have been some that actually made a significant impact but I had a blind spot for. Kind of like that person whose opinion you disregard, so when they make a good point it blindsides you.

I need to do another write up where I review my past year goals and what I accomplished, with new goals added. I’m not going to do the analysis, but I am going to list out some goals I have in mind for next year.

  • Write 365,000 words in 2020. Influenced by this tweet. I’ve always admired patio11’s writing, enough that I read through most of his oeuvre starting back from when he initially started his bingo card creator app. Reading through his early work, I definitely feel like his writing quality isn’t particularly out of reach, or even great. Looking at his current stuff (More than 10 years later, Jesus) I feel like I’m looking at the work of a master of his craft, effortlessly producing work on the caliber of paid professional™. I don’t see any reason why I can’t improve if I keep working at it. (I think this number is a reach. 365,000 is the goal, which is 1,000 words a day. Sounds perfectly doable in theory, but I don’t think I’m going to execute on this literally every single day in the upcoming goal. Doesn’t mean I can’t take steps to hit that goal.)
  • Hit 365 language lessons in a year. That’s at least 1 hour a day dedicated to language learning, of miscellaneous languages. Probably Cantonese or Mandarin still. FSI estimates language fluency for Mandarin or Chinese to take about 2200 study hours. Round out to about 200 for my main language, and that’s about 10 years. Sounds doable. Check back on my status next year. Also, I don’t need to reach full fluency – just “Good enough” for general conversations. I think this goal is more than reachable. Considering I’ve been averaging about 1.3-1.6 hours a day (~40 classes a month) for the past ~3 months, I feel like even missing a bunch of classes will still give me leeway to hit this goal. Unless, of course, I lose my source of income and can’t afford to take classes anymore. But that’s a different story.
  • Leetcode. I’m considering looking for new job. According to CS job websites, getting a decent feeling for data structure and algorithms whiteboarding is pretty important to the big tech company job interview process. I don’t have a concrete goal in mind, so let’s say somewhere between 1-200 problems solved. That’s about 2-4 problems a week. Doable depending on the problem set, but if I do start interviewing, I’m assuming I’m gonna go grind a ton of leetcode in a short period of time.
  • Read at least 12 books this year. That’s only a book a month. Seems perfectly doable, though to be fair, I can barely remember a single book I’ve read this year. Maybe the last book in the 3 body problem trilogy? Though now that I think about it, that was probably 2018.

I’m actually pretty excited about this upcoming year – I can finally start to pay down my looming debt and possibly even really see some of these initiatives bear fruit; I already was able to communicate more with relatives using my Chinese. I can’t wait to see if I can begin busting out the Spanish with strangers.

Categories
Life Goals

Life Goals Reevaluation, December 2017 Edition

Ooof, it’s been about… 4 months since my last post? I’d already been posting less frequently too, so not a good look. Well, what’s done is done. Might as go for something hefty while I’m back: Seeing how much I accomplished this year. Also makes sense to do another reevaluation since my July post, since it’s the end of the year. Also, it’s the demarcation point for me moving countries.

Low hanging fruit

  • Lose weight (5-10 pounds) ( I say low hanging fruit, but I’d guess trying to drop this weight for good would take a few months at least to permanently adjust my diet to reduce calorie intake) – Surprisingly enough, I hit this goal and then some. I started doing BJJ since I’ve moved to China and I’ve lost like 20 pounds since then. I don’t track it too closely anymore, but judging by the mirror, I haven’t regained the weight yet. I could probably lose more if I paid more attention to my diet, too.
  • Establish emergency savings fund – This one is a no go. I’m currently living off my savings while I’m studying abroad, so I’m doing the opposite of establishing a savings fund.  My money’s slowly running out!
  • Keep blogging on a weekly basis – Er…. whoops. Let’s see if I can bring this one back on track. I’ll shoot for a minimum of one blog post a week, much less strict than before.

