My 2014 Resolutions

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 Looking Back

Another year over and it’s time for a bit of reflection as well as looking forward to the year to come. Last year, I was proudly able to say I’d checked off five of my New Year’s Resolutions for a 50% strike rate.

Let’s take a look at my 2013 Resolutions and see how I went.

  1. Continue to improve Aussie on the Road and launch another site.
  2. Travel to four or more countries.
  3. Finish a novel or game design.
  4. Improve my physical shape.
  5. Complete another ten bucket list items.
  6. Get rid of my credit card debt (again).
  7. Continue my education.
  8. Learn to speak another language.
  9. Get my life into some semblance of order.
  10. Be a better friend, brother, and boyfriend.

Successes

I didn’t do as well this year as I did in 2012, with only 3.5 of my ten resolutions managing to get completed.

I enjoyed pretty rampant success with checking off bucket list items in 2013, with the below items all being achieved at some point in the year.

  • See a ping pong show in Thailand.
  • Make over $1000 for charity.
  • Go white water rafting.
  • Visit Angkor Wat
  • Travel somewhere by river boat.
  • Perform an obnoxious karaoke duet with a significant other.
  • Get rid of my credit card debt.
  • Visit the Killing Fields in Cambodia.
  • Hike through the Jiuzhai Valley National Park in Sichuan, China.
  • Fire a gun.
  • See the Giant Pandas in Sichuan province, China.
  • Make pottery while listening to Unchained Melody.

Not a bad effort at all! Almost all of these were achieved during a four week visit to Thailand and Cambodia back in January/February, so I guess it’s safe to say I rested on my laurels after that!

A very hungover Aussie on the Road with the pandas in Chengdu.
A very hungover Aussie on the Road with the pandas in Chengdu.

I was also proud to finally pay off my $7000 credit card debt. A lot of luck factored into this – as I picked up a paid writing gig that brought in around $11,500 over the course of the year. I used this to pay off my debts and it’s funding this month’s visit to the Philippines as well. I’d been investigating companies that help people like me get finance with bad credit, but luckily I was able to make it work without that service.

I managed to visit four countries in 2013. Cambodia and Thailand for the first time; and Australia and South Korea for return visits.

I’m going to give myself a partial pass on last one. While I wasn’t a better boyfriend (and actually ended a long term relationship mid way through the year), I do think I was a much better friend and was able to be a better brother due to one of my siblings moving to China.

Failures

I failed more than I succeeded when it came to my resolutions this year, and many of them are frustrating failings because they weren’t particularly hard to achieve.

Improving Aussie on the Road, for example, really just required me to be more regular in my posting and more dedicated to site maintenance. While this shiny new layout is proof that I’ve finally gotten my act together, I’ll see 2013 as a missed opportunity when it comes to blogging.

Case in point: I still haven’t posted about the visit to Thailand or Cambodia way back in January 2013!

Getting my life into order, losing weight, and finishing a novel or game design should have been easy to achieve too. My work week has varied between 12-20 hours at most and that should have allowed plenty of time for me to get things in order. I could blame Skyrim or Game of Thrones or World of WarCraft, but at the end of the day it was me being lazy that lead to me not checking off most of my resolutions this year.

My 2014 Resolutions

#10 – Improve Aussie on the Road and launch a new website.

I didn’t manage to achieve this last year, but my goal in 2014 is to make Aussie on the Road one of my main sources of income rather than just a passion project. The shiny new layout and the horde of recent posts are a positive start, but over the course of the next twelve months I hope to not only generate more engaging Aussie on the Road content, but also launch a newsletter and YouTube web-series.

My second website, whether it’s my Korean Tourist project, my nerdy Multiple Nerdgasms side project, or something entirely new will come later in the year once I’ve got Aussie on the Road under control.

#9 – Get into better shape.

2013 was not a good year for me healthwise. I stopped running and traded it in for an exercise bike that acted as a drying rack more often than a bike for much of the year.

In the past month I’ve renewed my dedication to riding and have invested in a home gym, so I’m hoping that will lead to a renewed focus on being a healthier and happier person.

At my healthiest, I ran three times a week and finished the City 2 Surf in under ninety minutes. So long ago!
At my healthiest, I ran three times a week and finished the City 2 Surf in under ninety minutes. So long ago!

#8 – Successfully set up a new life for myself in Thailand.

The day-dream this year is to relocate to Thailand (likely Chiang Mai) so that I can follow in the footsteps of blogging legends like Man vs Clock, Where Sidewalks End, and One Step Forward and focus on my blog full-time. Whether this simply means working harder at home or splashing out on a office space to share with Byron & His Backpacks, it also means learning to better budget.

#7 – Check off another 10 bucket list items.

This should be pretty easy. It’s the one resolution I’ve managed to check off consistently since I started sharing them. Any suggestions?

#6 – Finish Dustbowl.

My long suffering fantasy novel has been stuck at 168 pages since early 2012 despite a pleasing clamour for updates from a few dedicated draft readers. My mind has been abuzz with ideas for it lately, so it’s a matter of sitting down and just getting it out on paper.

I’m hoping that Thailand will provide a more inspiring writing environment than smelly, hazy Nanjing.

#5 – Scuba dive more often

I got my Open Water license way back in 2010, and haven’t been diving since January 2011. For shame! I fell in love with scuba diving from the very first dive, so it’s a crying shame that I haven’t done more in the years since.

Since getting my Open Water license in late 2010, I've only racked up five dives. This needs to be amended!
Since getting my Open Water license in late 2010, I’ve only racked up five dives. This needs to be amended!

With the Philippines on the horizon and Thailand in my future, I’m hoping to not only dive more – but also to advance farther along the road towards eventually getting my Dive Master’s ticket.

#4 – Be a better uncle.

I’ve got an adorable niece and nephew back in Oz, and I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been a great uncle to them. Not that I’ve been a bad one, but they’ve both only met me a couple of times and I’ve missed a lot of their big moments already. Young Ezekiel is already talking and Ally’s just started walking!

I’ll be home in August so am looking forward to showering them with gifts and attention.

I've only met my adorable niece, Alchemy, once!
I’ve only met my adorable niece, Alchemy, once!

#3 – Visit 3+ new countries.

This is going to be a piece of cake to achieve. I’ll be visiting the Philippines in three weeks and the UK in May, so all it’ll take is a side jaunt to Laos, Burma, or Vietnam to tick this one off for me.

Of course, I don’t intend to stop at three if I can help it.

#2 – Be happier.

Boo! What a generic and non-specific resolution!

2013 was not always a happy year for me. While my battle with the black dog didn’t reach 2011 lows, it certainly was a year that was more down than up.

In 2014 I hope to be happier both in my own company and in the company of others. I’ve made steps towards that in 2013 by joining the Nanking Nation late in the year, but I’d like the happier me to have a broader circle of friends and a romantic life that compliments his life rather than defines it.

#1 – Spend more time outdoors.

Nanjing’s pollution and weather extremes haven’t exactly been conducive to spending time outdoors, but my burgeoning internet addiction and general sloth also played their part in 2013. My seemingly constant tiredness of late could well be a Vitamin D deficiency, so I’m hoping to get outdoors more often in 2014 to be a healthier and happier person.

Playing cricket in China is one of my few exercise outlets in Nanjing. Photo by Landon Veregin.
Playing cricket in China is one of my few exercise outlets in Nanjing. Photo by Landon Veregin.

If that means learning a few new hobbies like rock climbing, kayaking, or hiking, so be it!

Your 2014 Resolutions

What are your resolutions for 2014?

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