2012 goals, so far

Every few months seems like a good time to check in on goals, so this is that! I like Facebook notes because they keep me accountable and I like feedback. So here goes, a list of goals and how they’re coming:

Goals

1) Weight maintenance. This has been successful so far. I’m now at 98.6 pounds lost (a number that recently got bigger not because I suddenly lost a lot more, but I realized I had lost some weight even before starting Lose It). I’m continuing to write all of my food into my Lose It app and while sometimes it takes me a little longer to getting around to doing it (such as an hour after I eat), I’m still very consistent. I’m usually over calories (sometimes by a lot), but somehow I don’t seem to be gaining weight, which suggests that my metabolism has gotten higher or maybe I’m overestimating calories. Either way, I seem to be okay on that. I’m very close to having lost 100 pounds, and I can’t help but want to get to that number. Seems silly to get to 98.6 and stop there (especially because I’m such a fan of Monk) ;D So I do believe that I’m going to try to reach 100, but probably without actually switching my Lose It plan to losing weight. I’m going to probably stay on the maintenance plan, but just try to eat slightly less and move slightly more. I’m in no hurry. 🙂

2) Reading Russian. I’m reading 2 pages of my translated copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban every night, and I’m pretty good about staying on top of that. I’ve found that if I skip a day and have to make up the pages the next day, it’s too overwhelming because 2 pages is the perfect amount of “foreign” reading to do in one sitting (it takes me about 10-15 minutes). My goals with this are to get faster at reading of course, and also to be able to glance at a word and instantly see what it says. I’ve noticed that I do that with English; I just look at the whole word and recognize it, but for most Russian words I have to actually read the letters individually. So that’s one marker (albeit one that’s difficult to quantify) that I’m looking for to tell me I’ll have made progress. I’m on page 220 now, at 2 pages/day I can finish it by the end of the year. I’m not sure if that’s enough reading to make major progress by the end of the year, but it should certainly make a dent.

3) Knees. For those of you who don’t know, I have problems with my knees (likely the result of years of carrying around too much weight) that make it so that sometimes for a period of several days or several weeks, I wear a knee brace (you usually can’t see it though because it’s thin and under my jeans) and have to completely avoid stairs. My mom gave me a list of physical therapy exercises for my knees, and I’ve been trying to do them every night, but the problem is I hate them. I’m not sure if I should push myself with these exercises or find some better ones, but I do know that it’s important to do these exercises that are supposed to help my knees. I’ll need to come back to this one.

4) Cleaning my room. This one became one of my goals just about a week ago. My room was a MESS like you wouldn’t believe (but I took some “before” pictures for proof). I was pretty okay with it because I’ve never cared too much about neatness, but I’m going to be moving back to San Diego in a year and two months, and I don’t want to have the huge stressor of having to figure out what to do with all of my stuff right when I’m about to graduate. I know a year and two months seems like a long time but there is SO MUCH STUFF. Well anyway, last week I decided to apply the same principle as I did to weight loss of just making small changes, so I started cleaning 20 minutes per day and it got better very quickly. Then I got pretty into it and spent a few hours on it, and it is so much better already! Lots of floor space, and several bags of things to throw out and donate. I’m going to try to keep going, with the idea in mind of getting rid of all of the stuff I don’t need. I have to fight the tendencies I have to hoard stuff, but I think this is one I’m making good progress on.

5) Not procrastinating/having more of a balance in my life. These two go hand in hand, and I think I’ve gotten much better about this. The reason I consider them closely tied is that in the past when I’ve procrastinated, I’ve suddenly found myself with periods of intense work and that means not enough time to focus on healthy eating, exercise, sleep, and interpersonal relationships. I used to be able to stay up as late as necessary to work at the last minute, but now I’m pretty much useless after 9pm, so I know that it would be impossible for me to write a good essay or get any good studying the night before a big due date. So I’ve gotten pretty good at getting things done well before their due dates. This way, every day I’m able to get enough sleep, do a little exercise, make healthy food, skype with Matt, and work on non-academic goals (the ones listed in this note). I think sometimes I seem a little intense with how focused I am on to do lists and getting things done ahead of time, but really it’s largely because I want to have a good non-academic life as well and I’ve found that that’s the best way.

6) Keeping track of money. I’ve tried before to keep track of money and it never worked before because I hated going into those Excel spreadsheets every day, but I found an iPod Touch app that actually works really well for me (sounds just like my whole keeping track of calories thing which never worked till I got an app for that!). It’s called Home Budget and cost $5 (they also have a free version called Home Budget Lite if anyone’s interested) but I can tell I’ve already saved a bunch of money because knowing I have to write all of my receipts in at the end of the day makes me spend way less money. I think at first it was kind of a novelty having a cool new app to play with, so it was kind of fun writing my receipts in, and now it’s just become a habit, so that’s awesome. I feel very good about this goal.

7) Flossing. I’ve managed to floss every night this semester (something I rarely did before), although I neglected this over Spring Break. A couple times I flossed and then had a midnight snack and figured it still counted, so with that and the slacking over break, there’s still room for improvement, but overall not too bad.

