a goal

Of goals made and goals missed.

As 2016 winds down, I guess it’s a good time to review my 2016 resolutions and see just how well I did with keeping them and meeting the goals I set myself. (Spoiler: Not very well at all). After reviewing those, I’m going to touch on another few goals and challenges that I had set for myself and my progress therein. First, let’s take a look at each of the individual resolutions and how I did with four days to go.

New Diet

I feel like the main aim of this one (to eat out less) was certainly achieved, as I’ve definitely cooked far more often at home, and my wife and I have documented that on our food blog. Though we did go for a while without updating the blog until we kind of dropped an archive of some of the year’s recipes towards the end of November and December. The minor downside is that things became less collaborative between my wife and I due to health issues on both of our parts at various times, so it became more individual efforts with occasional contributions, which is a pity because cooking together was one of our bigger couples activities. Hopefully we can get back on track to working together in 2017 as our health issues start to resolve.

2017 Goal: Continue in the same vein, with less delays on the food blog.

New Weight

Still working on this. I’ve maintained my weight at around 220 lbs. I’m still shooting for 200 lbs, and I’ve remained committed to the gym for cardio exercise. It had been a lot of treadmill work and stationary bike work, but the treadmill work has fallen off in the last month thanks to my having a broken wrist. You wouldn’t think that would affect treadmill running that much, and it probably doesn’t, but because I’m paranoid, it means I can’t grip the treadmill handles or hit the emergency stop button in the rare cases where that might be needed. Soon I’ll be out of the cast and able to rededicate myself to treadmill running, which I enjoy greatly as a kind of zen way to clear my head. I also use the Zombies, Run! app on my phone to make things a little competitive because I enjoy the idea of metrics and leveling up with any challenge I face.

2017 Goal: Still shooting for 200 lbs, and I have a jacker picked out as a reward if I get there.

Communicate Better

Yeah, I’ve pretty much completely failed at this one. I need to reach out to my parents and sister more throughout 2017 to try and re-connect with them instead of just kind of ignoring the contact details I do have with an “I’ll get around to it eventually,” which is the utterly horrible approach I’m currently taking.

On the plus side, I feel like I’ve done better by my son communication wise. In additional to seeing him in person on a regular basis (at least until this past month where, once gain, the broken wrist has interfered and made driving exponentially more difficult), I’m able to reach out to him between visits thanks to some social media interactions. Notably, he’s became a big fan of Snapchat, so it’s been great to send him a quick picture or video message through that. I need to do it more frequently still, but there have definitely been strides made in that direction.

2017 Goal: Maintain & improve communication with my son. Establish regular communication with my parents & sister.

Blog More


Let’s see, my initial target was to add an entry to this blog at least once a week throughout 2016, and this is the 52nd week of the year. If I’ve counted correctly, this is my eleventh entry of 2016, which means that i only missed this goal by forty-one entries, so I made it a whole 21% of the way towards my target. Amusingly, one of the projects I called out was my Supernatural blogwatch project, to which I managed to add a grand total of ZERO entries in 2016.

2017 Goal: Attempt to hit that once per week target. Have at least one season of Supernatural blog watch finished.

Read More

At last, a goal that I was able to achieve! I’ve been keeping track of my reading thanks to the Goodreads app. One of the things i like about that app is that you can set yourself a reading challenge target for the year. again, big fan of numerical metrics and competitive goals to meet. I’ve been increasing my targets by five books each year. In 2014, that was fifty books, in 2015 it was fifty-five. Fans of pattern recognition will realize that means that my target for 2016 was sixty books. And per that very same GoodReads app, I finished my sixtieth book of the year (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) on December 21st. this is in a bit of contrast to 2015 where I was cramming a couple of short books in early on New Year’s Eve.

2017 Goal: Ready sixty-five books. More non-fiction and less graphic novels. join a book club to read titles outside my comfort zone.

