Customarily I end my year-in-review series with resolutions for the coming year. This year, as part of my broader overhaul of this series, this post now begins with a recap of the previous year’s resolutions.
The easiest way to assess success or failure of last year’s resolutions is to recap them by category.
Writing: I was mostly successful on my limited goals (chapter for an edited collection, submit book, one book review, clear back work). I didn’t finish draft the chapter because it is due in 2023, but I submitted my book manuscript, identified two books to review (one academic, one for Choice reviews) that should appear in early 2023, cleared nearly all outstanding work from my desk, missed by just one short piece that I’m midway through. 0.75
Reading: I crushed all of my reading goals for this year, at least if you exclude my belated article resolution. I read 20 ancient history books (target: 12) and 65 other books (target: 52), with the latter tally including 27 by women (41%; target 33%), 6 by African or African American authors (target: 6), and from 13 countries and 8 original languages (target: 10 and 7). But I did make the article resolution, which I abandoned for want of time. 0.75
Exercise: I did lose some weight this year, but the better marker of success is in my activity levels. I started running again in May and ran 213 miles across 75 runs, for almost three miles per run even though I didn’t complete my first three-mile run until July. My longest run was only about six and a half miles, short of my ten-mile target, but I also made a deliberate choice to prioritize regularity over length. Likewise, while I went away from doing YouTube yoga routines, I did a self-paced yoga session 336 days this year. Full marks, in spirit, if not letter. 1.0
Other: I failed to follow through on my artistic goals for 2022 and only sometimes followed through on my intention of taking Saturdays off. This was also a year during which the sheer number of things that I had going on meant that I succumbed to frustration and impatience, to say nothing of existential dread. The saving grace here is that I am better about making myself take a few deep breaths than I once was. 0.25
2.75/4 I’ll take it.
The eternal, nebulous, unquantifiable
- Learn how to say no.
- Continue learning to let go of things that are beyond my control. Most things are.
- Be more patient and charitable.
- Smile more often.
- Take more time for mindfulness exercises, including both yoga and meditation.
The specific, concrete, actionable
- Take at least one day each weekend not working, as defined by no work email, no grading, no preparing for courses, and no academic writing. This has been a really important habit for me in recent years.
- Continue my daily yoga routine that I started back in 2020. Whenever I miss a day I can tell that my equilibrium is off.
- Continue running, pushing the length past a half-marathon.
- Continue two writing practices I developed at the end of 2022: weekly varia posts and a nightly writing exercise in my physical journal.
- Draft one (1) chapter for an edited collection due in 2023.
- Revise one (1) paper as an article.
- Find (1) new academic book to review. I failed in this in 2021, but one book feels to me like the right goal: enough to be engaged and write something; not so much that I spend all of my time writing things that are not appreciated in the academic world.
- Across all types of the lists I keep, my goal for 2023 is 100 books
- At least 25 academic ancient history or classics books
- At least 65 non-academic books
- 40% by women
- 10 by African or African-American authors
- from at least 10 countries
- 10 more from either category
- I started practicing photo editing, but I never set up a Flickr account because I became paralyzed by options. This year requires a choice.
Finally, to conclude this series, a message for readers: thank you for following along. Going into the new year I am looking forward to writing more about books, pedagogy, academia, history, and whatever else I happen to stumble upon.
Whatever I write, I hope you’ll join me. In the meantime, may your coming year be filled with warmth and happiness.