All posts in: goals

30 Nov 2012

new year’s resolutions: the overdue edition

When one announces one’s uh… ambitious New Year’s Resolutions on the internet, it is probably safe to assume that this person in question plans on keeping said resolutions, updating the public regularly, and generally following through, feeling good, and bragging about his or her improved quality of life and stick-to-it-iveness.

I obviously posted once about my progress and then abandoned my NYR dreams to wallow in guilty avoidance. Inner cringing to think of my goals, of how I had to get all high and mighty and post them online and now look – nothing! Nothing. You make goals and then let them blow away in the wind.

As I age, I still make unrealistic goals and then loathe myself when I can’t reach them, just like I did as a child, a teen, a younger young adult. But I am getting better at one thing – figuring out what I actually want to do with my life and my time, and choosing goals accordingly.

So when I make New Year’s Resolutions – even excessive ones that come in list-form – I can actually just ignore the list for 11 months and still do a decent job of meeting them.

This is one of the best parts about being an adult.


Start first-thing-in-the-morning writing

I do not have the early morning zen writing practice of my dreams yet, but over the course of the year I have, for periods of time, woken up first thing and 1) Did homework 2) Read books 3) Run a few miles 4) Keep a journal 5) Write.

Not all of them at once, but the common denominator is: I’m getting up early enough to do something.

Thank you, French Press. I owe it all to you.

Read 12 new YA releases this year

Knocked. This One. Out. Of. The Park.

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  2. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
  3. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  4. Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson
  5. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
  6. Son by Lois Lowry
  7. The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
  8. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  9. My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt
  10. Smashed by Lisa Luedeke
  11. Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
  12. 37 Things I Love (in no particular order) by Kekla Magoon

Well, that’s the first 12 I could come up with. There were more, and I’m not even going to TOUCH the YA nonfiction.

I will say that most of these reads were due to classwork and paying gigs, so we will see if the trend continues in the future, especially since I am in an ARC-drought. I do, however, know when new books get put on order, so maybe my library hold addiction will even out the field for 2013.


Continue to pursue a mostly sugar & grain-free lifestyle

My quest to avoid metabolizing sugars in 2012 has been hit or miss, for sure. But I have not completely reverted to a carb-eater: a sandwich is a treat, sugared coffee is for the weak, sodas are for when you feel like having a headache, pasta is not a legitimate menu option. My Whole30 experiment was fun and one that I will probably try again soon. I have no idea what I weigh, but it seems I hover between two pants sizes pretty consistently – my body does not seem to be spiraling out of control at this point.

I don’t think this is a battle that can be won, necessarily, for me anyway. Just a series of small changes that I am still committed to, so I will call that a win.


Run two 5Ks

Objectively, I did not complete this goal. Granted, it is still the end of November, but let’s be honest – I am writing this post while under three blankets in bed. I am trying not to spill my cup of coffee on my bedspread. I am not going to go outside and run a 5k in December.

However, the 5k I did run came after I was feeling sick of running. I did two weeks of “prep” leading up to the race, which means I probably ran a few 1 or 2 mile loops, and I think I forced The Boy into a 2.75 at some point. But that was it. And then I ran a (slow and rainy) 3.1 miles on race day, without stopping, without dying. It is no longer beyond my capacity to run long distances. Give me a few weeks, and I’ll be back up to speed.

Now, sustaining this high level of fitness while remaining in bed wearing wool socks for the months of December, January, and February will be another issue altogether. But that’s 2013’s problem…


Be ballsy.

Well, this is certainly the most abstract of these resolutions. Was I bold? Was I ballsy? Should I even be using such a word as ballsy because although it is a good sounding word, it is somewhat anti-feminist or whatever?

I don’t know. Career-wise, I certainly applied for a lot of jobs. I did some high-stakes interviews. I did a lot of thinking about my career trajectory, the kind of work I like to do, and the kind of life I’d like to live.

Most of the time, it didn’t feel like being “ballsy.” It just felt like saying yes, felt like getting by, felt like doing what had to be done. Nothing ever felt triumphant, I never felt bold. Everything felt scary.

