Where I Stand on My Resolutions – 4th Quarter

Ah, it’s amazing how time flies, isn’t it?  It seems almost yesterday I was sharing some of my goals and resolutions for the new year of 2011, and here it is, the end of 2011 and time to think up new goals for the coming year.  Of course, before I go and start sharing a whole new set of goals for 2012, it’s probably good to sit down and see how well I did on my resolutions.  (The same way I did at the end of the first quarter, second quarter, and yes, the third quarter of this year.)

Hopefully, seeing my overall progress on these resolutions will help me to do better in the future.  To aid in that regard, I’m going to add a review of the resolutions themselves, to share some thoughts on attempting to achieve such a resolution in a single year and how well (or not so well) it worked out for me.  Given that I should come up with some new resolutions in the next few days, thinking back on the pros and cons of these resolutions should be good to help me learn from my mistakes.

Roger’s Resolution Rundown

Resolution #1: Write At Least One Post Per Day
Comments: Well, as I look back at nearly a year worth of writing, I see that I’ve written 199 posts in 2011 (including this one).  That’s 166 short of my goal, and a bit more than half, when all is said and done.  Not exactly what I had hoped to get accomplished.
Grade: C-: Well, I did manage a pretty healthy output of blog entries, even if I fell a bit (or more than a bit) short of my initial goal.  All the more reason to try harder next year, I suppose.
Resolution Review: While not a bad goal, it’s a bit tough to achieve a post a day under the best of circumstances.  While there are clearly bloggers who manage to put up a fresh, new post each day (and sometimes more than one), they tend to be full-time bloggers who can put in eight or more hours a day doing this, not people trying to fit in time to write a blog post between preparing bacteria for research and studying for a test (that is, people like me).  Maybe a more modest goal, three to five posts per week or so, would be more suitable.

Whoo-Hoo! Fireworks to ring in the New Year!

Resolution #2: Write At Least One Guest Post Per Week
Comments: Yeah, if there’s one goal I really, really, REALLY have not done well with, it’s this one.  Still haven’t been able to write any more guest posts; one of my biggest regrets this past year is not doing more in this respect.
Grade: F: Yup, as you might guess, still no improved grade here.  I’ll have to try harder in the coming year.
Resolution Review: It’s a pretty solid resolution, and something I do hope to achieve.  Although, as with the first resolution, it might have been a bit too ambitious; particularly as I work through grad school, it’s tough to even keep up with my blog, let alone write posts for my fellow bloggers.  I’ll need to try better to find the time, though.

Resolution #3: Promote My Blog In More Places
Comments: Not too much good to report here; I’ve been trying to do more promotional efforts, but as you might guess, it can be a bit tricky (to say nothing of time consuming).
Grade: D : Quite a bit more effort to be made here, as there’s definitely quite a bit of room for improvement.
Resolution Review: Not a bad goal to have, although as with so many resolutions, it suffers from a decided level of vagueness; I could say that simply by participating in the few carnivals I did this year, that I DID promote my blog in more places.  I’ll need to be more specific in the future, I suppose.

Resolutions #4 & #5: Read At Least 50 Blog Posts Per Day & Comment On 10 of Them
Comments: If you re-read those linked resolution reviews from previous quarters, you probably know what to expect here: I have been doing some more reading and commenting, but nowhere near the level I hoped to achieve
Grade: F: Yup, you guessed it, another F for this resolution.
Resolution Review: While reading and commenting on fellow bloggers a good goal to have for an up and coming blogger like myself, I was definitely far too ambitious about what I could achieve.  Reading 50 posts a day, for example, would take 2.5 hours at the relatively swift reading speed of three minutes per post.  Add another five to ten minutes per comment, if not more (I tend to be a wordy commentator), and I’d be putting in nearly four hours a day for something that, while enjoyable, doesn’t directly improve my own blog.  (Yes, it helps get the Amateur Financier name out there, and promotes my blog indirectly, but doesn’t do much good if it leaves me with no time for writing my own posts.)  I’ll have to be much, much more conservative if I opt for a resolution like this again, to say nothing of actually getting around to reading more posts…

Resolution #6: Pay Down My Credit Card Balances
Comments: As you might guess, between the holiday season and the normal troubles of being a poor student, I haven’t made much progress here.  A nice goal, but one I couldn’t really achieve.
Grade: D- : Not surprisingly, this is still an area where I need to make more progress.  The goal is tackle this with renewed furor in the new year.
Resolution Review: It’s definitely a good goal to have (although, again, it’s a bit vague).  If I decide to tackle this again as a resolution in the new year, I’ll try to set a more solid goal level, rather than the vague ‘pay them down’.

