Thursday, April 23, 2009

Goals for the Year

So last week, I turned 29. As I mentioned last year, I don't really dig resolutions of the Jan 1st variety--I prefer to let the goals come when it feels right. And right now, it feels right. But first, a recap/update on my goals from last year.

On the whole, this was a bad year, goal-wise. I didn't think that it was possible, but my life seems to have kicked into a new, higher gear this past year. This forced me to re-prioritize a bit, and one needs only look at the state of my kitchen, blog, and waistline to see the effects. But I'm giving away the ending...

First, the shameful:
run/swim/bike a triathlon: This goal did NOT happen. Moreover, it's not going to happen anytime soon. And I'm ok with that. It turns out that I'm just not that interested in triathlons. I like the idea of it. But the reality is totally unappealing--any sport that requires you to practice putting on your shoes is not for me. Besides, if I wanted to work really hard at something I'm naturally bad at, I would learn a new language. Or teach myself to juggle.

bike a century: This also did not happen. Not even close. I did accomplish one of the subgoals of this goal--I fixed my bike's drive train. Good news is, I've already been on my bike several times this spring--which is several times more than I was on my bike last year! Bad news is, my bike partner-in-crime is graduating and moving on to bigger and better things (ok--maybe that's not really bad news--congrats, Ann!), and without a riding partner to spur me on, I doubt I'll be able to motivate myself for a really long distance ride.

climb a 5.10: Again, not so much. Turns out that writing a dissertation is somewhat incompatible with finding time to exercise. But I'm thinking about taking a climbing technique class this summer, so who knows?

show my photos in a gallery in Ann Arbor: I'm terrible at this stuff--self-promotion is really hard for me, and getting a gallery show is all about self-promotion. I made some lame stabs this last year, but nothing substantial. I'm hoping to enter The Shadow Art Fair this year, which would kind of count.


Now the slightly less shameful:

take care of my back: I did ok with this. I didn't make my (perhaps overly optomistic) goal of daily core exercise, but I have had markedly fewer relapses this year, and I've learned much better how to keep myself in alignment.

go on the job market: Um. I went on the job market...I just didn't get a job. That counts, right? Seriously though, my job market process this year went through more pointless twists and turns than a Season 2 episode of Heros. Some of those twists were my fault, others were out of my control. On the plus side, going on the market halfway last year has set me up perfectly for my full on attack this year. I'm calling it Job Market II: Kate's Revenge.

And now, lest you think I'm a total slob, the successes!

take all of my (important) pills: I have been really good this year. I still have an occasional lapse, but nothing to get in a twist about. And I feel good.

finish a second paper
: Holy crap! I actually finished this one! And it's good too!

get married
: Score!


Also, here's a list of things I didn't list as goals last year, but accomplished anyway:
Set a personal record for distance hiked in one day (~20 miles)
Went to a new country (the Czech Republic)
Adopted a little fuzzy asshole
Planted a successful community garden plot
Presented at a prestigious conference
Taught a short course
Gave an invited talk
Was paid to take photographs
Won a photography contest
Came within a whisker of getting my dream job


When you put it that way, it wasn't such a bad year. However, the disconnect between what I actually accomplished and what my goals were has made me rethink what makes a useful goal. This year, I'm going with broader goals, which have many possible pathes to fufillment. We'll see how that works out.

Get a job or move on: This is the big one this year. I've decided that this is my last year in graduate school. I will get a job that I want in my field, or I will move on and do something else.

Submit one paper for publication: Pretty self-explanatory. The publication process in economics takes forever. I need all the time I can get.

Drafts of two other papers: The two candidate papers at the moment are both coauthored (yay!). One is with my advisor. The other is with my officemate. I'm looking for real paper drafts--not just results!

Prioritize Exercise: One of the things I let slide most this past year was exercise. In the past 2 years, I've gone from Amazon to lump. I've gained a size, my knees hurt, and I have no energy. This is totally unacceptable! I have several strategies for this. I'm planning to take at least one exercise class at the University per semester. I'm back on my bike, and I'm hoping to start riding regularly, even if it's only short distances. I've also started weightlifting again. I need to figure out some way to keep that interesting and learn more. Any other (low/no cost) ideas?

Eliminate anything I don't use from my house: We have way too much stuff. Garage sale this summer, followed by a trip to the recycle center!

Spend less free time staring at a computer screen: Part of the reason I don't have time for things I love is that I spend my down time surfing the web or watching TV. I've already made progress towards doing more away from the computer. I want to do more!

Acheive more balance in my life: This is related to everything else above. If I spend too much time working or thinking about work, then my brain stops working well. And if I spend less time staring at a computer/TV screen, then I should have more time for those things that exercise the non-research parts of my brain--photography, art, music, gardening.

Eat more cake: I figured I needed at least one that I'd be able to acheive.

1 comment:

Althea said...

You should see if Jonas the engineering professor is teaching any aerobics classes at the rec center. He is superlatively awesome. He will make you love aerobics. He will make you drop a pants-size (at least, he did for me.) Okay, I'm done.