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The new year is here, and with it, new attempts at getting my life in order. As I’ve spent over a year now in the online planner/bullet journal community, rather than having resolutions for 2018, I have goals/habits/plans that I will be focusing on accomplishing in the next twelve months. While I won’t be listing them all in this post, I think quite a few of my major goals for the new year are pretty relatable to other students, academics, and really, any adult. So, I’ve decided to share them with you, along with a bit of personal commentary on my reasons behind each one. If you’re still working on your own resolutions for this year, perhaps this list can help inspire you.

Rather than organizing my list in order of priority, I’ve organized it based on categories that relate to different areas of my life. These four categories are: work, personal, social, and travel. Obviously, there is plenty of overlap between these categories, but since I write out my goals in my planner (“19 Before 2019”), I like to group similar tasks together on the page. The list that follows includes twelve of my goals, but it does not include further lists I’ve created in my planner, like a breakdown of monthly, weekly, and daily mini goals that scaffold these larger ones.


Attend 1 Professional Development Event Each Month

I’ve attended a few events offered by my university’s library, grad program, and CTLT in the past 3 ½ years. But, I can list all these events on one hand. I’m curious to explore more resources my university has to offer, as well as other events held in my communities or online. I took the Academic Woman’s Writing Roadmap course this past summer, along with many free webinars Cathy Mazak offers throughout the year. Recently, I’ve been exploring the #AcademicTwitter hashtag, looking for potential resources to try. Plus, I’ve taken up listening to podcasts and audiobooks related not just to productivity and habit creation, but also specifically to academia and higher education. By making sure to schedule one PD event each month, I’m hoping to get into the habit of strengthening and expanding my professional capabilities in the coming year and beyond.

Submit two Articles to Journals/Edited Collections

This goal will likely be one of the more difficult ones on my list, as I’ll be working on it while also writing my dissertation. I find the thought of submitting my work for publication consideration quite nerve-wracking. There are a couple articles I’m excited about writing, but finding both the time and confidence to write them has been a struggle. I’m hoping some of my other goals on this list (the next three listed, especially) will help keep me on track for accomplishing this particular element of my “resolutions.”

Create a Writing Routine that works for me

I originally planned on starting an in-person writing group this past fall semester. That didn’t end up happening, though, and the freezing temperatures currently occurring on a daily basis in Illinois will likely keep me from attempting the creation of a group this semester, as well. I haven’t completely dropped the idea of scheduling time for writing alongside a classmate or two, but my focus for this goal is to find the time of day that works best for me when it comes to my academic writing. I tend to work best during daylight hours, and right now, those end by about 5:00 p.m., on good days. I’m also not a morning person, so you can see my dilemma. I’m scheduled to teach at 9:35 a.m. this semester, so I’m going to try to use that as the foundation for getting my writing done early in the day, and leaving lesson planning and grading for after 5 pm.


Create a Fitness and Healthy Eating Routine

This is my primary goal of the year. And, of course, my hope is that it will become a habit that lasts well past 2018. I definitely don’t exercise enough, spending most of my days sitting/laying down while reading, writing, and watching Netflix. I also tend to eat a lot of take-out when I get tired of eating my boring healthy food recipes. So, I’ve bought a planner specifically designed to help me with my exercise and healthy eating/cooking goals. As it’s so cold outside these next few months, getting motivated enough to leave my house to go to the gym and get groceries will be a major challenge. Still, getting into these personal routines will help energize me when it comes to my other goals. More energy gained here means more productivity when it comes to my writing. And if I can achieve this goal in the next couple months when it’s freezing outside, continuing this habit the rest of the year should be much easier.

Create a Meditation Routine

In the planner community, there’s this tendency to pick one word as your theme for each year. This year, my word is “self-care.” I want to create healthy lifestyle habits this year, not just when it comes to exercising and eating healthy food, but also in regards to writing steadily rather than in big, anxiety-inducing chunks. I also want to take time for myself regularly without losing sight of what needs to be done. While I find yoga to be a painful experience, the meditation element of those classes always appealed to me. I have two apps that I really like for working on this goal, so the plan is to make meditation part of my daily routine. I’m curious to see how taking some time to calm my mind during the hectic pace of academic life affects me.

