This is more for my own benefit than anything else, but perhaps some of you will be motivated. Please feel free to share your own goals and suggestions in the comments.
Setting goals is not a simple task, and you should put some thought into them. The first thing to remember is that they need to be realistic and achievable, even better if you can clearly work towards the goal in steps. Secondly, you need to have clearly defined goals – by which I mean you cannot just say “lose weight”, as that’s far too vague and shows a real lack of commitment. I’ve tried to clearly define all my goals as best I can. Most important of all is that you actually set some goals for yourself – so if you haven’t already then please get thinking and give yourself some direction!
So here’s my goals for this year:
Learn Chinese to the point of understanding basic everyday conversation patterns and being able to give directions and describe things. Motivation: My wife’s parents are coming to Japan in March and they don’t speak a word of English nor Japanese. Progress: slow going, but certainly advancing. Currently on CD2 of 8 from the Michel Thomas Method: Mandarin Chinese Foundation Course; highly recommended
as it emphasizes using the material to form your own sentences and the pacing seems appropriate.
Learn PHP/MySQL programming
by developing a website which handles giving unwanted items away to other people, kind of like a freecycle/craigslist mashup. Features that will make the site stand out are: requesting an item from someone is handled like an auction, only the bid amount is fixed as the users karma rating, which is determined by how much they have given back to the community (in other words, users who give the most are able to receive the most); and by the ability to convert your unwanted karma points into a real money donation to a Kiva. Motivation: I’m sick of the volume of emails on the freecycle japan mailing lists, and that it seems to be dominated the same people giving away and another set of people leeching everything. Progress: I’d say I’m about 20% coded, which was the hardest 20% as it’s been years since I’ve played with PHP and never touched a database before. Should be open for testing in a month or so I think.
Build a multitouch surface computer and write about the process at my tech site TokyoBIT.com. A surface computer is like a table or wall computer which you touch to control. I mostly have all the parts gathered for a infra-red laser based design, now I just need to put the damn thing together. Following a basic tutorial by [arbi.trario.us]. Motivation: A coffee table screen you can touch? Seriously, you need any more motivation than how fricking cool it is??? Progress: Getting there.
Get at least 500 RSS subscriptions on TokyoBIT.com. Of course, I am always aiming to increase the number of subscribers to this site too, but I think doubling it is a little unrealistic, especially since my posting has been slowing down here lately – simply because my wife and I are busy implementing the savings and financial plans I wrote about last year. I did mean to post about covering every window in our house in bubble-wrap to help keep the warmth in, but never got around to it. Here’s an article on [build it solar] that might motivate you to do the same, and tests showed the heat loss per season to be halved! I’m still a techie at heart though, so TokyoBIT will be main creative output for this year, I think. Motivation: Forever giving the same technical support and advice to friends – “whats the safest way to download a torrent?“, “how do I get TV on my computer?” etc… Progress: Hmm, my stats show just 2 subscribers right now, so perhaps I should write an article about how to subscribe and what RSS is! I’m writing an article now on some awesome Chinese software my wife introduced me to that streams movies and dramas using p2p technology, and I must say it’s pretty much replaced torrents for me – so if you’d like to know more then please subscribe to the TokyoBIT feed and you’ll be the first to know when it’s finished!
Lose 15kg: For some reason known only as “marriage happiness” in Japanese (幸せ太り), I put on about 15kg in less than a year, and frankly it’s not cool. I’m committed to at least 30 minutes of strong exercise on WiiFit every day (the real exercise activities that is, not balance games and such, but running and weight training). I’ve promised to drink less beer (and replace it with wine instead!). Motivation: The Wii said I’m fat. Progress: Weekdays are going ok, but it’s hard to find motivation on the weekends.