Sunday, January 1, 2017

Goals for 2017

This year is going to be an interesting one.  For me personally, the main reason is because I am newly graduated!  This will be the first time I have quite a bit of freedom to decide what I'm going to do in my life.  In the spirit of this freedom, here are my goals for 2017:

Goals For Reading/Blogging

1. Read Up On White Privilege And Race.  I feel that this is a personal responsibility.  As a white person, I have the privilege to ignore the shootings that have been happening around the U.S.  I can pretend that these problems don't exist because I'm not personally experiencing them.  But if I, and others like me, did that, no change will happen.  I want to do this for my students who were scared when they heard the results of the 2016 election.  I want to do this for my students and friends who have to fight for their right to be taken seriously and to stay alive.  It's not much, but at least it's something.

2. Read 40 Books.  This goal is lower than I've usually had.  I will have quite a bit of extra time to read, since I'm not in school any more, but I want to read more for content rather than for quantity of books.  In school, I was swamped with required reading, so the reading that I did for fun, usually it was stories that I could become engaged in, but not always the books that I would be sucked into reading.  I read to think about other things.  This time, the function of my reading will be a bit different than it has been lately.

3. Half Of The Books I Read Will Already Be On My Shelves.  I have fallen into the classic reader trap where I buy a lot of books and then they spend a lot of time on my shelves before I actually get around to reading them (if I get around to reading them).  So I hope to weed through my shelves and find hidden gems.  And even if I find some duds, at least I'll know which books I can take off my shelves to find better homes for.

4. Blog Regularly.  My goal is to put out something once a week, whether that's a post about life or a book review.  Because of the other writing opportunities I have had this past year, this blog has really gone to the wayside.  I'd like to revamp it a bit and get things going again.  Give me a moment to get my life in order post-graduation and then I'll let you know what that regular schedule looks like.

5. Reread Harry Potter.  I have read each book in the series and I have seen the movies more times that I would care to share with you.  But it has definitely been a while since I've cracked the spine of this particular set of books that has changed my life.  I recently re-watched, from start to finish, each of the eight Harry Potter films.  I was taken in by the magic once again and I want to have that with the books.  I have my perspective on the series as a younger person, now I want my adult self to experience Harry.  Maybe I'll attempt to read the books in French or Dutch, since I have both of those sets as well.  It'll be good practice for me.

Goals For Healthy Living

1. Slowly Cut Out Meat And Some Animal Products.  Last Spring, I started my research on being vegetarian when I wrote an article for my university.  I interviewed people to learn more about their personal reasons for being vegetarian or vegan and learned about how they made the change from what most Americans would call a "regular" diet (leaning towards being a true omnivore to carnivore).  The article that came after that, I tried being vegetarian (or more accurately, the occasional pescatarian) for a short period of time.  While the ethics side of eating vegetarian is a great reason for eating this way, I don't think this is reason enough for me to adjust.  Call me selfish, I guess.  But what I noticed during this brief experiment is that I never felt stuffed after I ate (there tends to be fewer calories in vegan/vegetarian food than in meat-based food), there were a lot of options for me as far as things to eat that I actually really liked, and I generally felt good, physically speaking.  I can only wonder what would happen if I tried this experiment again for longer.  I also add the caveat in the title "and some animal products" because I would like to cut down on the amount of dairy that I eat.  Again, it's a physical well-being thing.  This will probably be the most challenging aspect for me, since I love dairy.

2. Get An Exercise Routine With Varied Exercises.  This is something that has popped up on my goals list in the past (and I know I'm not alone), but I have really been having trouble getting my routines to stick.  I do know these things though: I like swimming, yoga, and walking.  I think these will be the varied exercises that I focus on.  I also know this: I'm not trying to become fit or trim for a specific life event.  This past year, my goal was to fit into my wedding dress for my August 2016 wedding.  Once the day of the wedding came and went, my exercise and eating habits went to hell in a hand basket.  This time, I don't have such a life-event.  I'll be working to look and feel better for my own sake.  I'll have to have some safe-guards in place to keep me on track, but I think having that non-life event based goal will help me stick with it.  I'll have to think about a weight goal though.  That is a goal that should absolutely stay.

3. Drink More Water.  I think this will go with wanting to feel better physically, but it also goes with being very conscious that I don't drink nearly enough water.  I have a Nalgene water bottle that I often carry around with me, but I usually reach the bottom of it  in 2-3 days.  Not good... I want to at least work my way up to drinking one full bottle each day.  Progress is progress, I suppose.

4. Remove Useless Crap And Mess.  Over the past few months, I have really been bitten by the cleaning bug.  My house is an absolute mess.  A lot of it has to do with just having too many things.  I want to go through everything I own (kitchen supplies, books, clothes, papers, etc.) and get rid of anything that I haven't used in the last few months.  I want to have a better sense of organization and control in my life.  Why not start with my home?  And since my evenings won't be filled with homework due to being out of school, I think I'll finally be out of excuses and I can work on making this happen.

Goals For Life In General

1. Attempt NaNoWriMo A Couple Times This Year.  The only official National Novel Writing Month is in November, but I also plan to attempt it in January.  I'll have to see what life is like in November (I hope to be teaching full-time, but we'll see what happens), but I'm thinking I could also try Camp NaNoWriMo over the summer.  I believe if there's something you want, it doesn't matter how many times you have fallen in the past, you have to be persistent.  Here's to persistence.

2. Volunteer Regularly.  I don't necessarily need to find one place to volunteer at once a week, but that would be okay.  My main goal is to find a way to give back to my community.  For a while, I think that'll mean giving time rather than giving financially.  But we'll see what I can swing.  A lot can change in a handful of months.

3. Obtain My First Teaching Job.  I have earned my degree, I have a lot of teaching experience already... I'd like to become a better teacher with a class of students of my own.  I've been waiting for this for a really long time.

I think these goals will be enough to keep track of this year.  I hope that the New Year has started out just swimmingly for you and that it only gets better from here!

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