My New Year’s resolutions

This is a follow-up to my magnum opus on setting and meeting your goals wherein I don’t necessarily follow my own advice.

Here are my resolutions for 2012:

1. Don’t buy any new clothes. Period. I don’t even want to phrase this in a positive way because I really want to lay the smack down on my inner clothes fiend. Maybe I can break this rule in an emergency, but then it had better be like “I lost my luggage in a foreign country AND some wayward youths stole the pants I was wearing.” I have more clothes right now than I have ever had in my life and I work in an office where people regularly fail to keep their shoes on. Impulse purchases are killing my budget and the only person who notices what I am wearing is my colorblind friend
2. Borrow books from the library once a week. I have a library card and a Nook, but I compulsively buy books from Amazon and the local book fair like a madwoman. I can’t even keep up with me. It’s become another budget decimator, but why buy the book when you can get the text for free?

Credit: Free images from

3. Finish two creative non-fiction pieces per month. I have been getting up to write at 5 a.m. off and on for a few months now. I’ve started a couple of pieces and really enjoyed the activity, but I need to focus on finishing them because I want to get published. I don’t think “getting published” is a realistic goal, however, because I can’t guarantee it and I can’t put a deadline on it.
4. Study Chinese. I want to spend 15 minutes a day writing on Skritter and 15 minutes a day reviewing flashcards on my phone using Anki. This won’t be hard to do because I already spend a lot of random time (waiting in line, waiting for meetings to start, hanging out in the bathroom) studying. Also, I can take the HSK (a standardized test for people learning Chinese) 4 in March and prepare for the HSK 5 in October. I would also like to watch more Chinese TV and Chinese movies, which should be easy because I already feel like I watch too much TV as it is: I’ll just transition to watching Chinese stuff, and the guilt will be alleviated AND I’ll be studying my second favorite language.
5. Cook at home more often. I especially want to cook more of the stuff that can be frozen and eaten later, like curries and stir fries. This will allow me to have more control over my diet and I’ll be able to save money by not eating out so much. Cooking at home also requires me to actually go home after work, which will give me more of the downtime that I need to commit to my other creative projects.

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6. Get to work at 8 a.m. every morning and write a to-do list as soon as I get there. I really like my job, but I get distracted every morning by writing, Facebook, the pile of dishes from the night before, and my hair. I have been cruising in at just before 9 for the past few weeks, and it’s not entirely kosher. Furthermore, my attention drifts when I haven’t been specifically tasked with something, so I’ll transition from completing whatever was due that day to reading Slate and Toothpaste for Dinner. A solid to-do list keeps me on track and even helps me feel better. If I come home knowing I worked for eight hours and got a lot done, I feel a lot better than I do on those days when I feel like I spent my day keeping my desk chair warm.
7. Run a half-marathon in April. I’ve been running pretty regularly since June, and I think I can be ready for a half-marathon in April without too much trouble. It was a happy accident that I started running just to get some exercise and found out that I liked it. I almost feel like I’m cheating by putting this on my list because I’m so confident I’m going to do it and in about 2h10m, which is a good pace for me. I can’t wait to be able to cross it off the list when I’m done and then I’ll add another big race for the fall to keep me going.

I also want to post on this blog daily, but for a long time I’ve been committed to my favorite three labors of love and those are running, writing, and studying Chinese. If the blog distracts me too much from them or work, I will not hesitate to give it a swift kick in the ass.


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