Resolution #7: Create at Least Three More Sources of Income
Comments: Well, at the end of 2011, I still have only as many income sources as I did at the start of 2011.  So, pretty poor showing here, all in all.
Grade: C : I would put a D or even F here, but I have managed to build my blog into a pretty decent alternative income source, so I’ll call this one a draw.
Resolution Review: Probably my least well thought out resolution; in hindsight, I should have been much more concerned about how much alternate income I generate, rather than the number of places I derive said income from.  (Especially trying to be a Jack of All Trades would likely leave me as the Master of None.)  Of course, that’s not to say I didn’t put some thoughts into my level of alternate income…

Resolution #8: Generate At Least $1000 Per Month in Alternate Income
Comments: Here’s a surprise: I actually earned over $1000 in alternate income in December.  Granted, some of that was once a year offers or others that won’t enable me to earn more in the same place come January, but still, RESOLUTION = MET.
Grade: A+ : Yup, I’m giving myself an A+ on this one; it might have taken me until the end of the year, and I might not expect the same income next month, but hey, I did get this one done.
Resolution Review: I’m a little bit leery about a resolution like this which depends, in whole or in part, on other people (like, say, earning $1000 per month on a blog), but this worked out pretty well.  I’ll definitely have to consider ramping this up next year.

Resolution #9: Go to the Gym At Least Twice a Week
Comments: I’ll be honest: I’ve been slacking in this area lately.  Between the holiday season, studying for finals that came before that, and doing research that frequently kept me in the lab until eight or nine at night, my ability to get to the gym lately has all but disappeared.  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been at all, and probably since the last resolution update that I’ve been there on even a semi-regular basis.
Grade: C- : Not too good, I’m afraid.  Definitely something I need to do better on in the near future.
Resolution Review: It’s a classic, going to the gym as a New Year’s resolution.  I managed to do better than many (perhaps most) people, but in the end, the same thing that gets to most people when it comes to fitness resolutions, a lack of time in a busy schedule, got to me, too.

Resolution #10: Reconnect with My Old High School and College Friends
Comments: Well, unfortunately, the closest thing to a 10th anniversary my high school had was an informal meeting in a bar near the school in the middle of the week (which ass a six hour drive from where I currently live, during a week when I had tests to study for), but I am connecting more with my old friends and classmates online, so I’ll consider this accomplished (kind of).
Grade: A- :  Still pretty good; not perfect, but given that I’m over three hundred miles away from most of my former classmates, I’m doing alright.
Resolution Review: Not quite the way I had hoped to reconnect, but given the power of modern technology, it’s hard to argue that I couldn’t reconnect with at least some people I used to know.

Extra Special Resolution: Being a Great and Supportive Fiancee
Comments: My fiancee Sondra was reading over my shoulder as I wrote this (and managed to catch a grammar error, so perhaps I should ask her to do so more often), and upon seeing the poor grades I was giving myself for most of my blogging and financial goals, insisted that I include this resolution and give myself an A++ grade for being so helpful and wonderful to her.  Hence, the added resolution at the last minute.
Grade: A++: Who am I to argue with my fiancee on this particular point?
Resolution Review: While definitely an important goal to have, it’s something I’ve managed to do pretty well without needing additional motivation. I’ll just have to be my sweet, wonderful self through the coming year(s), and I should continue to get high marks in this area.

Overall: C- Not too shabby (although, my fiancee’s grade definitely helped shift my score higher), although far from the A I was hoping to have.  I’ll need to try better next year, and try to come up with some better resolutions to try my hand at achieving.

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