New Month's Resolutions

January /plank goal update:

Yep, still rolling with this goal! I felt like I wasn’t making a lot of progress with a vague plan, though, so I’ve started doing this beginner plan for a five-minute plank. It ramps up pretty fast, but I’m doing a hands-and-toes plank for 1 minute 30 seconds at the moment, so… I guess I’m doing okay. I’ll keep this goal rolling at least until I manage my five-minute plank, though in the long run I probably want to settle down to “doing a couple of 2-minute planks five days a week”, rather than the dramatic five-minute plank.

February /morningpages goal update:

I’m still going with this! I changed how it was set up by scaling it: I had it set to 3/day, three pages a day, but it’s easier to check in with it if it’s just +1, and that also lets me easily set it so that I can gain some safety buffer over time and take the occasional day off. I’ll be continuing with it for at least a while.

Usually, “morning pages” is a concept for creative folks, writers mostly, but I don’t really have that intent so it feels like I’m doing it wrong, kinda? I just end up rambling about whatever’s on my mind – thoughts about yesterday, thoughts about my plans for the day, journaling type stuff usually. That said, I have done some small pieces of writing, and I’ve done a lot of valuable thinking-through my assignments for my MSc and stuff like blog posts for work, so… I can’t say it hasn’t been creative for me!

It’s also a nice morning routine type thing. Now instead of getting up and getting straight on the PC to work, I’m doing my morning pages, then that quite naturally leads into brushing my teeth, taking my inhaler, weighing in, getting dressed, etc. So that’s a healthy thing.

It does make me think a little about my night-time routine as well. Often I write a to-do list for the next day, to get everything I’m planning out of my head and set down, so I can let go of it. Buuut then I start doing it while I wait for Lisa to be ready for bed. Maybe my April goal will be figuring out something I can grow an evening routine around – probably turning off my PC and reading before bed, even if it’s just five pages.

March /readscience goal:

Back at the start of the academic year, I intended to beemind reading more scientific papers as I went along with my courses. Since it’s an MSc, we’re supposed to be pretty aware of the wider context, even though it’s a taught MSc, so they’re looking for evidence of wide reading. I’ve been doing plenty of that for my assignments, albeit sometimes (whisper it) I mostly read the abstract and then ctrl-F for the bit I want.

So! This goal is for reading scientific papers that are interesting and new to me, not just the abstracts, and ensuring I understand what I read. I’ve set the rate to 2/week: ideally it’d be 3/week, given that I do three courses, but I don’t think that’s realistic with my current workload, and two is better than none.

The topics don’t have to be directly related to my course work, but they should involve bacterial infections, the impact of nutrition on the immune response, or endoparasites. It’s fine to be hyperspecific within those fields, e.g. something specifically on toxoplasmosis or tuberculosis or Chlamydia psittaci (did you know that people doing mouth-to-beak resuscitation on birds is a known source of chlamydial pneumonia in humans?) or whatever – it doesn’t need to be broad. I have access to many of the best scientific journals through my university, so it’s fine to go spelunking through Nature, and equally fine to just pick a species, add the term “pathogenesis” or “transmission” or “diagnosis”, search, and read the most interesting paper that pops up. For now, let’s say it’s fine if both papers in a week are about the same topic.

Let’s see how we go!