As with every year, I took a moment to reflect back on last year's resolutions, being especially conscientious of what I wanted to accomplish in the past year and thinking about how I could change (or continue to maintain) those goals in order to have a good year in 2013.
2012 saw me hoping again to run several marathon races. I had the opportunity to do one race, the Green Bay Marathon, which unfortunately had the same issue of being cancelled due to heat as I had to deal with at the 2007 Chicago Marathon. I managed to finish the distance (over the next day), but it was disappointing because I think was in the best shape of my running career (post-high school) so far. The training program I was following really worked, I took care of myself, and it looked like I could break the elusive four hour barrier. Unfortunately, school and other activities got in the way, so I wasn't able to compete in another marathon, but the knowledge that I could do well under the right circumstances make me believe I still have another good race in me. In general, my health was actually quite good this year - I maintained my weight in the low-to-mid 180's (holidays aside) and ran nearly 1400 miles this year (if my dailymile account is accurate). When I was working on core strength, I think I felt and looked pretty dang good! This last part is something I'll have to continue to address in 2013.
My academic goals for 2012 were to get results, present results, publish papers, and finish my degree. Aside from the publication part of it, it all went to plan, and I was able to successfully defend in July. Although I have this feeling of "they set me free", as they say in sports, "a win's a win." I have the piece of paper and the clout that goes along with it, and I know that I put in the work and the time to earn it. I also presented again at the APSA Conference in Chicago, which was not quite as exciting as the first time around but still pretty fun. I am not sure if I'm going again this year (because of conflict with the Illinois Marathon... see more below) but it would be fun to attend again. There were some really great speakers and it's interesting to listen to folks present their research.
To sum up, it appears that I did a decent job of following through with my goals for 2012. Graduate school ended and medical school began (shakily at first, but better toward the end), I completed (over two days... not my fault!) another marathon, I maintained a fairly healthy lifestyle, and I continued forward in my career as a physician-scientist. What does 2013 hold? Here's a free-flowing list, just like last year...
My 2013 plans will again focus on maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle that will keep me going as I move past my (gasp!) 30th birthday. I have the intention to increase my mileage so that I go over 1500 miles of running or elliptical training over the course of the year. I'd also like to race, as is feasible financially, at least 5 different local races, ranging from 5-7 mile trail races and spring and summer 5K races to the Illinois Marathon in April. As part of my training, I'm planning on focusing on strength, with a particular focus on core strength training exercises. This should help improve my running and get my weight down a little bit lower to where I'll feel good with it.
Academically, the focus will be on closing out M1 and moving into M2. I found my most effective study methods near the end of the semester, and I plan on continuing those methods into the spring semester, albeit at a more rigorous pace so I'm not spending the last two weeks of the semester writing notes every day (i.e. write the notes every day). I want to ace at least one exam, and do better than 80% in all of my spring classes (something I believe I accomplished last semester... but don't hold me to that). Shadowing will be an important part of this year, as well as trying to find possible summer opportunities for research and exposure to more medical fields, so I'll be focusing my attention on making connections and getting experience that way. To say that I want to "find my specialty" may be a little ambitious, but a goal for this year is to narrow it down.
Lifestyle-wise, there are a handful of improvements I want to make. Less coffee, more tea; less beer, more water; less stress, more sleep. I hope to improve my sleeping schedule (sleeping > staying up all night) and try to consume products that will help me be productive and not fall asleep on the couch in the evenings (does that make sense?). I want to make home and personal maintenance a daily occurrence, rather than letter it build up (doing dishes, keeping up my appearance, etc.). I want to be fiscally responsible, saving money for important things and not spending it on lunches and coffee. I plan on making my lunch the night before (and making sure my wife reminds me to do it). I plan on reading and writing more.
I plan on visiting my brother in Singapore.
Hopefully, when I look back on this in a year, there are a lot of check marks. We shall see!
May the new year bring you nothing but great things!