Write More

This started with the best of intentions and fell by the wayside as different life things piled up (the aforementioned health issues, moving to a larger apartment). For the second year in a row, I failed to complete the National Novel Writing Month challenge. I was actually close to getting back on track with that with a solid four day writing binge planned over Thanksgiving weekend. Then I broke my wrist and was basically unable to type or write properly for the rest of November. That means my 2017 NaNoWriMo attempt is going to have a lot of making up to do (see the goal below). On the plus side, I’m revisiting the historical fiction idea I had, and now have most of a year to gather and read the research materials to keep it a little more organized.

Outside of NaNoWriMo, I did get some more things written, even if they were mostly flash fiction pieces (a few of which made up those eleven posts for 2016…) and I also got more disciplined at outlining and planning out my story ideas. Hopefully, I’ll be able to translate that into more output for 2017.

Another thing that helped here was the establishment of a weekly writing thread on the Fark.com new aggregator website that I’ve been a member of forever. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get a story into the Start of Farkness fiction anthology that arose from those threads though.

2017 Goal: Complete at least 150,000 words during National Novel Writing Month (Equivalent to the 50,000 for 2015, 2016 & 2017) as 1-3 stories. Successfully submit a short story for a hypothetical 2017 Fark.com fiction anthology. Also, write more short stories/flash fiction and potentially draft one novel outside of November. Possibly invest in a copy of Scrivener software.

Game More

Well, I did game more than I had in 2015, but I didn’t come close to completing the “12 video games in 12 months” challenge, unless someone can recommend 10 ultra-short games I can finish in the next four days. I managed to finish two games in 2016, mostly because I’m not a big gamer, so it’s seldom been a priority for me. I was able to finish Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the original Secret of Monkey Island. I’m also very close to finishing off the original Portal, so I might be able to claim 25% of the goal by year’s end. I have taken advantage of some Steam sales to buy/download a few games for next year. As someone who’s not been a computer/video gamer, I haven’t played a lot of these older games, so I can catch up now without having to buy a new system by playing new-to-me games which have been published since around 1999…

I’m also going to some more tabletop gaming. My wife and I did play quite a bit of Magic: The Gathering, a couple of games of Munchkin and a lot of the DC Comics Deck-Building Game when it came to card-based tabletop entertainment. I’ve also purchased some actual tabletop role-playing games in order to run some games in 2017. You’ve probably seen the fruits of these purchases as part of the It Builds Character sub-series on this very blog (A new entry of which should be coming before year’s end.)

I’ve also finally given up on Games Workshop’s miniature war games as they’ve finally priced themselves out of my comfort zone. Of course, I haven’t abandoned miniature wargaming completely and am switching over to the World War II miniatures game Flames of War. So far, I’ve purchased but not painted or assembled my first few British forces for an Airlanding Company.

2017 Goals: Attempt the 12 in 12 video game challenge again, run at least one tabletop gaming campaign (probably Pendragon) either in person or online. Purchase and assemble enough Flames of War miniatures for two forces so that I can play a few games. Start a small Star Wars: Armada force.

Goal stock photo by Sander van der Veen.


2016: Resolutions

As I type, it’s still (just barely) the first weekday of 2016. And, as with so many other things about the start of a New Year, it’s all about looking forwards, rather than backwards. That said, 2015 was a pretty big year for me, as I got married. I also got a new employer.

Instead of dwelling on that, I’ve decided to set myself some goals for 2016 just like I did two years ago. These goals ae less self-improvement focused as I’m in a  much better mental space than I was back then. Let’s look at those goals and a little bit of the whys & wherefores of them:

New Diet

This is on of the few self-improvement goals I have for this year. I have made a start on improving this. The biggest flaw in my diet is that I still eat out too much. This is something I want to fix for a few reasons. The biggest is that cooking together became something of a couples highlight/activity between my wife and I, to the point that we would blog about it. This fell by the wayside this summer as we were distracted by our wedding, participating in GIshWHes, various travel commitments and then the holidays.

New Weight.

I mentioned this in my 2014 goals, but I’m still not happy with my weight. I have been carefully calorie counting and taking advantage of the gym in the basement of the apartment building for much of 2015, and it has paid off. At the start of 2015 I was around 270lbs and had gotten down to 220lbs. However, based on relaxing the diet over Thanksgiving, various holiday parties at work, and New Year, I’d assume I was at least 230lbs as of this writing. My goal was 200lbs before, so that’s still what I’m aiming for, though if I lose more, I won’t exactly be complaining.

