Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Resolutions

My new year's resolutions always seem to be numerous, even though I know it's best to tackle just one thing at a time.  But there's always so much I want to learn and get better at.  If I only list three things, that means I won't do the other eight -- and I want to improve in those eight areas as well, I think.  So in 2013 I had ten categories of resolutions, with many bullets under each.  The results were subpar at best.

This year I'm taking a different approach, as difficult as that is for me.  I'll focus on three big areas:
  1. Improve health, focus on digestion
  2. Launch health site and post regularly
  3. Do not work a 9-5 job after my teaching contract ends
I'm still working on the details for each, these are actually really poorly worded resolutions in their current state.  The best goals are concrete and very specific.  

Each of these three areas will require research, and that research should help create the specifics.  But for now, here's the vague outline thus far:

1. Improve health, focus on digestion

I have been struggling with a digestive disorder for over nine years, and this is the year I'll conquer it.  Actions include:
  • Read blogs and books about nutrition, IBS, health
  • Complete a nutrition MOOC
  • Pay close attention to what I eat and my body's reaction
  • Try an elimination diet to pinpoint exactly which foods are causing the problems
  • Take probiotics every day
  • Cut out all processed foods
  • Do yoga 3x/week

2. Launch health site and post regularly

JJ and I are both dealing with different health issues.  He's more knowledgeable in body health, whereas I'm better at mind health.  We've decided to start a joint blog where we can document our journeys towards health.  It will also serve as a resource for others, showing them that anyone can attain good health with small, simple steps (once we learn how ourselves!).  We have a lot of work to do before it's up and running.  Note: This goal should help with the first resolution.
  • Read blogs and books about nutrition, IBS, and health.  Write summary posts after reading
  • Write the "about" section of the site
  • Write posts about my health past
  • Establish regular posting schedule
  • Read a how-to Wordpress book
  • Establish twitter and G+ accounts

3. Do not work a 9-5 job after my teaching contract ends (September 2014)

With the internet, it is now possible to work remotely.  From your computer you can write and sell ebooks, edit, write copy, make podcasts, transcribe, be a virtual assistant, create apps, run a website/blog, or sell handmade items -- just to name a few options.  With the influx of new opportunities thanks to new technologies, there's a whole new outlook on work.  Spend time doing what you love doing.  I want to avoid sitting in a desk from 9-5 (unless I absolutely love what I'm doing at that desk), so I'm looking at alternatives to the regular 40-hour week job.

I'm still trying to figure out how to use my skills to help other people, and what product/service I could offer, but I think these actions will help in this endeavor:
  • Re-read The 4-hour Workweek and The $100 Start-up
  • Save at least $10,000 between now and August, so I have wiggle room after my contract ends
  • Explore cultural/travel/teaching opportunities
  • Complete three Code Academy courses: Web fundamentals, PHP, and Ruby
  • Complete 5 Code Academy basic web projects
  • Take a MOOC about either web design/programming/blogging
  • Read Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO
  • Learn as much as I can about web design via ebooks and websites
  • Make an elance profile and apply to 100 jobs
  • Take walks to get ideas flowing

I'm excited at the prospects, but I know I've got lots of hard work to do.  I really like how the three ended up being so intertwined; improvement in one should help the other two.  Also, I've wanted to learn to code/program for a long time, but I've never made it a priority.  I'm thrilled that it will be more of a focus this year, and anxious to see how much I can learn.  I've also thought that learning Wordpress would be a good skill to have, but have been too stubborn to switch either of my blogs from Blogger to Wordpress.  By creating this new health site in Wordpress I'll be forced to learn it, which I'm also pleased about.

- - - -

And just to have them somewhere, here are some other items that I'll keep in mind, but not in the spotlight.  (I really had to hold back to keep this list relatively short):
  • Read 32 books this year (2 in Spanish)
  • Gain strength & muscle, enough that there's a notable difference in a before and after picture
  • Add pull-down tabs to both of my Blogger blogs
  • Walk the Camino de Santiago
  • Visit Hannah and Herm in London
  • Make a Korea bucket list and post it (and do it!)
  • Unplug more often
  • Resume French study
I'll be checking in here at the end of each month again this year, since that really helps to keep me on task.

