My 2011 New Year’s Resolutions

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I have a mixed history with new year’s resolutions. Last year, for example, I achieved just one of them – and that was to visit two new countries. You can read all about my adventures in Fiji and New Zealand elsewhere on the site. But my others were to run a half marathon, lose 10kgs, achieve a Distinction average in my degree, and finish a novel. I failed admirably on all accounts.

I quit my degree when I got a full time job, managed maybe 16,000 words of my novel, actually gained weight, and the closest I got to that half marathon was the 14km City 2 Surf in August.

So, it’s with renewed determination that I attack this year’s lofty goals. Some are travel related, some are just personal goals, and a few are just silly bucket list style things that I don’t actually imagine will happen. But it’d be nice if they did.

Here goes!

Run a half marathon

Fallon and I post City 2 Surf

I came achingly close to achieving this in 2010, but shin splints and an attack of laziness meant that I all but stopped running once Fallon and I had completed the City 2 Surf. She went on to run the half marathon of the Sydney Running Festival, whilst my exercise that day involved walking from the station to the finish line so that I could photograph her achievement. The look on her face when she was done reminded me why I love running – sure it can be monotonous and even torturous, but it’s totally worth it when you get that dizzying elation that some call runner’s high.

I’m currently working my way back up to fitness (my longest run so far this year was a shade under 6k on my last night in Australia) and my aim is to run the half marathon portion of the Jeju Marathon later this year. I’m sad that I can’t use my iPhone’s very cool Run Keeper app to help with my training, but all is not lost. As soon as I recover my Nike Plus chip I can use that. In the meantime I’ll just run and use Google Maps to help me figure out distances like in the old days.

Achieve a Distinction average in my Masters

I’m currently enrolled to begin my Master of Applied Linguistics (TESOL) in February through the University of New England. This will be my third attempt at post-graduate studies after twice dropping out of an education degree due to real life proving too much for me while I attempted to complete external study. Self motivation is something I’ve found hard to come by in the past.

To ensure that I don’t get burned out I’ve opted to go part time for my first semester and see how I go, meaning that I only have the one unit to contend with. If I can’t make the time for that, maybe external study just isn’t for me.

The plus to getting my Masters is that it will basically count as a CELTA for ESL teaching purposes – opening up the world beyond Asia for me, and ensuring I can fetch a fatter pay packet here in the Land of the Morning Calm.

For those not familiar with the Australian marking system – a Distinction average means getting a result of 75-85 in all of my assessments. Very achievable

Get down to 90kgs

Although I’m undoubtedly fitter than I have been since my high school days, weight wise I’m actually nearing an all time high. I nosed up over 100kgs while I was on vacation in Fiji and the process of whittling it back down was not made easier by my final week in Australia basically being one big party. Now that I’m back in Korea, I’m hoping I can find a balance between binge drinking and eating healthy. The running should help too.

For those curious, I’m using My Fitness Pal to track my calories and activities. I’ve used Spark People in the past and found it to also be quite good. I also get quite a bit of inspiration from Fallon’s Healthy Life, although she’s not updated since leaving Australia.

Visit at least two new countries

I added New Zealand and Fiji to my list of countries visited in 2010, and I’m hoping to add Malaysia and the Philippines to that list in 2011. Why? I’m a sucker for a tropical paradise, even if my recent trip to Fiji wasn’t all that I’d hoped it would be on that front. My own fault for opting to visit during the rainy season.

The other reason for visits to the above countries would be to do some scuba diving, which I’ve become quite enamored of since getting my license last year. Other candidates for a visit include India, Thailand, Mongolia, and maybe eastern Russia. I’ve always been intrigued by Vladivostok.

Learn to ski

Skiing isn’t exactly an easy passtime to pursue in Australia, although there’s good skiing to be had in the aptly named Snowy Mountains every winter. A lot of my friends also take trips up to Japan when they feel the need for some really top quality skiing or snow-boarding. But the deepest snow I’ve ever encountered didn’t even manage to hit my knees, so skiing is something I’ve yet to have the pleasure of doing.

I’m aiming to change that this year. South Korea has a large number of ski resorts and Japan is a short three hour ferry ride away, so a weekend trip (see below) isn’t out of the question. In 2010 I added the ocean to regions of a country I can explore, and I’d love to add those snow capped peaks.

