Quest for Knowledge (12)
- Japanese: Complete all 3 Rosetta Stone levels and read 1 book written in Japanese
- Russian: Complete all 3 Rosetta Stone levels and read 1 book written in Russian
I love to learn languages and I would love to learn many of them. I studied some Spanish and German in high school and college. I would really like to learn Japanese and Russian, too. In my now-deprecated goals list, I set goals to “become fairly fluent” in French, Spanish, and German. These, of course, aren’t very good goals as they’re not measurable. Therefore, after using Rosetta Stone quite a bit already, I know what level of comprehension I will have after completing all three levels of a language. Reading a book written in that language after using Rosetta Stone will help to reinforce what I’ve learned. I would like to complete task 001 in the first year and task 002 in the second year. The first quarter of each year will be dedicated to level one, second quarter to level two, and third quarter to level three. The fourth quarters of the years will be dedicated to reading the books. The books do not have to be any particular length or about any particular subject. I will likely keep them simple (around 100 pages), as these are new languages to me.
- Read the Bible in a Year
This was on my old list. I never completed it. I received a new Bible reading each day in my inbox. I fell behind. After the year was over, I stopped receiving them and forgot I was supposed to catch up. The hard part about this task is that there are some very lengthy daily readings. I will incorporate the reading into my daily routine. The readings are in consecutive order, that is, they follow the order of when events in the Bible occurred, as opposed to following the order in which the Bible is written. The version of the Bible I will be reading is the New International Version (NIV), simply because I grew up with it and like the writing style.
- Go back to school
I am going to apply to the schools I’ve always wanted to go to. Stay tuned to find out to which schools I will be applying and my progress along the way.
- Learn a new trade
I believe knowing a little about a lot is a fundamental component of living life to the fullest. I may never know when something I’ve learned will come in handy. I would like to learn a new trade, such as wood-working, cabinetry, automobile mechanics, flooring, electrical wiring, plumbing, or something else along those lines. Being able to create something for my home, for example, will bring an incredible sense of pride and achievement, not to mention cost-savings. I believe there will be a significant Return On Investment for this goal.
- Learn to name all the countries on the globe and their capitals
I had this goal on my old list, too. I actually did learn all of the countries, just not their capitals. I forgot the countries by now, but I find the completion of this goal to be valuable to me for the future, if I so decide to pursue a career in politics, for example.
- Learn to read the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
I learned about the IPA in my Linguistics classes. There is a website called the speech accent archive (http://accent.gmu.edu) that has recordings of the same paragraph said by dozens of people with different English dialects around the world. Beside the audio player is the paragraph written phonetically in the IPA. By learning to read the IPA fluently, I will be able to learn to speak various dialects of English. This is mostly just for fun, but I was a Linguistics major anyway.
- Read Time’s User Guides: Your Body & Your Mind
- Read the Constitution and Memorize the Amendments
- Take the SAT Reasoning test and score at least 700 on each section
- Take at least two SAT knowledge tests and score at least 700 on each
- Take a daily Lumosity training session
Lumosity is a website filled with games that are scientifically proven to enhance attention, memory, speed, and problem solving abilities. There are many courses that contain daily training sessions. I will start my day off with a fifteen minute training session and track my progress in reclaiming my brain. =P
Career Advancement (15)
This section pertains to earning certifications for advancement in my IT career. If you aren’t familiar with IT, you may find that you will want to skip this section, as it is highly technical. These are very ambitious goals. Since May 2009, I have passed an average of one exam per month. When planning the number of exams I will be able to feasibly pass, I decided to double the amount of time it will take me to complete an exam to two months, just in case. Since there are 32 months in this program, I will be able to pass 16 exams. The order in which these exams are listed are not necessarily the order in which I will complete them. It depends on when and how I obtain learning materials and the amount of time I have available to learn new technologies.
- Earn ITIL v3 Foundations Certification
- Earn Security+ Certification
- Earn Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) Certification for Windows Server 2003
I will need to pass the following exams to earn my MCSE. Earning these exams will also earn me the MCSE: Security specialization.
70-293: Planning and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
70-294: Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure
70-298: Designing Security for a Windows Server 2003 Network
70-351: TS: Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2006, Configuring
SY0-201: CompTIA Security+ 2008
- Earn MCSA/MCSE: Messaging Specialization
There are two exams to take to earn the Messaging specializations for both the MCSA and MCSE certifications. These relate to Exchange, which I find to be an important component of Windows networking environments.
