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2016 Goals

True to character, Sweetie and I kicked off 2016 with a snore. At 11pm on December 31st, Sweetie looked at the clock, said "Eh, it's midnight somewhere," gave me a Happy New Year kiss and headed off to bed. By the light of the Christmas tree we have yet to put away, I sampled e-books from the library until the booms of distant fireworks died down and I could sleep in peace.

The next day I welcomed the new year with a new hair color: "Ultimate Black" from the Superior Preference line by L'Oreal Paris.

Picture of me with freshly dyed hair

(I'm not wearing any makeup in this picture—just a swipe of lip balm. After I stopped using harsh acne-fighting products and switched to moisturizing cleansers and creams for sensitive skin, my face became clearer than it ever has been since my prepubescent years. Sometimes medications are the problem, not the cure.)

Last night Sweetie asked me what my 2016 goals are. In general, making New Year's resolutions doesn't work for me because I have a capricious character. If I get a bright idea to accomplish something but don't act on it immediately, I forget about it, or lose interest, or get cold feet. "Tomorrow" or "sometime this year" or "one of these days" usually translates to "never."

If I do make goals, they need to be very specific, attainable, and time-bound. Vague or overly ambitious resolutions will lie broken in my mental dumpster by Valentine's Day. For example, instead of, "Sometime I need to sit down and read this important but dry nonfiction book," which will never happen, I need to say, "Starting right now, I'll read 25 pages of this book every day for the next month."

So the goals below aren't very impressive, because I need to keep them realistic.

Health Goals

I'm in pretty good shape health-wise. My clothes still fit well, I've weaned myself off of candy, and my daily meals and snacks are full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. The one area I've been slacking off is exercise. Changing into thin workout clothes and using the treadmill when the living room is 50-something degrees is not pleasant.

My health goal for 2016 is to stick to my current goal, which is to exercise for at least half an hour each day, alternating days between walking/jogging and stretching/strengthening. I have no excuse not to do it, since I can do both while watching dramas or reading books.

Financial and Career Goals

At this point, my financial situation is largely out of my control. We don't have a money tree out back, and we've already cut spending to the bone. Thanks to Sweetie's vigilance with the budgeting software, all of our income goes into fixed costs, student loan payments, and emergency savings. We rarely go out, we don't have cable or smartphones, and we moved to a cheap voice-only plan from a carrier whose target demographic is retired seniors on Social Security. I get $20 a month to spend on "frivolities"—cosmetics, clothes, etc.—and that's it.

All I can do this year is work on climbing up the career ladder one rung at a time, so we'll be better off in the future. I'm keeping an eye out for higher education jobs that would give me greater responsibilities, either in IT or in library administration, and I'll keep working on projects to improve my resume and portfolio.

Writing Goals

I have two writing goals for this year.

  1. Finish the detailed outlines for all three books of my fantasy trilogy.
  2. Finish the first draft of book one.

Originally I was going to write the first book before tackling the others. But after I completed the outline for book one, Sweetie convinced me it's smarter to outline the others as well. I don't want my trilogy to have a "tiger's head, snake's tail" (虎头蛇尾)—to start off powerfully but end weakly. Outlining them all in detail will ensure I'll write the whole thing as one cohesive story in three acts, rather than ending up with one good book and two disappointing sequels.


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