But, here we are, at the end of 2012. I have the job I wanted, the opportunities I wanted, a life that is a good fit for me right now. I’m not going to spend too much time analyzing my methods.


Work on a cleaning schedule

January through February: made minor progress.

March through August: gigantic fail

September through November…. surprising win?

It is much easier to keep our slightly-bigger apartment clean; more places to store things, to put things, it looks nicer even when it’s still a little messy. I am also working very hard to un-wire my lifelong bad habits. I am also trying to put some love into this falling down building of a home because when I take the time to hang pictures, arrange furniture, and sew crooked curtains, I want my space to look nice and not covered in dirty dishes.

That being said, we haven’t done dishes in three days. It’s a process, and I probably should have pushed myself harder this year, but I definitely feel like I am finally on the right track! Slob no more!


17 Sep 2012

weekly: week thirty-seven

September 9 – September 15

This week, The Boy bought his first power tool – a 30 dollar drill. He has now drilled holes in a number of pieces of furniture and in many walls happily, and offered to make me a bookshelf.

I had a similarly adult transformation: I bought my first wine glasses. Those of you who have known my longstanding proclivity to drink wine from cups – plastic, if you have it – realize what a monumental five dollar purchase this was!

However, I decided that tomorrow will be my first day of the Whole30 challenge, and my wine glasses will remain unfilled for the next thirty days. This nutritional mind-body transformation better be good… now excuse me, I need to go hard-boil some eggs.


Listening To:

  • Tom Waits – The Mule Variations
  • The Last Five Years
  • The sound of holes being drilled


  • Still auditioning Up All Night
  • Daily episodes of “Liberal Propaganda” – The Boy’s choice of The Daily Show, Bill Maher, Colbert Report, or the Rachel Maddow Show.
  • It stands to note that I voluntarily watched a football game this week. In a bar.
  • An episode of Breaking Bad. We are also auditioning LOST replacement shows…
12 Jul 2012

one last push

I have been visited by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and their names are:

1. Apartment Hunting

A painful dance, balancing what luxuries you’ve grown accustomed to, where you can live to accommodate your commute, what kind of lifestyle you believe you deserve, and oh, what you can afford.

Apartment hunting makes me want to live in a shoebox on the side of the road.

2. Moving

… and then there’s the whole “moving’ aspect of finding a new place. I hate moving. I consider myself to be a resilient person, not afraid to do a little manual labor. But I still shudder to remember how my last move sucked the life out of me. Many exhaustingly minute details, followed by weeks of putting your belongings in boxes and fretting over your consumerism, culminating with a few days of hard labor and then an apartment that is new, but also filled with garbage, reliably dirty, and devoid of food and other life comforts.

3. Taking a Vacation

I am one of those annoying Type A folks who have trouble enjoying time off because the logistics put me on edge. We are going to Michigan for a week and a few days. Going HOME. This should be easy, right? No, no, no. Never. Who will go where and who will we see and who will see who and who will drive where and as;lkejr;oij234arsdaklsf.

I just want to play Mario Party and drink Diet Coke and sleep until noon, okay?

4. Planning a Wedding

May I please be married in a shoebox on the side of the road?

So bear with me as I try to figure out my life from now until September 1st, after which I will have finished 1, 2, 3 and made progress on 4.

Life after grad school? Not particularly glamorous.

P.S. I pretty much wrote this post already, 2 years ago. I even tried to give it the same subject. My life.


02 Jul 2012

2012: week twenty-six

June 24 – June 30

This week, I struggled a lot with this whole “self motivation” thing. My life no longer has a lot of those helpful supports that enable productivity – jobs where I sit in front of a computer, regularly scheduled work shifts, time by myself at home. But life is life, and now it’s time to work on discipline, habits, and other skills that keep me from feeling like a useless, underemployed lump.

On Friday, I went to a job interview in a beach town in Eastern Connecticut. Afterwards, we paid 5 dollars to park in someone’s front lawn and spent a few hours in the sun & sand on the Long Island sound.

First of all, I think I should start going to the beach after every interview. Packing a nice bag with snacks and sunscreen and a book counteracts some of that pre-interview dread.