Communicate Better

I’m horrible about keeping in touch with people, and I need to work on this 2016. I want to reach out to my son more often than I do, because he’s awesome. I also want to make more effort to contact my mother, father and sister.

Blog More

I enjoy writing entries on this blog, and I don’t do it enough to be worth following. My goal for 2016 is to blog at least once a week. Hopefully even more frequently than that, as I want to make serious headway in my Supernatural blogwatch project as I have eight seasons to get through.

Read More

Pretty self-explanatory. I enjoy reading, and have used the Goodreads app to set myself reading challenges. In 2014, my target was 50 books, which I exceeded. In 2015, my target was 55 books, which I just met. In 2016, my target is 60 books. I’m currently reading my way through the Discworld series in honor of Terry Pratchett’s death and am up to Monstrous Regiment the 31st of the 41-novel series.

Write More

This is something I did poorly at in 2015. For the first time, I failed to complete my  National Novel Writing Month project, and I didn’t get much written even outside of that, aside from some brief flash fiction. I think the solution to this is more discipline, so I’m setting myself the target of writing 500 words every week day throughout 2016. Some of those will likely appear on this blog, but many won’t. The reason I say every weekday rather than just every day is so that I can reserve the weekends to catch up if I miss a weekday. Hopefully that won’t happen often (and I’m cheating today be counting this blog entry as my 500 words…)

Game More

This is more of an enjoyment thing for me. I’m generally not a video gamer, but I do enjoy playing the occasional game. I saw something called the #12in12 challenge on Twitter. The goal is to finish 12 games in 12 months. Since I’m a long, long way behind the times on modern games, my twelve will probably be somewhat retro. I’m starting with the first Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic game, as I enjoy RPGs and, well, Star Wars has had something of a media saturation lately and it worked on me.

So, those are my resolutions for 2016, what are yours, dear readers?

2014 Goals – Revisited (Again)

Like every blogger ever, my first post of this year was talking about my goals for 2014. I then revisited it a couple of months later because I’m nothing if not a beater of dead horses. In that spirit, let’s look again at those goals as June approaches.

Goal 1: New Job

I got the one I was hinting at in my prior goals post. It required jumping through a few more hoops than I had hoped, but I’m enjoying it immensely for the most part and am working with good people.

Goal 2: New Home

Success here. I’m writing this blog entry from an apartment in Wilmington, DE. I haven’t been here very long, having had to bounce around various hotels and long stays as part of the hunting process, so I’m still mostly empty and unfurnished, so while it definitely feels like a new place,it doesn’t feel like a new home yet as I’m still putting my stamp on it.

Goal 3: New (to me) Vehicle

Well, this goal radically changed. Because of my location and job location, I’ve gone with the radical step of having no vehicle whatsoever, having donated my beloved van to charity. I’m able to walk basically everywhere locally, and have train, rental car or Greyhound bus options for visiting friends & family back down in Richmond, though only on a limited basis due to budget.

Goal 4: New Friends

Although, as mentioned above, I do get along with my co-workers, I don’t really see them as friends outside of work. Some of that’s due to circumstances, what with most of them living over the border in Pennsylvania and my lacking a vehicle (and to be honest the inclination) to meet up.

I have made some new friends, though in my typical nerdy style most of them are people I only “know” via the internet. I have met one of them in real life and they have been great fun to hang out with and generally feel like I’ve known them for years. It was a great experience and one I intend to repeat. And that’s all the detail you’re getting, humble blog reader…

Goal 4: New Diet &  Goal 5: New Weight

This is definitely my biggest (no pun intended) relapse from last time. Hotel living isn’t amenable to cooking so there’s been a lot of eating out. As I’m sure you’re well aware, eating out is definitely not a reliable way to lose weight. Fortunately, I have an actual kitchen now, so I’m able to cook for myself in my limited fashion, so that should help return these goals to the original track.

