Monday, December 31, 2012

New Month's Resolutions

I'm sure I'm not alone in the yearly battle with New Year's resolutions.  It's a new year, so I should come up with some fantastic goals for a year's scale!  Then by the end of January (by the end of January 1, even), you've completely forgotten what goals you set for yourself, and completely forgotten to care.

I always wrote down my resolutions somewhere I could find them later (my journal, usually), so that by the end of the year I could look back and see if I accomplished them.  You know, see if I happened to do what I told myself I'd do but forgot to put any effort into doing.  Sometimes, I succeeded.  For instance, when I said "volunteer", I'd already submitted an application for a volunteer position I'd wanted for years... and I've always wanted to try ballroom dancing so the year that was my goal... well, I got an opportunity and took it.  Note that in both those situations, though, the solution was thrown at me, or at least something that was ridiculously easy to obtain.

Otherwise, there were two main problems with my resolutions, probably the same problems most people have.  Problems that made it weird to look back a year later and say "I told myself I'd do that?"

First, many of my resolutions weren't year-long goals.  They are things that I intend to accomplish by, say, July.  So when next December rolls around, I look back and go "hmmmm... well that was a while ago".  A couple years ago, I put my Gold Award on my resolution list.  Come winter break of my first year of college, and finishing my Gold Award had happened... soooooo long ago.  It'd be the same if I made a resolution for this year to be "graduate" or "find a job".  A good thing to work at for the next couple months, but really not worth a whole year's resolution.

Other goals were immediate desires.  One year, I had "learn yo-yo" on my resolution list.  Needless to say, I stopped caring about learning yo-yo, and its not like the level of expertise I wanted was worth spending more than a week or two on anyways.  Etc.

The biggest issue with my New Year's resolutions, though, is that so many of them are too ephemeral, and don't come with an actual course of action.  This is the problem with the classic "lose weight" and "exercise more" type goals.  Except mine are even worse, since there are some set courses of action for losing weight and being more active.  One resolution I had, two years ago, was "embrace adventure".


No seriously.  Wat?

I have a different idea this year.  Let's see if it holds.  (Trust me... it probably won't.  But worth thinking about anyways).  Recently I watched a TED talk about 30 Day Challenges, which you should all watch, because it's short and inspiring.  The basic premise is picking something you want to do and then doing it for 30 days.  A month isn't that long, so even crazy things could be a challenge (don't buy anything is a common one).

I'm considering picking a new challenge or two each month this year, just to see how it goes.  Unfortunately, I'm halfway through break right now, and had a couple goals for break I'm already working on, so those may be my goals for right now.

1. Knit a sweater (will be done by the end of break)
2. Obtain basic knowledge of HTML and CSS, which is happening thanks to Codecademy

New goals for January?
How about getting a post here and a post on Unintended Nachos each week.
And since I really need to do it, getting some job research done.  Maybe applying for some things.

Anyone else want to join me in having New Month's resolutions each month?  Got any fun ideas for New Month's goals?  Let me know!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Now that I'm done with (and have passed!) thesis...

1. You can expect a lot more blog posts.  I have ideas brewing again, finally.

2. If you want to read my thesis, you can do so here:

3. If you don't want to read my thesis, you should still read my acknowledgements, because I enjoyed writing them.


I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped me write this thesis.

First, to my readers, Professors Matt Delmont and Mary Cardenas, for their support and encouragement in this process, and for reminding me at optimal moments that my thesis wasn’t about to write itself.

To the unofficial readers who were willing to dive into my paper and provide me useful feedback just to help a friend: Jake, Nina, Amanda, Emily, Mariam, Mom, Tyler, Greg and Rachel.  It wouldn’t have gotten to this point without your ideas and advice.

To Scott and Jacob, for stress relieving pun breaks, breaded cats, and general suitemate love whenever I needed it.

To Cecily and Josh, because it isn’t a party without you.

To Grant, for warding off my writers block and always making me laugh.  I’m glad you got over your fear of hurdles, and I hope you can find your watch in time.

To Dave, because even though you weren’t around to see me write a thesis, I know you would have been rooting for me the whole way.

And finally, to my parents, not only for believing in me, but reminding me that I have plenty of reasons to believe in myself.  Thank you for all of your love and support.