I almost didn't write this post. It's a bit self-indulgent, more than a little risky, and it breaks one of my own rules. 30GO30 was built around starting small — I believe in big dreams, but I also have a bad history of making big plans and then falling flat on my face. Honestly, I think I'm addicted to planning, or maybe it's just easier to never start and rest comfortably in the cushy chair of unrealized potential.

I just turned 41.

It's not exactly a milestone, and it wasn't particularly tramautic — 40 feels big, 41 is a cosmic hiccup. To the geek crowd, though, my next birthday is 42, the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything. I'm fond of granting significance to arbitrary events — any motivation is good motivation.

I'm breaking my rules.

You remember what I said about starting small? Well, it's been working. This project began after I started to make small changes in my life and, one by one, saw them stick. I feel like I'm ready to take on something big, and so I'm going to launch my first 1-year challenge. Here's the self-indulgent part: this one's all about me. These are my own personal development goals (not counting work and family, but of course it's all connected).

Part 1 - Fitness goals

Many of these are already in progress, which is why they're so specific:

  • Push-ups - Do 200 in 6:00
  • Push-ups - Do 100 in 2:00 (1 set)
  • 5K - Beat 2007 race PR (27:47)
  • 5K - Beat 2006 treadmill PR (26:55)
I've actually got 200 push-ups down to 7:11 and 100 to 2:24, so this is very doable (although the 100 are currently multiple sets). My 5K times are finally coming back in line, and I'm hitting my first race in a while on October 2nd.

Part 2 - Diet goals

These are more generally nutrition-oriented. I'm not trying to lose weight, but I've got a lot of bad eating habits:
  • Give up soda completely
  • Go 30 days without dairy
  • Eat 5+ veggies/fruits per day
I don't buy into one-sized-fits-all diet approaches. I have a minor heart condition (Mitral Valve Prolapse) and definitely have caffeine-sensitivity — I know it, but I'm still bad about it. I also suspect I may have a mild allergy to cow's milk, and quitting cold turkey is the only way to really find out.

Part 3 - Learn Chinese

This one has been on my list forever — I've taken some classes with my wife, but need to just put in the time, long-term. This is ideally suited to a 1-year plan, and I'm going to break it down into specific actions:
  • 100 ChinesePod Newbie lessons
  • Finish Pimsleur CDs
  • 100 Elementary lessons
  • 100 Intermediate lessons
  • 50 Upper intermediate lessons
I'm not going to worry about proficiency and other goals that are too difficult to measure. This one's all about doing the work, every day.

Part 4 - All the rest

These are a couple of miscellaneous goals, some already in progress:
  • Finish off unread books
  • Juggle 3 bags 50X with no drops
  • 4-hour work day (8 x 30:00)
The juggling is a bit silly but it started as a way to stay sane while I watch my 1-year-old. Expect a blog post and 30-day challenge on that last one in the next couple of months — it's an idea I've been thinking about for a while.

So, there it is.

I want to say "This time, it'll be different", but those are famous last words. Instead, I'm just going to quit talking and get to work. Expect quarterly updates, and let me know about your own big plans.