Friday, January 6, 2012

A clean start

Having just got back from my yearly Christmas/New Year trip home it feels like it's time for some major changes. I'm usually very skeptical of new year resolutions, but this trip marked a chance for a big transition in my life. In that spirit I'm going to make my best efforts in 2012 to improve my quality of life for the better.

There are many changes that I would have liked to have made by now, but I always seemed to put them off, or never quite be ready to take them on. The previous decade of my life has been shaken up and turned upside down a few times. One experience was bitterly cruel and left several upheavals in its wake. No more. It's time to do something about it. It's time to stop putting things off and time to make the most of my potential. If I put my mind to it I can be healthy, intelligent, artistic, generous, loving, creative and see far beyond my current horizons.

This time next year I want to be the person I've always dreamed of being.

In vague order of importance:

Sort out a real sleep schedule

I've been an insomniac for years for various reasons. (Staying up late to chat with Americans when the internet was young. Finding it the only time to be alone in a house full of siblings. Being far too interested in a project to put down a book or close a laptop. Working very late to meet deadlines. Spiraling sleep cycles. Grief, stress and heartache.)

Arranging a good sleep schedule is key to getting a better quality of life. In that spirit I will aim to:

Sleep 8 hours a night.
Go to bed no later than 23:00 as often as possible. (Going to be bed later once a week should be fine.)
Get out of bed at 08:00 as often as possible, regardless of the time of year, what day of the week it is etc. The time may change, but I'll do my best to stay regular.
Rearrange my bedroom to be more comfortable and used only for sleeping or personal matters.

Exercise more

I've been putting off joining a gym and going regularly for years. From time to time in the states I'd get into the habit of some cardio a few times a week, but it wasn't structured and never lasted more than a couple of months. I aim to:

Join a gym and try to go 2-3 times a week. (Ideally, two evening sessions in the week, and one session in the weekend.)
Lose some weight to the point where I can get a six pack.
Do weight training on my upper body and legs to improve self esteem.
Warm up with yoga stretches.
In the winter, perform some cardio exercise at the gym. In the summer replace this with bike riding.
Plan my exercise regime to fit in with my sleep pattern plan to maximise the effects of both.

Work life

I often waste a lot of time at work and find myself working late at CERN. That needs to chance.

Organise a work schedule so that I work from 09:00-18:00 (with Sunday for extra time if I need it.)
Only make exceptions for rare rush jobs, or jobs where I need to communicate with the USA.
Set well defined goals that can be met. (This may need some structure to the day.)
Don't struggle without progress for as long as I usually do. If I can't find the answer in 20 minutes I'm not doing it right.
Attend more meetings in person so that I become more visible.

Domestic life

I've put off a lot of projects at home that need arranging. Some are general maintenance and some are not. These aims are more nebulous so the list will have be to updated quite a bit:

Arrange bills properly so that everything gets sorted out in good time.
Re file all the important documents.
Finish sorting out the car. (Attach green plates. Make sure I have everything I need in the boot.)
Set out a regular shopping list so that I always have enough food etc in the house and so that I can schedule a regular shopping trip.
Improve the overall appearance of the flat to make it more attractive.
Improve the efficiency of the flat.
Pester than landlord for more improvements. (Carpets!)


Essentially, save money:

Keep track of broad spending habits and expenses.
Save at least 500 euro per month. Aim to save 1000 euro per month.
Draw up calendar of payments (car insurance, housing insurance, medical insurance.)
Book flights further in advance.


Blogging has become bigger to me lately. There's a lot to keep track of.

Keep an archive of US LHC blog posts ready for rainy days.
Aim to post at least once a week, with videos at least once a month.
Keep track of how often my other blogs get updated.


I love to travel and I have a lot of travel planned this year. So:

Book as far in advance as possible.
Make the trips as cheap as possible.
Visit Prague, Paris, England, USA.
Consider a trip to see the Northern Lights.
Consider where conferences might take me.
Arrange visits of others to see me.

Relearn French

I've already learned French once, so there's no reason not to do it again!

Learn how to conjugate verbs again.
Learn new vocabulary.
Speak French wherever possible in day to day life.


I've got so many projects going. Most of them just require some concerted effort to complete:

Get LGBT CERN registered with CERN.
Work on mcviz.
Update greasebox.
Finish unfinished physics projects (Feynman diagram drawer on HTML5 canvas. Graph drawer on HTML5 canvas. Box plot maker.)
Put unfinished and vaguely interesting projects online.
Declare status and intended status of each project.

Art and culture

It's always nice to balance science with culture.

Aim to read more. Make my way through the long list of recommendations (this could take years!)
Discover some more music from different decades, putting it context.
Spend time finding out more about various art movements and how they influenced culture.

Personal life

I'm so far behind organising my virtual life.

Rationalise my music collection into one consistent set of MP3s etc.
Sort out my DVD collection. (Everything should be ripped, archived and backed up.)
Rationalise my photo collection. (Remove corrupted photos where duplicates exist. Remove duplicates. Upload photos to Photobucket. Organise photos by time, place, event and people.)
Standardise my online life. Make a consistent set of profiles and keep track of them all (including the passwords!)


As usual, not a major concern! But keep an eye out for potential partners. Take chances and dates as they come.

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