mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Resolutions, 2k7 edition...

In the past, I was never big on making New Year's resolutions. I didn't really look at New Year's Day as the start of a new year - sure it is from a calendar perspective, but it doesn't usually hail large changes in life. For a student, those changes are measured by semesters, by school years, not by calendar years. Now that I have a real job - but work for a school - this is still true, but not as much.

So I'm making a few new year's resolutions this year.

1)Lose weight. This one is pretty familiar. I'm still about 10 pounds above what the CDC BMI chart says I should be, and when I look in the mirror it looks to me like I could stand to lose more than that. I haven't been eating as well as I should, and I could stand to exersize more, so those are two things I hope to do this year. I only have one class left in my MBA, so that should give me more free time to devote to more important things, ie the gym. I probably should be more specific if I really want to accomplish this - detail how much I want to lose each week and exactly how to accomplish things - but it seems like life has a way of changing the best-laid plans, so I think laying out every meal for the next 365 days is kind of pointless. Besides, I'm starting to wonder how much it matters if I'm 10 pounds overweight - it's definitly a big improvement over being 100 pounds overweight, which is where I was two years ago. And keeping that weight off takes some effort. If I'm good about what I eat and exercise, and still don't lost those 10 pounds, I can probably live with myself.

2)Live Better. This one is pretty vauge, which is exactly what goals shouldn't be - they should be clearly defined, with timetables and deliverables, so you know what needs to be done by when so you know if you are on track. But this isn't that kind of goal. For the last couple years, my main focus has been on buying a house and getting my MBA, along with some other smaller goals. I haven't devoted a whole lot of time to things I enjoy, beyond eBay and Hamfest. So what I'd like to do this year, now that I have more free time and a house to enjoy that time in, is get back to doing the things I used to enjoy doing. I want to spend more time reading books for pleasure - granted, I prefer nonfiction, usually business or economics books, but I enjoy them and have read very few of them over the last couple years compared to what I did before. I also used to play the drums, and plan on bringing my old drumset back from the 'rents house once I get the cap installed on my truck so I can safely transport them. I also used to - as a kid, anyway - enjoy cooking, and that' something I'd like to start doing, now that I have my own tiny little kitchen. If I can afford to, I'm also hoping to get my back yard fenced in, and spend some quality time with my new gas grill (30% off, Target clearance), probably with a beer in one hand and a cigar in the other. I'd also like to get my ham radio license - not that I will probably ever use it, but it seems like it would be cool to have, and I told bsom that I would study for and take the test with him once I wrapped up my MBA. Plus, once I get my ham license I can get those cool Amateur Radio plates for my Ranger.

3)Stop Being Single - I mentioned this last year jokingly. Along with the more time and enjoying life more, this fits in. I don't really know how to do this. Accomplishing last year's goals - buying a house and losing weight - were easy. They can be translated to a simple formula - to lose weight, burn more calories than you take in. To save for a house, spend less money than you take in. Sure, the details can be a little tricky, but at least if you aren't succeeding it's easy to figure out that it's because you are spending too much or not exersizing enough. Meeting girls is way harder.

One of the books I had to read for one of my MBA classes was The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Sure, there are a lot of hokey stories in the book, and I regularly wanted to smack his kids, but there were also some good lessons, and one of them dealt with the circle of control - the idea that there are certain things you can control and certain things you can't. While you shouldn't worry about the things you can't control, you also need to realize that many of the things you think you can't control you actually can. Sometimes they are situations where you are making a choice, although you are choosing what's essentially the lesser of two evils - you are making a choice, but your options suck. Sometimes, though, they are things you can control but tell yourself you can't.

I think my love life, or lack of one, is one of the latter. I haven't done much to try. Part of that is low self-esteem - I can't really imagine wanting to date me if I was a girl - and fear of failure. I've been able to make excuses - to focus on my other goals - but now that I've acheived them I have an empty house to come home to. So there really are two things I can do - that are in my circle of control. The first is to work to develop some self-confidence. I'm not really sure how, but I need to make a point to talk to people, and to not be afraid to be shot down - I need to make myself realize that to try and fail is better than not to try at all. (I used the word "people" in that sentence instead of "women" because this really goes beyond dating and into my work and general social life - I tend to avoid talking to people unless I feel comfortable with them, and since I don't talk to them I'm never really comfortable with them). The second thing I can do is try to put myself in more situations where I may come into contact with dateable women. I'm not really sure how to do this - I don't really go to bars, and because most of the people I hang out don't either - they either don't drink (and I'm not much of a drinker anymore either, because I've turned into a lightweight) or are already in a relationship. I've also heard church as a meeting place, but I've never had luck with that - most of the women my age seem to be married with kids already, and there isn't really a good way to walk up to a random chick and introduce yourself. Maybe I need to go to a different church. The other option is internet dating, somethng I've been scared to try. I'm having trouble coming up with an ad that doesn't make me sound like the whiney loser I perceive myself as. But it's something I should try, because I have everything to gain and little to lose.

4)Save More - I made two big purchases this year - a house and a new truck. That's put quite a bite on my cash flow, and I don't have a whole lot left over. I also have two major home improvement things I need/want to do this year - replace my air conditioner condenser unit thing, which freezes up and leaks when the AC is on, and fence in my backyard. I'm hoping that my tax refund will cover most of this. What I would like to do is throw my "extra" cash (rebate checks, gifts, eBay income, hamfest income, what little overtime I still manage to snag) into a high-yeild savings account, and use that money to accomplish two goals. The first is to get my truck loan paid off early, and the second is to get about 10% of the principle of my house paid off so that I can drop below the 80% threshold and stop having to pay PMI. I plan to pay off the truck first, mostly because mortgage interest is tax-deductible and Ranger interest isn't. I have the account set up, although right now it's only got the $50 minimum to open it. I doubt I'll be able to get the truck paid off this year, but I'd at least like to get enough socked away that I can do it in the next year or two and then start working on the mortgage.

So there are my resolutions. Wish me luck


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