The Year That Could Be

Happy 2017 everyone. The old year is over, and 2017 is fresh out of the oven, packed full of possibility and potential. As is the typical situation, I’m going to use my first post to plot out what I hope to achieve over the next 365 days. As you might expect, a lot of it has to do with travel and health.

Oh So Lofty Goals

  • Health and wellness. While 2016 saw a significant improvement in my health and wellness and an attempt at some return to work-life balance, I’m definitely not where I want to be (hello pants that fit just a little too snug). Last year I’d hoped to run at least one marathon, but this year I’m going to simply aim to run. I don’t care the distance. I don’t care the speed. I just need to run on a regular basis.
  • Publishing. Once again I’m going to aim to publish at least 5 academic papers this year. I feel like this should be attainable given the number of papers I have in various stages of development and review, but the peer review process is never what one might expect.  Still, fingers crossed I can get some of the work I’ve done out into the sphere of science knowledge before the bell strikes midnight on December 31.
  • Travel. In 2016 I set a new personal best for total kilometers traveled by plane. I’m not going to necessarily attempt to set a new personal best in 2017, but I would like to maintain the travel streak I’m on. Specifically, I’d like to travel at least the circumference of the earth for the fourth year in a row by plane. This should be within the realm of possibility given the travel plans I’ve set out for myself, but I also recognize that life happens and plans change.
  • Charity. I think I managed to exceed my goal of raising $1000 per month for charitable causes last year, so I’m going to try to repeat that this year.
  • Finances. As with last year, I’m going to do my best to continue driving my net worth in the positive direction by paying down debt and saving what I can. I hope the combination of the two will increase my net worth by at least 30%. Fingers crossed!

Not So Lofty Goals

  • Writing. I learned in 2015 that sitting down to write is absolutely necessary for me to keep myself centered. Because of that, I’m going to try to write at least once per week on this blog, and once per week on my academic blog. Of course, my writing will also include more frequent updates to the Farm To Fork blog, and the ICON and SoCS websites, as well as what I hope will be a new website for the Physical Science & Engineering Education Research Centre on campus (but first I have to create the website…stay tuned).
  • Reading. I managed to read only 2 novels in 2016. I know I can do better than that. Regardless, I’m going to set my goal at 6 novels because clearly, I should be able to find a few hours to read a novel every two months, right?
  • Travel. Because travel is so important to me, it shows up in both the Oh So Lofty Goals and the Not So Lofty Goals. While the previous travel goal was big, this travel goal is focused on locations I’d like to visit. This year I’d like to add any of the following countries to my list of countries visited: Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, South Korea, Mongolia, Japan, Hong Kong, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Ireland, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Australia, or Sweden.
  • Stretching. While 2016 saw an improvement in my health and wellbeing, I’ve noticed over the last few months that I’ve become rather unbendy. I don’t like the fact that this makes me feel old, so I’m going to make a concerted effort to get back to a regular yoga practice at home. By this time next year, I want to be able to get off the couch or out of a chair without feeling the need to groan.
  • Happy and grateful. I am not a fan of sad or cranky Dan. While I realize that every day isn’t going to be sunshine and roses, I know that I can respond to whatever challenges I face with several different attitudes. I want to make sure I focus on the happier, more grateful response. I know I won’t always be successful, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.
  • Food. With all of the travel I do, I eat out a lot. I need to be far more aware of what I eat when I’m traveling, and perhaps learn to cook some more foods at home. Given the renovations that are occurring at the office for the next 12-18 months, I’m going to have far more time at home to actually prepare meals. I’m hoping this means that I’ll pick up a few new recipes along the way. My goal is to learn how to cook at least 2 new dishes. You’d think that would be super easy, but I’ve been notoriously bad in this area.

The Likely So Easy To Accomplish I Won’t

  • The items in this list never seem to change. That is, I still need to do upgrades on the house – some as simple as painting rooms, putting up trim, replacing lights, and others a bit more involved like installing hardwood floor in my bedrooms, and getting a new furnace. I’d also like to finally purge my condo of some of the things that I’ve got hidden in my closets and cupboards. If I haven’t seen it or used it in 6 months, it’s got to go.

I’m sure as the year progresses, some of these goals will change or perhaps become less important than they currently are to me. The important part is not so much that I satisfy and complete each and every one of these goals, but that I recognize when my priorities have changed, and whether or not that change necessitates an update to this list. To me, the goals are a way for me to set the direction I want to head for the year, but much like any journey, I have to be open to detours and other factors that might change my timeline or even the final destination.

Whatever the case, I hope that your 2017 is happy and full. Happy new year everyone!

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