Sunday, September 1, 2013

Goals for 2013 - 2014

This year my focus narrows, with an emphasis on complementary goals.

1. Learn the Ashtanga Primary Series - I am hooked on yoga, especially Ashtanga. It provides a great mental and social outlet. Physically, it's doing kind things for my body. The most difficult aspect of this goal will be access to instruction. I've been told a year is a very conservative time frame for what I am trying to do. This goal sets me up to work towards intermediate series postures next year.

Habit: Practice yoga 5x per week - mixing home, led and mysore classes
Education: Attend an Ashtanga workshop
Achievement: Earn all primary series poses from an authorized teacher
Expected Benefit: Physical and mental centering, social outlet

2. Post a Class IV Powerlifting Total - Lifting weights is one of my longest standing hobbies. Again, the hook is the positive effect it has on my mental health. I am more alert and driven when my lifting is going well, probably due to the structural requirements it places on my schedule, especially food and sleep. The strength is also useful in furthering my yoga practice. Greater strength at a lighter body weight is especially valuable.

At a bare minimum, this goal only requires a 5% increase in peak strength, coupled with a 5% reduction in body weight. More practically, I'll target 10% for each, ensuring sufficient safety margins for contest day. Provided I stay on task with my recovery, I will have no problems. This goal sets me up to chase a Class III total next year.

Habit: Lift all year, using 5/3/1
Education: Get coached on my squat, deadlift and bench form
Achievement: Total 694lbs+ at 165lbs, raw, in a powerlifitng contest
Expected Benefit: Physical and mental strength, schedule structure

3. Advance my Profession - Professionally, I spent most of last year coasting on the direction of my company. Results were under-whelming. Tedious, repetitive tasks have piled on to my plate, with the fun stuff getting cast aside for "later". No more.

This goal is about actively pulling the complex, interesting stuff back into play. Challenging, but I have 40+ hours a week to work on it. The potential reward is also huge. Outside of making me more valuable, it enables one of my favorite activities - getting paid to play with new technology. I have no idea where this goal will lead.

Habit: Eliminate repetitive tasks, using time savings to specialize
Education: Attend Tech Ed 2014
Achievement: Sophisticate my team's SDLC. Ideas:

o Fix security scan of authenticated web application workflows
o Apply at least 3 lessons learned from Tech Ed 2013
o Get a build server for Test and Production deployments
o Proof of concept automated regression testing of web application XML interface
o Integrate regression test proof of concept into the build workflow

Optional: Earn money outside work, exceeding 10% of my salary

4. Connect - I spent the last two years focused on being more social. While I ended up around many more people, often my presence was only physical. I have a tendency to wander off in my own mental space, even while actively talking to others. This goal is about changing that pattern. It's going to be especially difficult, as I've spent my entire life indulging my introversion. Fighting it stresses me out. Connecting with others is a significant part of the body of work in yoga, and I'm hoping that helps me here.

o Set aside dedicated time for my wife at least 2x per week
o Build pursuit of goals around relationships
o Limit non-social aspects of hobbies (reading, web, etc.)
o Be present and authentic with everyone
o Focus conversation on people's interests and values

Overall - I am motivated and optimistic that narrowing my focus will increase my ability to reach my goals. I expect the simplification to leave me a happier person.