Second of all, the above home is available for year-round rent in the area, for the same price as my current two bedroom apartment, and includes:

  • Three bedrooms
  • Large kitchen
  • Basement with washer & dryer hook up
  • Two car garage
  • Access to a private beach

I’ve been applying for a lot of jobs in the Boston metro area, but I think I might be doing it wrong…



  • LOST Season Four, you are ridiculous.
  • Watching This Emotional Life, a three-part PBS special on happiness. Very interesting and engaging – definitely recommend!


07 Jun 2012

happy coffee-versary!

After a few weeks of feeling grumpy, tired, and finding myself stuffing my face with popcorn and junk every night with little regard to my actual hunger… SURPRISE! I can’t really fit into my jeans anymore.

I am poor and my jeans are cute and I know it is good for me anyway so as of this week I am back off sugar+carbs. The sweetest things I eat are Larabars (usually taken in halves) and squares of dark chocolate (usually taken with a little bowl of salted mixed nuts). I started eating bacon for breakfast again, thinking that the 5 dollar weekly purchase would pay itself off in motivation/morning satiety.

It’s really not so bad. A lot of people say “Oohhhhh but I couldn’t LIVE without bread/cupcakes/candy… you just must not love bread as much as I do.” But I do, friends. I love bread more than most other foods. I love it when it’s soft and warm, love it when it is toasty and covered in melted butter, love it white, rye, whole wheat, sourdough… but you know what? If I don’t buy bread, then I don’t think about it. I’m not trying to ban bread from my life forever – I’m just trying to not put it in my shopping cart and eat something else instead. It doesn’t feel like denial. It feels like normal life.

I’m glad that even though I’m not always on target, I was able to try out this lifestyle for myself and find out that it can feel normal. And as the weather has warmed up, I am reminded of the single habit that made this bigger change possible:

I learned how to drink coffee.

Just a year ago, I stopped drinking mochas, vanilla lattes, caramel macchiatos, frappuccinos, anything that qualifies as a Fancy Sugar Coffee Drink. I alternated plain lattes with little Starbucks Doubleshots for a spell, but once I tried an iced coffee for the first time – unsweetened, lots of ice, a bit of half-and-half – I didn’t really look back. I was able to continue my shameless addiction to caffeine while at the same time avoiding sugar – I wasn’t forced to detox from both at the same time, which I think would have been so miserable I would have given up the fight.

It’s the summer now, so I walk to work to save a little money – over the winter, a new coffee shop opened up right along my commute. I tried it for the first time last week, and I liked it. The coffee tasted different than my other choices (Starbucks, JP Licks, Java City at school, or cold-brew at home), it tasted good. I thought about how a year ago, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. How a year ago, I was reliant not only on sugar, but on a Starbucks that I could count on to make me a drink to my precise requirements. I was thinking about how happy it made me that I could always have a nice, cold iced coffee in my life – an indulgence I don’t think I’ll ever have to feel guilty about.

13 Apr 2012

happy marathon monday!

You guys, it’s almost Marathon Monday!

Here are some lazy and non-lazy fun things to do to celebrate Boston’s Running Holiday:

1. Watch Spirit of the Marathon

This is probably my favorite documentary, about four folks running the Chicago marathon. There is interesting information about the history of street racing and lots of that emotional sports-movie feeling where you hold your breath a lot and get nervous for no reason while people run toward the finish line.

2. Read some running blogs

A few years ago, I got kind of hooked on healthy living blogs, and for some reason almost every healthy living blogger is a long distance runner. They typically write a lot about different workouts, healthy foods, training schedules for this and that race, race re-caps, and  post a lot of pictures with cute workout clothes. Here are some of my favorites:

Emily from Sweat Once A Day is training for the Eugene Marathon.

Monica from Run, Eat, Repeat is training for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon.

Tina from Carrots ‘N’ Cake is just doing a lot of Crossfit, but has run two marathons and posts a lot about running.

Ashley from (never)homemaker just had a baby and is still training for a half marathon anyway!

Gretchen from Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen is training to run 3-4 mile legs of the Reach the Beach Relay.

3. Watch the Race!

If you live in Boston, that is. Which I do. Last year we came down early and saw the very first of the first runners pass by!