Declutter My Possessions

I tend to accumulate so much stuff that I don’t need or want, and I’m not exactly great at keeping everything in its place. So, though I’m not going the minimalism route that’s been trending recently, I do want to take stock of what I have lying around my house. Some stuff will be thrown out, a lot more will be donated, and I’ll finally have an uncluttered space to work with when it comes to exercising, cooking, reading, writing, etc. I also want to declutter and organize all my digital spaces (Dropbox, Google Drive, USB drives, etc.). That’s the plan, at least.


Send 12 letters

I love receiving snail-mail from friends and family. As this doesn’t happen very often, I’m planning to send my own letters this year as a way to inspire receiving some letters or postcards in return. I actually received a Hogwarts wax seal stamp kit for Christmas, so my letters will definitely have a bit of flair. As traveling home to see my family and friends is pretty rare during my semesters away, I’m looking forward to sending letters to my family and friends back in Florida.

Become more active on Twitter

As my brother works for Twitter, this social media site has become one of my favorites over the past few years. While I’m already pretty active on this site, I tend to retweet a lot of content, rather than creating my own. I also haven’t taken advantage of some great hashtags, like #AcademicTwitter and #TeachWrite. I want to change my Twitter habits this year, creating more of my own content and following hashtags that can lead to potential professional development opportunities. Twitter is such a great site for networking, and it’s one I want to make better use of this year.

Socialize Bi-weekly

This is probably my strangest goal of the year, but it’s one I really want to push myself to accomplish. I tend to be a bit of a hermit, especially during the winter months. My hobbies are ones I can do alone, and I rarely attend social events that aren’t work related. While there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, I think meeting new people and strengthening my current relationships would be beneficial. While ISU’s campus is located in a really small city (from my perspective as someone from Miami, FL), there are still trivia nights and farmers’ markets and athletic events that I can take the time to experience. I’m pretty curious to see how this goal goes, especially during these first few months when the weather will keep me from wanting to leave my house for anything other than teaching and meetings.


Attend a Con

As someone who’s taken part in online fandom since my preteen years, and someone who teaches and researches fandom, as well, I have always wanted to attend a con and experience the fandom energy in person. Going to the San Diego Comic Con is definitely on my bucket list, but I don’t feel ready for such a big con. This year, then, I’d like to go to a smaller con that includes one or more of my favorite fandoms (CW shows, YA novels, Harry Potter, etc.). I haven’t started researching for this goal yet, but I’m excited to find a great fit for me.

Visit Charlotte, NC

I mentioned going to Charlotte last year in my last post. My reasons for wanting to go again this year are basically the same. I wasn’t able to see all my old advisors during my last visit, so hopefully second time’s the charm. Sending update emails only goes so far. I also have some great UNCC friends still living in Charlotte and the surrounding area. Texting and Facebook are great for keeping in touch, but getting together in person to catch up is such a better experience. If there’s anywhere you haven’t traveled to recently, a place where multiple people who mean a lot to you live, I highly suggest planning a trip there this year.

Visit Grand Canyon

This is the family trip planned for this year. It’s been on my bucket list for years, so I’m really excited about getting to experience it with my parents and brother. Whenever I meditate, I tend to imagine a canyon-like landscape when told to “imagine you are alone somewhere peaceful” or something along those lines. I’ve been told the two sides of the canyon are quite different, so we are planning on spending some time in both. A side trip to Las Vegas might happen, as well, since I’ve never been. But, really, I’m most excited about the nature-appreciation part of the trip. If you have a bucket list trip that you haven’t put any serious thought into recently, now is the time.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned above, these aren’t all my goals for 2018. The others, though, are quite specific (listen to Fansplaining podcast) or personalized in other ways (participate in an athletic event). In my next post, I’ll focus on the reading challenge I’ve created for this year, after completing the PopSugar one in 2017. You can subscribe to my blog’s email list if you want to make sure you don’t miss that post, or the ones that will follow on a bi-weekly basis.

What goals Do you have for this year? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Talk Soon!

-Erika Romero