Monday, 7 January 2019

Personal Goals for 2019

Following my post on New Year’s Eve I've made a list of some things I want to achieve in 2019, these are not resolutions, they are a mixed bag of goals, some with clear personal or professional benefits, others that will make life easier in the long term, and a couple which are vanity projects that I hope will bring a little self-actualisation.
I doubt I will achieve all of them, the top two I really do want to get over the line, but if I make positive progress towards most of them I will be happy; the lower down the list the greater the risk I won’t get the time. Unlike a list of resolutions this set of goals is definitely achievable providing life doesn’t get too crazy; but the reality of a busy family, personal and professional life means there’s usually a spanner or two ready to drop into the works at any moment.
One. Release at least one episode from my podcast project. I’ve been around the edges of this for nearly two years, with one script close to final draft, and several other stories at various stages from concept to rough draft. I have the key equipment and software I need, and have learned the production basics, although I could do with a few inexpensive additions. If needed I’m prepared to drop my desire to get one of the local am-dram groups provide the voices and instead use friends and family.
Two. Run 5K. Over a year ago I downloaded a running app designed to get me from someone who struggles to run any distance to running 5k. I even made some progress, but then my work/life circumstances changed and finding time for a run a couple of evening a week became challenging. I’m going to make an effort to get this back on track.
Three. Get my weight down to 108kg. This kind of follows on from number two. For most of the past year I’ve been around 115kg (Xmas and New Year indulgence have pushed that to 117kg but I think that is a blip), but in late 2017 I was getting as low as 112kg. With sensible eating (no fad diets) and more exercise (see two) I want to get down to 108kg by the end of the year.
Four. Learn DAX (Data Analysis Expressions). The direction of travel in my professional career is towards greater use of Microsoft tools e.g. Power BI and Azure, whereas my comfort zone is Oracle BI and data warehouse. I’m already pretty competent with Excel formulas, so add in my existing SQL skills and I should be able to pick this up without too many headaches.
Five. Replace side door to the garage and run in a basic electrical supply. Nine years ago, when we moved to our current home, I nailed shut side door of the garage. It was rotten and the lock was broken, since then all access has been via the main door, which is a bit of a pain. Also, the archaic power supply had long since been disconnected meaning temporary extension cables from the house whenever I want to use it as a workshop. The plan was to resolve this situation, but there was also a huge list of more significant projects. Now, the big things are largely complete, so there’s a chance I could get around to this. As it happens, in the intervening years, I’ve picked up the tools and DIY skills to make a reasonable stab at this, which wasn’t so likely at the outset. The caveat here is that depending on outstanding quotes, I may need repaint the outside of the house this summer, and there’s a list of smaller jobs which always seems to grow by two tasks for every one removed (install new kitchen blind, replace cracked light switch, fix flush mechanism on main toilet, new loft hatch, slow leak on boiler…)!
Six. Learn Python (or R). I’ve dabbled with the Python programming language for several years, doing the odd piece of work ‘monkey see, monkey do’ without ever properly learning it. I’ve also done a bit of exploration with R too, although without any practical application. I’d like to get to grips properly with one of them, Python probably being the more useful to me, but it’s debatable I’ll have the cognitive bandwidth to do on top of mastering other new tools and technologies that will be more salient in my professional life.  
Seven. Learn Latin. This is a long-term vanity project. I made a start at it a few years ago using the Memrise application, but like lots of other things it got shoved to the side. It’s doubtful I’ll get around to it, but I’ll throw it in anyway.
Over the coming months I’ll add updates about how I get on with these seven goals.

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