Have you made any resolutions for the new year?  What do you think of my resolutions?  Have any reading suggestions for me (website, blog, book, other)?
• • •


  1. Have you heard about the google version of elance? It's called helpouts and is done in realtime over google hangouts, depending on the skill sets you want to pimp-out it could be worth a look. (I don't really know that much about them-- I only saw an ad on youtube.)

    Where do you find your MOOCs? I've "enrolled" in about 8 that start in January, so I need to cut that down to a max of two.

    It's not a reading suggestion, but I enjoy the listening to Planet Money and Ask Me Another podcasts while I am cleaning or running.

    I didn't really make resolutions, but general hopes/goals/ideas to keep in my mind over the next while include:
    - read more + watch less TV (to be accomplished by only accessing legitimate media)

    - Physical maintenance/fitness (basically doing the physical therapy exercises that I have let slide + I would like to be able to do a pull up, so work on core and upper-body strength)

    - German (work on Swiss-german vocab using memrise + establish non-english-based relationships)

    - Confidence. I'm moving to a new city/country without the built-in support groups that I have had for past moves (other interns, classmates...) and starting a sweet job that is slightly intimidating. I need to find ways to own this.

    1. Firstly I really appreciate you taking the time to share and comment, Caroline!

      Yes, I just learned of Google Helpouts in December, and whoever came up with that use of Hangouts is a genius! Thanks for suggesting it - I'm now on the waiting list, I'll figure out if it's a worthy pursuit for me if a spot opens up (aka what skill I would offer).

      I find MOOCs mostly on Coursera, though I think the best ones are on Udacity (less to choose from there, though). I took a statistics class on Udacity a couple of years ago and I was so impressed with the quality. I've been unimpressed with some Coursera classes, but they have a huge variety. I've browsed but don't think I've taken one of theirs yet. What are yours through?

      Thanks for the podcast recommendations -- I was just thinking the other day that I wish I had a podcast recommendation, instead of spending hours browsing. I wanted to be listening to something when I was cleaning and cooking, but didn't know what to put on. I'll check them out!

      Nice goals! Do you have a kindle/e-reader? Memrise is so great, I just learned of it this fall when I was looking for Korean study materials. You are going to own your move and job in so many ways! (Is there ultimate nearby?) Email me your new address when you've got it so I can send some snail mail, please!

    2. I've only completed coursera courses (Game Theory, Biostats and International Organizations), but I checked out Udacity and like how you can do the coursework whenever you want-- I never really used the interactive features of coursera.

      I have a basic kindle and really like it for traveling, commuting, and when I am abroad, but I haven't touched it since I've been in the US and have had access to the local library system. I'm thinking of trading up to a paperwhite,

      I'll let you know my address,once I find a place to live (send me yours as well)! I recently registered for a hat tournament in Switzerland with and interesting application process. It is done via snail mail (you send them an amusing postcard with your name, ranking, email address, etc). As for a nearby ultimate team, there are like 3 in the city, so it is matter of feeling out who will have me. I met a few local players at tournaments last year, so I may just contact them to get a better picture of the scene.

  2. In some weird burst of motivation, I actually devised some resolution-type bullet-pointed lists for 2014. They are probably too numerous, but I have 9 categories (food, music, exercise, read, blog, social, internet, household, reflection), and I have daily and weekly goals in order to improve in those areas. To facilitate this, I'm trying to write down as much as I can. Each day, write down the day's goals, and each night, tally what I've accomplished. (My meta-goal for the year is to write/journal for every single day of the year.) So even if I don't succeed in some goals, I will have met the meta-goal, and I will be able to review the year in full after it's all said and done...

    1. Nice! If it gets too overwhelming, maybe you could focus on one category per month? Then by the end of the month the goals will become habits, so you can focus on the new area without losing progress. Writing daily goals/progress seems like a great way to stay on track and document the year!