2014 Goals

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As with any start of the new year, there are bound to be resolutions. I actually am not much of a fan of the resolution process. I don’t like the notion of waiting to a single point in time during the year where I lay out ideas and ideals to get behind for the year. Instead of laying out my resolutions, I am laying out my goals for the year. Things that I will be able to look back upon this year and say with certainty that I accomplished them. Goals have to be specific, time bound, actionable, realistic, and my own.

  • I need to focus on learning how to actually ride a mountain bike. I need to use the brake lever less. I will take a session or two with a local coach, but I am also going to ride more with the guys I ride with who are really, really good bike handlers, and try to learn from them as much as possible. I will know I am making progress when my speed going down the technical trails improves.
  • I need to focus on racing smart, and training smart. That starts with learning how to set and use my internal rev limiter. Too often I get excited in race situations, or even on group rides, and ride outside myself. That’s never a good plan. For 2014, I am going to race my one half Ironman to set a new PR, but I am going to race it smart. I will race my one full Ironman completely under control and not explode on the run.
  • Start January by writing 100 words per day (blog posts, novels, screenplays – whatever – just write), everyday, and add 50 words per month to end 2014 with 600 words per day in December.
    • Outcome: Blog posts, short stories, perhaps even a novel. I am not sure how to scope the outcome yet so that it is more specific.
  • In conjunction with my racing, I want to start raising money for a charitable cause. I have selected that cause, and will plan to share more on that soon. The hard part has been coming to understand how athletes who have come before me have tied their endurance racing efforts to their charitable cause in a way that causes people to open their checkbooks. I am still learning, but if anyone has suggestions or feedback, please send me email.
    • Outcome: Raise $15,000 by the end of the year.
  • Work with my team to design and build a new feature that changes how people read eBooks. I really can’t say much more about this given the professional and confidential nature, but there are some ideas brewing.
    • Outcome: A new, never before seen feature.
  • Stop drinking calories, and stop eating the empty carbs. This one is actually a pretty big deal for me. I am really focusing on getting more lean for my racing season. To do this, I am sacrificing things which have become staples in my diet. For the last three months, I have stopped drinking Pepsi (really, all sodas) all together. To build on this, I want to drop Gatorade as a throughout-the-day drink, as well as all the pretzels, breads, pastas, etc, unless it is immediately before or tied to a workout. I have managed to shed most of the off-season weight gain just two months. I ended last season at 164 lbs, and started training on Nov 1 at 177 lbs. I weighed in at 169 lbs on Jan 1, 2014. I can see my running improving with each pound I shed. I know I am getting faster on the bike. It’s free speed! 🙂 At 5’8.5”, I really shouldn’t be walking around with this much weight in my upper body and my quads; certainly not in my mid-section. My body weight turns me into a furnace, a fact which was not lost on me in Hawaii during the half Ironman where I melted in the heat. Age will start working against me soon on this topic, but for now I am going to work hard to continue trimming down, staying lean, and not losing muscle.
    • Outcome: Race weight for half marathon (March) of 164 lbs.
    • Outcome: Race weight for half Ironman (May) of 161 lbs.
    • Outcome: Race weight for Ironman (July) of 159 lbs. (this was my race weight in 2005 when I completed my first and only full Ironman, so it’s a symbolic target)
  • Continue learning Spanish and become conversationally fluent.
    • Outcome: Not sure how I am going to measure this, but I have started ordering food at Mexican restaurants in Spanish whenever possible (I still ask the server, in Spanish, if it’s OK for me to practice my Spanish with them since I am learning), and conducting the entirety of the meal in Spanish.
    • Outcome: Complete the Pimsleur Phase 4 by end of March.
  • I have had too many months without a cool and fun personal coding project. There are a couple ideas that I have swirling around my mind. I build the code not to ship or to sell, but more to create something new, and coerce a machine into doing something cool for me. I also want to start messing with microcontrollers. It’s a good thing I got an Arduino starter kit for XMas.
    • Outcome: One new software project that performs a meaningful function for me, which if showed to my nerd friends would elicit a “cool” response.
    • Outcome: Build something (not sure what yet) with Arduino (or .NET Gadgeteer, or similar).
  • I have been doing quite a bit more reading in the last few years. I’m consciously trying to waste less time sitting in front of the TV, or frittering away time on this story or that story on some news website. This year I want to learn more about the world around me, real or imaginary. I want to improve on my 2013 reading list. Not included in that list were the two Great Courses I listened to via Audible; one on the American Civil War, and one on Vikings.
    • Outcome: Read 100 books.
    • Outcome: Read at least 1 history book about a non-USA historical event.
    • Outcome: Read at least 1 biography about a non-tech, non-business, non-USA leader.
    • Outcome: Listen to at least 3 more Great Courses.
  • Sriram Subramanian

    Have you any for “non-tech, non-business, non-USA leader”? Gandhi, Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi…