I enjoy setting goals, and find that even when I don’t reach them, I tend to do better than I would have without the goals. Here’s what I resolved to do in 2013 and how it worked out:
– Don’t work after 6 pm (for my job). Based on my current work schedule, I might actually be able to manage this.
Verdict: Partially met. There’s no way this is ever going to happen at the very end of the quarter, but most of the time I did a pretty good job. However, my evenings have started filling up with cadaver dissection and Mandarin class, so it’s hard to avoid late prep work.
– Do weight bearing exercise at least twice a week. I renewed my gym membership and started this week. My muscles are sore, but I feel great. The hot tub and nice shampoos at my gym are great motivation to get through a few more reps.
Verdict: I did well during the first half of the year. A friend joined my gym and we went together. However, things got busy during the summer and I slacked off a lot.
– Cook at least twice a week. It’s really sad that I don’t do this already.
Verdict: Better than last year, but some weeks it still doesn’t happen. I cook a lot more when work is not busy. I did try a lot of new recipes this past year and started using the Pepperplate app, which lets me import my favorite recipes, scale the servings up or down, and add ingredients from specific recipes to a grocery list accessible on my phone.
– Do something inspiring every week, preferably something that gets me out of the house or involves other people. This would include things like going to Town Hall Seattle or Ignite, author readings, musical performances, book groups, or reading poetry with friends.
Verdict: This worked for a very short time, but once a week is definitely too often. With Mandarin class one evening and cadaver another, plus some evenings at the gym and tea club once or twice a month, there aren’t a lot of days left.
– Learn a new piano piece every month. Right now I’m working on Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind.
Verdict: Terrible. I did get pretty good at playing New York State of Mind, but that’s about it.
Overall, it was a good year. I built a large corner raised bed and we hired someone to build a patio and stairs down into our yard. I recaulked the bathtub. I got some experience interviewing for two full time tenure track positions, and was a finalist for one of them. I read a lot of great books and started regularly listening to audiobooks during my commute. I flossed my teeth almost every day, which was a major feat. I made about $10K more than I did in 2012. My students gave me a thoughtful group Thank You note on the day of their final exam, and they weren’t even trying to suck up to me. I went camping a few times. I joined two ultimate frisbee teams and played regularly, and I drank lots of good tea with good friends.
So what are my goals for 2014?
Do an inspiring group activity at least twice a month. I haven’t been to Town Hall Seattle or Ignite for awhile, and I’m missing them. This is slightly less ambitious (due to frequency) than last year, but should be more realistic.
Build a reading nook above the fireplace (I’ve been planning this for awhile).
Do at least 30 min. of one of the following every day: Practice Mandarin, practice piano, clean the house, work on a MOOC (massive open online course).
Make a budget and evaluate my spending, investments, and net worth at least once a month. I recently started using Personal Capital, which should help.
Donate 5-10% of my income to well-researched charity or nonprofit organizations.
Visit China and/or Taiwan, or at least plan our trip and set dates.
Keep a daily classroom journal documenting what is and isn’t working.
Make at least 1 major change in my class(es) and evaluate its effectiveness.
Have a 5-10 minute one-on-one interaction with every student at least once every 2 weeks.
Exercise 3x a week (ultimate frisbee, gym, long walk, etc.)
Cook or eat leftovers at least 4x a week.
Blog every week.
Update my website to create a consistent look, and make a decision about migrating class materials to Canvas.
We’ll see how it goes! If you have a good way to track your progress towards goals, feel free to share. I tried a couple of goal tracking apps last year, but never found anything perfect.