2014 Goals and Resolutions

I don’t normally do resolutions at New Year, partly because I don’t like conforming but mostly because I find a year is too long term for me.  I like monthly goals, they’re far easier to keep track of.

This year I’m going to have some.

They say that if you tell people about your resolutions then you are more likely to keep them.  I guess you also have to keep people updated every so often, too.  So here we go.

I’ve chosen one major goal for each area of my life: Work, Family, Guiding, and Shorinji Kempo.  I’m trying to make them specific and measurable, so that I know whether I’ve achieved them or not!

I also plan to write about my progress in keeping the resolutions on this blog.  However, I know how much it annoys me when other people go on and on and on about their goals and the tiny steps they’re taking to meet them, so I plan on doing one update a month, and no more – unless something remarkable happens.

Work: Qualify as an Actuary

Those who know me will already know that I’m training to be an actuary.  I’ve only got two exams left, but here’s the thing: I’ve only had two exams left for a couple of years now.  This year, I plan on actually passing them.

Timeline:  The exams are at the end of April.  The results come out in July.  During May and June I’ll need to make sure all my paperwork for the work based skills component is up to date and ready to submit.

This is the most important goal this year.  For most of the other goals, I’ve chosen things which can take place in the second half of the year – at the very least after April.

Family: Active Homeostasis

I’m generally happy with the way my family relations are.  I spend time with my husband and cats, I talk to my mother every week, and I don’t feel a particular need to change anything.

On the other hand, I don’t want to get complacent about relationships.  Perhaps there’s something missing that could enrich my life immensely?  For this goal I decided to seek help.  I asked around my family to find out if there was anything they wanted from me that I wasn’t providing.

The cats were of the opinion that I don’t spend enough time sitting on the sofa worshiping them.

My husband, more helpfully, suggested active homeostasis.  He pointed out that if I am spending more time on studying there is a danger that other areas – specifically time spent relaxing at home with him and the cats – would suffer.

This is a very real problem, especially with all of my other commitments.  So I plan to make an effort to ensure that I spend at least some time most days talking to my family.  We’re talking good quality time here, not just listening with half an ear while doing something else.

Why most days, not all?  It’s just not practical – there are already several Brownie Holidays planned for 2014, and I’ll be way too busy on those to phone home.  Plus, my husband has a life too.  I’m aiming for 5 days per week.

Timeline: whole year.


Guiding: Provide Good Guiding

This was a hard one.  There are so many opportunities in Guiding that it’s hard to narrow it down to one overarching goal for the year.  Especially given that I want it to be measurable.

I considered something related to Growing Guiding – but my unit already has 30 girls in it and – quantity of leaders aside – there isn’t room in the hall for more than that.

I also considered Good Guiding.  How could I improve the quality of Guiding in my area – in such a way that I could demonstrate that it was definitely better?  What is “better” anyway?

For help I turned to “Good Guiding is…”, a resource provided by Girlguiding.  It’s not restricted to members – if you search for it you can find it easily.

Good Guiding is gives advice in ten areas:

  • Challenge and adventure
  • Going away
  • Moving on and growing
  • Opportunities and awareness
  • Developing skills
  • Decision making and planning
  • Learning
  • Fun
  • Relating to girls and young women
  • Living the Promise and Law

The suggestion is that we review our programme with the unit team and figure out which areas we are weak on.  Over time we should work to improve those areas (presumably without neglecting the ones we were already doing!).

So, this is my challenge: over the course of the year, I want to ensure that we provide at least two things in each category.  I want them to be challenging things, though, so I’m not going for anything that feels like a cop-out, like counting a games evening as “fun”.

I’m looking forward to the team planning meeting now!

Timeline: With approximately 10 “guiding months” in the year, this works out at 2 things a month.  Some months might need more or less, depending on the holidays.


Shorinji Kempo: Learn the techniques on my next syllabus

Sensei says I should start thinking about grading again.  I don’t feel ready, but I have a sneaking suspicion that that’s normal at this stage.  My goal for this year is to get to a stage where I do feel ready, or almost ready.

I’ll need to make sure I’m happy with all of the techniques off my previous syllabi, and make sure I’ve seen and can at the very least remember the names of the techniques on my current syllabus.

Sounds easy, when you say it like that.  However, I’ve been doing Kempo for 8 years now, so there are a lot of techniques I’m supposed to know!

Timeline: I expect this to take all year.  Until April I’ll concentrate on the lower grade syllabi, since I’m supposed to already know them and I’m supposed to be studying for the Actuarial exams.

There are around 100 techniques on the syllabi up to 1st Dan.  It didn’t seem so many when I was learning them.  To cover them all by April I would need to do 5 or 6 a week.  That’s not so bad, considering most of them will just be a case of acknowledging that I do actually remember them.

2nd and 3rd Dan techniques will be more challenging, so I’m leaving those until after the actuarial exams.


Other Things: Spend time on myself

This category is more of a catch-all for all the things I do purely for fun.

Blogging: I want to publish three posts each week in 2014.  There are a lot of Guiding-related topics I want to research, and the blog is a good place to collect my thoughts on them.

Reading: Last year I read 49 books, according to Goodreads.  My goal for this year is 52.  I read to escape from the world and really relax, so there won’t be anything really complex in there!

Nicola’s bookshelf: 2013


So there we are.  Four major goals and a couple of minor ones.  Expect an update at the end of January to see how I’m going.

What are your goals, dreams or resolutions for 2014?


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