Personal Goals - 2023

11 minute read


Summary: A summary of goals for 2023.

Summary of 2022

Another year has gone by and it was definitely a jam-packed year. This year, I’ve decided to begin organizing my yearly summaries into sections for personal, notable events, travel, health, professional-related and societal impact. Societal impact is a new one for me, where I’m trying to focus on making a net positive impact on society with my life. There is an emphasis on environmental awareness and education that I will try to abide by.


I turned 30 years old, which seemed daunting at first, but in my opinion the best years are still ahead. I moved out of Harlem and started living in Midtown, NYC, which was honestly one of the best decisions. The apartment has made me really love living in NYC and enjoy my time here in the city. In the city, I’ve been fortunate to try loads of new restaurants from Hyun (all you can eat Japanese A5 Wagyu), to Kono (a Michelin star worthy Yakitori) and many more. This year, I bought tickets to different comedy clubs and shows. NYC is definitely the best city in America and lives up to its name.


Besides NYC living, some other notable mentions for this year are travel / big-events, professional developments and health.

I traveled a lot this year. I attended a few big friend weddings, such as my friends (BC and AS) to going to The Yacht Week with 30 other friends. I did a lot of traveling with the K family from Atlanta all the way to Costa Rica for the holidays. I also went to LA and San Diego a few times to catch up with old friends and see Gryffin in a super-crowded LA historic park.

I went to Mammoth with my family to ski and see my newphew “try skiing” for the first time. I ended the year by playing golf for the first time with friends and the K family. I definitely sucked, but enjoyed it immensely, which will be a motivation for an updated health goal this year.


I started becoming more active and even more health-conscious. I bought an air purifier, which I always keep on when I’m sleeping now because the air we breathe is something we take for granted. I installed water faucet filter (which has a higher filter efficacy compared to e.g. Brita) because water even in NYC is something we ingest constantly. I refined some of my vegetarian cooking dishes, such as lentils. I began running consistently thanks to my roommate and achieved a VO2 max of more than 47 (as measured by my Apple Watch). According to Apple, I’ve excercised an average of 72 minutes per day, with a daily walking/running distance of 6.2 miles. I also slept an average of 7 hrs and 16 minutes per day in 2022. Disclaimer: although I wear my Apple Watch consistently, I do not always have it on. Moreover, the Apple Watch series 3 and SE versions are not perfect and thus these measurements are all rough estimates.


In my professional life, I feel that this year I have been finding a balance between my personal and professional lives. I started my postdoc at Columbia University studying something completely different from my PhD. I delved more into “theory” and rigorous proofs, compared to analyzing clinical data and working with clinicians on solving applied problems. This has been a great learning experience (many thanks to one of my mentors, Adele Ribeiro) for thinking about notions of causality and how they play a role in data analysis and how they might be applied in the biomedical sciences. I’m slightly disappointed in myself for not being able to take a project to completion this year, but I think that was somewhat expected considering I pivoted my research. I am very glad I learned so much from repeatedly reading and implementing different causal inference papers. I felt that I have a very holistic understanding of causal discovery now because of the time spent rigorously reading the literature. I finished up the year being accepted as a KP Fellows 2022 Program (deferred to 2023) and being a Machine Learning Engineering Intern at Uber. I learned a lot by working on an applied project within Uber that combined causal estimation with combinatorial optimization. It gave me a glimpse of the problems that industry and academia need to tackle and solve in-order for us to have an improved causal model of the world. I also made various commits to the dodiscover and pywhy-graphs packages in py-why organization. Moreover, I’ve made several Cython PRs into scikit-learn. I’m happy I’m still heavily involved in open-source software and plan on continuing to do so in my spare time.


This year, I began donating blood on a consistent basis. I’ve donated whole blood 4 times this year. Besides the benefits of saving a life, getting a regular iron and blood pressure checkup, donating blood consistently has been shown to reduce the levels of microplastic in our blood stream [1]. Moreover, according to the NYBC, every month, we need over 10,000 blood donations. Assuming you donate whole blood, you can only donate ~6 times per year, so this is quite a limiting factor. Finally, donating blood as an Asian increases the likelihood that another Asian who has sickle-cell disease would have a match.

Another theme is that I’ve been mentally tracking and trying to reduce my material consumption, such as reducing clothing purchases, reducing water bottle purchases/consumption, reducing usage of low-efficiency products (e.g. air purifiers without a first-stage washable filter), and attempting to re-use plastic bags, boxes, paper bags, and other materials more before finally throwing them away. In general, it was quite an eye-opener when I first learned a few years ago that recycling is essentially putting a bandaid on a gigantic wound. While it does not hurt, it certainly is not the main effort that people should focus on. Moreover, I recently learned that adding non-recyclable materials, or dirty materials (e.g. with food scraps, or unwashed containers) can actually increase the cost of recycling. So nowadays, I definitely try to be more conscious of what/how I am recylcling and overall reducing my consumption as much as possible.

