So having last year declared that I would be breaking my usual habits to set some New Year’s Resolutions, I find myself once again considering a new set of goals for the year ahead – perhaps I am establishing some new habits. Before getting onto that however, I think a quick evaluation of last year’s targets would be useful.
Last year I set myself three targets – to run more, to improve my time-management, and to stop drinking Coca-Cola. One I achieved, one I sort of achieved and the other I completely failed at.
As detailed in this blog post, very early in the year I set out my steps to improve my time-management – these essentially boiled down to detailed long-term and short-term planning. I’m really pleased with this system and whilst I don’t always stick to my plans, I find I have a lot more purpose and sense of urgency in what is a long term project. I have even taken the long term planning to a new degree (having to manage many simultaneous projects) and I’ve began gantt-charting. Between that and my weekly planning, I seem to be filling my time well although I do tend to underestimate the time some activities will take.
I have started to run more, but not at all to the extent I would like. I did join a club at the beginning of 2014 but a move to a new area has meant I am on the hunt for another. This also brought about another acclimatisation period, learning the area and new routes etc. I did also begin to race again. Three cross-country races in beautiful London parks certainly helped to regain my appetite for running.
And for Coca-Cola. Well. It’s just too tasty and my will power in too short supply. I don’t have many vices, this may just have to be one.
And for this year then. In many cases it is more of the same but with greater focus. I am sticking to two big but manageable targets this year:
- Focus more on my PhD. I am extremely lucky to be working on a topic I love and in a discipline I have such enthusiasm for. Whilst this enthusiasm has been great in fuelling my passion, opening up opportunities and fostering my curiosity – I have perhaps been too gung ho about taking on side projects and running through the doors which have been opened for me. These side projects inevitable mount up, take up more time that you originally thought and end up being the main occupier of your time. This is certainly the case for me, since beginning my PhD officially in October, I have done very little on the PhD. All of these side projects are coming to a head now though and I finally have the time to probably concentrate on the PhD (much to my supervisors delight). It will be a case of some focussed finishing and then learning to say ‘no’ ‘not this time’ and ‘afraid not’. Doing academic activities is such a joy but it is my PhD that will actually allow me to be an academic. My priorities need to readjust.
- Run more, much more. A continued goal this time but one I must tackle with greater focus. I want to run more and every time I get out, I remember how much I love running. I need to make running my habit again, something I just do rather than something I struggle to fit in and find the motivation for. So to do this I have three sub-goals. Firstly I want to join a running club. Secondly I want to run another half marathon. And thirdly, I want to run 1000 miles in 2015. That works out as about 20 miles a week. This is a very achievable goal but as I am not aiming for any particular distance or records, it is just as case of getting into the habit of running. To this ends, I have recently joined Strava to track and map my running. If you want to follow my activities you can so here: http://www.strava.com/athletes/6319055
So it should be another exciting year – now to get on with it …