70-284: Implementing and Managing Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
70-285: Designing a Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Organization
- Earn Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) at the Enterprise level
This is the upgrade path from MCSE on 2003 to the new 2008 certifications.
70-649: TS: Upgrading Your MCSE 2003 to 2008, Technology Specialist
70-647: PRO: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator
- Apply for the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) Certification
This is a very expensive certification (approx. $15,000). I hope to be able to apply for the certification by the end of this project. I will also need to complete one more exam to be eligible. The ROI on this exam should be tremendous!
70-297: Designing a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure
- Become a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
There are two methods for achieving this prestigious credential: Taking one exam (640-802) or taking two exams (640-822: ICND1: Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 1: CCENT: Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician + 640-816: ICND2: Interconnecting Cisco Networking Devices Part 2: CCNA: Cisco Certified Network Associate). Sounds complicated? It is. I heard that 640-802 has higher than an 80% failure rate. I want this certification. There is a significant ROI due to certified knowledge of IP protocols and WAN technologies, in addition to confidence in configuring Cisco switches and routers.
- Earn CCNA with Security Specialization
There is one exam for this specialization.
640-553: IINS: Implementing Cisco IOS Network Security
- Earn CCNA with Voice Specialization
There is one exam for this specialization.
642-436: CVOICE: Cisco Voice Over IP (CVOICE 6.0)
- Earn CCNA with Wireless Specialization
There is one exam for this specialization.
640-721: IUWNE: Implementing Cisco Unified Wireless Networking Essentials
- Become a Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA)
There is one exam for this credential.
640-863: DESGN: Designing for Cisco Internetwork Solutions
- Become Certified to Teach
I would love to become a teacher in IT. I feel an appropriate certification to earn at this point is CompTIA CTT+. CTT+ consists of two components: A written exam and a video submission. I will pass the written exam and submit a video. I will teach minimally at various places free of charge as preliminary experience prior to earning this certification. Upon receiving the CTT+ credential, I will be eligible for applying for the Microsoft Certified Trainer credential. Upon becoming a MCT, I will be required to teach my first course as an MCT within the first six months. Those six months will be outside the scope of this project, however.
- Complete my Automated Custom Linux Distribution Creation Project
- Create a working kernel/proof-of-concept for a new Operating System I am building with my brother
- Learn to subnet in my head
Subnetting is a relatively complicated procedure used in computer networking that I would like to be able to perform without pen and paper. This would benefit me as I pursue higher level networking certifications.
Improve My Physique (11)
- Run another marathon
In my previous list, I set a goal to run in the Chicago Marathon. I achieved this goal in 2007 when I finished in a horrible four hours and 40 minutes. I would love to run another marathon and complete it in a very feasible four hours (9.6 min/mi pace). I will select a marathon to run and draft a running plan that will get me back up to speed, pun intended. ;-) This will be described in a later post.
- Incorporate physical fitness into my regular routine
While running another marathon requires the incorporation of physical fitness into my regular routine, I’m really talking about weight-lifting (and other physical activities outside of running). I would like to start my mornings early with a run and constructive weight-lifting. My job does not require much physical activity, so I really need to begin a physical fitness routine to keep me healthy.
- Purchase a set of weights
I have a bench press that has been used as a shelf and coatrack since I purchased it in fall of 2008. I need to purchase a set of weights (looking around $200 minimum) to use it for its intended purpose.
- Eliminate soda and energy drinks from my regular diet.
I used to never drink soda. Not ever. I lasted for a couple of years when I was in high school. Then, something happened. I don’t know what it was. I drink about three to five sodas a day, and then an energy drink. I am taking in too many vitamins and too much sugar, and I remain dehydrated from the large doses of caffeine on top of that. A soda every once in a while is ok. An energy drink at a party on a random Saturday is ok, too. But consuming as much as I do in a day is definitely something that I want to eliminate. The hardest part is going to be to find a way to fit in enough sleep between both of my jobs so I wouldn’t require the caffeine.
- Learn about dieting and create a healthy diet
I am not too familiar with all of the vitamins and minerals I should be consuming in a day. For this goal, I will research all of the components of a healthy diet and begin following the diet religiously. I would like to become habitually healthy. ;-)
- Run in 10 foot races
The distance does not matter. I love the excitement of 5k, 10k, and half marathon foot races, especially in small towns. I haven’t run a small road race in quite some time. I should run at least one per quarter.
