Saturday, 10 January 2015

Resolutions, reminders, goals

It's the beginning of a new year, which means blogs and websites are flooded with new years resolutions. I don't really believe in new years resolutions and most of the ones that I came across were pretty silly (e.g. jumping off of the highest diving board at a swimming pool). If there is one list that everyone should read it's this one: Resolutions for a (Mentally) Healthier New Year.

I have a list. Not a list of resolutions, but a list of reminders.

I try to reassess my life on a fairly regular basis, a few times a year. Splitting it up means I can keep an eye on whether I'm doing OK and making progress. If something is not working I can start over and try another way of achieving the same result. It also helps me to keep the balance when my circumstances change - for instance, everything has been turned on its head when I started the PhD. I moved, I got even busier than before and I am already experiencing the infamous two body problem. But I can still look at my list and remind myself what I want my life to be like.

Anyhow, in the spirit of the new year I am going to post some of the things I have on the list.

Climb regularly. I need to fix my climbing schedule. I used to climb 2-3 times a week, but since the move in September I have been struggling to establish a proper climbing routine, so this needs correcting. I would like to climb at least once per week. Part of the problem is how far the wall is from my house/work.

Exercise regularly. This normally gets covered by climbing. Since distance is making it harder to climb I'm thinking of including some other activity - fitness classes, maybe pilates? I made plans to try a weekly "Body Balance" class with a friend.

Draw. When I was young I used to draw and paint quite a bit. I was never amazing at it, but it's one of those activities that can take your mind off of everything else. A while back I bought a graphics tablet and tried drawing/painting digitally (emulating natural media) in an attempt to get back into it but without the need to buy and store supplies (and without the mess too!). I need to work it into my schedule again.

Read (for pleasure). I used to read all the time. All the time. Not so much recently, at least not things unrelated to my work - I need to fix that! I love fiction and it would be a good break from biology-related reading. I am hugely impressed by what Eva achieved in 2014. She read over 90 books last year!

Socialise. I'm not naturally the most social person, I am perfectly happy by myself drawing, reading or going for a walk. Seeing that I have moved and know hardly anyone over here I am trying to make an effort and make some friends.

Meal plan. I used to do some meal planning with my partner and it worked really well, making shopping and cooking a lot easier and helping to reduce waste. Since I moved and started commuting regularly to see my partner my cooking has been rather ad hoc, as I don't spend all nights at my flat.

Culture. I want to take advantage of where I live - I'll make a list of things that need to be done in the city and start ticking them off.

Meditation. Try it. People seem to keep talking about it. Who knows, maybe I'll like it.

Cooking & Baking. Schedule time for some culinary fun. Maybe even sign up for a course to learn something new? Baking was my go-to de-stresser during undergrad exams. I always joked that opening a bakery was my Plan B. I want to get back into it; cookies and breads, here I come.

Blogging. I have been failing miserably at regular blogging and Twitter. I want to get back to it. I probably have to schedule it in or it won't happen.

I think it's pretty obvious that the main challenge since I started my PhD is time; some things don't happen as easily and naturally as they used to. I will have to actually schedule "me time" and relaxing activities in order to make sure that I keep at them instead of getting sucked into the vortex of pointless procrastination and hermit life. I will come up with strategies and actionable ways of achieving all of the above and staying on track. I will set little goals and review them regularly - weekly and monthly.

Work related plans?

Shut up & Write sessions! There are none in my department as far as I can tell, so I want to set up some. Hopefully I can find some folk who will be interested :] I also want to play some more with different types of working schedules.


  1. All the best with your plans for 2015 - I like the idea of writing down what is important in life, and reminding yourself regularly of this list

    1. Thanks :] I guess that those reminders then turn into resolution-like action plans, but I still dislike the "new year resolutions", probably just because I associate them with silliness!