Overall, I’m excited for this year because I have a positive outlook and exciting plans for the upcoming years. I am eager to execute on the ideas I have for both personal and professional development.

Old 2022 Goals:

Most of the goals that I set out to accomplish were in the personal development and health category.

0. Communal with Partner

This year, Sarah and I decided to set a few goals together that we can work towards both on our own, but also collectively.

  • Taking more photos.
    • I will make an IG/photo-collage of 2022 because I have some great moments to memorialize!
  • Hanging out with someone new once a month.
    • This was somewhat accomplished due to our willingness to say “yes” :).
  • Working out in the morning (i.e. before 9AM) 3 times per week
    • Sadly, I am still a non-morning person. Maybe this year, we’ll change it up.

1. Health

  • Keep VO2 max on Apple Watch 46 or above.
    • I finished this year with a current VO2 max of 47.2, which is primarily due to my new enjoyment of running and going on long walks throughout the city.
  • Lose 10 lbs, or get a 6-pack.
    • I think I achieved the opposite of this goal. Granted, I have a 4-pack… so maybe that’s something. I definitely think this will be a goal for 2023 because I can’t continue eating/gaining weight.

2. Professional

  • Finish a PR into scikit-learn for oblique trees.
    • This was started, but not even reviewed unfortunately, due to limited dev time. However, I started a series of PRs that aim at refactoring the tree base code to enable improved modularity for 3rd party extensions.
  • Write JOSS paper for mne-connectivity.
    • I held off on this for the sake of waiting to stabilize the API and robustness of the package. I have steadily been reviewing other people’s PRs though in hopes of improving community contributions.
  • Write one paper with causal inference.
    • This is a work in progress now that I have an idea of the projects I can feasibly work on and accomplish.
  • Try to code one dapp on Algorand blockchain.
    • Not feasible for now because of my concentration in other areas.

3. Misc. / Outreach / Societal Impact

  • Schedule an EverydayBME trip if Covid ends, possibly to Southeast Asia, China, or South America.
    • Not possible with the current environment.
  • Schedule 1-2 Korean classes per month through italkie (
    • Unfortunately, I gave this up after 2 months. I am aiming to restart this year.
  • Get back into the habit of reading books, instead of going on Netflix. Read 3-5 books over the year.
    • I read 2 new books: The Rosy Project and Bad Blood, but unfortunately, also stopped this. I will plan to pick this up again this year.

2023 Goals:

0. Communal with Partner

  • Spending time to maintain relationships that are important. Mindfully plan 1-2 hangouts and group activities with friend groups per month.
  • Working out in the morning (i.e. before 9AM) 3 times per week.

1. Health

  • Keep VO2 max on Apple Watch 48 or above. Currently, my VO2 max is at a steady 47. I want to increase this ideally to 50 or above as a 30 y/o as measured by the Apple Watch SE. This can be done by consistently running, sprinting, and/or walking up hills as well as doing HIIT workouts.
  • Register and run the Brooklyn Spring 10k in March and complete the New Yorker Half Marathon in September.
  • Lose 10 lbs to a steady 160 lbs, or get a 6-pack. This can be accomplished by eating healthier and minding the calories ingested per day.

2. Professional

  • Finish refactoring PRs for the tree submodule in scikit-learn.
  • Make two releases of the pywhy-graphs and dodiscover packages.
  • Make and implement the scikit-tree package. In this package, I will guide development of modern scikit-learn compatible tree algorithms. The result of this would be a paper on conditional mutual information estimation using unsupervised trees.
  • Write one paper with causal inference related to PAGs and optimal adjustment or causal discovery.

3. Misc. / Outreach / Societal Impact

  • Schedule 5-6 blood donations this year. As specified above, there are numerous benefits to others (and yourself) for donating blood.
  • Donate at least once to Goodwill (note you can get up to a $500 tax credit, so extra incentive for you to donate instead of throwing out stuff!)
  • Schedule at least 1 Chinese speaking class per month through italkie to enhance my vocabulary and phrases during conversation.
  • Schedule at least 1-2 Korean classes per month through italkie ( My goal is to have a basic conversation with the K family by the end of the year.
  • Maintain a greater than 100 day streak in Duolingo. This goal will enable me to learn better Korean.
  • Get back into the habit of reading books, instead of going on Netflix. Read 3-5 books over the year.


[1] Gasiorowski R, Forbes MK, Silver G, et al. Effect of Plasma and Blood Donations on Levels of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Firefighters in Australia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(4):e226257. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.6257.