- Investigate the cost of fixing my teeth and if affordable, do it!
I have always wanted to get my teeth straightened. To make this goal more realistic, I have made it simpler. Just investigate the cost to fix my teeth. Then, if affordable, proceed.
- Whiten my Teeth by at least two shades
According to the ever-reputable Colgate company, smiles become noticeably whiter in just two to seven shades of improvement. After researching whiter smiles in Google, regular brushing and flossing can do the trick over time. For much of my life, I did not take very good care of my teeth. I will habitually brush at least twice per day, once when I wake up and once before I sleep. I’ll also begin flossing regularly.
- Learn Yoga and Meditation
My mother recently purchased a Nintendo Wii with Wii Fit. This game includes a balance board and lessons for Yoga. My center of balance is already improving dramatically. I would like to complete the Yoga lessons and implement Yoga in my regular routine.
- Take Vitamins Daily throughout the project
I often do not eat healthily enough, so I will be supplementing my diet with vitamins on a daily basis.
- Run 1001 Miles
Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It amounts to a mile per day, or two miles every other day. Since I’ll be training for a marathon, I will likely accomplish this goal early.
Managing My Finances (8)
- Pay off all of my Revolving Accounts
After using CreditKeeper’s credit simulation program, I noted my credit would increase significantly if I paid off all of my revolving accounts. I don’t like having a number of revolving balances or enjoy paying interest on my purchases. I have racked up a big, hefty credit card debt that I would love nothing more than to rid myself of. Therefore, I will pay them all off. Any revolving balances on those accounts I will pay off every month in their entirety. The return on investment for this goal is huge! Not only will my credit score rise by possibly one hundred points, I will also be able to refinance my existing loans and be offered much lower interest rates on loans and credit accounts in the future. Getting the lowest possible interest rates on a home loan will save me thousands of dollars!
- Create an economically-resistant back-up plan
I was laid-off in December of 2008. I did not save up enough money to survive more than three months of unemployment. That is not going to happen again. After paying off much of my debt, I will pull out money from my paychecks every month and store it in a back-up savings account that will be used to live off of in case of unemployment, disability, or a medical emergency. The balance for the account should amount to six months of expenses. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry!
- Purchase stock in a company
- Break the $50,000 salary barrier
This is a very audacious goal in especially uncertain times. I would like to make $50,000 salary in a year, before taxes. I’ll continue to set goals on a weekly basis to help in this endeavor, per goal 99.
- Every year, refinance my loans and look for cheaper insurance rates
In an effort to save money, I will look into refinancing my loans and researching cheaper insurance on a yearly basis.
- Pay off my Car
- Pay off student loans
- Start a 401k
Improve My Attitude (6)
I want to improve myself socially because I believe networking is very rewarding. I love to help people in any way that I can. There are some issues about the way that I act that I want to change. I will gauge my progress in accomplishing these goals on a quarterly basis by asking people how well I am doing. Additionally, I will assume that I have accomplished these goals when I take note that I do not act in these such ways any longer. I described in the introduction that goals must be measurable. I am aware of how difficult measuring these goals will be. I will measure them by gauging the opinions of others. If people acknowledge that I have improved and the issues have ceased, I will consider the goal accomplished.
- Keep an open mind in heated arguments
I have been told a number of times in the past by several people that I become closed-minded in heated arguments. I would act like I am right, no matter what; that I can’t be wrong. Even in those cases, I could still be, and often am, proven wrong. I would like to change the way I act in heated arguments. I would like to be able to accept what a person believes to be true without pushing my beliefs on them, especially in topics about Religion. I will know that I have accomplished this goal when I observe that I naturally, and without intentional consideration, happily accept that a person has beliefs that do not align with my beliefs.
- Become a better listener
I know that I am a horrible listener. I often forget that someone is talking to me while s/he is talking to me. My mind will wander. I want to become better. I have observed that I stop listening if I am stressed, if I am listening just to be polite, if I am tired, if I am multi-tasking or am busy, and if I am simply not interested in the topic. Honesty is key here. I will ensure the speaker is aware of my situation and warn him/her that my mind may wander. I may ask the speaker to talk with me later if convenient, or to send me an email. If I am busy, I will tell the speaker that I will be just a moment while I promptly finish my current task. I believe that someone would much rather hear the truth in this situation than figure out that I’m no longer paying attention. Nobody likes to be ignored.
