My List for 2011

Inspired in part by Stephanie Dowrick's fabulous thoughts on New Year's resolutions, I thought I'd be brave and make my list of wants for 2011 public. These are NOT resolutions - I never make them. These are just ideas, intentions, little seeds that I want to put out there into the universe. They may or may not happen in the next year, but I know I will be thinking about them, and doing something to turn my wish-list into a reality. So here goes:

A List of Things I'd Like to Be in 2011

1. A fitter and healthier person: I am 40 now, and weight-loss is a bigger and bigger priority in my life. I need to pay more careful attention to my health, and I need to be more serious about exercise. I'd really like to take up yoga again this year, and get back to weight-training - two things I haven't done in many years! Searching for new ways to deal with some chronic and life-long health problems will also be on the list for me in 2011.

2. A more prayerful and meditative person: In general I meditate every day, and I certainly pray at several points in the day. But I want to bring some kind of discipline and order to my spiritual life, because I know this would benefit my wellbeing significantly.

3. A kinder, more tolerant and more respectful person: This is something I have to work on every year. In particular I need to remember my wonderful life partner and extend my care and regard in his direction more constantly. I am by nature a selfish person, and inclined also to be irritable, judgemental and nagging. None of these are attractive states of being, and none are really very effective in making me happy, or in making the people around me like me more. So in 2011 I have to be far more active in training my thoughts and curbing my more negative habits and impulses.

4. A more prominent and harder-working writer: I'd like to get more review work and journalism this year, and I need to be more active in seeking it out and following through with it. Once I have a deadline I'm normally quite good at keeping it - I just have to get someone to set those deadlines in the first place. I'd also like to do some substantial work on a few side projects (not just my upcoming travel book on Cambodia). I am capable of being a much more productive and prolific writer, and I mustn't give in to my innate laziness. To this end I'd like to get some work teaching creative writing in 2011, too, as this is something I enjoy doing and I plan on it being an essential part of my future career.

5. A better-known academic: I've already been accepted to give two papers at different academic conferences this year, but I'd also like to get some academic articles placed in journals - at least three. I'd also like to organise a few extra seminars on subjects and areas that interest me. Plus I need to get creative in bringing my academic work to a broader public, which means more talks and articles about my area of expertise intended for a general audience. I am passionate about making scholarship accessible and interesting for everyone, and need to walk my talk a little more.

6. A better friend: Although some people might think me gregarious, I am by nature a shy person, and I actually find it really difficult to stay in touch with people. I am a dreadful phone-phobic, and sometimes the thought of going out and seeing friends and leading some kind of active social life exhausts and frightens me. I am committed this year to working harder at staying in touch with old and new friends and being more communicative.


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