Well, it’s the last day of the year, and time to take stock of my goals for the year. I enter my “taking stock” phase with two massively competing paradigms — epic failure for failing to complete or even start many of them vs. satisfaction for the progress I’ve made on some of them.
For blue / mind / organizing / planning goals, my two big ones for the year were to do more on astronomy and a kitchen renovation. For the astronomy, I am really happy with the new alignment procedure I have, and the new “wifi” tool. They basically “saved” my interest in astronomy, and I’m much more confident now that I can use my telescope to find things that are actually worth finding. That’s a huge achievement, and it worked well. I was a bit surprised that I lost steam in September, and barely used my scope all fall. » Read the rest
One of the benefits of having a birthday in June is it makes a nice target for reviewing my goals and seeing how I am doing. Previous readers will recall that I set some really ambitious goals back in January, and by about the third week of February, my weekly monitoring and tracking was pretty much done. I do review my goals, and check in on my progress, but I haven’t been posting about it.
For blue / mind / organizing / planning goals, my two big ones for the year were to do more on astronomy (to re-kickstart my interest in and use of my telescope) and a kitchen renovation. For the astronomy, I had the problem last year with the gears (losing it to the repair shop for August and September), and I have to confess, I’ve been somewhat disappointed anyway with my progress. I bought a good beginner scope, and it comes with a Go-To mount that basically uses a computer to track the sky and auto-adjust to various locations. » Read the rest
I read a lot of posts, blogs, articles, newspapers, journals, websites in general about goal-setting, progress, time management, self-improvement, tracking, etc. I’ve seen the literally thousands of pages set up like “lists” — “Seven ways to manage your life”, etc. — and rarely do I find them truly useful. Or even worth sharing. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it’s usually about 90% chaff, and 10% wheat. Or a very rare diamond in the rough.
So when I saw a post last week entitled “42 practical ways to improve yourself” over on LifeHack.Org, I was of course drawn to it but with little expectation that I would find it that great. Instead, I was almost gob-smacked — whoever curated the list (Celestine Chua is the name on the entry, but sometimes they’re curated in groups for LifeHack) did an absolutely fantastic job. Here are my favorites on the list:
Life handbook (LH #10) / Set big goals (LH #17) / Acknowledge your flaws (LH #18) / Blog or Journal (LH #26 & 27) / Let go of the past (LH #36) / Commit to your personal goals (LH #42): For me, seven of the items on the long list are really part and parcel of my approach to self-improvement quest for this year, and they can be broken down into three pieces:
Know yourself — flaws, strengths, past, future, warts and all;
Set goals — some big, some small, but stretch yourself; and,
Track it — some people write about it, others are into managing lists and progress meters, but basically it’s about tracking to see if you’re doing what you committed to doing;
Read (LH#1): It is Chua’s number one, but while she has hers as read a book every day, and mostly talking about non-fiction, I think it is equally useful to read regularly and in any form.
I’m relatively new to astronomy, have been involved for just over 18 months, and am still pretty limited in my knowledge. One of my learning resources is being a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), Ottawa Chapter, and by being a member, I get the annual Observer’s Handbook.
The Handbook is a great resource. But I confess that as a newbie, it can be quite daunting. For example, page 23 of the 2015 handbook has a table entitled, “Heliocentric Osculating Orbital Elements for 2015: Referred to the Mean Ecliptic and Equinox of J2000.0”. Umm, sure. I’ll get right on reading that immediately. As soon as I finish grouting the tub at a friend’s house. And this is listed in a section called “Basic data”.
If you know what that table is about, congratulations! However, this means that this blog entry is not for you. It’s for the people who have the handbook and want to be able to use it without an advanced degree in astrophysics or spending 3 hours with a dictionary and going down internet wormholes looking things up on websites. » Read the rest
Time to do a quick update, here at the end of week 7.
My soul goals, the yellow ones that are primarily about creativity this year, have been the ones I have focused on so far this year. When I was sick, they took a huge hit, but not as big as the other ones. I also started off pretty strong. But I’ve also changed my approach to them a bit, so that’s going to affect my overall word totals, even though I’m not changing my target.
I started off really strong on my big scary goal of writing 500,000 words by December 31st. In the first major week for tracking, I put together over 20K words, twice the weekly goal. It was hard, but it was also fun. Since then, not so great. I was planning on that 500K being a combination of many things:
First and foremost, my blog entries on PolyWogg.ca,