We will be watching this year from one of my favorite areas in Boston – Coolidge Corner.

There was a small crowd out when we arrived – families, visiting spectators, and college kids drinking beer at 10 a.m.

On my Dearest Former Roommate’s suggestion, stay away from the finish line at Copley. She worked at the Borders there a few years ago and thought it would be fun – no, people are passing out and throwing up all over the place! I’m worried it will be worse this year, as it may be up to 80 degrees on race day.

4. Drink a Gatorade

Yes, it’s full of high fructose corn-syrup, but who doesn’t love blue Gatorade? If you’ve never tried it, you probably don’t believe me; I didn’t until a high school boyfriend bought me one once… it’s strangely satisfying. But don’t try any other flavors. Go blue or go home.

If you live in Boston, you might also substitute this drink for a special Sam Adams 26.2 beer.

On tap only at bars located along the marathon route. We tried it last week,and I thought it was weird. But this could be because I knew it was brewed with salt, and ever since I had a terribly mixed margarita at a Red Lobster in 2007, I can’t stand the thought of a salty drink.

5. Go for a run

Before you drink too much, you should probably go for a run. If thousands of people can run 26.2 miles, you can surely run 1. Or 2. Or 3. Or 5. Or whatever.

I might force my boy into running down to Coolidge Corner to watch the race with me Monday morning – about 2 miles – but then I will be stuck wearing my decidedly not-cute size XL running shorts while I hang around and watch. I might be too vain for that…



07 Apr 2012

the sweetness

Almost exactly one year ago, I decided to give up sugar and simple carbs.

It took me quite a few months to muster the courage to completely quit, but I spent most of last semester without it. Favorites I went without include…

  • Energy drinks
  • Baking/complementary baked goods
  • Toast
  • Unlimited amounts of fruit
  • Sugary coffee drinks
  • Ice cream
  • Granola bars
  • Cereal
  • Hard cider
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Bread
  • Grains
  • Pasta
  • Chips

In the beginning, there were headaches, moodiness, lack of energy. Heartburn. But after awhile, I figured out how much food I needed and when to strategically apply a square or two of dark chocolate or a small, cold coffee with half & half.

I allowed myself to indulge on the weekends – from Friday night to Saturday night, I could eat a slice of toast or a take-out sandwich, some white wine or a beer – but then back to the grind on Sunday morning.

I liked it. The most significant change was not only did my sweet tooth disappear – my food cravings in general disappeared.

I am not a lady who often feels the pull toward particular tastes – I don’t run out for ice cream or order pizza in the middle of the night or buy large bags of chocolate. But I do get hungry a lot – in general, I eat every 2-3 hours. But after a few weeks without sugar, I stopped thinking about food when I wasn’t hungry. Maybe the extra protein made me feel more satiated, or maybe flooding your bloodstream with sugars messes without your brain, but either way, I liked it.

Christmas happened, though, and I fell off the wagon. Then, in January, my finances changed and I had to trim down the grocery bill. Goodbye, grass-fed steaks and frozen salmon. Also: it’s January, so goodbye fresh veggies. I have been off the wagon since Christmas – even though I resolved to continue my sugar-free lifestyle in January, I have made no progress. Basically, I need to go cold turkey again, but I’m having trouble finding the motivation. My budget doesn’t allow me to buy the enticing array of meats and cheeses and nuts that kept me fed in the Fall, and I don’t have a lot of time to get truly creative. I’m in a corner. This upsets me sometimes because I know I would be happier without the sweet stuff.

However, I am not going to beat myself up because even going 3 or 4 months without sugar helped me get in tune with how my body feels on different foods. While I don’t always eat 100% clean, I have developed a bit of a natural aversion toward some foods that are bad for me, aversions I never had before:

  • I can feel a headache coming on when I take even one bite of a brownie, cookie, cake.
  • I know that if I drink a Diet Coke, I will probably be miserable for the rest of the day.
  • I ordered a pumpkin spice latte once, had 3 sips, then threw it out and bought a large iced coffee. No regrets.

Fun side effect of being sugar-free: if you are avoiding added sugar and simple carbs, you pretty cut out 95% of processed, packaged food.

