Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Resolutions for the new year

After the horrible effort that was last year's goal setting I am back with a new philosophy and tracking method. You may have noticed the small graph-like image in the sidebar to the right. That is a sparkline that represents my progress (suitably normalised - current state is 0%; achievement is 100%) towards my goals (generated from this very friendly web-service). I plan to update the data as I progress through the year with measurements once a month.

Last year, I had too many goals and as a result found it easy to lose focus and make progress on only a small fraction of them. This year, I have limited myself to 4 goals (albeit one having a couple of subgoals) and made them sufficiently aggressive (at least a 50% improvement and in some cases 100%...) that I should hopefully knuckle down and just get on with them.

That said, I have chosen to measure them in such a way that over achievement is also possible, and therefore compensation for weak sections (also part of my psychology, that if something isn't proving to be worth the effort I can switch and double my efforts on another area). If this setup works (and I am currently inclined to believe that it should) then I believe other smaller goals will just kind of happen (I will get caught up in a wave of achievement if you will - success breeds success and all that).

I can tell that you are dying to know what the Payara-deems-to- be-most-important-to-change-in-itself categories are. They are:
  1. bodyfat percentage (reduce..significantly!),
  2. fitness (=ergo scores; 2km time and 30min distance--this year is going to hurt...bigtime),
  3. typing speed (yes, this is a re-entry from last year's top 10 - and needed now more than ever), and
  4. investment (increase exposure and return - have to develop another skill that helps my financial position).
Why have I normalised all the results ? Well, I wanted to make sure that I do not reveal too much personal information...anonymity and all that (you would be surprised what someone gifted in data mining can do to identify you in a dataset if steps aren't taken to hide you (e.g. by adding random amounts to your datapoints in such a way that the main statistics of the entire set/large subsets is not changed....actually, with massive computer simulations being more and more the norm these days (think terabytes a day) some people are throwing away the real data and only keeping a compressed copy...where the compression scheme itself is lossy but preserves macro-statistical properties...but I digress)) - I might share specifics if asked.

Some people have suggested that I adopt a more "life changing" approach and phrase the goals in a looser fashion, e.g. "become healthier". Whilst that might work for some people, for myself, and my obsessive-compulsive mind, I need hard targets that I can get into competitions with myself about.

Anyway, if I forget to report one month (the next data point should be out just after the new month begins) then please remind me that I have been remiss! Encouragement is also welcome.

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