- Run a half-marathon.
The goal is to run the New York marathon in 2010. One way to get guaranteed entry is to run a set of qualifying races in 2009. The idea is to choose a half-marathon as one of the qualifying runs.
- Lose 25 to 30 pounds.
This is related to the above goal. I have been at a steady 170 lbs in my early 20s when I used to run 3 miles every day. Then I got out of school, started working, my social circle shifted to folks with mostly sedentary habits, I started smoking, and in a quick few years, everything went out of control. It has now been a few years since I quit smoking. Cold turkey. Regulating the bad parts of my diet has been more of a yo-yo. But I'm finally getting somewhere. After a few years of being in the 200 lbs range, my current weight is vacillating between 190 and 195. The idea is to get it to the 165 to 170 lbs range. I'm hoping this can happen just with the added running regimen without too drastic a change to my current diet.
- Read a book each month.
I have really, really, lost the reading habit when it comes to books. There was a time when I would finish a book each day. Those days are long gone. I've had five or six books I bought a year back that have been sitting patiently waiting for me to read them. I've just started the first one. Darwin's Origin of Species. I've only finished reading 30 pages so far. I want to start reading a book for at least a half hour each day.
- Re-read textbooks of basic math and sciences.
I have been reading a university freshman level introductory basic biology textbook for a few months now. "Life: The Science of Biology" by Purves et al. It is an awesome textbook. I have finished reading 6 chapters so far. I wish my basic textbooks in middle school and high school were half as good. Then I would not have focused on math and physics exclusively and ignored other interesting fields of science like chemistry, biology and geology. My childhood textbooks were so crappy, and so solely aimed at giving information geared towards passing exams that except math and physics all other fields of science appeared to be just a series of dry facts. There was no context or narrative of chemical, geological or life processes that were presented as a story within which the dry facts were embedded. Now I am slowly filling in the gaps in my knowledge of all the other fields of science that I have neglected in my childhood. I aim to find really good textbooks that would be a delight to read, and fill my deficits from the ground up. I would also like to find good textbooks of math and physics to brush up on my basics, but this is a lesser priority.
- Comment more often at regular haunts
The last few years, I have been reading a lot of science blogs and liberal blogs, but I rarely used to comment at any of them. This year, I want to change that and become a more vocal member at the various places where I've learnt a lot by mental osmosis all this time without giving anything back. Many of these blogs have so much traffic now that I may actually change my mind on this one and start commenting at newer up and coming blogs instead. Either way, I want to aim for a less silent presence.
- Blog more often
I've had a lot of things to say on my mind, but I have fallen out of the habit of putting my thoughts down in words. As I've finally started commenting a little bit last year, I realized that I could actually start blogging too if I put the same energy towards composing my own posts. But I'm more of a reactive person in that most of my thoughts are a response to something I read. So if I sit down to write a post, I draw a blank. I want to change that situation by jotting down my thoughts somewhere and periodically tying them up into a single post.
- Bridge the gap between online and the outside life
As I've started spending more time online reading interesting stuff, one thing I've noticed is that I find real life socializing much less satisfying in terms of conversational content. There was a point of time a few years back when I couldn't stand the next conversation about some sport, or some home price, or some mundane topic or the other that the entirety of socializing within my age group and immigrant demographic seemed to consist of. So I withdrew away from such groups. But the people whose conversations and thoughts I found interesting were a bunch of pseudonymous online personalities. This seems to be changing a little recently with the increasing use of social tools like facebook where people are interacting online more frequently with their real names and details. I have found some of the blogospheric pseudonymous folks that I knew to actually have a facebook presence with their real details. This is encouraging in the sense that if I stick to the two previous resolutions, it may be possible to transition from online interactions to real world interactions with people with whom I share a lot of interests, both personally and politically.