Ambitious/Long term goals

  • Learn to play an instrument or sing – No go.
  • Learn to draw – I tried working on this a bit: I started on this drawing series but never got past drawing lines. However, to be fair, my line drawing abilities are way better than they were before. The secret is to draw from the shoulder, apparently.
  • Publish a book – I haven’t even attempted to do this one.
  • Keep blogging on a near-daily basis – See above. Near daily might be shooting a bit too high, but I guess since it’s a long term goal it’s a good idea to try to aim higher.
  • Learn a new language – I’ve made some decent progress towards this one. I’m currently studying at a Chinese university to learn Mandarin. Having said that, I kinda half assed it by the end of the semester and stopped showing up to classes. But judging by my own understanding, I’d say overall my Chinese has improved by a bit since moving here.
  • Live in a foreign country (Though it could also be relatively short term – I could easily uproot my life any time within the upcoming months to the next year if I quit my job) – Boom. Hit this one. Currently living in China. Nice place. Considering checking out other places as well before I settle back down in the US.
  • Lose weight (40-50 pounds) – See above goal. I’m about at the half way mark. It was a lot easier than I expected, because I didn’t make any lifestyle change in terms of diet to lose weight. The problem with this, however, is my weight will only stay off as long as I keep doing BJJ. The next phase to lose weight is to amend my diet.That one’s a bit more long term in vision for sure. Ideally, I want to start cooking regularly, so diet changes will be as simple as cooking a different meal.
  • Own a home – Currently not a priority.
  • Run the Iditarod – Currently not a priority.
  • Start my own business – Currently not a priority. I still think this would be interesting to try, though. Most achievable while I have free time and lack of other things tying me down like a mortgage/kids/marriage/etc.
  • Ability to do sik flips™ (This is something I’ve always wanted to be able to do, but it was on the back burner because I never did anything to progress towards this goal.) I think if I wanted to break this down, the first step on the path would be to start losing weight. Second, which would also complement weight loss, is picking up regular exercises that would be conducive to doing flips. – Haven’t made any progress. However, I do think the first step to being able to achieve sik flips™ is hitting a more ideal weight target, so I’ve indirectly made some progress towards this goal. Maybe if I hit around 180 I can start practicing.
  • Dance, maybe? This one kinda came out of left field for me. I read an internet post about tango being popular in my area, so that might be something I pick up for the sake of socialization and as a way to get out of the house. Plus, it’s always good to have diverse interests. It’s not something I feel strongly about now, but it’s good to keep an open mind. I might end up really liking it. – Haven’t made progress.
  • Pick up a sport. This one may or may not help with the flipping. I’m interested in picking up BJJ or some kind of combat sport like Muay Thai. I’ve actually been pretty on and off on this. I used to go to a sports fitness class, but I quit at some point because I got too lazy to go. – Hit this one. I’ve been attending a BJJ class fairly regularly, probably about three times a week on average. Actually, I stopped going for maybe the past two weeks, so I should probably pick this one back up.
  • Improve public speaking. Maybe go to Toastmasters? – I haven’t been to toastmasters, but I’ve been getting some indirect practice with this. I’ve been talking to strangers a lot more in order to improve my small talk. I’d say I’ve somewhat become more comfortable talking in group settings and breaking the ice now.
  • Grab a bag of corn nuts and bust a nut – This goes without saying.

I’ve got one more goal to add:

  • By end of 2018, I’ll have gone on twelve dates. I choose twelve because it’s one a month. Relatively low, but enough that I can’t just try to wait it out and cram them in at December. I’ve been out of the dating game for a long time now, but I recently went on a date and it wasn’t a complete disaster (besides the girl bringing in her guy friend to accompany her… hmm, this actually sounds pretty bad. I guess it was a bad date. Well, more like it transitioned from being a date to more of a friend’s outing. So unexpected, but still was a fun night.)
Categories
Life Goals

Life Goals Reevaluation, June 2017 Edition

A while back, I wrote some blog posts about my life goals.

An important part of reaching goals is maintaining accountability. So I’m going to take a look back and see what my goals were, how far along I got, and reevaluating my priorities. It’s possible my priorities have shifted over time. After all, when I was in college, my priority was finding a stable, well paying job. I found that job, but now that I’ve achieved it, I realize this isn’t really as important to me as finding a job I can actually stand. I’m more than willing to take a significant pay cut to find something I’ll look forward to doing every day. Without further ado, here’s a list of goals I set for myself in March:

  • Lose weight (5-10 pounds) – No go.
  • Establish emergency savings fund – I have a pretty good savings fund established, enough for probably six months + worth of living expenses. However, because I’m leaving my job, I’ll need to live off of this fund for the time being. +1 for hitting this one, though.
  • Keep blogging on a weekly basis – Ehhhhh. I missed the mark pretty far. I made it on about a biweekly schedule, which isn’t ideal but at least I’m still semi regular. This is the one I think I can accomplish most realistically in a short term time frame.

