Jan 312012


I’ve never formally made New Years Resolutions before.  And I know, I’m publishing this a month late, but it’s taken me a month to really think about what I want to resolve and so publicly declare.  So here they are:

  1. Lose 20 pounds by August.
  2. Learn to code by December
  3. Pass PMP
  4. Write (at least) the first draft of my Book
  5. Master Major System
  6. Master Trachtenberg

OK, let me enumerate why I chose these and why I’m making a public declaration about them.

1. Lose 20 pounds by August.  Losing weight is probably the world’s most popular resolution, but I’m starting to feel hypocritical for writing so many posts on “why it’s so important to be fit as a dad” while being 20 pounds overweight myself.  Really, I used to be fit, and I am going to claim that most of this weight I gained as what I am calling “sympathy” weight gain.  And with Nathan starting to crawl and walk (he’ll definitely be walking by August), I want to be ready to chase him around the park and the beach.

2. Learn to code by December.  OK, this one sounds a little weird, but I read this article on slate.com on why learning to code should be on the new year’s resolution list and it made sense to me.  On top of which, as I continue to write for this blog and read other blogs and see how other people have configured and set up their sites, I want the ability to make modifications as I see fit without having to rely on someone else doing it for me or being locked into a format preset by the WordPress theme I use.  Ultimately I want the skill so that I can pass it along to my son, since, as this article from The Telegraph says, coding is the future and the sooner we can get our kids started the better.

3. Pass the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification.  This is more for myself, more of a professional goal.  I do a lot of project management at work, have taken a number of courses, so I figure I should get certified.  And it’ll help me (in theory) bring home more of the bacon, which is all for the little guy anyway.

4. Write (at least) the first draft of my Book.  This one, I’ve actually had on my list (in my head) ever since college.  I think I actually have more than two dozen completely different unfinished first drafts floating around on my hard drive somewhere.  As part of my effort and promise to be a more efficient and productive dad, and to set a good example for Nate to follow, I will complete at least the first draft in its entirety.  If I actually complete the final draft, then good for me, but I’m trying to be realistic here.

5. Master the Major System.  In a previous post I mentioned mnemonics and memory training in general.  In it, I made a promise that I’d relearn the art of memory and teach it to Nathan when he is born.  Well, I wrote that before Nathan’s birth, and now that Nathan is here, it’s time for me to walk the talk.  I figure I gotta get good at this stuff before I have any right or hope of teaching it to him, so I think I have about 5 years or so to get good at all of the various mnemonics techniques before he’s old enough for me to start teaching.  Heck, if Josh Foer can go from novice to memory champ in one year, I gotta be able to do this in 5, and I’m not trying for national championship status.  Incidentally, the Major system is a mnemonic method of memorizing numbers.  I deal with numbers all the time so this ought to be the most immediately useful to me…I think.

6. Master the Trachtenberg System.  I’m actually going to write a future post about Jakow Trachtenberg and his System of rapid mental calculation.  It’s actually an amazing and inspiring story in and of itself, but I mention it here because in the same spirit that I bring up mnemonics and how I plan to teach it to Nathan, I plan on doing the same for this system.  So again in the same spirit, I gotta get cracking on getting good at it first.  It’s not a complicated system, and one year should be more than enough time for me to learn it.

They say that making a public promise increases the chances that you’ll actually keep that promise.  It’s not necessarily true for our political leaders, but I hope it’s true for us new dads.  I will periodically post on my progress, maybe once a month.  Here goes and wish me luck.


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