Resolutions/Targets for 2016 — Pt. 1

I want this to not just be a list of things that I want to do, as that’s as dismissible as any other list. After all, “A goal without a plan is just a wish” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery). As such, I want to identify the behavior that I want to introduce/change, and with it produce a realistic plan of action so that it can actually get done. If anything, it’ll end up resembling a list of actionable challenges. And I have quite a few, so this will just list the first few, and I’ll post the rest later.

Let’s start with a basic list from which we flesh out the plans:

  • Begin reading comfortably in Portuguese
  • Run half marathon
  • Advanced level of fitness
  • Better relationship with family
  • Talk at NerdNite February 2016
  • Start blogging again (even short ones)
  • Read more books
  • Start down the path of a statistician
  • More D3 data projects
  • Have an engagement party
  • Start planning a wedding in earnest
  • As many green boxes as is sensible
  • Backflip? Backflip.
  • Finish the nanodegree

I think that’s a good place to start. Let’s go through each, flesh it out beyond just a “wish”.

Begin reading comfortably in Portuguese

  • The issue: For a couple years now I’ve been using DuoLingo to keep my Portuguese knowledge up and current. However, the vocab list of DuoLingo is, while extensive, quite limited. It’s also very proper Portuguese instead of what’s more colloquial. What’s more, all the reading that I’ve done for the DuoLingo coursework is in short burts of individual words, or single phrases/sentences. So, I don’t have that good of a sense of how to read lengthy texts of portuguese.
  • The plan: 2-3 times per week, use DuoLingo’s Immersion feature. I need ot make a habit out of it in order for it to stick (and for me to get better at it)
  • When I miss a day or two: Just get back at it like I normally do when I miss a day or two (or five) of my regular Duolingo practice. Start on an article and just get into it.

Run a half marathon

  • The issue: I promised a friend of mine that I’d do a half marathon with him in May, but I haven’t consistently run in about two months. It’s difficult to get motivation up at 6:30 am when all you want to do is sleep.
  • The plan: I need to train up for it, and mornings are the only way to this. One thing that worked (once) was to think to myself “What would the better version of myself do right now?”. 30 minute runs in the morning, no matter the distance. I should also throw in a progressively longer run on weekends, as I need to train up to the 13.1 miles this will take from me. Again, mornings. Saturdays are best.
  • When I miss a day or two: Depends. If its a morning run missed, do leg exercises at home (squats, swings, lunges). If it’s a weekend run missed, then the next weekend don’t advance forward in time.

Advanced Level of Fitness

  • The issue: Time is the great equalizer, and it’s slowing me down. I can feel it. And though I’ve had the benefit of some truly spectacular genes thus far keeping my body in shape (and let’s be honest, I move around a lot), I can’t continue to rely on my default fitness level for the rest of my life. The half-marathon is a short-term goal. In 4 months it’ll be done. I need to decide what type of fitness I want, and pursue that with consistency.
  • The plan: I’ve realized that fitting in a set of bodyweight exercises and weightlifting activities is easy when I do it while doing other things.
    • Watching TV/movie? Exercise. Waiting for something to cook/sautee? Squats and lunges. Fitting exercise into the little spaces makes it that much more achievable.
    • There’s also Capoeira on Saturdays which I need to make consistent, and Body Pump on Sundays, which we need to get back to after this month is over (gotta avoid the resolutioners).
    • As I restart/continue my morning runs, I cannot neglect the routine that I used to have, of knocking out pushups and pullups at that little part of Green Lake with the pull-up bar. I was making steady progress before. I can make it again.
  • When I miss a day or two: The bodyweight and weight training stuff at home isn’t as consistent, so it’s not much of an issue. With everything else, it’s more about mindset than modifying my training regimen. I need to know that it’s ok that I missed a session, and that I can get right back on the horse the next day. I need to believe it to be true like I believe in the rising of the Sun.

Better Relationship with Family/Friends

  • The issue: As with other things, I’m getting older, as is everyone else in my family. I’m turning 30 in April. My dad is turning 69, and my mom 61. As much as I hate to think about it, their time is limited, and everyone else’s time ticks forward as well. Their lives are all moving ahead and I’m not there to join them in that journey. It’s imperative that I get a better relationship with them, especially because I’m on the opposite coast.
  • The plan: I already speak to my friends basically daily in group. What I need to do is routinely contact them individually. B calls me weekly, but I shouldn’t have to depend on him to call me to get in touch with him. I’ll start reaching out to each of them weekly just to catch up. D on weekends, as that’s when he’s most likely free. Everyone else can get a call on weekdays. As far as family goes, I have so much damn family that I’m going to just be texting most of them. I’ve already started a habit of texting Kayla more or less randomly. Need to text my other cousins too. Calling my mother is a lot easier now that she’s no longer teaching, and I need to call my dad when he’s home during the day so I can reach out to him and we can know each other better.
  • When I miss a day or two: Just pick a different day. It’s not that serious, as long as the effort is consistent (even if the days aren’t). Also don’t be afraid to text at odd hours. As long as they get a message.

Talk at NerdNite February 2016

  • The issue: NerdNite February 2016 is in about a month and I’ve barely started my talk. And it’s going to take quite a bit of work.
  • The plan: One night a week until the talk, it gets my full focus. The weekend before, it’s all I work on (unless something is truly urgent). I already have data of sorts for Yemanja and Oxum. I need all the rest. Focusing on one or more per week is doable. My best night to work on this sort of thing is either Wednesday or Thursday.
  • When I miss a day or two: If I miss a Wednesday, work on a Thursday. If I miss both, Saturday or Sunday.

Start blogging again (even short nonsense ones)

  • The issue: It’s been more than 6 months since my last post of any kind. My site is basically derelict. I haven’t made any new projects and I haven’t written about anything interesting.
  • The plan: One post per month, whether it’s a blog post or a project post. A little writing every day will do wonders.
  • When I miss a day or two: Just get back on it the next day. As with most of my habits that I drop, I need to remind myself that it’s OK to lapse a bit. There’s no race to win, and there’s no consequence for stopping and starting. All that matters is that I do start again.

I think that’s good enough for now. I’m still fleshing out the rest, so look forward to the next one! Hopefully these plans will help me accomplish these goals over the next 11.5 months. Till next time!