I will probably waffle and struggle and work on this for a long time, but I would recommend that everyone at least try to do without. It’s really not as hard as you think – you’ll need a new grocery list, some new menu ideas, and the will to resist sugar when it’s right in your face, but that’s about it. You’ll appreciate the sugar you do allow yourself even more, but eventually you probably won’t even want it that much. After a few weeks, you’ll probably like it, and even if you fall off the wagon, I think the changed perspective is priceless.


16 Feb 2012

new year’s resolutions – one month in

Welcome to February. How am I doing about those goals that I set for myself over a month ago? I can’t even remember what all these goals are, so this should be interesting.


Start first-thing-in-the-morning writing

Boo to this one. We have two limiting factors:

1. I am feeling anxious. The first few weeks were okay, but when I started trying to do my ACTUAL work (required writing, if you will), I developed early-morning-“whydoihavetogetupanddoanything???” anxiety.

2. Sleep. Sleeep! I love it. I keep sleeping in until 7. Not conducive for work.


Next Step: Get up earlier. Muscle through needless anxiety. Get. Shit. Done.


Read 12 new YA releases this year

I have read four of the six books I predicted back in January. And 5 total! Yea-ah! My internship also surrounds me with enticing ARCs for 10 hours a week. This one won’t be too hard

Next Step: Post more reviews!!!!!?!!!!!


Continue to pursue a mostly sugar & grain-free lifestyle

I am totally off the wagon. I would blame this on my newly reduced grocery budget – replacing most of my expensive meat + nuts  with whole grains (quinoa, rice, etc) – but that’s not entirely fair. It’s like I was on, then I was off over the holidays, and never got back on. Every week I say “I’ll get back on! Once I eat XXX. Once I buy groceries. Once XXX is over…”

So there’s that. I think I’m still doing 50% better than I was before I first cut sugar in September – naturally avoiding a lot of junk – but still eating too much toast, buying bags of chips, baking muffins & cookies, etc.


Next Step: Go cold turkey on sweets? Oh, how I wish there was another way… but there isn’t.


Run two 5Ks

So, learned something new about myself. Apparently, I respond well to specific-acheivement-type-goals that constitute a legit challenge. Back when I set these goals, I remember forcing myself to the gym, thinking that if I ever want to meet my goal – heck, if I even want to legitimize this goal’s existence – then I better get started.

Three weeks later, I have run completed three three-mile runs. I can easily do a mile without wanting a break (or at least wanting one TOO badly) and doing 2 or even 2.5 isn’t a big deal.

So, moral of the story: I psyched myself out, thinking “Oh this resolution will be super hard,” and therefore worked my butt off, and this is now my most successful resolution. Take note, Future Jessica!


Next Step: Next goal: eliminate breaks – I usually take a breather after each mile or so to stretch/get water/re-group – and pick up my pace to something that’s not a 12 minute mile.

I saw an old granny running for the bus the other day, and I thought to myself “Oh man, if only I could run that fast at the gym…”

That was only 30% joke.


Be ballsy.

I am struggling with this one, but as you may have read this long-winded post, I may have turned a corner in my job search. I am currently only pursuing jobs that will set me on a good path in the Children’s-Lit-o-Sphere and put me in a good place on the globe.

Now I will still need to summon the ballsy-ness to FOLLOW THROUGH AND APPLY, because even though I am carefully selecting which future employers I will pursue, those same employers are likely to dismiss my application altogether. Must keep applying and not take 7-10 days to waffle on a cover letter.

I did, however, submit my very first job app this week. Yay!


Next Step: Apply apply apply! Network network network!


Work on a cleaning schedule

Ack. When you are out of the house 8+ hours each day, it is plum DIFFICULT to maintain any sort of effective cleaning schedule. Especially when I have due-dates looming and upper respiratory infections and OTC drug hangovers to contend with.

I would say that my apartment is currently a wreck, but someone special cleaned her up, top to bottom, on Valentine’s. 🙂 I am, therefore, feeling a little bit inspired to maintain this current level of spic&span.