Spend a weekend in Japan

I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Fukuoka in 2009 while I was on a visa run and fell in love with the country. While it shares quite a few similarities with South Korea, there’s a lot of differences as well. I was completely surprised by the serenity of Sumiyoshi temple in the heart of the bustling city, and I found the Japanese people to be quite a bit friendlier than their Korean neighbors. I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese culture, and there’s something to be said for the beauty of their women and the abundance of technological gadgets for a big kid like myself.

Busan airport has regular flights heading to Japan, and there’s also ferries that cut across the Sea of Japan (or East Sea as Koreans call it) in either three hours or overnight depending on your budget and your preference. I’d particularly like to see Tokyo, Hiroshima, and maybe even do some scuba diving or skiing.

Learn to speak and read Korean

It’s a source of great embarassment for me that I’ve lived in South Korea for two years and still don’t read the language. Hangeul is criminally easy to learn so there’s really been no excuse. While I do speak some survival Korean, I’d love to be able to converse with locals in their own tongue rather than relying on their broken English and my frantic gesturing. My mother would also appreciate it if I could bring home a pretty Korean girl to make cute Korean grand-children for her, although I’m fairly certain she’s going to end up disappointed on that front.

While in Sydney I did begin to take lessons with an expat who was quite organized, but the cost proved too much while I was saving for the big New Zealand/Fiji trip. I also participated in a language exchange that resulted in meeting my good friend Martin. Oddly enough, he’s a Busan local – so we’ll be able to hang out together when he returns in June.

Finish a novel

This one appears every year, and every year I fail abysmally. While I love travel and would love to someday land a gig as a fully paid travel writer, my oldest ambition has always been to publish a novel and make a living from my imagination. I’ve finished one novel – a somewhat sentimental bit of post break up angst by the name of Letting Go – but ever since then I’ve struggled to find the motivation and dedication needed to weave and write a complex story. I’ve got the beginnings of a good half dozen in my head and on my computer, so it’s just a matter of knuckling down and finishing.

I’d also like to complete Nanowrimo this year – having started and failed for three consecutive years now.

Earn more money on my site than I did in 2010

I made a¬†colossal¬†$85 from sponsored posts in 2010. I’ve yet to receive it though, so I’m dangerously close to naming and shaming the offending company for failing to live up to their end of the bargain. I want to earn more. ‘Nuff said.

Have a one night stand

Such a lofty ambition! I’ve actually never had a one night stand, and while I don’t necessarily want to make a habit of having them, I’m all about life experience and the awkwardness of a morning after is something I’ve yet to experience. Not that it sounds like something I’d relish.

Have a threesome

I wouldn’t be male without including this on my list. Believe it or not, I once turned one down and will forever berate myself for doing it. I don’t realistically expect to ever achieve it, but it’d make for a cool thing to drink to in a game of ‘I Never’.

Learn to enjoy my time alone

If I had to take just one thing away from my relationship with Fallon, it’s that I need to learn to be a person outside of my relationship. Too often in the past I’ve gone into a relationship as a person with their own friends and interests and almost immediately shrugged them all off in favor of living for my partner. In 2009 when I met Fallon I had a very close group of mates I spent time with regularly, a Dungeons & Dragons game that was a lot of fun, and had started up a theater group in Gwangju. All of that fell by the wayside as I took up running, healthy living, and photography as a part of my relationship with Fallon.

And I don’t want it to seem like this was her doing. It’s something I’ve always done – abandoning my single persona and adopting a completely new one. I’m of the firm belief that you need to be happy on your own before you can be truly happy in a relationship, and while I was undoubtedly happy in my relationship with Fallon, I’m also painfully aware that I too often let my ‘old life’ be replaced by the shiny new one. I’m lucky that my friends were all loyal enough to still be around when it came to an end, because in hindsight I was not the best friend.

So, 2011 is all about discovering exactly who it is I am and what it is that I enjoy. Which things can I take from my time with Fallon and still enjoy without her encouragement? Which forgotten hobbies do I still have an interest in? These are all questions I’ll be hoping to answer as the year goes on. Part of the reason I chose a new town this year was so I could do this without too much of my old life biasing things.


So there you have it. You’ve seen my goals, and I’d love to hear what you’re hoping to achieve in 2011. Comment and let me know!

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