I just realized that my motivation for working out (I never liked going to the gym) is a lot similar to how I approach studying.

I mean, “getting into shape” as a goal is similar to “gaining knowledge” as a goal.
And “be better at networking/python/whatever” is a lot like “be more healthy/eat better.”
Either way, too broad, or vague, you may start doing random stuff and after a certain time, you realize that you haven’t been doing anything for 3 months.

You can set certain milestones, like reaching a number on a scale, or achieving some specific certification. And while you now have a measurable goal in mind, you still have to figure out how to get there.

I recently learned that I don’t know how to rope-jump, I just… couldn’t. On 12th and 14th of November, I made some attempts, but on the 15th I set down a goal, and a plan:

  • Goal: Be able to rope-jump for 10 minutes straight with very few or no breaks, before Easter 2024.
  • Plan: Create a 20-minute routine, where 10 minutes are assigned to rope jumping, and practice at least 3 times a week.
    • And since I have access to gym at work, bring workout gear with me to work every day, so if I suddenly have some free time and in a good mood, I can jump [pun intended] down to the gym and practice.
    • (And using some YouTube material to learn the proper technique.)

In a way, I do the same thing for work-related stuff & studying, for example when I wanted to learn how to use python to interact with APIs, I looked at the APIs for the products I worked a lot with at the time, Cisco ISE, Firepower, AMP4E, PAN-OS, and identified a small set of actions that I want to be able to do using python.
Then I set aside time for studying, in short intervals, where half of the time was spent for linear/general learning (books, videos, learning paths, etc) and half of the time was spent finding out how do achieve this one specific thing.
And like bringing my workout gear with me to work, I try to keep my studying environment (IDE, eBooks, video references etc) in such a way that I get start quickly if I suddenly find time and motivation outside of my scheduled/pre-allocated time.

Now, I’m on my 7th week of rope-jumping exercises, and not only have I seen a lot of improvement while rope-jumping, but in other aspects of my life as well, such as what I consume(candy etc), sleeping habits, and general well-being.
All this other, un-planned, progress, helps me motivate myself to keep on going.

Likewise, when I’m able to use my newly acquired python+API, or ansible/netmiko/etc. skillset to assist with or complete a task, it motivates me to keep studying.

At the same time I’m not going to forget that there will be multiple failures during all of this.
I don’t know how often I’ve whipped my feet or head with my jump-ropes, and I’ve also tried to use a newly acquired skill to solve a problem only to realize it’s not the correct approach at all. (Or I’ve made a mistake and made things worse…)