International College Hong Kong
May 27, 2019

Using Human Technologies to Achieve A Personal Goal

Jamie Holden is a Teacher of Mathematics at ICHK

As 2018 started to come to a close, I reflected on the previous year, as most people do, and started to think of the year ahead. Like most years, I was thinking about New Year and setting a New Year’s Resolution.

A New Year’s Resolution, for those who may not be aware, is a Human Technology (HT) that helps a person resolve to change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life. A resolution usually begins on the 1st January.

My resolution, like many others, was initially to lose weight and get fit. A simple enough action one may think, but as an ICHK teacher there was no way that I could, in the words of Nike, ‘just do it’.

Let me set the scene as a young learner at ICHK may. The questions I posed myself are: What technologies have I access to? What previous knowledge do I have? What knowledge do I need? How can I fill any gaps in my knowledge? And, how best can I succeed? gives some pretty sobering statistics on New Year’s Resolutions:

“The statistics on how many people actually follow through and accomplish their New Year’s resolutions are rather grim. Studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.”

From past experience and teaching I know that the best way to be successful is to set a SMART target, a very useful HT, and anti-procrastination device. Instead of my resolution being to lose weight and get fit, I was helped to make it SMART by using the tag “Fit for 40”. This gave me a Timescale of just over a year, it was Specific, Measurable, but I knew for me I must make it Attainable and Relevant. Saying I was going to the gym was not going to work as I have tried it. Holidays break my routine. Running is my least favourite activity, especially from a starting point of being ‘obese’ by most measures. So I looked around and found ‘skipping’ or ‘jump rope’.

This activity has also been recently brought in at ICHK-Hong Lok Yuen as part of ‘Jump Rope for Heart’ in PE lessons, something I saw the results of at a break time recently.

Over the previous year I had seen some Year 10 students carrying out their Personal Fitness program and I was taken aback when I saw a student jumping a rope effortlessly. I remember thinking at the time “I wish I could do that”. I was then again reminded of skipping during the “ICHK’s Got Talent” event. Under the knowledge of Growth Mindset, whilst enjoying watching the event, I knew that each ‘performer’ must have put hours of work and effort into getting to where they are in their particular ‘talent’. So I bought a rope and tried it. My first efforts where poor at best. I tripped myself up, whipped myself and got really tired after only a few jumps.

In Year 9 HT, students have had the opportunity to learn an activity in 14 hours. I have seen students work on music videos, playing the guitar, sewing and completing a Rubik’s Cube and I resolved myself to at least spend this amount of time to try to learn jump rope. I went to the great internet repository Youtube and sought some instruction. Rush Athletics, Zen Dude Fitness and Jump 15 all made great videos to help get started. I created my own ‘Free Learning’ unit essentially.

Another Technology I made use of was Digital. Inspired by the Deep Learning unit ‘Data Driven Fitness’, I bought myself a digital body scale and started tracking my BMI. On the 7th January when my scale arrived my stats were:

  • Weight 93kg

  • BMI 30.7 (Obese 1)

According to the scale I had to get to 84.8kg just to be overweight. *This is from using my measurements and will vary between people. I was going to weigh myself twice a day, morning and evening, to check any progress.

Whilst I was worried by what I saw from the scale, I knew that if I made small changes I could make a difference to my physical wellbeing. A previous colleague said the secret to losing weight was to ‘eat less and do more exercise’. I reduced my portion size and started jump rope. That is it.

My ‘routine’ simply consists of jumping the rope 1000 times. In January, this would take me between 40 and 45 minutes and I might not make the 1000 and have to stop at 800 or wherever I got to. Currently I complete my routine in about 10 minutes. Practice has made me better. I skip every day, but have a rest day once every fortnight to allow for recovery.

My progress has seen me lose around 200g a day (Measurable). This value I also believe is sustainable for me. I did not make huge dramatic changes, just small, manageable  adjustments.

My stats, as of 26 May:

  • Weight 80.3kg

  • BMI 26.5 (Overweight)

My goal is weight of 72 - 74kg and BMI of 18.5 - 24.9. Will I achieve this by the end of the year? That’s what I am working towards. Will I maintain it? Well that might influence the next resolution.


Director of Skipping

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