8) Reading class notes. A few years ago, my dad said one of the best pieces of advice he could give me for school is to read class notes regularly, but I never wanted to. Last year, I decided to seriously try, so I started trying to read class notes every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday (days chosen just based on convenience for me). And it’s actually worked pretty well. Sometimes I read them just to get through them, and I’m too tired to take much in, so I could be better about that. I guess that’s a future goal: to actually spend the time to think about my notes and work with them, but for now I’m just trying to continue to read through them regularly, and three times a week is working for me.

9) Working towards getting into UCSD for grad school. Well this is a big one. It’s hard to tell whether I’m successful in this goal, since I won’t actually know until this time next year (I’m graduating HSU Spring 2013 so I would be applying to start Fall 2013). But I’m trying to do all of the things that are necessary to make this more likely. I’m studying for the GRE every Saturday morning, and plan to take it twice. I applied for an internship at UCSD for this summer, which would be excellent for my CV (academic resume) and possibly help with making connections that would make it more likely I’ll get in, and I’ll know probably within a month or so if I got in. I’m working hard in my classes and have a good GPA. And I’m also working on many different research projects. So, I think I’m doing the important things. But it depends not only on my effort but also the number of qualified applicants, so we’ll see how it all works out.

What’s been working for me

I’ve had a combination of tactics for these various goals and I’ve had to throw some out and modify some, but this is what I’ve been doing (I’m including this in case it can help anyone else).

1) iPod Touch applications: I use Lose It (free) for keeping track of food and exercise, Home Budget ($5, and theres’ a free version) for keeping track of money spent, and Wunderlist (free) for to do lists. These all have corresponding websites for anyone who doesn’t have an iPod touch/iPhone.

2) Checklists and charts. I have a daily checklist hanging over my bed where I have to check off whether I read my Russian Harry Potter, flossed, entered my receipts, and did my knee exercises. For anything I missed, I highlight the box in blue so it stands out. I have a chart where I keep track of the hours I sleep, so I have a visual representation and can see if I start to get bad about going to sleep on time. I also have three-times-a-week checklist for reading my class notes, since I do that on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Finally, I have weekly checklists, where I have a list of all of my classes and my extracurriculars (research projects, studying for GRE, etc), and every Saturday night I check off whether I dedicated some time that week to each of those things, and highlight in blue anything I missed. This one is cool because I know there are definitely weeks when I worked on a project or read for a class just because I didn’t want to have to miss that checkmark.

3) My phone. For habits that I want to form or that I’m in the process of solidifying (e.g. entering receipts, doing the weekly checklist, etc), I have notifications in my phone calendar that remind me. For example, every evening, my phone reminds me to enter my receipts, and then I do it and move that calendar event to the next day.

Overall, I feel like I’ve made really good progress. There are some things I still need to improve on (mentioned throughout), but I’m not going to stress about them too much. I think the minor tweaks will come with time. However, I’ve been slacking pretty badly on the knee exercises and that’s very important, so if anyone has ideas about how to make them more fun (I already listen to podcasts while I do them) or ways to motivate myself to do them or if you know better knee exercises (physical therapist or doctor approved), I’d love to hear any of that. Also, feel free to mention goals you’ve been working on or goals you’d like to start focusing on and your plan for how to do it! I love to know what my friends are working on. 🙂

101 Goals in 1001 Days: the list

Alright, so I’m doing the 101 Goals in 1001 Days thing, which I recently found out about. It originated at DayZeroProject.com so I used that website and also 101goalsin1001days.com/step-1/ for ideas. Well, the idea is you make a list of things you’d like to accomplish in the next 1001 days (which is 2 years and about 9 months). Even if you don’t get them all done, that’s still a whole lot of accomplishments if you do some of them! I decided to try, since I think it would add a lot of focus to my time.

I originally brainstormed 129 goals and then cut it down to 101. Some of them are ones that I absolutely plan to accomplish, some are ones that I would love to at least half-accomplish, and some are ones that would just be nice to do but that I won’t stress about if I don’t. I took into account the number of weeks (143), months (33), school weeks (about 90), school days (about 450), etc., to be realistic, and used that to decide how many times I would like to do them (for the goals that involves a certain number).

My 1001 Days are the following: July 6, 2011 through April 2, 2014.

Here is the list:

