Born Again

Today marks a special anniversary more so than just the start of another year: It’s also the third birthday of this blog–and as I sat drafting my goals for 2013, I found my blogging featured prominently. However, this is not the only birthday I’d like to celebrate today: I’d like to celebrate mine, and yours, and everyone’s.

When the year begins anew, so do we–and with this ethereal rebirth, we are able to do away with our old selves and promise to move a step closer toward the ideal we’ve always aspired to become. This heavenly image will certainly change over the years (and certainly already has), and as we draw closer to its general shape the edges become clearer and there is always one more step between us, but the impossible attainability of this end is not what matters–only making progress defines us in the end.

As this new year begins, I invite you to join me as I try to take the next step to becoming my ideal being. May we become each other’s witnesses on this journey, holding us each to our goals, and in this time, may we also become greater friends.

I feel on the surface of my plans for this new year it seems I’ve got many more goals than I should have, but also I’m lacking many of the obvious ones. I’ve mentioned feeling that everything I’ve done so far is merely putting bandaids on the wounds, without actually aiming to heal the hurting. As I go about, I’ll expand on these ideas, and hopefully in doing so, not only solidify my goals, but also determine how they’re helping on a higher level.

Once more drawing upon my lessons from NCPIRG, I’m outlining a spreadsheet full of priorities and goals–concrete actions I’d like to have achieved at the end of the year.

First is Health. My goal is to make midnight my new bedtime. I fondly recall those days in my youth when I woke up early and went to bed reasonably early and I always felt so much more productive than I do now: I did homework and chores, exercised, and then had the whole day to play video games, read, and write. I function more efficiently in sunlight: Even if I spend the same number of hours awake working on a project, I’m bound to make more progress working in daylight than in nighttime. I might by nature (or habit) be a nocturnal writer, but if I can do the rest of my obligations in the day, I can write at night with no qualms about it, can’t I?

My second goal is to drink tea three times a week. This might seem a silly goal, but if you look at the health benefits of tea–from greater immune systems to overall higher wellbeing–then it’s not as much of a surprise. I’ve truly enjoyed drinking tea almost every day while I’ve been on break, and for me tea is more than just another drink: It’s reminiscent of drinking tea with my mother, it inspires me while writing, and it keeps me hydrated (and with better hydration comes better everything else). Plus, tea adds clarity of mind–and I need that.

On that same note, it might seem odd I’ve not listed either relaxation or meditation as one of my health goals, but actually I had. I just got rid of them after I did. Meditation in its typical sense is not always easy for me, and not always the most beneficial. I meditate easiest and most productively through other means–as you’ll see later.

Second on my list is Fitness. Two of three goals are to be able to run three miles and swim 250 meters, although I may amend these goals depending on my progress at the end of the semester. I enjoy both running and swimming, and since I’ll possibly be doing a lot of hiking and swimming in Belize, I want to make sure I’m capable of doing both. Further, they’ll help me reach my third goal: exercising three times a week. On Mondays I can hit the track; on Wednesdays I can swim; and on Fridays I can do some yoga, which will not only keep my limber, but will also give me the added health benefits of calmness and good posture. I enjoy being in good shape, and I want to be in better shape, and the better physical shape you’re in, the better mental and emotional shape as well–so fitness is definitely important.

My third goal is Blogging. As I said earlier, this is my blog’s third birthday, and as I begin this fourth year of writing here, I want to take some time and effort to make it even better–not just for me, but also for all of you, my readers. Any media like this must by nature be coproductive as it’s the meeting of creators and followers that allows it to make any real impact on the world. So in addition to reorganizing my “Fiction” heading (like I did a while ago for my “Nonfiction” heading, now known as “Reflection of Reality”), I’m also pledging to post at least twice a week. In some small way this blog has become a substitute for my journal, and so I should treat it with the same reverence and care as I do for that.

That isn’t my only blogging goal–no, not at all. I also want to grow my realm of influence and reach more people than I ever have before. Until now I haven’t made many conscious efforts to grow my blog like this, but this year I want to reach one hundred followers and fifty fans on Facebook. I’m not sure what methods I’ll use to broaden my base, so I suspect early in the year I’ll be doing some research along these lines, but in the mean time, I would appreciate any recommendations you could give to others to read my blog.

My penultimate priority is Academics. I sometimes waver between having this goal and not, since I naturally aim to do my best educationally anyways, but I’ve decided this year it’s worthwhile for two reasons: First, if I care about achieving good grades, then why shouldn’t I make it a yearlong goal? If I do nothing differently than I always do, it’ll be an “easy A” as some might say, a goal I’m almost guaranteed to keep–but if I do even a little to better my studying habits and learn more effectively, then it’ll truly have been an opportunity for growth not only as a person, but also a student.

The second reason is because this year I’ll be doing concrete work to obtain my Visionary Leaders Certificate. Since one of my winter break goals was to write up my workshop reflections and I haven’t done a thing for it, I’ve decided I’m going to do this by turning these reflections into blog posts–not only will that help me reach one of my blogging goals, but it’ll also help me share some of my leadership experiences with all of you. Since leadership is such an important part of my life, why wouldn’t I want to share it?

My very last priority is Writing and Reading. This is primarily my reasoning for not listing “relaxation” or “meditation” as one of my health goals, because writing and reading is how I meditate and relax, respectively. I have three goals for this priority, two of which will be demanding and one–submitting a story for publication–may be much easier, but is something I haven’t actually done since I’ve come to feel that some of my stories have real publishing potential.

The first is to read six books. I know six is a small number, but that’ll give me no additional stress while school is in session, and should I read faster than expected, I can always aim higher–and over the summer, I expect I might. The simple fact that I’ll be reading anything will be more than I have done, and that’s what matters. Starting off with a smaller goal will also help me explore different options for incorporating regular reading into my everyday habits; this is, after all, how I’ll heal the wound instead of covering it up with another “read all you can until school starts again” winter break bandaid.

The second is one I imagine I’ll be writing a fair bit about here: finishing my NaNoWriMo novel. I’ve got a rough plan already, but I know it’ll take a lot of effort to do what needs to be done. I’d elaborate more fully, but my plan will inevitably turn into an entirely new post, so for now, simply my goal to finish this story in its entirety is enough to start us off.

With that, all of this year’s goals have been highlighted and explained. With some of them, my modus operandi is already in place; for others, I’ll need to create new habits and break old habits to truly move closer to becoming my ideal self. Either way, I’m looking forward to 2013 as a great new year, and I hope all of you will as well.

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