LifeStyle Laboratory

Challenge yourself every day to live a charged life.

Goal Progress: Learning Mandarin Chinese

I love this goal. It makes me super excited as its really ambitious and challenging. It's long term and has to be worked on every day of the year. If I miss a week, I regress. This forces me to be consistent over a long period of time. Another thing with learning languages, which is also true with strength training, is that it never gets easier. If it's not hard then your pushing yourself enough and you will plateau.
Im so passionate about this topic that I could go on forever about how learning languages ties into peronal development. But enough of that and lets take a look at my Mandarin goals for 2015 and where im currently at. Here is what I set out to accomplish this year when I started learing chinese back in January:
Learning Chinese Year 1:
  • Learn 500 Chinese Characters
  • Finish Pimsleurs Mandarin I, II & III.
  • Being able to read "Little Bear Lived in a Mounatin Cave" Mandarin short story.
These goals where revised during the year when I learned more about the language and the aim for this year is now:
  • Learn 750 Chinese Characters
  • Finish pimsleurs mandarin I, II & III
  • Learn HSK 3 Vocabulary & Characters
  • Learn all Radicals
  • Being able to read "Little Bear Lived in a Mounatin Cave" Mandarin short story.
This might not sound very ambious. I mean, if I was a full time student in China I would expect I lot more from one year of studies. The thing is that this is something I do on my sparetime. Having a baby, like we got in the beginning of the year removes most of that time. To find time for studies I had to restructure how I use my time. I had to cut Instagram, video games, Facebook and the news.
So where am I at? Let's look at each item.
  • Learn 750 Chinese Characters
I'm a at about 680 right now, but the progress has slowed down as I mostly learn words with combinations of characters I already know. But this goal will be met this year
  • Finish pimsleurs mandarin I, II & III
Im on the third part of this audio course right now, lesson 10 of 30, and I think I will make this one! This course has been really good for improving prenounciation.
  • Learn HSK 1-3 Vocabulary & Characters
HSK is standardized test for chinese proficiancy. My goal is to finish 1,2 and 3 this year which in total is about 600 characters. I have about 80 more to go this year. Hopefully I'll get there!
  • Learn all Radicals
Done! Radicals are the buildingblocks of chinese characters. One or several of this buildingblocks makes up a characters and by knowing the meaning of these parts hints on a charachters meaning  and how a might be prenounced.
  • Being able to read "Little Bear Lived in a Mounatin Cave" Mandarin short story.
This is a weird goal. I guess the reason have this on my list, was so that I don't forget to practice my reading skills. Naming a certain text like this was just make the goal clear and the definition of completion understandable. 
Thats it! I'm pretty happy with my progress so far and it's been fun. Chinese felt impossible to learn when I started. But I'm breaking it down one piece at the time. My biggest challenge for learning Mandarin will be to stay motivated and keep doing what I'm doing for a few more years. 
I would love to hear about your experiences from language learning in the comments below!
Taggar: HSK3, Hanzi, Pimsleur, chinese, mandarin;

Goal Progress: Health

As I mentoned in my previous post my health goals for 2015 where:
  • Keep up my gym routine
  • Get rid of my tobacco addiction
  • Loosen up my hamstrings
The first item is basically a continuation of what I started almost 3 years from now. The difference for this year is that I have focused more on strength training than running. My goal has been to hit the gym at least 4 times a week. This goal has been met all year, except for when I'm been sick and the first 2 weeks as a dad.
Dropping nicotine has been harder than expected. I quit several times during the year but fell back again for different reasons. The first big fail was when I we had the baby. Probably due to the stress and exhaustion. The next attempt failed when I got back to my hometown during my summer vacation. Hanging out with old friends got me back into old habits and what started as one snus (swedish tobacco snuff)  turned into a full on relapse. Now I'm off tobacco again but still use light nicotine pills to handle the cravings. I'm planing on getting off the pills next week.
The goal of loosening up my hamstrings have lost priority to my Chinese studies, gym routine and familiy time. There is just not enought time in my day right now to address this issue to the extent of my goal which was:
  • Being able to have my palms flat against the floor when doing forward bends.
I have done a lot of progress this year by not enough to reach that goal. I'm happy with the little improvements I made and as long as my range of movement don't decrease I'm fine with it!
I'd love to hear about your health goals for this years in the comments below! I'm also looking for a mentor when it comes to fitness, so don't hasitate to contact me if you think you can help me in this area. 
Taggar: Strength training, addiction, goal progress, health, nicotine, personal development;