Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mid-Year Resolution Review

Given that I am someone who is dedicated to personal growth, I decided to be especially ambitious by setting 12 resolutions for myself this year. With the first-half of the year now past, I thought it would be a good idea to look at my various goals and see how well I have done at meeting them.

1 - Listen to the entire New Testament
My church set a goal to do this in 40 days at the start of the year and I am happy to say that I listened through the whole New Testament. It was quite an enriching experience. Usually I just read the Bible, so listening to it was a very different sort of experience. In some ways I found that the various books of the Bible felt more contiguous than they normally do. It was much easier to get a macro-level perspective, rather than the verse-by-verse focus that reading lends itself to. I would definitely enjoy listening through the entire Old Testament at some point.

2 - Read at least 15 new books
Reading has definitely been something I've been much enjoying. I typically have at least one or two books with me and I have learned a lot from the various books that I've read. I have finished reading: Better Off, How to Get a Date Worth Keeping, The Case for a Creator, The Broker, Digital Fortress, Sway, The Appeal, The Power of Positive Thinking, and The 4-Hour Workweek. I am currently in the middle of: Out of the Silent Planet, 1984, The Way of the Wild Heart, and Liberal Fascism. In summary, I have already read 9 new books, which means I am well over halfway into completing this goal.

3 - Deepen at least two close friendships
This goal is a lot harder to gauge, and I really won't be able to fully determine whether I have completed this until the end of the year (which is what I expected and planned for when I made the resolution). For one thing, my best friend was in Australia until a couple of weeks ago and another very close friend has been away at college. However, one of my friends graduated from college and is now back in the Bay Area, so we've been spending regular time together for the past couple of months.

4 - Connect with at least one person every day
This one comes easily to me since I love conversing with people, spending time with my friends, hanging out with my family, and meeting new people. Not a single day has gone by this year that I haven't had some meaningful connection with someone. People are awesome!

5 - Exercise at least 2 times per week (except when sick)
Though I haven't perfectly kept this goal, I can honestly say that nearly every week I have exercised at least twice, and some weeks I've exercised more than that. When the year began, I decided that running and tennis would be my main forms of exercise. However, after running sporadically for three months, I have decided that I cannot seriously continue running. I really enjoy it both for the endurance-building aspect as well as the visceral feeling of going places and enjoying the fresh air. But, my knees cannot take the constant impact and I am not willing to injure them, since I want to be able to walk and run painlessly for as much of my life as possible. For that reason, with sadness, I have given up running. Instead of running I am now doing basketball and strength-training, with other occasional athletic activities thrown into the mix. Overall, I have stayed well on target for this goal and I have no doubt that I follow through until the end of the year.

6 - Record at least 12 music tracks
Although it feels as though I haven't recorded much music this year, I have actually recorded 6 tracks to date. Right now I have 2 original compositions, 1 remix and 3 live jazz recordings with a jazz trio I'm playing in. In addition to those tracks, I have 2 tracks that I am currently recording with Decay of Entropy. One of those tracks should be finished by the end of the week, since Andrew is going to come in and lay down the vocals on Thursday night. Also, I have a couple of music tracks in the works for two different compilation albums that The Shizz is working on. I'm working on an original Progressive Metal piece which will be featured on Nevar Say Die, Volume 3, and I am collaborating with Hale-Bopp to record a cover song for a Michael Jackson tribute album, which will be released on his birthday, August 29. This resolution is precisely halfway complete, and I should have no troubles recording the other 6 tracks before 2010.

7 - Play bass in a band or orchestra (minimum 4 performances)
I haven't yet played any live performances. With Decay of Entropy we've been having trouble finding a suitable guitarist, so we haven't been able to play any shows. This week we just lost our drummer, so now we're looking for both a drummer and a bassist. I'm not sure if we'll really get off the ground any time soon. However, with the jazz trio I'm in, we are scheduled to play Saturday after next. Since we have a whole bunch of charts ready, we are starting to send out our press package and schedule gigs. I wouldn't be surprised to play at least 4 gigs in the next 2 months. Some of them will probably even be paying gigs, which makes this a productive as well as fun goal!

8 - Graduate from college
I have completed all the units that I need to graduate with a B.A. in Humanities from Thomas Edison State College. However, I still have to finish working through the administrative end, submitting my final transcripts and actually receiving my degree. Given that the hard part of this is done, it should take no more than a few hours of errands and phone calls to finish the process. I am perfectly on track for accomplishing this goal.

9 - Move out of my parents' house
Right out of the starting gate, I knocked this one off. My current roommate, Dom, and I had been looking for an apartment even before the year began. After making this resolution I kicked the search into high gear and found an amazing place to live within the week. January 10th, we moved into our apartment and I have loved every minute of being here. The location is absolutely great since I'm near all the major freeways, very close to church, closer to work, closer to school and even closer to a grocery store. I really love having a place of my own. Not only is it always peaceful, but it stays clean with very little effort. Besides, I'm happy that my fridge always has whatever food and drinks I leave in there. After living with my 10 younger siblings, that's not something I take for granted. Having my own kitchen has inspired me to do more cooking and to start creating my own recipes. What a joy it is to live in an apartment!

10 - Get rid of extraneous possessions
Moving is a time that easily lends itself to streamlining. As I prepared to move into my apartment I went through all my bookshelves, drawers and closets and pared down significantly. I made significant donations to a local thrift store. For the purposes of this resolution, I have completed my goal. Although, I will probably take one more Saturday sometime this year and pare down excess possessions again. At the moment, I think I still have too many needless pieces of clothing. If I haven't worn it even once this year, then it definitely needs to go.

11 - Establish and maintain a consistent bedtime and daily schedule
I was doing fairly well on this one for the first three months. After losing my USB Flash Drive sometime in April, I realized that I felt more restricted by this resolution than I felt freed. Though having a disciplined schedule can be good for certain periods of life, I have decided that at this point in my life I value having a freeform schedule and not arbitrarily restricting my evening activities simply for the sake of consistency. As such, I have intentionally chosen to abandon this goal, sine it does not align with my current values.

12 - Keep a progress/goals journal and write in it weekly
The goal of this resolution was simply to ensure that I stay on track in meeting my other goals. Though it was moderately useful in helping to track goal completion, upon losing my Flash Drive I lost some of my motivation to continue keeping a record, since all my previously records were unrecoverable. Additionally, since the only goals that I regularly needed track were resolutions number 4, which consistently happens even without conscious effort, number 5, which is easy enough to monitor without a log, and number 11, which I decided to abandon, I decided that the time and effort put into keeping a log and a weekly goals journal did not make sense on a pure cost-benefits basis. Due to the counter-productive nature of this goal, I chose to eliminate it. Obviously, not keeping a log has not hurt my goal accomplishment in any way.

To date, I have completed 3 resolutions, abandoned 2 goals, and am on track for completing the other 7 resolutions. The only one that I am technically behind on is number 7, which would be very easy to finish with a tiny bit of focused effort. Overall, with the exception of the abandoned 2 goals, I think that all of the resolutions I set are very achievable, easily measurable, and well-aligned with my current values and direction in life. I am quite happy with my progress and look forward to the remaining half of this amazing year!

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