1. Drop body fat level down to 15%. I'm ready for another stab at this goal. In the past couple weeks I've been pretty consistently around 22%, at least when I measure myself in the morning as the scale instructions suggest. In order to get down to 15, I am going to continue doing cardiovascular and weight resistance exercise at least twice a week--three times whenever I can squeeze the third time into my schedule. I'm also going to eat smaller portions and cut down on mindless snacking. The details here may need to get more specific if I don't see any progress as the year goes on.
2. Finish the novel I'm writing and sell it. I'm about 20,000 words into my projected 100,000, but I haven't actually written anything in the past two months. I need to regain the excitement I had a couple months ago and get back into this. If I write at least 20,000 words a month (which translates to a thousand a day with a couple days a week off) I can have the rough draft finished by the end of April. That gives me two months to have the book polished up by the end of June, then the second half of the year to focus on querying agents and editors. I have complete confidence in my ability to finish the book--I've finished five or six before it--but what I've yet to do is actually sell a book. This is the year I'm going to make it happen.
3. Finish school (forever) and get a good job. Finishing school entails making it through the next two quarters of classes--and I hope to not only pass the classes but also get something out of them, which should be helped by the good study skills I finally managed to pick up this past quarter, after seven years of college. I also need to put together the portfolio my program requires in the next couple months, which means not only writing up the handful of experiences I already have but also coming up with and executing some kind of leadership experience related to library and information science. Any ideas? In the meantime, I've begun the hunt for employment and will start sending out resumes in the next week or two. What kind of job I get and where I get it are dependent on a lot of variables, but the goal is, at the end of this year, to be doing something that I enjoy, that provides financial security, and that complements whatever FoxyJ's school/work situation ends up being.
4. Have more compassion. You'll notice I call these "goals" and not "resolutions." I don't like resolutions because they tend to be vague, forgettable, and unmeasurable. This goal looks suspiciously like a resolution, but it is something I genuinely want to work on, even though I'm not sure how to quantify it. I've been reading George S. Pransky's Relationship Handbook, which my therapist recommended to me when I told him that FoxyJ and I were talking about getting back together (after he calmed down and recognized that I was not, in fact, making a huge and horrible mistake). The premise of the book is that therapy, as most therapists currently practice it, is screwed up. Happiness doesn't come from talking about our problems, but rather from recognizing that our "problems" are just products of our thoughts, which come and go depending on our moods. The way to be happy is to build on the thoughts we have when we're in a good mood and dismiss the thoughts that come when we're in a bad mood. Compassion comes into play when we recognize that the same thing is true of everyone else--when our spouse or child or friend does or says something to hurt us, it's because they're in a low mood, not because they really want to hurt us. All too often, I react to FoxyJ's or S-Boogie's or Little Dude's or my own bad moods, causing us all to spiral down into worse moods. As I've tried in the past couple weeks to view myself and others with more compassion and patience, I've been much happier and have been a better father and husband. I would like for this to become a regular part of my life.
I would also like to be able to better explain what this book is all about, as I don't think I've done it justice here. But that's not one of my goals this year. If you're curious you should read the book--it's cheap, short, and very easy to understand and apply (even if not so easy to explain secondhand). One of the reviewers on Amazon.com says that every couple should be required to read this book before getting married or divorced; I second that motion.