Well… this one is late coming. I was travelling over the new years and I wasn’t able to get back to my computer until a few days into the new year. After that, I just left it for a few weeks partly out of a reluctance to rate my performance for 2019. I am committed to doing this again though and I am writing this as I get back into the swing of a new year.
I’ll start by going over some changes in circumstances last year and also go through the goals I set for 2019 and see where I failed and where I succeeded.
First of all, as I wrote last year I was coming to the end of my contract in late January at which time I would have been unemployed. This would have been the first time in a long time that I was without a job. More alarmingly, it would have been the first time since I was married and had children that I was without a job. This was further complicated by my not being fully settled and having debts to pay as well as rent and a whole host of responsibilities.
I applied for a lot of jobs in education but coming into late January and had one interview for a part-time job that I didn’t get. I tried applying for a few white-collar jobs but got nothing. But, by the Grace of God, I was speaking to someone at church and was told about a couple of traditional Catholic schools I could consider. I got in contact with the one that was closest, they happened to have a position and I got it. It wasn’t full-time initially but it was enough to pay the rent and keep us going. One of the success stories of 2019 is that I not only got it but that I still have it. I am truly thank God for this but also feel the responsibility of this gift and I am also happy that it has considerably reinvigorated my desire to continue teaching.
So let’s go over my goals for 2019:
1. Edit and complete my first book and write another and write more in general.
I got even less done with this than I did in 2018. I recently read that writers really need to be motivated and while my goals have generally been concrete, this one has not. “Write a book” is not a concrete goal. What has to be done is to set myself a rule like, “a chapter a month.” or something like that. Either do it, or stop talking about it.
2. Get right back into health and fitness, break bad habits and make real improvements and at least compete in a half-marathon.
This was a total disaster. I have gained even more weight over the year and while I’m addressing it, this has been probably my biggest failure. I did do well initially and was down where I wanted to be at Easter. After that it just got progressively worse during the year. It will of course carry into the new year.
3. Reduce money and time spent on video games and stop collecting altogether.
This is my second best success story. I sold almost everything and only have a Switch remaining. I went scorched earth in September getting rid of my consoles, accessories and games as well as having online accounts deleted. I now have one console and play far less. I did initially plan to completely cut the habit but I found I just watched movies more at night instead. But this is a definite success.
4. Get a new job or jobs and work out where I want to go with my future employment.
My biggest success for 2019. There have been ups and downs and some disappointments but overall, I’m relieved that the one thing I really needed to get done; got done.
5. Continue to grow in Faith and work through my new Catholic Study Bible.
This one is done but could be better. I certainly got through that Bible and a number of other spiritual works. I went to confession at least once a month and I also often got to Mass more than one time I week. I am hoping over time to make up for all the Sundays I missed when I was outside the church.
Still, there is a dark side. I felt more under attack and tempted this year. I struggled and faltered at times, particularly with gluttony as my failure with two indicates.. I also struggled with sloth and in my heart with lust. These are areas I need to work on this year.
6. Read Moby Dick, Plato’s Republic, The Tale of Genji, The Gulag Archipelago, Don Quixote and more good books. I read a lot of books in 2018 but more low quality ones and many of these ones have been on my list or shelf for a while.
I read Moby Dick, I started The Gulag Archipelago but didn’t get to any of the others. I did however read 36 books in 2019 which is three a month. Some of these were shorter works but many of them were not and I’d say the quality was generally high. I also discovered Ayako Sono who I will write about in a later post and also got to a number of classics including two Jules Verne novels.
I do also have a good excuse for not getting to a number of these big ones. My new job required me to get some good literature going at the school so I had to change a lot of my reading to suit what I was going to teach. I didn’t mind this of course but it put a lot of these longer books further to the back.
As I’ve been on a Japanese novel streak, I decided to start The Tale of Genji and I’m enjoying it thus far. I should move on to Plato’s Republic after that as it is a good deal shorter. I think I can count this one as done though as I did read a lot of great books and got at least one of the big ones off my list.
7. Give over more of my time to my family and practical things and spend less time at screens and gaming.
I have done this to an extent. I’ve certainly done a lot more practical things and I finally got my work area close to the way I want it. I’m waiting on a delivery to finally get into electronics.
I still need to do a bit better where family are concerned.
Overall, I could give myself a five or at least a four and a half out of seven for this year. Not great but not a disaster either and this has to be better than the average new year’s resolution.
So for 2020:
1. Lose at least 10 kilograms and get myself back into a good fitness standard.
I have put myself on a diet and I have been doing regular exercise since the New Year but it is still not enough. This will be quite a fight for this year.
2. Limit my alcohol consumption to five occasions from the time this is posted.
After 2018, I started falling back into some bad habits progressively. This includes my holiday period over Christmas in which a day didn’t go by when I didn’t have a drink. I have continued to drink more than I should this month too. So rather than go cold turkey again, I’ll allow myself five occasions with a checklist. There are a few celebrations this year and they will be the ideal times.
(22/02/20) Edit: This one already isn’t going well. Might make it TEN!
3. Return to writing this blog weekly again.
My posts have reduced to once a month over the last two years and there is no point trying to write a book if I can’t even do this regularly. So this will be a much better focus and having to post here might also force me to actually post some more writing. It could work.
4. Read the books I did not last year.
I am already on this one and I think I can do it.
5. Continue to reduce screen-time and increase family and practical time.
This, along with the first two will be one of my big challenges for this year.
We’ll see how I’ve done in 2021.