1) Donate blood 15 times (0/15)
2) Write a letter to myself encouraging continuing weight loss to read if my motivation begins to wane
3) Read 15 non-fiction books (0/15)
4) Read 10 fiction novels (1/10)
5) Read 35 journal articles that aren’t assigned for class (0/35)
6) Learn the Russian Sign Language fingerspelling alphabet [done!]
7) Do the 20 Chin Ups Challenge
8) Watch 20 must-see movies (1/20)
9) Publish a journal article
10) Learn 350 new ASL signs (20/350)
11) Get rid of half of my belongings
12) Dye my hair temporarily 3 different times (different color each time) (0/3)
13) Memorize another ASL story
14) Finish reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban translated into Russian
15) Lose a total of 75 pounds (specific amount subject to revision) (60/75)
16) Take fitness classes: self defense, kickboxing, yoga, pilates
17) Reduce coffee intake
18) Bake bread from scratch 3 times (0/3)
19) Get contacts
20) Improve my posture
21) Become flexible enough to touch my toes
22) Do the 100 Pushups Challenge
23) Ride a roller coaster
24) Learn to play 3 songs on piano (0/3)
25) Make a video blog
26) Listen to 5 songs each from 20 must-hear bands (0/20)
27) Record grandparents on video telling their life stories
28) Update photos of family (Old Me/Now Me)
29) Solve Rubik’s cube
30) Keep track of what I did every day in my small notebook
31) Learn how to juggle
32) Learn CPR
33) Sew my clothes that are torn
34) Learn to play chess
35) Save money
36) Record all money spent
37) Try rockclimbing at the gym
38) Go hiking 15 times (0/15)
39) Go camping
40) Learn 10 different ab exercises and do them 800 times
41) Make list of things I’m proud of
42) Reduce the amount that I use verbal fillers (like, um, etc)
43) Volunteer 3 times (0/3)
44) Read the news 100 times
45) Pack a lunch for school 300 times
46) Take pictures of me completing and write about accomplishments of these goals
47) Sort my computer files
48) Repeat the names of everyone I meet so I remember them
49) Learn string theory well enough to explain it
50) Try 15 new recipes (0/15)
51) Read class notes every night
52) Do social things (non-studying) twice a month
53) Backup my photos
54) Talk to new people in all of my classes
55) Go to office hours of all of my professors
56) Graduate from college
57) Get prescription sunglasses or Transitions lenses
58) Go to ASL socials every week
59) Meet lots of people at TAM 9 [done!]
60) Send a secret to PostSecret
61) Finish making a pair of earrings
62) Keep binder of all bills
63) Keep car clean
64) Floss nightly
65) Revisit my goals on the first of every month
66) Clean my room every month
67) Use moisturizer nightly
68) Reduce the amount I put on chapstick [done: I seem to have overcome my addiction!]
69) Make eye contact and smile at people who I pass
70) Write a letter to a company telling them I appreciate their product [done: Nintendo for Just Dance 2]
71) Take the GRE
72) Take the GWPE (Graduate Writing Proficiency Exam, a requirement for Humboldt State)
73) Take a face picture every month to see how my face changes as I lose weight
74) Donate money to 5 charities (0/5)
75) Straighten my hair once
76) Create a new 101 Goals in 1001 Days list by the end of the 1001 days
77) Buy a cute and comfortable bathing suit
78) Work in my parents’ yard 30 times (1/30)
79) Try all of the weight lifting machines at the gym
80) Get rid of all the shoes I don’t wear
81) Learn 500 new English vocabulary words
82) Get the third HPV shot [done!]
83) Get a bike and helmet
84) Make a living will
85) Take grandmas to a garage sale
86) Walk around on a Saturday to multiple garage sales
87) Regularly figure out which direction (west, south, east, north) I’m facing
88) Play a pick up sports game
89) Try rollerblading
90) Try small amounts of olives occasionally in order to eventually like them
91) Learn the rules of Russian grammar
92) Watch Russian movies
93) Make another vector-style picture
94) Do assignments as soon as they’re due
95) Do knee-strengthening exercises daily
96) Go to Israel on a birthright trip
97) Keep track of my goals using checklists on my wall
98) Be able to shoot 10 consecutive free throws
99) Improve my geography knowledge
100) Buy shoes: running and for the rain [done!]
101) Sleep 10pm-6am most nights

My next step is to make a plan for how to achieve each of these goals. Sweet 🙂

Edit: I’ve made my specific plan for each goals. Now to finish it all!

time to better myself

Making a list is always a good way for me to figure out what I need to get done, or what I want to work on, so here I go.  Here are things I plan to dedicate effort to changing.

1. Study to remember course material, not just to do well on tests. Too often I cram right before a test, and then don’t remember most of what I learned later.  Unacceptable, especially in classes that pertain to what I want to do with my life.

2. Eat healthier. Plan meals ahead of time, and prepare all meals in advance to bring to school.  This is especially difficult because most days I’m on campus from 8am to 8pm, so that’s several meals I need to bring with me.  But it’ll be worth it in terms of health and saving money.

3. Continue putting effort into improving my Russian. This means making sure I dedicate time each day to continuing to read my translated Harry Potter book, and write letters to my grandparents to get practice writing.

4. Study ASL to fluency. We only have two ASL classes at HSU so after next semester I’ll have to rely pretty much entirely on Saturday night signing at Mosgo’s.  Ever since I started learning it this semester, I’m pretty much obsessed with trying to learn as much as I can.

5. Refrain from badmouthing people. This takes restrain, and is something I need to work on.

6. Exercise. Totally necessary.  I’ve been clipping exercise ideas out of old issues of Self Magazine that I got from my neighbor, and I think some of them are really good.  Also, next semester I’ll have Power Step and a schedule that hopefully allows me to use the gym often.

Six goals is a reasonable amount.  I’m sure I’ll add more as more ideas come.