Plans for the year

Although New Year’s resolutions are apparently mostly useless, I do have some targets for the next year or so.

The article linked above mentions:

people who kept their resolutions tended to have broken their goal into smaller steps and rewarded themselves when they achieved one of these. They also told their friends about their goals, focused on the benefits of success and kept a diary of their progress.

One of my main target areas is weight loss and fitness improvement, and my main tools towards this will be cycling to work as much as weather and after-work activities allow, and doing gym workouts. I chose my house location to make cycling to work reasonably possible, and today I ordered many of the parts to make a new lighting system for the recumbent. I’ve joined the gym on the science park, but the cross-trainers there aren’t the type that I like and can really work hard on… the type I like are unfortunately the most expensive make (Precor) but I’ve found a supplier of refurbished ones, and have ordered one; it should arrive in a couple of weeks. I hope to be able to do two things at once, by pointing the cross-trainer and a computer screen at each other, and attach the entrails of a gamepad to the cross-trainer, so I can do my language flashcards while I exercise.

My usual weight is around 16 stone, and I’d like to get down to about 14 stone. That’s 28 lbs to lose; it seems that 1lb per week is a reasonable expectation, maybe up to 2lbs per week if lucky; and that the rate is faster to begin with. So 28lbs over a period of 52 weeks is reasonable; if I simply spread the aim evenly over the year, I may find myself getting ahead of it to start with, which will give me some allowance for the slower later part.

I want to get my novel to publishers and agents soon; there’s a bit more work I want to do on it, which will need some background reading, but that’s something I can set a timetable for.

I’ll calculate how fast I’m learning words and constructs with my flashcard system, and come up with some specific aims for that.

I’m going to resume ballroom dancing, starting with the beginners’ classes. In Ireland, I was one of the better dancers in the class, but we didn’t do as wide a range of dances, so going in as a beginner makes sense. I can’t set any timed targets for that yet, but once I’ve got into it I’ll ask how far off the various medal levels I am.

Another target is to improve my singing, by taking lessons. I can’t think of a way to quantify this.

My big planned project for the year is replacing the Land Rover chassis, at the same time converting him from a 110 (long wheelbase) to a 150 (extra-long wheelbase, with three axles). Also, as the winters seem to be becoming harsher, I’ll soon be fitting some cold-related items, such as heated mirrors. I should set myself a target, and some milestones, for the tracker project, too; that’s one to do sooner rather than later. As a side-effect of that project, I should become proficient in Python, and improve my knowledge of hardware design.

I’d like to get at least a couple of papers out of the research work that I was doing before my job change; just this evening I’ve picked up work on it again.

I’ve resumed own-time work on my fancy editing package, versor, and I want to do a demo/tutorial of driving it via a gamepad and put that up on YouTube; my arbitrary target for that is to do it in the first half of the year.

My aim for project Muesli is to get it interfaced to all the open source and free software programming language interpreters that I’m aware of, by the end of the year. This will involve learning some of the languages concerned, as some of them will need bits written in the language; I think this includes SmallTalk and Prolog. I also want to learn Haskell this year, although I don’t have a specific project to do with it yet. Also by the end of the year I want it to have a good two-way interface to Emacs; in fact that’ll be one of the earlier ones I do, and have already started it.

Last year I was meaning to read right through the source of GNUemacs; I’ve just counted the source files, and there are just over 1500 of them, so doing this in a year means reading 4 or 5 files every day. That’s unrealistic on top of the other things I want to do as well as work, but I’ll choose a subset of them for this year. I think I can aim for all the C source files, and all the Emacs-Lisp files that are in the main directory (not in subdirectories).

So, this post can serve as a mark in the sand, for me to go back to to see how I’m doing, and to remind me to keep projects on the boil!


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