This is my New Year Resolution post for 2013. I’ve started it off with some rules for making resolutions that I learned at my last job. Feel free to use these rules to make a set of goals for yourself, or to just think about how to write goals (without constantly moving the goal posts ans I am wont to do) that are achievable and reasonable. There are a lot of things on my list because I have a lot of things that I want to remember to do and think about in the coming year and I plan to use this list to keep track of them and to refer to regularly throughout the year.
Rules for making resolutions:
- It shall be a concrete goal (i.e. no “I want to be a better person” type goals)
- It shall be trackable in some way. Progress shall be able to be noted
- It shall be achievable and checked by a disinterested party for reasonableness and achievability
Types of resolutions:
- Daily (near-daily) items. These are small changes to make in order to form healthy habits. In this context, health can be physical, intellectual, emotional, or social. Examples of socially healthy habits to form are doing the dishes before bed daily, or folding the laundry when it is dry and not waiting for my wife to fold it.
- Weekly items are things that should be considered on a regular basis, again with a goal of healthy habit-forming, but also a goal of self-improvement in any of the above categories.
- Long term goals for the year. Self explanatory.
- Should be done periodically throughout the year and adjustments made to the goals based on these goal assessment and progress and any changes (life events, etc) that may impact them.
- Should be honest and reflect both positive progress and stumbling blocks.
My Goals for 2013, summary:
Below are my resolutions in the above categories. Note that I very much dislike the word resolution and would prefer to call these short and long term goals coupled with ongoing things of which to be more mindful. Note that I did not include any negative goals here. I am focused on what I will do, and positive changes that I can make rather than negative aspects. This list is here to help me, not to make me feel bad about myself. Reassessment and revision is an important step in any big systems engineering project.
Category 1 Near-daily: These are the easiest to write down and should also be the easiest to do.
- Floss. I started this one in October so maybe it no longer counts as a 2013 New Year’s resolution, but I am still flossing almost daily and my teeth and gums feel really nice these days. It also only takes a few minutes, makes me feel that I am doing something good for my health, is actually good for my health, and has no bad aspects as far as I can tell. In fact, googling “cons of flossing” results only in discussions of which type of floss (or waterpik) is better, rather than any negative aspects of the act of flossing itself. So this year I will continue to floss on a near-daily basis (missing a day every once in a while is considered to be within the noise and not a reason for self castigation or flagellagion. This goal is physical (for my health) and emotional (makes me feel good).
- Fold the laundry when it is dry. Part of the challenge of living in a small apartment with no balcony and no clothes dryer is that our clean, wet clothes end up on a big rack in the middle of the living room. While I am quite adept at starting loads of laundry and pretty good at taking the damp clothes out of the washer and hanging them up to dry, I often skip this last step entirely. While I would like to be a person who does all the things, I’m not, and I understand that changes must be deliberate and not impossible to effect. That is why I am choosing laundry over dishes. I’m not sure I’d succeed at any goal that stated, “Do all the dishes before going to bed.” That would be setting myself up for failure and that is not the point of this exercise. So, folding the laundry. This goal is emotional and social (makes me feel good and also is something I will do to help the wife as we take care of our home together).
- Footwork. This is mainly martial arts, but can also apply to running, biking, and swimming. Each year, I try to pick one aspect of training and focus on that specific thing for the year. For example, one year it was posture (I probably need to redo that one sometime soon). This year the focus will be more mindful and exact footwork as I have a tendency to just let my feet land wherever they happen to be at the end of my legs. In swimming, this will help with kicking, running will also be affected by thinking more about foot strike and turnover and by martial arts, I will work on removing a lot of those extra little steps that I tend to add everywhere. This goal is physical and intellectual (Making me think about the physical a little more but with a specific and directed focus.)
- Go to bed. I have been having more difficulty sleeping lately than usual and for some of the big goals for this year and one of my worst habits is falling asleep downstairs on the couch instead of in bed. So, at night, when the wife brushes her teeth and gets ready for bed, I will also brush my teeth and get ready for bed. I will consider this to be successful if I get ready for bed within 30 minutes of her going to bed. This does not mean that I won’t watch TV on the iPad in bed, read in bed, take the computer and write blog posts in bed, or engage in other activities to help me fall asleep or quiet my mind when I can’t fall asleep, but I will be in the right place to fall asleep at the right time of day. This goal is physical (better for my health, important for triathlon training), intellectual (brain function is improved by getting enough sleep), emotional (the bed is comfortable and is a soothing place to be, I don’t feel guilty for not joining my spouse that I love and love being near), and social (I will disturb her less with quiet reading in bed than with leaving all the lights on, making noise in the bathroom, and all the other things that happen in the middle of the night when I don’t get to bed at a reasonable hour.
Category 2 Weekly: Some of these are easy, some are difficult, some appear easy but aren’t, some appear difficult, but aren’t. It is left to the reader as an exercise to determine which is which.
- Clean weapons. All my wooden weapons that I use regularly shall be checked over and oiled and wiped down once a week. Sunday, Monday, or Wednesday are the best days for this. Wooden weapons that I don’t use regularly and my iaito should be wiped down and cleaned once a month. (Emotional goal).
- Martial arts practice. Three times a week. This can be as simple as 10 minutes of sword cuts in the morning. This goal may move to the daily category when I reassess in a months. 10 minutes a day is barely more than flossing. (Physical goal).
- Science. Regardless of other work that I am doing for super secret goal #1, read one science paper a week. This includes reading the paper, and writing a short summary of it. (Intellectual goal).
- German. Read 2 articles in German every week. These can be about anything and be of any length. Listen to 1 radio program a week in German. Write at least 200 words in German every week. These can be emails, notes about the articles, letters, blog posts, anything as long as it is in German. (Intellectual goal).
- Writing. Blog, fiction, science writing, whatever. At a minimum, 1000 words a week that isn’t just emails and Facebook updates. (Intellectual, emotional, and social goal).
- Marriage. Plan and do something every week together that is not a sporting activity. This can be cooking together, going out to dinner, going for walks, going to the movies, museums, bike rides (touring, not training), sauna, other, really anything that we enjoy together without the internet and without a training plan. (Emotional and social goal.)
Category 3 Long Term: My major concrete goals for the year. I’ve put a completion month after each. I don’t think this list should be longer than 12 items, one for each month, although it doesn’t have to be that long.
- Ironman Frankfurt. July 7.
- Suspended sediment paper. End of January.
- Frankfurt Marathon in less than 4 hours. October 27.
- Prepare for B2 or C2 German exam. (note that taking the exam is not important, but that getting to the point where taking either of them would not be a problem to pass is the goal. It’s still unclear which, if any, I might need and since they cost a lot to take, I might not actually take either one). March.
- Get the cats to the vet for their annual check up. August.
- Get myself to the vet for annual check up. September.
- Get matching wedding rings. Through some unforeseen events, we currently don’t have matching ones and we would like to. December.
- Get the fillings that the dentist says need replacing replaced. April.
- Living room and bathroom revision. I finished the kitchen then lost focus. June.
- Super secret goal. More on this later.
That’s it for me. Happy New Year, I hope that it started well. I’ll post my 2012 reflections in the next few days.