Life, In Three Months or Less

Like every other person who celebrates the coming of the new year, I have the bad habit of creating resolutions for myself that, like everyone else, I fail to accomplish.  Like the rest of the world, I have every intention of completing these goals, but after a few weeks, the visions of a better life fall aside to the realities of the real world.  We all want to lose weight and go to the gym, but eventually hunger and fatigue lead us back to fried food and sitting on the couch.  Everyone wants to speak French so they can woo the woman of their dreams or learn how to play the guitar so they can write that album they always meant to write in high school.  The point is this.  It’s not that we all don’t have goals for a better life, but the fact is, it’s hard to change who you are so after a while, we accept what we have and wait until the next new year to get our hopes up again.

I’ve had the idea of reinventing myself countless times already, and I’m yet again working on being a better person.  So what makes this time different?  Well, come back in a few months and you may find nothing at all has changed and life has won once again, but I am hoping my new strategy plays out at least a little differently.  My inspiration comes from Benny, The Irish Polyglot, a guy who has inspired me to learn more languages, but also now to use his philosophy to improve my life in general a bit.  Benny speaks 8 languages and claims to have the ability to learn more in just three months.  I have used his encouragement to increase my ability to speak Spanish and now I am using the three month method to learn Italian and French.  I hope to add more languages after this, but back to the point.  If I can learn a language in three months, why not other skills as well?  I’m not talking about mountain climbing or becoming an expert chef, but things I can realistically acheive in about three months.

I’ve always had goals I’ve wanted to acheive but for some reason or another I always manage to let them fall by the wayside.  I’ve wanted to write stories, I’ve wanted to play the guitar, I’ve wanted to keep myself in good shape.  So why have I failed in all of these things?  The easy answer is simple.  I didn’t put a realistic starting and end point on these goals.  Sure, staying in shape is a lifetime goal, but it would be better to say, “I want to lose ten pounds by Christmas.”  That’s an attainable goal.  Sure, once I get to Christmas, I better have another goal in mind or I will fall back into that trap of laziness, but giving myself a reachable goal makes it more attainable.  To be fair, I have given myself goals like this in the past and pulled it off, so why have I failed in all of my goals since moving into my own place?  Possibly because I have more things to distract me here than I did when living at home, but I am not going to use that as an excuse anymore.  I have some goals…ok, many goals, and, since I love lists so much I thought I would rattle off a list of what I would like to do with my life in the next few months, put some realistic dates on these goals, and see where it goes.  I’m breaking it down into three categories: Life, Love, and Languages.  Here we go.

Languages:

I’ve been learning Spanish for about 5 years now.  Well, I took four years in high school, then took a break, then started taking it serious again a few years back.  I don’t know if I can say I am fluent or not, but I can speak fairly well, read and write better than most, and I understand most of what I watch on TV.  I’ve reached a point where I don’t know precisely what to do to improve beyond where I am, but I came up with this.

1) I own the entire Harry Potter series written in Spanish.  I have read the first three and almost half of the fourth.  I would like to finish all of them by the end of April.  That would mean I need to finish the 4th within the next week (possible) and spend no more than 2 months each on the remaining three.  Given I read Spanish at about half the speed in which I read in English, I think this is a very realistic goal, but I have to get on it.

2) My second goal for Spanish involves writing.  I have always enjoyed writing short stories, and I would like to write a short story in Spanish.  My goal for this is to write a ten page story also by the end of April.  I type fast, so I may surpass ten pages, but the plan is to take my time and both write correctly as well as write an interesting story.  This goal may take on a life of its own, as I have requested help from others in an online forum with this one.  We’ll update this one when I have more details.   Here’s the update.

3) I’d like to spend at least an hour or two per month actually speaking with a native Spanish speaker, either in person or using Skype which doesn’t sound terribly difficult to do, but this could get tricky as I tend to shy away from talking to others.

4) Between now and April, I had also planned on learning Italian (I have been practicing this since August), French (starting November 1st), and Portuguese (starting February 1st.)  I want to spend more time with Italian, as I feel I did alright with it, but want to improve some more.  I have not started French or Portuguese, but I have to be sure I develop clear goals with these or I fear I won’t succeed with them.  The basic plan is to spend an hour a day with each language in the hopes of reaching basic fluency in all of them by April.  Again, I’ll have to tweak this one a bit.

Life

Ok, life refers to the things I want to do to make my life more entertaining as well as healthier.  I already have a gym membership, which I used to use four or five times a week.  (Yeah, I was cut)  Lately, I struggle to go even once a week and its making me mad to think I am letting myself get out of shape.  So, the goal for the gym will be to go for at least one hour a day, three times per week from now until the end of January in order to lose ten pounds.  To be fair, I have no idea what my weight is now, so I will have to weigh in at the gym, but I charted my weight loss once, and I can do it again.  I use the excuse of being too tired to go to the gym, but I have to try to go regardless of how I feel for at least these thre months.  I think if I can do this, I will get myself back in the habit of going on a regular basis.

As I said before, I enjoy writing.  In addition to writing my story in Spanish, I would like to get back to writing in English a little bit more.  Even if it means rewriting stories I wrote in the past, anything that gets me writing again should be good for me.  I’m not sure what three month goal I can give myself for this, but perhaps one story a month is a good plan.  A good story takes time, so it may take closer to two months to complete a story, but three stories in three months should be achievable.  Breaking the three month rule down a bit further, I will try to spend an hour a day writing in English.

Love

This one could be tricky.  It certainly isn’t a good idea to put a time limit on this one, but I would like to start actively seeking someone who might have an interest in spending time with me.  A few problems arise with this one.  First of all, should I be fortunate enough to find someone I want to spend time with, it will more than likely mean I will have to sacrifice time doing some of the things mentioned above, unless of course I meet a Spanish speaking gym member who likes to read short fiction.  The other problem is, I am not sure how to go about meeting someone.  As I have said before, I am a very timid person and have a hard time meeting people.  I considered looking into an adult education class just so I could put myself in a situation with people my age to try to meet someone, but I am not sure if there are any classes out there that I would actually enjoy and have the hopes of finding someone in.  I definitely would like to find at least a girlfriend before I turn 31, and to be honest, it would be nice to find a woman who was serious about possibly getting married, not just going to dinner once a week.  Like I said, this one could be tricky.  I think I need to go spend some time thinking this one over before I write down a specific goal.  I’ll be back with more I’m sure.  Adios for now.

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~ by James on October 25, 2011.

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