A while ago, I read an episode of the Q&A column “Ask Ariely” by Dan Ariely, the author of “Predictably Irrational”. In that episode, the reader asked Dan why she didn’t have the same excitement going through her 20s compared to going through her childhood. Dan responded that the perspectives changed – she didn’t look at the world with the fresh and curious mind of a child and daily life fell into a routine that probably no longer excited her. Since I just turned one year older, looking back at the past year, I had memorable moments such as training diligently and finishing a race with new PR, hosting friends from out of town, reuniting with old friends at a wedding in Minnesota, trying Airbnb for the first time, etc, but I also spent hours watching TV just to kill time, aimlessly scrolling down facebook new feeds, staying late in the office when productivity bottomed out, etc. Thus, in this coming year, I want to be a little more intentional with how I spend my time, so that same time next year, I would be happier reflecting “where the times goes”.
Inspired by the blog post of a friend, I have developed a list of 12 things I want to do before I turn another year older (not as ambitious 🙂 ). I have taken some ideas from her list as well (Thank you, Lisa!). Some of them are one-time events that I want to try, while the others are habits that I want to develop. I come up with the list with two deliberations: 1) it is not a check list, but more a list of goals and dreams that I want to strive for. I wouldn’t punish myself for not accomplishing everything, because things could happen unexpectedly that leads to a change of priorities. 2) some items are set with a reasonable stretch goal that could be achieved with invested time and efforts.
- Finish the Aramco Half Marathon under 2 hours
I finished the 10K this year averaging 8:42/mile. Since I am running more than double the distance, a little over 9:00/mile is going to be challenging.
- Update the blog every other Sunday for one year
This one year project made me realize how much I enjoy writing. I start to worry less about what others will think of the writing, but focus more that I find joy in words.
- Visit the Pacific Northwest and hit some trails
I had a blast hiking in Big Bend earlier this year. The long and somewhat strenuous hike took my mind off the daily hustle and bustle and directed the attention to the surrounding nature, my breathing, and how my body felt physically, which I relished. After reading the book “Wild” (not the best book in my opinion), I developed a fascination with the Pacific Crest Trail. Thus, I am hoping for an adventure in Portland, another stay in Seattle (kicking myself for not visiting Mt Rainier or Olympic National Park last time), and some trails in between.
- Write about six books I read in the blog.
With everything going on (work, blog, training, etc), it is reasonable to set the expectation of reading a book every other month.
- Explore a couple of new places in Houston every month and write something similar to the post on Minnesota a year from now.
Be it the Menil Collection, a coffee shop, or a biking trail, I am sure Houston has lots for me to discover.
- Do a better job of staying in touch with friends around the world
After moving to Houston last July, I find myself owing several friends Skype calls to catch up. Though cities or countries apart, I still want to show that I care about the friendships. I hope I could find time to visit or travel together with a few. Otherwise, postcards, birthday cards, X’mas cards, we will become best friends! The good thing is that I love writing notes. 🙂
- Sign up for CitySolve
I wanted to participate in Challenge Nation to celebrate my birthday this year, but failed to due to scheduling conflicts and working over the weekend.
- Host a dinner party or partake in some fancy dining with friends
Yes, it is a very grown-up thing to do.
- Run a destination race with a scenic route
Hopefully with a new PR than Aramco Half!
- Talk to one stranger each day
What exchanges qualify and what not are hard to define, but the purpose is to work on my social muscle.
- Reflect every evening and journal the highlight of each day in a couple of sentences
Speaking of living a more intentional life, daily reflection helps.
- Do a better job at managing personal finances
I got advice that it’s never too late to start savings for retirement.
Accomplishing all twelve items in this coming year is no easy task. But I know that if I don’t set dreams and goals, I won’t be going anywhere. No matter how many items I will achieve next year, I will be content that I have tried.