- Be able to remember names most of the time
I have a horrible time remembering people’s names. For many people, their name is everything. They could lose everything in life, but still have their name. Up until now, I got away with not knowing names simply because I never used them. I have established a comfort zone from which I must break free. I need to try using people’s names more often. I will also look for name-memory classes to help me in this endeavor. I am not sure why I have problems with names, but it’s bad! I have forgotten my girlfriend’s name and my siblings’ names; I have even forgotten my own name! I also have problems thinking of words to use when I am talking, thereby creating long pauses in my speech. I believe these two problems may be associated with one another. My goal is to improve from remembering names none of the time to remembering names most of the time. I will use names more often and learn to think about a person’s name when thinking about the person. I will also likely keep tallies on names remembered versus names forgotten.
- Keep a daily evaluation journal
I believe this is a fantastic suggestion by a good friend of mine, Rachel Meyer. I will keep a daily evaluation journal of the biggest positive act and the biggest negative act I did during the day, why I acted as such, and what I could have done instead to better handle the situation. There is no better way to improve an attitude than through frequent evaluation and implementation.
- Stop trying to impress
I’ve noticed recently that I inadvertently illicit the wrong kind of attention. I don’t want to be complimented or even acknowledged for my knowledge or intelligence. Therefore, I am going to be subtle in the way I act and speak.
- Be respectful to those who are more experienced than I
I have recently learned that I have lack of respect for those who are much more experienced in life than I am. I have realized that after all I’ve learned to-date, compared to anyone older than I am, I really know nothing. I finally realized this after being on the other side of the equation, where someone much younger than I acted as though he knew it all. And at that moment, I was looking at myself. I will know that I have completed this goal when all those people who have told me that I am disrespectful acknowledge that I have changed.
Increase My Productivity (6)
- Tackle the most difficult task in the day first
I have noticed that I often will tackle time-insensitive and relatively unimportant tasks before the time-sensitive and important tasks in my day, probably because they’re more difficult or demand more time. I want to complete the most difficult tasks in the day in the beginning so that the rest of the day is more relaxing and stress-free. I will work toward accomplishing this goal effective immediately. I will know when this task has been accomplished when I take note that this procedure has become habitual in my daily routine.
- Create a task list system and incorporate it into my daily routine
I am a very forgetful person. I need to devise a system where I can list and track tasks I must complete. I know of many systems and applications to use, but have found very poor convergence between them. If I cannot find a system, I must create one that will be effective and suit my needs. I then must habitually incorporate it into my daily routine. A system does not do any good if I don’t remember to use it!
- Perform a monthly audit/evaluation on my Productivity and Security
I would like to take about an hour a month to evaluate my progress in achieving my goals, the effectiveness of the systems I use on a daily basis, security vulnerabilities I may have, and any other concerns I may have on my mind. I want to ensure I am being as productive as possible, while maintaining personal security. For example, I may discover that I spend too much time synchronizing my calendars to a device I may rarely use. Obviously I would want to stop that. As another example, I may discover that my email password has been the same for the last 180 days and it is time to change it again.
- Finish reading my self-improvement books
Included in the list of self-improvement/productivity/business books are: Selling for Dummies; Built to Last; The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; You, Inc.; Real Leaders Don’t Do PowerPoint; Good to Great; Do You Matter?; Jesus, CEO; and Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business. Believe it or not, I find these books intriguing and fascinating!
- Purchase a new laptop
Right now I have a working IBM Thinkpad X41 Tablet. I’ve taken great care of it since I bought it in Spring of 2005, but it’s getting to be that time. It takes too long to startup (it always has but you don’t notice until faster laptops come out ;-) ) and the battery doesn’t hold a charge any longer. It’s the second battery I’ve had for this laptop and they’re around $120. By purchasing a new laptop, I will become more productive because I will be able to virtualize operating systems, let my clients sign work logs and invoices using the digital pen to avoid printing paper, and by doing what I already do at five times the speed.
- Organize my Email and Keep Current
I have more than a thousand emails sitting in my inbox that I have been intending on reading… eventually. I need to go through them all and keep up with amount of email that comes through on a daily basis to keep my mailbox clean and organized.
- Buy something on a stranger’s wish list on Amazon
- Go through a drive-thru and pay for the order of the person behind me
Somebody did this for me once. It made a significant and positive impact on my day! Good deeds are contagious, you know!
- Participate in at least ten volunteer projects
Rachel Meyer, a friend of mine, recommended I take on volunteer projects with both children and seniors because both groups of people are outside of my comfort zone. At least one volunteer project will be with children and one other volunteer project with seniors. I will participate in one volunteer project per quarter.
- Volunteer IT Services for a Charity
- Donate all the Clothes that I don’t wear
- Gamble at a Casino in Las Vegas
- Explore new music artists at the US Cellular stage at Summerfest
US Cellular has a stage on the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee. During Summerfest, FM 102.1 has a series of emerging artists that play in the early afternoon, every weekday. I would love to explore these emerging artisits for one or two days and blog my opinions on them here.
- Learn to play the piano
This task was on my old list. I actually started to take lessons from a friend, but they were few and far between (and I didn’t retain much of what I learned). I really can’t play any musical instrument. What kind of a life is that? :-) Per Nicole Merkt’s suggestion, I will learn to play the piano and then we can jam out. The goal is twofold: Learn to play the piano with both hands and learn to play ten songs.
- Watch the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time per the American Film Institute (AFI) in order
This task was also on my old list. I watched a few of the movies at random but had a hard time finding many of them. Over the last few months I have acquired nearly half. According to this goal, I will acquire the rest of the movies and watch them sequentially from the 100th greatest movie of all time to the first. And I will write my thoughts on the movies and why I think they are great or are not great, right here on this blog. So stay tuned. I will likely watch an average of 0.75 movies per week.
- Take one photograph per day for a month
I think that some photographs I have taken in the past are pretty good, all things considered. (I tried to make that sentence as vague and subjective as possible.) If you want, you can view them at http://micchickenburger.deviantart.com. I don’t plan to pursue a career in photography, but I think working the artistic side of my brain by taking a photograph a day for a month will be fun. I’ll carry a camera around with me and see what I run into. Then I will post them here on this blog and on my deviantart page, if I can remember how to login. :-P
- Read and Learn the SAS Survival Handbook
Hey, you never know what could happen!
- Get a passport
There once was a time when I needed to drop off a package in Canada, but I did not yet have a passport. I also would like to travel abroad if feasible, so I should get my passport. I hear they take a while to process.
- Listen to the first 100 Albums of Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die
- Make 15 Do-It-Yourself Projects from Instructables.com
The projects on Instructables.com are unique and creative. And most of all, they’re fun!
- Buy a Hand Gun
I would love to buy a hand gun and hit the range every once in a while. The protection it provides is beneficial as well. I am a big supporter of our right to bear arms.
- Learn Ten new Origami Figures
I love working with my hands. Origami is no exception. I can build a cube, a swan, a boat, and star box. I’d like to learn another ten origami figures.
- Learn to Solve the Rubik’s Cube Faster
I learned to solve the Rubik’s cube in Summer 2009 using the layer-by-layer method. I would like to learn a faster method to reduce the number of steps by about 50%.
- Fly to a random, distant location for a weekend.
- Answer the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind
- Take an introductory flying lesson
- Go on a road trip with no preset destination
Additional Goals (17)
This section was designed to allow me to make new goals during the project based on changing events in my life. By the end of the project, all of these goals need to be defined and fulfilled.
Program Continuity (4)
- Write a letter to myself to be opened on the last day of the project
- Write out a weekly goals list
By creating a weekly goals list, I will remain motivated and organized. In my old list, I had some goals that took quite a bit of time, but no sense of when they should have been started. Therefore, with just months remaining, I had to play catch-up and could not complete them. With a weekly goals list, I will know what to complete without rushing at the last minute. I will not only have goals relating to the completion of my BHAGs, but also for tasks I need to complete like completing my FAFSA or finding a new client. You will be looking at a guy who is better today than the guy he was yesterday.
- Donate $25 per goal achieved to a charity of your choice
Vote in the poll! I’ll leave it go for a few months and the charity that receives the most votes will be awarded $25 for every goal on this list that I accomplish. It’s a little motivation for some of you to help me achieve them!
- Create a new 101 in 1001 list
These lists are life-changing. Imagine becoming a person who becomes better each and every day, who never stops learning, and who works to help the world around him while he is alive, and hopefully for generations afterward. The final goal on my list is to create another list: my third list of big, hairy, and audacious goals that will structure and guide the next 1001 days of my life toward becoming the best person I can be.