2015: New Year’s Goals (with bonus 2014 self-eval!)

It’s that time of year where everyone sets high-minded goals for self-improvement! As anyone who knows me well will attest, I tend to be a never-ending fountain of ideas for Being Better At Life, so this holiday is sort of naturally in my wheelhouse. But before we get to that fun task, I thought I’d do a bit of self-eval for last year’s goals.

First, I’d like to give myself a virtual high-five for achieving my Goodreads goal of reading 48 books. I’m upping that to 52 for this coming year, less because I care about achieving a specific number and more because I like being able to go to a website and see all the book covers together.

The theme of my goals for 2014 seems to be achieving the spirit of the goal, if not the letter. To wit:

  • Clear my print magazine backlog: I did not get down to one issue or fewer for everything, chiefly because I still have about a year’s worth of The Sun to get through. But, I read all my copies of High Country News, made the stack of Orion and Mother Jones a reasonable size, and kept up on a subscription to the Economist for most of the year too.
  • Listen to one good music album in its entirety each month: My final album total was closer to about 10, but I did buy a lot more music in album form and spent the first half of the year actively seeking out new artists. I’m going to try to keep that up and take advantage of my long-ass drive to Coeur d’Alene twice a week to listen to something other than my rotating Top 40 hits playlist.
  • Build a website: Success! I made rachewalexander.com into a mini data journalism project (really just like 3 things) before backing off because of my Fancy New Job. But nevertheless, there is now a website. And I learned a lot in the process, however short it might have been.
  • Put together a working professional website: I did revamp my Tumblr to function as such, and added some portfolio-like elements there. Between that and my data project, my online presence is in a better place, though I wouldn’t say I quite have  a portfolio site yet. Someday, maybe.
  • Participate in 365 in Focus, a group photoblog project: I succesfullly did this for about half the year before I just got sort of tired of it, so it was more like a 180 in Focus. In the process, I learned how to use some new photo apps and got more comfortable with mobile photography and editing, so that’s good. You can see my pictures here.

Given how last year played out, this year’s goals are going to be more holistic. Here’s what I’d like to do in 2015:

  • Make exercise, especially training for derby, a priority. I’ve been good about going to the gym a couple days a week on top of practice, but I’d like to have a workout routine specifically targeting building endurance for derby and strengthening the muscles I need most.
  • Get back outside. I’ve gone climbing once since moving here and am really excited to get back into that. I’d like to spend more of this fall and spring hiking, being outside, getting to know my new home and learning some regional ecology. (Summer I’ll be off on a crazy travel extravaganza.)
  • Read the news more systematically. Working at a newspaper, I tend to read a lot, and I’m pretty happy with the amount I read about what’s going on in the world. But I’d like to read more broadly and seek out international news sources other than the Economist. Basically, do more than just relying on random stuff from Twitter, the New York Times and stuff my friends send me.
  • Write more regularly. I’d like to journal everyday or close to it both because it’s been such a useful tool to hone my writing skills and because having a chronic of your life is an amazing thing for later. Blogging more would be awesome too, especially since I’m going to be traveling so much.
  • Get my online presence in order. This blog needs a makeover, and I’d like it to eventually be a WordPress.org install on a custom domain instead of a WordPress.com hosted thing. My data project also needs an update note, and I could always use better Twitter lists and Facebook friend groups. Plus, I want to get real about using some of the newer social networks that still confuse me – I’m thinking Vine and Pinterest specifically this year.