The one minor issue is that a box of cookware that got set aside to go through as part of the whole moving thing appears to have ended up donated to Goodwill instead, so I’m missing a few items that would be nice to have (a couple more pans, specifically) and need to purchase a few things to properly stock up the kitchen (notably a food processor, a bread knife and some measuring cups & jugs) as well as pick up a knife block I may have inadvertently left in the Old Dominion. Of course actual furniture (like a non air mattress bed) are slightly higher priorities right now.

Goal 6: New Wardrobe

Well, thanks to generosity from friends and family I have more dress shirts and pants now, so I’m wearing those more often, particularly as part of the office attire. Plus, I look damn good in them, even if I say so myself. Will probably look to purchasing a new suit or two before the year is out, assuming some weight loss happens.

Goal 7: New Attitude

I’m totally acing this goal. I’m feeling like a much more positive person than I used to be. I honestly don’t recall the last time I really lost my temper about anything. I finally feel like I’m pulling myself together and am just generally happier with my lot in life. There’s still a few things that need changing, but that’s always going to be the case.

Goal 8: At least 1 new novel drafted outside of NaNoWriMo

Yeah. This hasn’t happened. It probably won’t this year at the current rate I’m going. Partially due to a lack of focus on my part with the whole life-restructuring stuff that has been going on. I’m still keeping my writing hand in though. Just with the ultra-short pieces that have comprised the Four By Flash Challenge entries from April(ish), sixteen more of which I’m going to attempt to publish in June.

Goal 9: Same old core self at the heart of it

I’m still me. Though I fee like I’m a significantly better version of me than the one who wrote the last one of these 2014 goals revisited pieces. Now I just need to work on getting to know actual people in the area outside of the realms of Facebook, Google+ & Twitter.

2014 Goals – Revisited

Like every blogger ever, my first post of this year was talking about my goals for 2014. Since we’re now approximately 43 days into 2014 (and I need a blog entry or two to restore my average back to at least once a week for 2014…) let’s revisit those goals and see how I’m doing in mid-February.

Goal 1: New Job

I don’t want to jinx things by going into too much detail, but I’ve been filling out paperwork with headings like “Employment Contract,” “Form W-4” and other job-related things. Assuming there are no snafu’s with the paperwork, I start in a mere five days.

Goal 2: New Home

The above-mentioned new job requires me to relocate out of state, very soon, so I’m very much in the process of trying to get this sorted logistically. Unfortunately the word “short” is leading to a couple of problems. Specifically “short notice,” so I’m hunting at a crazy pace, and limited to online and telephone searches as I simply don’t have time to go and look in person. The other “short” aspect is “short term lease” and I’m attempting to keep my options open (and low budget)

Goal 3: New (to me) Vehicle

No progress on this one yet. It’s likely a further in the year goal, assuming my beloved beast of a minivan successfully passes it’s state inspection.

Goal 4: New Friends

I’m still rather more fond of my existing friends, but I feel like a new job and a new home are going to lead to meeting new people (a shocking revelation, I’m sure you’ll agree), and I’m a fairly easygoing guy to get along with, or at least I think I am, so friendships should result from that.

Goal 4: New Diet

I’m working on this. I have increased my consumption of organic foods and decreased my intake of refined/processed foods. I did do a pure protein week to kick start things,and I’ve become mildly obsessed with the MyFitnessPal calorie counter app on my smartphone. I’ve definitely cut down my caloric intake in general, with the odd exception (a birthday dinner at an Italian restaurant chain where it was definitely a “who cares about the calories?” occasion.

Goal 5: New Weight

While things aren’t going as quickly as I would like (I’m not a patient person), I have lost ten pounds over the last month. If I could keep that up consistently, I’d hit my goal weight for the year around July/August. However, I’m aware weight loss is rarely that exponential and has it’s peaks, valleys and plateaus. I’m still hopeful can hit my goal by year’s end though.

Goal 6: New Wardrobe

Not really done much on this. Mostly because a ten pound loss isn’t significant enough to inspire a wave of new clothing purchases, and also because I don’t have what you might call money, what with the job not actually starting yet and relocation costs looming.

