new year’s resolutions:

i am constantly making lists of unattainable self-improvement goals, but there is something significant in my mind about the new year. perhaps posting these to mindonfire will empower me in their ultimate attainment.

1. family: i will spend more time with my family this year–more date nights with jana, more walks and storytime with my children.

2. spirituality: i will end this year with a daily yoga and meditation habit.

3. health: a) i will walk/jog/run about 30 miles each week (i get to build up to this).
b) i will lose ten more pounds and maintain (i lost almost twenty last year).
c) i will be mostly vegetarian (with occasional exceptions, and with seafood always being okay).

4. economy: i will keep to a strict budget this year.

5. academic: a) i will complete my jerusalem research paper!!! b) i will then turn my focus back to the history of japanese and mormon ancestral rites (and become something of an expert in the development of both). c) i will immerse myself in the study of new testament critical studies. there are several categories of critical scholarship (form, textual, literary, historical, etc.), and i’d like to be conversant in each and be in a position to select one in which to immerse myself in the following year. d) i need to get cracking gaining a better understanding of ritual theory, methodology and theory in the study of religion, and the history of japanese religions. i will create a reading list and stick to it throughout the year.

6. language: a) i will become fairly fluent in french this year. b) i will be able to read the new testament in the (almost) original greek (with some help from a dictionary) by the end of the year. c) i will greatly increase my japanese reading abilities: i will know all 1800+ joyo kanji characters, i will review my classical japanese grammar rules, and i will be able to read the more basic handwritten documents from japan’s edo period.

7. writing: a) i will submit at least five new short stories to at least ten different contests or publications. b) i will also write the rough draft of my first novel. c) i will read at least ten great literary works.

8. mindonfire: a) i will write more often. i’ve decided to write shorter and less thoughtful posts, so the quality may suffer, but an occasional carefully-written post on some personal or social issue will inevitably surface. b) i will move the site from its microsoft back-end to a cheaper php and mysql-based system. c) i will redesign the site (probably during the summer). d) i would like to rss-enable this blog.

9. hobby: i’d like to try my hand at bookbinding and manuscript illumination. i may have to learn some painting and calligraphy along the way.

10. service: i want to volunteer at a library as well as in hospice services. i’m still trying to work this out, but i’m hoping to have some exposure to each. most of the organizations i’ve worked with in the past are more focused on people half-way around the world, and while this is valuable, i would like to work directly with the people i am serving.

so there it is–my list for 2004. i will continue to revise it (it is a snapshot of a list of goals that is ever-changing). here’s a motivational quote to wrap-up this post:

until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. a whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. i learned a deep respect for one of goethe’s couplets:

“whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

from w. h. murray in the scottish himalaya expedition, 1951.

happy new year!::

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