Saturday, December 31, 2011

Destination Unknown

It's that time of year when everybody resolves to eat better and exercise more. To be a better housekeeper, or keep a better lab journal (well, that's me, and that's a weekly resolution of mine). To go skydiving once, fly a glider, ski a black diamond, try a totally new food, go to church regularly. To lose those final 10 lbs (or start with losing 10 lbs), to become eco-conscious, to just be better people than we all were in 2011.

Behavioral experts, however, say that change only happens when you have a measurable metric with which to measure progress. If you resolve to spend less money, for instance, you'd be better off with a concrete goal along the lines of "not spending more than €20/week on lunch". Eating better would be rephrased to "having one vegetable with every meal" (broccoli for breakfast, anyone?). So in keeping with the science, my resolutions for this year don't include eating better and exercising more, though that is implicit in the first one, which is to run the 10k Marikenloop in May of this year. It's a 5k race with a 10k option, in case you're interested. It's also a women's only race (sorry, guys). It's no Zevenheuvelenloop, certainly not in terms of scale or grandeur, but it's a nice way to ease back into running, I think.

Another resolution of mine is to finish a rough draft of a book. I'd started writing a few bits and pieces of it while I was unemployed, but I couldn't get very far. I didn't have any plans as to how I wanted to structure it, which was problem number one. Problem number two was that, between my job hunt and my other little writing pets, it became more of a drag to work on, probably because of problem number one. My NaNoWriMo novel this year ran into the same problem. I am not a seat-of-my-pants writer--I really don't know why I keep acting like I am.

My final resolution this year is to improve my Dutch language skills. This will be awkward, but I think I should be able to get my lab mates on board, as far as the speaking bits go. Fear not, international readers: Outside Looking In will continue to be written in English, though perhaps I will introduce a "word of the week" column. That, however, is not a resolution. I've never been very good about weekly things, whether it's photos or posts or things like that.

But really, the goal is to make it through 2012. Beyond that--where we'll end up, what we'll be doing, who we'll be--the destination is beautifully vague. Enjoying the way there--that's the real treat.


  1. Good advice. I have a few new year resolutions of my own that I might use this trick on.

  2. I wasn't aware that Royals had to make resolutions--divine rights and infallible kings and what-not ;-)