Seriously. This boy I live with? He doesn’t clean as much as I do, but when he does, HOLY CRAP. He has skills. He just better at cleaning than I am. We could spend equal time on the task, and my end result is a sorta-halfway-clean apartment, and his is spotless. I need to figure out how to milk this talent of his in a more effective manner.


Next Step: Oh, there are so many choices. Laundry would have the biggest effect on my well-being, but is also the most challenging. Urgh.

03 Feb 2012

on employment

Sometime in autumn, 2009, I sat down and wrote up my first three year plan. There wasn’t much there – despite what you might think of me, I don’t micromanage that far ahead in time. I wanted to do a little macro-managing. Draw a box around Spring semester. “Turn 25,” “Turn 26,” “Turn 27.” A red line across the calendar when my student loans are due.

I have now reached the box that reads “Apply for Jobs.” I’d like to say that I’m feeling less anxious about ending school and finding employment than I did in 2007 when I finished my Bachelors, but I’m not sure that’s true. No, I am not having the severe mental breakdown that was my final semester in college. That’s good. I think I might die if that happened again. But I’m feeling that “The Whole World Is Out There, Jessica, And You Damn Well Better Choose Wisely Otherwise You Will Die Poor, Unhappy, and Alone.”

Yes. Apparently that’s what was waiting for me in that “Apply for Jobs” box at the end of my little calendar. Complete a challenging graduate program, continue to work and pay your bills, and do it all, with a smile, and, when you have a minute, decide your fate.

I’m being ultra-dramatic. Noted. But this is a hard state for me to be in. It is easy to let myself be too negative. I spend about 90% of each day being too negative.

Here is the 10%.


1. I currently spend a significant portion of my life working with undergraduates. I have a lot of negative things to say about working in academia, in general, and even some negative things to say about the current crop of undergraduates and their issues with technology/self-reliance/entitlement/hyper-achievement.

But at the end of the day, I get excited when a new crop of students arrives. Freshmen are fun: I get excited to meet them. To make little undergraduate friends. To watch them change, often dramatically, usually for the better. The group of students I met on my first day of work in 2009 are finishing their junior year now. I feel sappy about that.

This makes me feel like I could work with college students for the long run.


2. I helped a patron at the library who wanted to find information social workers and their career satisfaction.

I asked if she was applying for the social work program at my school, and she revealed herself to be a high school senior.

Looking back, I can see where I changed my reference-providing tactics. I explained the difference between databases and catalogs more clearly. I jotted down notes for her to navigate our website more easily. I suggested some search terms that I thought would be more helpful, more specific.

At first, I wondered if I was being condescending. But then I thought, that hey, maybe every patron I work with might like a few notes to figure out where things are on the website, a few call numbers, a friendlier, more welcoming demeanor.

Learning how to give great service to teenagers, I think, teaches you how to give great service to anyone.

3. There are a lot of jobs. There are a lot of places to live. There are a lot of jobs in a lot of places to live and I have very few mechanisms that are allowing me to narrow down my choices in any significant way.

I spent 90 minutes applying for a job just because it was in a place that I might want to live, and I felt mildly qualified for the position.

The more time I spent filling out the application, the more time for doubt to creep in. Do I even want this job? Would it make it worth living in the place I wanted to live? Would I be able to even sound like an intelligent person at a job interview? Assuming I get the position, would I actually be any good at it? Would I even enjoy it?

I decided not to apply. After wasting 90 minutes of my life, I vented on Facebook. A former library supervisor friend of mine responded with this:

“The job market sucks. The question are, IF I take this job will it give me what the qualifications I need for a better job in a few years? IF I live in this city for a few years, will the job qualify me to work were I want in a few years? IF I take this job will I have better references to get what I want in a few years? Good luck. This is a long term game.”

I was asking the wrong questions. Even if I don’t know what kind of job I want or where I want to live, I still know where I want to be in my career. I still know what I want my life to look like. This is an easy litmus test for selecting jobs. For now, I am going to apply for jobs that will set me on a path to get where I want to go, career-wise. I’m going to operate on the assumption that my personal goals will fall in line, no matter what job I have or where I end up.

And where do I want to be? I want to be an active and influential part of the world of children’s literature.

I want to be creating, not consuming.

I want to be constantly learning.