Goal 7: New Attitude

I feel like I’m doing okay here. I’ve been a lot less miserable this year. I’ not sure the people I’m around regularly would necessarily agree. I’ll have to ask them somewhat surreptitiously. I feel like I’ve been more positive, and I’ve even managed to go a day or two without caffeine and not been overwhelmed by the desire to tear people’s faces off, which has to count for something. Even if the caffeine headaches haven’t truly subsided and I’m writing this blog entry while consuming a steaming mug of black coffee.

Goal 8: At least 1 new novel drafted outside of NaNoWriMo

I’m definitely working on this. My chronic lack of focus is hurting, but I do have some ideas percolating, and several scraps of short stories, flash fiction and other fragments that can likely be melded into something resembling a coherent tale in months that aren’t November. I fully intend to take advantage of the current snowy conditions here in Virginia to get some solid writing time in. When I’m not blogging, reading, or obsessing over Star Trek on Netflix and podcasts…

Goal 9: Same old core self at the heart of it

Well this one I feel like I’m succeeding at. I’m definitely still me. I think the general tone of my language an blogging style is still a testament to that.

A few quick thoughts

Sorry if this isn’t as coherent as my prior weekly blog entries, but I’m just not organised enough in my thoughts to go beyond bullet points tonight (I’m also writing this entry on my Kindle Fire and a touchscreen keyboard isn’t conducive to essay format blogging.)

* I’m still on pace for one blog entry a week in 2014, and will likely ramp that up as my writing gears up alongside my mood & enthusiasm.

* While my weight loss goal for the year seems an impossibly distant number, I am down a little over 5lbs, so it’s a start. Also, having an app with numbers & targets appeals to my competitive nerd nature. Now I just need to start exercising.

* I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m seeing some positive signs for my job search, so I’ve been doing a couple of extra things toward that (which has delayed my writing a little, and means my submission to the Richmond WriMos February critique group is running late.

* Another reason it’s running late is that I’m constantly trying to write out passive voice/to be verbs and thought I was doing well until someone posted a link to an analyzer that presents numbers and targets with a maximum threshold of 20%. As a competitive nerd, I’m shooting for less than 10% and struggling. Because I am insane.

* My gigantic Star Trek rewatch project continues apace. Having finished The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, and the first seven movies (The Motion Picture through to Generations), I’ve gotten through a lot. I’m currently in Season Three of Deep Space Nine and Season One (3rd episode) of Voyager. Don’t be surprised to see future blog entries ranking a few of these things….

* As a sports junkie, I suppose I should make a pick for Super Bowl XLVIII. I think Seattle keeps it close and low scoring, but can’t get anything out of Marshawn Lynch, and so Denver wins thanks to Matt Prayer’s leg. Broncos 17 Seahawks 14

* Have committed to beta reading someone’s novel by the end of February, so I’m trying to finish the book I’m reading before then.

* What’s going on in your lives, my dear followers? Continue reading

2014: New Year, New Goals

Well, as I type, it’s still (just barely) January 1st, 2014. And, as with so many other things about the start of a New Year, it’s all about looking forwards, rather than backwards. Especially as 2013 kind of sucked for me overall.

Instead of dwelling on that, I’ve set myself some goals for 2014 to ensure that this year does not suck, or at least that if it does, it will be through no fault of my own.

I shared these goals on Facebook earlier, so if you know me well enough to follow me there, I apologize for the redundancy. Let’s look at those goals and a little bit of the whys & wherefores of them:

New Job

This is definitely the biggie, and it’s listed first because literally everything else is dependent on this. I have been unemployed for…longer than i care to admit. While this has proved helpful during the NaNoWriMo period as it does provide me with a lot of writing time, it has proved much less helpful in just about every other way. Most obviously,no job means no money, and because of how immigration works, I can’t claim any kind of unemployment/welfare. I’d rather not do that anyway because fundamentally, i want to be working. My background and degree are in Information Technology, so that’s the primary field I’ve been applying and exploring in. So far in 2014, I’ve applied for 34 jobs, and I’d like to increase that number. Obviously, I just need one person to say “you’re hired!” and my application rate will slow down. I’ also looking into retail and warehouse jobs as I just want to be working and earning.

