Personal Goals - 2024

11 minute read


Summary: A summary of goals for 2024.

Summary of 2023

This year was a big personal year for me. I got engaged to my best friend. I ran a half marathon. I picked up playing golf (thanks to my fiance and her family). It was also a great year for my professional growth. I got a paper accepted into NeurIPS 2023, the premier machine learning conference venue.


I turned 31 years old, which was my first year into my 30’s. It did not feel that momentous to me, but when I look back, this year was just the start of an amazing new decade. I started playing golf right after new years and found that I really enjoyed it! It’s such an intricate sport that’s challenging no matter how much better you think you’re getting. It is a great way for me to spend time with friends and family in an outdoor setting. Drinking a few beers on the course doesn’t hurt! Besides golf, I started enjoying more time outdoors. I picked up pickleball and running more. I also went on loads of long walks during the spring, summer and fall. These outdoor activities really made me love NYC in these prime weather months.


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

I started off this year going to Cancun and watched a time-share presentation (lol), and got amazing tacos and mexican street food with my partner. She took her first board exam. Then we went off to Hawaii and visited Oahu for the first time together. We rented a tesla and realized how crappy having an EV rental on an island with one charger is. My partner and I drove around the island and saw how beautiful things were, and also stayed in a very nice 5-star resort. We also woke up extremely early each day and saw the sun rise because we were so jet lagged. It’s interesting how small things like that got me excited this year.

I went to see Dabin in Red Rocks, but unfortunately it was canceled. Still had a blast with friends from college in Denver. Haha can’t forget a wild night at Temple. My partner then finished her second board exam and we went off to Sedona with her family! I was super bad at golf, but really enjoyed playing a course there and also hiking the beautiful red rock mountains there.

I went on to plan an engagement for my partner. It was one hell of a ride to coordinate family, friends, her schedule and also different moving parts like getting helium filled balloons from Party City (lol). Even though it was raining, it was an emotion-packed day and I was extremely grateful for all the friends and family that put up with such a hectic day.

We then went to loads of places: Los Angeles, Baltimore, Los Angeles again, New Orleans for a lit trip, Atlanta and New Orleans again. We ended the year by driving down a 20-hour road trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to play golf and spend time with my partner’s family. I don’t know if I could do another road trip like that without more stops. Finally, we ended the year in Los Angeles and Sunny San Diego.


I think this year, I made it a goal to be even more health-conscious. I noticed that I had harder hangovers and less energy for activities I used to be enthusiastic about when I was in my 20s. On the other hand, I’ve really gotten into running and managed to finally run a half-marathon (something that’s been on my goal list for years). Besides getting into golf, I also surprisingly started really enjoying hot-yoga! It’s an efficient excercise that improves my dexterity and mobility, while also being very good for getting a sweat in.


In my professional life, I think this year is going to bring a lot of changes.


I donated again whole blood 5 times this year (one time it was double red), so I managed to meet my goal. I’ve also been trying to re-use and reduce my waste more as before. I’m still looking for ways to improve, so hopefully this year brings about more personal committments. I ended this year by selling my dad’s Apple Watch 3 and my old 2015 MBP! Also brought my ancient 2011 MBP into Apple for them to “recycle”. Hopefully they go to good use.

Old 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.
    • This turns out to be significantly harder than I thought as Apple Watch lowers your VO2 max estimate as you age. However, now I’m maintaining a steady 44, which is “considered above average”. Next year, I’ll continue my goal of trying to maintain a high VO2 max.
  • Register and run the Brooklyn Spring 10k in March and complete the New Yorker Half Marathon in September.
    • completed! And ran a half marathon with 8:19/mile pace for a total of 1 hour 49 minutes.
  • 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.
    • Unfortunately, I’m still maintaining a steady weight of 170 lbs, and sometimes 165. I realized this is more challenging than I thought. I think the key this year is saying no to bigger dinners/lunches. At some point, I think I can afford to ingest less calories and maintain a healthier diet.

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.
    • Meeting this goal was harder than I thought. Halfway through the year, each hour I had free was more and and more valuable to me. Maybe it’s your 30’s, but I find time with friends and family and self more and more valuable. As such, it was pretty hard for me to commit to keeping at least one lesson per month. However, I think it might be doable once I get a new job!
  • 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.
    • Even though I didn’t meet this goal specifically. I was able to maintain a 330 day-streak throughout this year on DuoLingo. I skipped a few days here and there when I was traveling, but overall I can read Korean now and somewhat understand and say basic phrases. That’s a major improvement from knowing nothing last 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.
    • I think I read 2 non-academic books this year. The Rosy Project and Bad Blood. I can probably read a bit more next year :p.

2024 Goals:

0. Communal with Partner

This year is a milestone for us because we’re going to finally get married. Besides that, we’re also going to move in together and potentially even more cities! This year is full of change, so I think the biggest thing on my mind is to enjoy the time for what it is.

  • Document enjoyable moments.

1. Health

  • Reach a 45 VO2 max on Apple Watch or above. Currently, my VO2 max is at a steady 44, which is weird since I feel more fit than last year. It does make me think that Apple Watch has a strong bias based on age. Having a 45 be well within the “Above Average” rate seems good to me. Besides HIIT workouts, I think another major contributing factor this year will be doing more interval run trainings.
  • Run another 10k and half marathon. This year was so fun, so why not aim for another one! This time, I’m hoping I can run under a 8 min mile pace for a 10k and beat my 8:19 half-marathon time. An important factor will be interval run training!
  • Lose 10 lbs to a steady 160 lbs. I think this isn’t unreasonable considering I have my own wedding coming up!
  • Hit under a 100 in golf. Haha we’ll see if this is possible.
  • Take 1 hot-yoga class per month, or more. I think this will totally help me unwind from long runs and sweat out any drinking I do on weekends :p.

2. Professional

This year is a bit hard to figure out. On one hand, I’m still very much interested in having a career in research and potentially academia. On the other hand, I understand the challenges of finding a geographical location both my partner and I would live at, with sufficient pay with a fulfilling career. With that in mind, I set a few goals assuming my postdoc will come to an end towards the later half of this year.

  • Finish my JMLR paper on causal discovery across multiple environments.
  • Get MIGHT paper published and also the follow-on maximizing performance at sensitivity at 98% specificity for cancer detection paper. Fingers crossed both go somewhere super high impact.
  • Finish scikit-tree development of hypothesis testing (via OSPO) and causal effect estimation (via VISS Schmidt Futures and OSPO).
  • Write one new paper on causal inference related to either causal discovery, or causal representation learning.
  • Finish series of PRs to add missing-value support for ExtraTrees in scikit-learn.

3. Misc. / Outreach / Societal Impact

  • Schedule 5-6 blood donations this year.
  • Maintain a greater than 600 day streak in Duolingo. Continuing this goal from last year. In addition, hope to schedule a number of lessons in Korean and Chinese before traveling to China/Korea this year!
  • Read 2-3 books this year in my spare time at night. I think realistically, I will aim to read 2-3 new books this year instead of Netflixing at night.