New Years Resolutions Spot-Check

A photo of my Harley and I taken by my friend Katie.
As January winds itself to a close, I've taken some time in the past few days to reflect on how my resolutions are progressing.  I was happy to find that they have been relatively successful so far.

I've heard a lot of people say that new year's resolutions are nonsense.  The logic goes that if you truly want to make a significant change in your life, picking an arbitrary and cliche day to do so will inevitably lead to failure.  While I can understand and appreciate that line of thinking, I disagree.  The reason I have and will continue to set new year's resolutions is because while January 1st may not be much different from any other day of the year, the symbolism it holds is important.

It marks a new beginning for anything you need it to.  Regardless of whether or not that fresh start is real or imagined, it is as good a place as any to embark on improving ones life. This year, I decided to focus on the following:
  1. Continue Adventuring
  2. More Exercise
  3. More Substantial Reading
  4. Healthier Eating
  5. Continued Self-Development
While I could have chosen one or two of these to devote the majority of my time toward, I tend to lean toward the extreme side of things when goal setting.  Inevitably, the time I spend on some of those goals will wane at the expense of the others, but I think that it's better to shoot big and adapt as opposed to shooting small and remaining too narrowly focused.  The status of these goals is as follows:

1. More Adventures
I found myself in somewhat of a rut at the end of 2011.  That's also not to say that I didn't have a lot of awesome adventures. In fact, 2011 was probably my single greatest year for adventuring yet.  I quit my job, moved across the country, started working at Google, traveled to the final space shuttle launch, attended several weddings, and spent time in New York, Arizona, Florida, Washington, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Louisiana. Essentially, I want to ensure that 2012 is every bit as great as 2011.  So far this January, I've traveled to Tahoe to snowboard for the first time in 2 years, and have made plans to visit Mexico and Seattle in the near future.

2. More Exercise
I exercise a lot as it is.  I generally alternate between running and resistance training with a target goal of 5 days of exercise in a given week.  I have spent January running longer distances and adding new rotations to my circuit training.  The beautiful weather has helped motivate me to get outdoors more, and makes the long runs easier.  I am hoping to signup for a half/full marathons since my last real race took place in July.

3. More Substantial Reading
My morning and nighttime commutes are dominated by a full Google Reader queue.  In order to supplement this, I decided to add some print-media into the mix.  My New York Times subscription expired in December, and I renewed it for 2012.  I'm on the base digital subscription plan that gives you access to their RSS feeds, website, and mobile (not tablet apps).  I absolutely love their Google Chrome  reader, but not enough to justify the unreasonable extra monthly fee required to use the full version.  I have also subscribed to the Economist, Wired, and Rolling Stone.  As much as I enjoy reading on my tablet in the morning, I still prefer holding physical pages in my hand.  I'm looking forward to a year full of educational and enjoyable reading.

4. Healthier Eating
This goal is at somewhat of a impasse at the moment.  While I ate really healthy in college, I've slipped since starting work at Google last year.  Constantly being surrounded by fully stocked micro-kitchens in addition to the amazingly crafted breakfast, lunch, and dinners provided to employees has taken it's toll on my overall fitness level.  In 2012, I've been slowly reducing the number of desert items I eat at work, while simultaneously trying to eat more fruits and vegetables.  It's still too early to tell how this resolution will turn out, but it's off to a relatively successful start.

5. Continued Self-Development
Something I truly hate is complacency.  One of the things I miss most about college is that every day you can expect to learn something new.  This is not as easy to do in the professional world.  When I found my job at work become increasingly boring last year, I decided to supplement it with community college classes at San Mateo College.  I took programming classes in Python, HTML5, Google AppEngine, and CSS3.  As long as you get a B+ or better in any of these classes, Google foots the bill.  Needless to say, I had a lot of motivation to study hard.  This year, I'm not currently enrolled in a class, but I am working my way through a beginner Android Development book and have really been enjoying it.  I plan on enrolling in another local college class for the upcoming spring semester.

Overall, I think I am headed down the right path toward making 2012 a terrific year.  Time will tell whether or not all of my resolutions pan out, but at present I am happy with the choices I made and happy with the progress I have put forward toward each.

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A photo of my Harley and I taken by my friend Katie.