New Home

I’m fortunate enough to still be on close enough terms with my ex-wife that she allows me to live in her spare room rent free, which is handy with the 0 income thing from the lack of job above. However, we’re both mature enough to recognize that this isn’t a viable long-term solution, especially as we’re both trying to move on in our lives (she’s been rather more successful on that score than I have currently). So, naturally, I’m scouring apartment listings to try to determine what I can afford given my credit rating and job situation. This also gives me a realistic idea of what kind of wages or salary I’d need to have from the new job above to be able to become properly independent again. Also, an apartment, or at least a place of my own is kind of essential if I ever want to start dating again…

New (to me) Vehicle

I’ll admit that this is more of a luxury desire than a goal. My current vehicle (aka the Limeymobile) is a mid-1990s Ford Aerostar minivan. While I have no issues with the coolness or lack thereof when it comes to minivans, I unironically love this big brown beast. The only issue is that it’s reached the age where maintenance and gas mileage just aren’t monetarily efficient enough for this to remain a daily driver given the no job/lack of funds thing. So I’m checking out used vehicles from the early 21st century at the least.

New Friends

This goal attracted the most commentary on my Facebook post. I think it was mostly a misunderstanding. Simply put, other than the wonderful people who are the Richmond WriMos, literally every person i know here in the United States of America, I met through my ex-wife, They are all people who are “our” friends (where “our” is me and the ex) rather than “my” friends, and I kind of want people I can hang out with, talk to etc. and even occasionally complain about other people I know who know me as just me rather than “oh, and him too.” type attitude. I can’t go into more detail than that, unfortunately. especially in a quasi-public forum online like this blog.

New Diet

I don’t eat healthily. I tend to retreat into food when I’m down or depressed, and as many of the goals above hint, that’s a fairly frequent state of being for me. For 2014, I’m turning that around. I’m determined to cut down on my snacking, my calorie intake in general, and especially on a lot of processed and refined foods. I’m also going to try to switch to a low carb/low gluten and higher protein regimen. Partially because eating a healthier diet promotes a more positive mental state and partly because of my next goal.

New Weight.

When I first moved to the US in 2003, I weighed around  185 lbs. Today, I’m hovering somewhere between 250 to 260  pounds. I’m sick of seeing a fat guy every time i look in the mirror (why yes, ladies, I am single, how did you ever guess?), so I’m determined to get my weight back below 200 lbs by the end of the year, if not sooner. The dietary changes are one aspect of that, the other is getting off of my fat butt and working out, either by joining a gym if finances allow or simply by taking up jogging, walking or running for a set regimen each day. I want to be thinner, and so I’m gonna try to do something about it.

New Wardrobe

Simple math, if I lose 60-75 lbs this year, none of my clothes will fit any more, so I’ll have to get new ones. Seems like a great reason to refresh the old wardrobe to me.

New Attitude

I spend too much time complaining about how my life has been going (this blog entry illustrates that somewhat) and not enough time thinking positively about how I’m going to change it. So, i need to try to be more upbeat and goal-oriented.

At least 1 new novel drafted outside of NaNoWriMo

As anyone who has followed this blog will know, I dabble in writing and enjoy it immensely (It’s become my biggest and most therapeutic stress relief). I want to keep doing that,so my two New Year’s Resolutions in regards to writing output are: 500 words written every day, and having a new entry on this blog at least weekly throughout 2014. So far, I’m good on the latter, not as much on the former, where I’m around 300 words short. (However as “day” in this context means “period in which I’m awake” rather than “actual calendar day that ends at midnight”) I still have time to stay on schedule and disciplined to keep writing.

Same old core self at the heart of it

While all these goals represent major life changes, I don’t want to fundamentally change who I am personality wise. I’ve grown to quite like me how I am when I’m not being miserable, and I think at least a few other people have too. So, I’d like to keep that essential kernel of Lost Limey-ness even as I strive towards these prior enumerated goals.

So, that’s my outlook on 2014 and where I want to be by the end of it (well, much, much sooner if possible), what are yours, dear readers?