Challenge 1: Goals – What? Why?


What: complete an exercise video every day

  • includes: yoga, aerobics, videos online, exercise DVDs
  • larger goal: do some form of weight lifting and/or muscle toning at least three times a week

Why: I really do not enjoy working out at a gym by myself, so this is a way for me to work towards the larger goal of muscle toning within the comfort of my own home. I chose it as my first goal because I have used the first part of the year building up to being able to comfortably jog 30 minutes (working toward the larger goal “be able to run 30 minutes easily”) and I have taken up boxing (accomplishing the larger goal “pick up a recreational hobby that involves moving my body).


What: track my food intake every day

  • includes: anything and everything that I put into my mouth
  • larger goal: stop over-eating

Why: Tracking has been consistently shown to help people become more aware of the foods they are ingesting, and therefore more picky about what it is that they are putting into their body. More importantly for me, this kind of awareness naturally leads to less over-eating, as one is more conscious of how one’s body feels and when one is full. I feel that my progress in the area of nutrition is currently hindered by how frequently I forget to pay attention to what I’m eating and how it’s making me feel.


What: read 30 minutes a day

  • includes: self-help books, classic novels, informative books
  • larger goal: read more consistently

Why: Any form of information I take in by reading these books will help me either make decisions about how I want to go about achieving these goals, make me a more well-rounded individual, improve my sense of self, or refine my personal values. It also directly addresses one of my larger goals for this category.


What: Use my SRS every day to learn new cards and review old ones

  • includes: studying cards for at least one hour, ideally reviewing all old cards that are due and learning roughly about 50 cards a day
  • larger goal: reach 10,000 sentences in my SRS

Why: Taking into account the sentences that I have reviewed in my SRS so far, I need to learn about 50 new cards a day to reach my target of 10,000 sentences by the new year. Why 10,000 sentences? Here are two great articles by Khatzumoto, creator of Why, Input before Output. It’s important to note that Khatzumoto has since moved on to different methods, but he still uses an SRS (his own), and my method has been working pretty well for me, so I don’t really feel like changing. I’ll probably change either when my method stops working or stops being fun. Why an hour of time? Language learning is about progress, not perfection. Also, it is much easier to go from walking to running than crawling to walking. I am not quite walking yet, so I expect the number of cards I can study in an hour now to be fewer than the number of cards I will be able to study in the same amount of time in November. Overall, I should be able to catch up to my goal of 10,000 sentences and I prefer to at least be consistent rather than hold myself to something that may be unattainable on a given day.


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