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Goals for 2023


I don't remember the last time I set goals for myself the new year. I generally operate day-to-day with some objectives in mind but have traditionally not been great at setting concrete goals, so I thought I'd give this a try this year.

I also decided I'll post them publicly as a way to keep myself accountable and spark reflection. I'm sure it's not too uncommon of a practice but I personally got the idea from Paul D'Ambra, who works with me.

Another thing I decided to do was group the goals into larger "objectives". These are lifelong and not things that can be "achieved", but rather things that I'd like to constantly strive for. One potential shortcoming of goals is how either failing to achieve them or achieving them can cause a sense of emptiness that takes away from the significance of the process itself.

Ultimately, the process is what matters, not the arbitrary goal post. So it's nice to tie in short-term markers of success with "something bigger".

Ok, so here we go.

Above all

I was unsure what to call this section, but the main things I want for this year are:

  • Tranquility (also written in my notes as "chill out")
  • Being more myself

These will make more sense once I write the mental health article I've been punting on for more than a year :)

The rest

In the order they appeared on my notebook (i.e. random). A lot of fitness goals on here just because it feels like an area that's well-conditioned for goals like these. Other areas might take more time and be more important but don't necessarily have a lot of short-term goals that fit well. I've also omitted things that will just come naturally like "getting better at Python/Django" since I'll be working on that stack more.

"Join" the 1000lb club

Overarching objectives: Being functionally fit

Status: Deadlift is at 185kg, and I estimate my bench press is close to 120kg and my squat close to 130kg. You can see that the bench press is comparatively high, which rather means that the other lifts are comparatively low :) I struggled with lower body injuries last year so my legs are certainly behind and there should be good room for growth there.

Get to a 1500 rating in rapid chess on chess.com

Overarching objectives: Being able to focus deeply

Status: This is by far the hardest goal on here I feel. I've known how to play chess for years, but actually I've effectively started from ground zero just over a month ago. So I think this is setting the bar high, which might be a bad strategy (I run the risk of just dropping the goal), but I wanted something nice and round that sounded motivating. My main thing with chess is that I feel I've really been struggling to deeply focus lately, and chess requires that for me at least. I'm looking to use chess as a vessel for training focus.

Read one book per month

Overarching objectives: Being a constant learner

Status: I read one in January so 1/12. I've always read a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it, but feel I've substituted a good chunk of that for the phone and computer screens. Looking to turn that around a bit.

Write a post per month on this blog

Overarching objectives: Being a constant learner, professional development

Status: This will be post #1. I love to write and doing so is always very useful for cementing knowledge and practicing skills like effectively communicating complicated concepts. So let's be better this year.

Deadlift 5 plates

Overarching objectives: Being functionally fit

Status: Currently at 4 plates. Somewhat of a continuation post 1000lb club.

Hold a back lever for 5 seconds

Overarching objectives: Being functionally fit

Status: I can kinda hold a bad one for around a second. Made it to this list as a reminder for myself to not forget about calisthenics.

Do 11 good muscle ups

Overarching objectives: Being functionally fit

Status: My current muscle up PR is 10 and the form was pretty bad on those. I'd like to beat that PR with better form. Another goal on here to not forget about calisthenics (which I absolutely have in 2023 so far).

Do a week-long hike

Overarching objectives: Being functionally fit, keeping contact with nature

Status: Need to find one to do. I always feel very good when spending extended periods of time out in nature, but often get lazy when planning these trips.

Become very comfortable with databases

Overarching objectives: Being a constant learner, professional development

Status: Last year I worked a lot of the more data engineering / infrastructure side of things when it comes to databases. This year I want to improve at both the analysis side (i.e. writing queries) and develop a better understanding of database internals. I work mostly with ClickHouse at work, and also Postgres, so those will be the focus. Would be nice to also explore others out there too.

Build out a multi-week project

Overarching objectives: Being a constant learner, professional development, being able to focus deeply

Status: The time range here is not the important part. The important part is sticking with something for longer. I have a bunch of projects I've been meaning to build but always just end up settling for the ones that take up a day or two. I'd like to actually stick with something for a bit longer this year.

Dabble with machine learning

Overarching objectives: Being a constant learner, professional development

Status: Setting the bar real low here. I've managed to stay clear of machine learning through my software engineering career, but ah, might be time to just peek into the space a little bit. And yes, this was influenced by ChatGPT.

Rewrite Teeny in Rust

Overarching objectives: Being a constant learner, professional development

Status: Been meaning to try out Rust and porting Teeny over to it is probably a good way to do so.

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