Long Term Goals

  • Learn to play an instrument or sing – No Progress. I have this harmonica that’s been sitting around, but I haven’t touched it at all. I might try picking this one up in the mid-term future, i.e. in the range of 3-5 months down the line. Low priority.
  • Learn to draw – I totally forgot about this. Low priority
  • Publish a book – I don’t do any writing at all, besides these blogs. I think blogging counts as incremental progress towards publishing a book, even though they’re really orthogonal practices. However, popular blogs seem to always result in pushing an ebook, so maybe if someone ever decides to read this crap I can bundle up a couple of posts, self publish, and cross this off my list. Low Priority.
  • Keep blogging on a near-daily basis – Nope. At least it’s semi regular! Middling priority.
  • Learn a new language – I’m not practicing studying now, but I’m signing up for a class with a hard commitment. This is the most likely to be accomplished in the near term future (Well, near for a long term goal – I’m talking in the one year range) High priority.
  • Live in a foreign country (Though it could also be relatively short term – I could easily uproot my life any time within the upcoming months to the next year if I quit my job) – This one’s doable by the end of the year. Priority is somewhere in the middle of the pack, but convenience dictates this will be the easiest to accomplish while I’m between jobs. 
  • Lose weight (40-50 pounds) – I’ve made zero strides. Priority: middling?
  • Own a home – Millenial lol (Low priority – I’m not sure I’m ready to restrict my mobility by tying myself down to one geographic location.)
  • Run the Iditarod – This is the moonshot. First of all, I’m going to need to learn a ton of domain knowledge to accomplish this. I don’t know what I don’t know. Second, it’s going to be super expensive to actually do – I’d need a team of sled dogs and experience mushing to begin to be ready for this one. This one also conflicts with a couple of my other goals, in that moving to a tropical country is going to blog me somewhat from preparing for this. Let me review the feasibility of this one in about three years. Low Priority
  • Start my own business – I haven’t done anything to move towards this goal. Middling to high priority. Now’s as good a time as ever to try, while I have free time.
  • Grab a bag of corn nuts and bust a nut – I tried it once, and I wanted to try it some more. Eventually, I realized I was fostering an emotional addiction to busting a nut. I try to limit this to a biweekly basis, at a maximum. I can cross this off my bucket list now, though.

Now to add any new goals I’ve picked up or remembered along the way.

  • Be able to do sik flips™ (This is something I’ve always wanted to be able to do, but it was on the back burner because I never did anything to progress towards this goal.) I think if I wanted to break this down, the first step on the path would be to start losing weight. Second, which would also complement weight loss, is picking up regular exercises that would be conducive to doing flips.
  • Dance, maybe? This one kinda came out of left field for me. I read an internet post about tango being popular in my area, so that might be something I pick up for the sake of socialization and as a way to get out of the house. Plus, it’s always good to have diverse interests. It’s not something I feel strongly about now, but it’s good to keep an open mind. I might end up really liking it.
  • Pick up a sport. This one may or may not help with the flipping. I’m interested in picking up BJJ or some kind of combat sport like Muay Thai. I’ve actually been pretty on and off on this. I used to go to a sports fitness class, but I quit at some point because I got too lazy to go.
  • Improve public speaking. Maybe go to Toastmasters?
  • There were more, but I forgot them. I probably should have written them down. Actually, now that I think of it, one goal I had was to start noting things that I didn’t want to forget, either by texting myself immediately or typing a note in my phone or writing the note down if I had pen and paper. I keep forgetting to do this, but I’m going to try to make this a habit. My memory sucks as it is, so instead of just living with it, I need to start rewiring my life to accommodate this.

That’s it for now. I’m ready to pass out, so I’m going to stop typing.