I want to be ambitious.

Art from Marla Frazee’s Stars


04 Jan 2012

2012 resolutions

Start first-thing-in-the-morning writing

Look, guys. I used to feel really good about myself in terms of writing. I wasn’t the kind of writer who skipped meals or hobbies or sleep because of the pull-to-the-page, but I got it done. I was good at showing up, at sitting down.

I feel like if I ever want to write anything again, I need to recapture that. Thanks to my new-found coffee skills, last semester I did a good job of getting up early enough to be productive. This year, I will redirect my morning attentions to writing something. Writing anything. Even for just fifteen minutes.

Read 12 new YA releases this year

I hate feeling so behind the loop all the time, but it’s hard for me to keep up with new books when I’m beholden to the syllabus. This year, my syllabus consists of ALL!BRAND!NEW!BOOKS!, I might be able to get my hands on ARCs at my internship, and I will be out of school in May (gag), so this year I will try to read a new release every month. I will consider a book “new” if it was published in either 2012 or Fall/Winter 2011.

Immediately looking forward to…

Continue to pursue a mostly sugar & grain-free lifestyle

In 2011, I started experimenting with a Paleo-ish diet. I won’t bore you with the details of my eating habits – if that interests you, I post about it occasionally on my food blog – but in September I dove in all the way and was pleased with my results. Over three months, I lost about 10 pounds, enjoyed steadier energy levels across the day, less feeling-sick, less food cravings/moments of extreme starvation, and I think an improved mood.

Seriously on that last one. I fell of the wagon around the holidays and started indulging in all sorts of cookies and sweets and such, and at the same time started feeling really grumpy about life, the world, other people, my boyfriend, my family etc. I think I would be stupid not to assume a relationship between the two. It’s hard for me to stay motivated, positive, and productive when I’m in a bad mood, so this one was a big realization.

This year, I hope to continue to cultivate this sugar & grain & junk food free life. It’s really not half as bad as you are imagining, and I think 95% of people will seriously enjoy the benefits.

Run two 5Ks

In 2010, I taught myself how to run short distances regularly. In 2011, I increased my distances somewhat, but more importantly, I crossed the line from feeling like “I hate this I hate this I hate this I’m so glad it’s over” to “Hey, that wasn’t so bad! Look how far you ran! How far can you run tomorrow?”

However, I’m still running less than 3 miles. I’d like to be able to run a 5K by the end of the year, but I felt like that was a semi-lame goal since it would probably only take me a month or so of dedicated running to actually achieve that goal. So I’ll run two.

This goal probably makes me the most nervous. But I think I can do it. I will focus on increasing my distance (which, in the winter, may involve dedicating more time to visit the gym), and once I can run 3 miles without excessive walking-breaks, I will sign up for a race.

Writing that made me feel like puking. Why does this scare me so much!!??

Be ballsy.

Even without a New Year’s Resolution, this year I will have a lot going on, career-wise. I graduate in May. I have a fairly detailed Job Hunt Schedule that starts… oh… right now. I am not concerned about following through with my job-searching-goals. They will happen, no resolution needed.

But I am concerned with being bold. I want to make sure that I am not making decisions based on fear. I want to make sure I take any opportunities that come my way, even if they are goofy. I want to apply for jobs I don’t think I’m qualified for, in places I never thought I’d want to live. I don’t want to let my introverted nature keep me from networking opportunities. I don’t want to ignore an opportunity because I’m being deliberately short-sighted.

I want to keep “Be Ballsy” as a manifesto while I job-hunt this year, to remind me to look around, to consider my own career and personal trajectories instead of focusing on “the job,” and to aim high.

Work on a cleaning schedule

I realize that this might be a futile endeavor, what with the inevitable Moving & Packing and the accompanying Assessment Of All The Shit I Have Accumulated In My Life, but I would like to focus on shifting my cleaning strategy. Right now, I have more of a Clean When You Can’t Go A Second Longer thing going on. In 2011, I did make some subtle changes to my daily habits that keep things a little more under control (putting clothes in the hamper, unloading the dishwasher while I make breakfast, etc), but I’d like to set up a schedule to keep the rest of it under control.