mad anthony

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

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New year's resolutions 2011

As a kid, I generally didn't think much of New Year's resolutions, because I didn't tend to measure time in years, but rather in school years or semesters. Even as an adult who works in higher ed, things tend to be measured in semesters and fiscal years more than anything else - May is the start of a new year, with a new budget, not January.

Still, it's a good idea to stop and think at the beginning of a calendar year what one hopes to achieve, and so I'm doing that. I tend to set similar resolutions pretty much every year, although sometimes the measures change, and I tend to succeed and fail at the same ones every year.

1. Stay in shape: - this is one that's been on there for years, and one I've been pretty good at. Between 2004 and 2006 I dropped about 100 pounds, and I've pretty much kept it off since then. So the obvious goal is to continue to keep it off.

But this year there is a little more to it - about 6 months ago I finally added some strength training to my daily workouts, so my goal this year is to keep that up, and to increase the length and intensity of my workouts. I suspect nobody will ever refer to me as "ripped", no woman will run her finger over my biceps and ask in sultry voice if I work out, and I'll never feel that it's appropriate to cut the sleeves off all my shirts. Still, I think I have put on a little bit of muscle, I can crank the resistance a little higher than when I started, and it's a little easier to open pickle jars. In addition to more time at the gym, I also need to put more time into working out at home, especially on crunches and stuff to work on my abs.

The other component of this is that I need to get back to watching what I eat a little more carefully. I still could stand to lose a few pounds, and I have fallen back into some of my old eating habits - giant portions, lunch at the all you can eat buffet at work, big desserts at night. I'm not going to completely give it up, but it would behoove me to scale back a little.

2. Run the Baltimore half-marathon again, and suck less at it this time: - back in October I entered the Baltimore half-marathon, mostly on a whim after a friend suggested it. I finished, but with a pathetic 3 hour and 7 minute chip time, which put me in about 7500 place out of about 8500 finishers. This year, I'd like to do better - maybe more like 2:40. That means I actually need to run for a good time instead of holding back to finish like I did this year. It also means I actually need to train - that I need to add some time on the treadmill to my daily workouts and do some running outside.

3. Save money - and figure out what to do with it - I've been able to put some money away over the last few years, but I could stand to tighten up my budget a little. I spend too much on impulse purchases, lunch out, coffees at the on-campus Starbucks, shoes and clothing, and a host of other things. Last year, I started expanding my hamfest and eBay businesses, and found some promising sources for inventory. I also started selling at more hamfests, including ones further away. I want to - make that I need to - keep that up, and to basically spend any time I'm not working on other resolutions working on making more money. I've also occasionally turned down overtime opportunities, and I need to stop doing that - any chance I can be increasing my net worth, I should be doing that, not doing non-revenue producing things like sleeping.

The flip side of this is figuring out what to do with my savings - I'm probably going to be in the market for a new car in the next year or two, and I need to decide if I want to go all-out and buy what I really want - a stupidly expensive preowned luxury SUV like a Range Rover - or buy something practical and put the rest of the money towards things like traveling or renovating my house.

4. Find a relationship, or stop trying: - This is one that's on my list every year. I'm 30, single, have never had anything that can be called a relationship, and don't really know why. Sure, there are plenty of things wrong with me, but there are plenty of things wrong with lots of people who still seem to find love. Either I'm going about it all wrong, or I'm just completely repulsive and should just give up. I hope to figure out which of those it is and fix it.

5. Get on a career path: - for the last couple years, I've been in the same job at work, with the same title - but with an ever-growing list of responsibilities. While I'm glad that I have the opportunities, I'm also a little frustrated that I'm managing projects, buying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and responsible for quite a bit of technical stuff, while still answering to the title of "senior technician". Ideally, I'd like a title that fits what I do, a role where I'm not answering to like 4 managers, and I'd love to move away from the technical stuff - which I neither enjoy nor am particularly good at - towards the management/business side of things. But I haven't had much luck with that, because we have a ton of management types already, and because I don't feel like it's right for me to walk into someone's office and tell them what my title or responsibilities should be.

It probably doesn't help that I started, then dropped out of grad school this year. I do have an MBA, but I started an educational technology program this year - and after a semester, decided that it was taking up a huge amount of time but wasn't really giving me any skills or knowledge that seemed particularly relevant to my job. But I do worry that dropping out sends a signal to management that I'm not dedicated, and I wonder if I did more damage doing that than I would have if I hadn't started it in the first place.

6. Travel or something, maybe: - Everyone seems to love traveling - women on dating sites talk about how much they love it, coworkers talk about how much they've enjoyed it. It doesn't hold a whole lot of appeal to me - it costs money, which I hate to spend, especially when I don't actually get a material object in return. It means I have to take off from work, and given the fact that I'm on thin ice already career-wise, I'm reluctant to take too many vacation days, and I already have to take some for picking up inventory and going to auctions for my side business, and for visiting my parents and helping them out as they get older and their health fails. I feel like I should travel internationally at least once, just so I can say I did, but I can't see that happening anytime soon. I did get to go to Vegas for work this year, and can probably go again in 2011 if I want to - but I'm not sure I want to. What I think I may do is try to combine the side business with a trip - either to Atlanta for an unclaimed mail auction or to a failed - bank auction (well, to pick up the stuff, anyway - the actual auctions are online only) - since lots of failed banks are in sunny places like Florida. That still means taking time off and spending money, but at least there is a chance of making some of the cost back.

7. Get organized: My house is a mess - boxes, old electronics, and other stuff everywhere. Moving in my basement is next to impossible, my spare bedroom/home office has turned into a storage room, and the crap is spilling over into the other living spaces in my house. It's unavoidable to a certain extent - I'm in the business of reselling stuff - stuff that often has to be bought in large quantities and sold in small ones, which means it needs to be stored in the meantime. Still, there is a lot I can do to make it more manageable - get rid of the stuff that is obviously unsellable, organize the stuff that is, be more aggressive about selling and more selective about buying. I need to do those things.


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