Twelve in Twelve

As the new year dawns on us, lots of people like to take the time and make some resolutions, or plans for changing habits throughout the year. Usually I will make a few of these, and historically I have been pretty bad at keeping them. I’m pretty sure that this is not an uncommon phenomenon.

Last year I made one grand resolution which I had many paths to success at. It was something which I believed would make a big difference in my life - I wanted to make more money. Usually something like that would be considered not really fodder for a new year’s resolution, but it wasn’t just greed which was driving it. I could see potential and skill that I had, and I knew that I could do better for the both of us. I am happy that I actually succeeded in the goal for the year, and I think that both Diana and I are happier for it.

This year I have decided to take a different approach, and make a bunch of small changes which will hopefully add up to a better life overall. Partially this is because I was thinking for the last few days about how 2012 is convenient for splitting the year, due to our calendar system dividing 12 into somewhat equal months.

So I’m taking the theme through all the resolutions this year. Most of these are small, but some will be more difficult to accomplish. Some are things that I want to do, and some are things that I think I need to do. So because I’m taking the theme all the way, I have twelve resolutions for this year, in no particular order.

Read 12 books

In the past few months, I’ve acquired both a e-ink reader and a tablet. There isn’t any excuse for not carrying around at least one book with me and getting to reading it. The list of books which I will read is mostly fiction and just for entertainment. I’ve noticed that I like to read though, and there is definitely a big pile of books to read. This is quite a modest resolution, only one book a month, and I think I should be able to get that done.

Lose 12 pounds

Last year, I had a focus on weight loss, which I’ve reported progress on monthly. It wasn’t a resolution as much as something that I wanted to do for myself. I was pretty successful in 2011, losing almost 80 pounds over the year and feeling better about myself. About a month ago I switched from a focus on weight loss to a more fitness-related goal and maintaining the weight that I had taken off. This goal is more about keeping the weight off than it is about losing those few extra pounds, but I do want to still be on the right trend.

Work 12 hours a week on my thesis

It’s been a long time coming, but one of the top things on my list for this year is finishing my Ph.D thesis. I have a clear path to the end, and I want to defend it this year and get on with the rest of the things in my life. To this end, for a while I’ve been working on it at least one hour a day for every day in the week. It’s working, and I’m making progress but it is slower than I want to, so I’m going to increase the amount of work that I’m putting into it, and spend one full day in the lab as it were getting the work done.

My justification for the 12 number here is that I still want to work on it every day of the week, but I also want to get a full day in, so this is one hour every weekday, except for one day which I will put in at least a full eight hour day of work.

Run/Walk 1,200 miles

This is in the same vein as my other fitness related resolution, but it’s a bit more ambitious. I’ve been running and walking for exercise and to stay fit for the last few months, and I want to continue that for the next year. This number represents 100 miles in a month, which should be possible because that’s only about 25 miles a week, or 5 miles a day if I am exercising for 5 days a week like I am now. It’s only a little more than what I’m doing now, and it’s a nice round number which pleases me. It may be a bit difficult to keep doing this when I am getting to crunch time on the thesis work or when I am on vacation travelling but I feel like I could make up for those days in the long run, so to say.

Blog 12 posts a month

This should be pretty straightforward. Three posts a week should be doable, especially when I have some things already put in place in order to get some stuff. Not all of the posts are guaranteed to be on the blog, because some of them might be movie or TV reviews, and I would put them on the site. I still have a bunch of easy posts in the form of the Big Bang Theory Opening posts anyway though.

Publish 12 Android Apps

It’s been a long time where I have wanted to start publishing Android Apps in to the market and get some of my ideas into the world. This goal might be the hardest one for me this year, because I am going from zero to one a month. I believe that I can do it though, and I think it will be a good way to expand my skill set a little more. I’m not coming from nothing though, I have some code started on a couple of apps and a lot of ideas for ones which I will be pulling from.

Meet 12 new people

I’ve been going to a couple of networking events approximately monthly for a while now, both and lately also the user groups. Historically I have been shy and somewhat reserved at the events though, and really I want to expand my group of professional and personal contacts which is the reason that I started going. This year I want to meet at least 12 people from these groups. There are also minnebar and minnedemo events throughout the year, and various other geeky events, so this shouldn’t be too hard as long as I get over some of the social anxiety that I experience.

Watch less than 12 hours of TV each week

I’m an avid TV watcher, and I really sit down in front of the thing and try to pay attention to the shows that I watch. Lately it has been taking a lot of time and I haven’t really been enjoying the shows as much as I feel like I should. I am going to try to limit the TV to the shows that I actually enjoy watching. This one should be somewhat synergistic with the other goals, because reading, programming, and working more on the thesis are all ones which take up free time which is currently probably going to television.

Inbox 12

My email inbox represents something that I look at a lot throughout each day, and I carry around with me on my phone. I want to keep the list of things on a single page, which I’ve been able to do for the last few months, but I want to extend that so that I have less than 12 things in the inbox at any particular point in time, which I hope will get rid of some mental clutter.

12 Dates

I always want to spend more time with my wonderful partner Diana. This one is pretty straightforward - just go out on a date night once a month. I’m trying to decide if built in ones like Valentines Day, birthdays and other holidays count. Probably not. Dinner and a movie is fine, but I’m hoping we can do some museums, theater shows or other things that we both enjoy for these too.

Meditate 12 minutes a day

In the past, I’ve experimented a bit with meditation for relaxation and some contemplative time. I should be able to find at least 12 minutes a day for some type of meditation. Usually I go for just mind-clearing and breathing, and that can be done almost anywhere.

Call my parents 12 times

One of the things that I’ve been unhappy with myself in the last year has been how much I’ve kept in touch with my family. I want to call and keep them in the loop on things, and talk to them about what’s going on so I can stay connected, but I have been busy or used some other excuse. I think that this is a doable goal, which is important, and it’s also something that I want to make time for.

So there we go, it’s 12 resolutions for 2012. 12in12 is the uncreative name that I have given for it, and I hope that I can do all of these numerically-themed things this year. I’ll be reporting back on things as the year goes on, and I’m also tracking a number of them on beeminder as it makes sense to do so. Some of them are not really suited to the site, but here are links for the ones that I’ve setup so far: