A Mixed Start On 2018 Goals

A Mixed Start On 2018 Goals

One of the things I’d like to do more this year is focus on what I have achieved rather than what I haven’t. That’s proving a little tricky so far — I’m behind on work, for a start, so all I can think about is how I haven’t done any of the four essays I’m supposed to be doing, rather than concentrating on the fact that I’m ahead on my dissertation, even though the latter is probably a more positive and less anxiety-inducing approach.

Although we’re only ten days in 2018, I’m already very aware that I haven’t done as much towards achieving any of my goals as I would have hoped to do by now. For example, one thing I really wanted to do before the holiday ended was to put together a list of the agents I plan to query with Butterfly of Night, so that I can gradually work on doing so during termtime without any large expenditure of time. This, so far, hasn’t happened, and I go back to Cambridge on Friday.

I also haven’t been any better about blogging regularly — since this is only my second post of the year. And, as I mentioned, I’m very behind on work, which is beginning to freak me out. I don’t think I’ve ever started Lent Term feeling prepared, so this year’s no different from the last three, but even so — it would have been nice, just for once, not to go back to Cambridge feeling like I’m already swamped by imminent deadlines.

However, I’ve done a few good things. I’ve given up Haribo, to which I have a somewhat embarrassing addiction (seriously, there was a period last year when I was probably eating at least 1kg of Haribo a week, which is just ridiculous). I didn’t have any for a few days before the New Year, but I only started properly counting at the start of January, so I’m at least ten days into my Haribo detox. I’m sure my teeth will thank me for it, but I miss them a lot.

I’ve also started using Duolingo to learn modern Irish again. Currently I have a ten-day streak, and although I fear I won’t be able to maintain it so well during termtime, I’m still determined to stick with it for a bit longer than the last time I tried. I actually got quite far two years ago while I was taking time out from uni, but haven’t touched it since, so I’m extremely rusty on the parts I’ve covered before, and there’s still a lot to do.

(If you use Duolingo and are learning Irish, I made a ‘club’ to help motivate myself / keep me accountable, since leaderboards are apparently the best way to motivate me. The code is 5AZA2D — feel free to come and join, as the more the merrier/more motivational.)

This morning, I dusted off my Memrise account to ease myself back into term with some medieval Welsh vocab, and hopefully I can keep that going too, although I’ve got extremely good at ignoring Memrise reminder notifications at this point…

I’ve been making a proper effort to write reviews as soon as I finish books, rather than just writing ‘review to come’, which usually means it’ll never happen. This has included a couple of ARCs and a couple of other books so far, including The Flowers of Adonis by Rosemary Sutcliff (published in 1969) and Half A King by Joe Abercrombie (published in 2014). These, among other reviews, have been scheduled for my book blog, so hopefully I’ll be able to maintain that more consistently in the near future too. (Plus I’m actually trying to remember to use Amazon affiliates links, so that maybe it might one day be a source of a little bit of income for me.)

So I haven’t been completely useless at getting a move on with my goals. I started using a ‘habit tracker’ app to see how consistently I’m able to do things, from not eating haribo to eating vegetables and learning vocab. Hopefully with time that’ll pay off, as my competitive nature means I don’t like leaving boxes unticked if I can avoid it.

But I still feel woefully underprepared for the term, which isn’t how I wanted to begin it. I’ve been tied up in CUIDS admin, trying to find rooms for classes and for personal practice, which has been a bit stressful. I also fear I might’ve overcommitted myself with dance, as I’ve signed up to be in the ballet club’s production of Swan Lake in early March — the weekly rehearsals won’t be a big time-suck, but the run-throughs and dress rehearsals might be. But it’s the last chance I’m going to get to be in a full-length ballet production. I didn’t want to let it pass me by.

And I did really want to make some progress on the whole querying process thing. But some things are not to be.

Besides, I have a good excuse for not having been as productive as I might’ve hoped: I was in Scotland (and then, since I got home late Sunday night, I’ve been too exhausted to function). We had our annual departmental trip at the weekend and we went to Argyll, which was really, really cold, but also beautiful.

So cold that the rocks froze.

But also sunny, and beautiful.

More details about and pictures from that trip coming soon, if I remember. Hold me accountable if I don’t, because I took too many good pictures to let them languish unseen on my hard drive and I might need poking to ensure I don’t.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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