Sunday, December 30, 2007

Setting goals for 2008

I've been working on my goals for the first half of 2008. In the next couple of months, I should know a lot more about what the second half will hold, but right now I can't do much planning beyond graduation on May 10. Naturally, I have lots of goals related to getting applications completed, getting data for my thesis, writing said thesis, taking the PRAXIS, and so forth. These are all pretty much mandatory activities, so they hardly qualify as resolutions. You'll probably hear more about those in the next few weeks and months, well, unless I bore you so badly with minutia from my mundane life that you quit reading. At New Years, the idea is to focus on goals you might otherwise not feel quite so compelled to fulfill.

My financial goal is to have $17,500 set aside in savings separate from my account for normal living expenses when I graduate. I revised this upward from $17,000 since I got the research grant. This should be easily achieved by funneling my stipend money and a fraction of my pay from the grant into online savings as soon as I get the money so I won't let it slip through my fingers for day-to-day expenses. I might move a bit more into certificates of deposit or bonds to chase better rates, but I want to have a sizable chunk of money totally liquid in May in case I have to spend money moving across the country and setting up a household in a new place.

In a cost-free non-financial goal, I resolve to get more exercise. I'm not trying to lose weight since at 5' 6" and somewhere between 130 and 135 pounds on any given day, I'm reasonably happy with my body. I'm not in fabulous shape, but I don't want to run marathons or anything like that. Long walks or bike rides are two of the best stress relieving techniques I know, but when I get busy and anxious, I tend to convince myself that I don't have time. That needs to change if I'm going to get through the semester with any shred of sanity intact.

In a slightly more spendy non-financial goal, I resolve to improve my emergency preparedness. I go through phases when I fret about that sort of thing, but I've never taken a thorough, systematic approach. The approaching tornado season should be a much stronger motivating factor than having watched I Am Legend, but I figure being prepared is a good thing even if my reasons are silly. Step one is determining what I need to do to be ready for the natural disasters my area experiences. I've completed first responder training, but I've let my cpr certification lapse and haven't done much reviewing lately. I have an amateur radio license I earned a few years ago and a cast-off radio a teacher gave me when he bought a new one, but I've never tried to make contact and don't keep the radio's battery charged. I need to read back through my books to make sure I'm up on the pertinent regulations and then get comfortable using the thing. I keep a few liters of water and some non-perishable food on hand at my apartment, but I need to take inventory and figure out what else I ought to buy. In addition to supplies, it would probably be wise to keep more cash on hand, in the hopes that in a short lived, minor emergency paper money will retain value.

Is it odd that two of my three main goals are motivated by uncertainty about the future? At what point to you just accept that you can't be prepared for every possible event and just do what you can and then quit worrying about it? Any suggestions for what I should do differently? What are your goals for 2008?


Its No Joke, I'm So Broke said...

Make sure you keep blogging while writing your thesis. It was one of the most difficult times I have had as a student and I wish I had a place to release the frustration and anxiety. The praxis will be a breeze. Do you have an idea of where you would like to live after graduation? If you are planning on becoming a teacher, you may want to look into teaching residency programs if you will not be certified after graduation. With these programs you actually begin work in the summer which is a great way to keep continuous income, and start in your new classroom in the fall.

Ms. MiniDucky said...

Most of my goals stem from uncertainty. It's just an inherent part of planning. You never know what'll happen (witness my year in review!) but it's probably best to approach it with both a plan and some flexibility. At least, that's what I'm trying out this year - to be more accepting of change and to try and roll with it when I have to. Hm, I guess "accepting" isn't exactly what I mean. Perhaps just more prepared to be surprised? Something like that.

E.C. said...

It's no joke:
My top choice would be to do Teach for America; I'm trying to get those application essays finished today. If that doesn't work out, I have a scholarship that will cover the vast majority of tuition for the masters program at my university, and I've looked into my state's alternative licensure program as well.