Beginning the new year and reflecting on the old one

The following set of questions come from David Allen, developer of the Getting Things Done system of organization. I’ve been thinking of making resolutions and to do so well, it seems prudent to start with a reflection of what I’ve already done.

Completing and remembering 2009

  • What was your biggest triumph in 2009? Dealing with my diagnosis of epilepsy, the disfiguring scar of my latest seizure and still managing to successfully defend my prospectus and apply for jobs.
  • What was the smartest decision you made in 2009? Choosing to rise above the pain of a failed relationship and not allowing it to ruin my work.
  • What one word best sums up and describes your 2009 experience? Difficult.
  • What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2009? The importance of family and maintaining friendships in spite of how busy you get.
  • What was the most loving service you performed in 2009? Providing support to a friend even though I disagreed with her decisions.
  • What is your biggest piece of unfinished business in 2009? My dissertation
  • What are you most happy about completing in 2009? My prospectus
  • Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2009? My dissertation director, my mother, and my best friend.
  • What was the biggest risk you took in 2009? Taking the time to rest this summer rather than working obsessively.
  • What was the biggest surprise in 2009? The end of my romantic relationship
  • What important relationship improved the most in 2009? The relationship with my brother
  • What compliment would you liked to have received in 2009? One that I did receive: [paraphrased] You’ve dealt with so many difficult challenges and yet you keep going on, so I’m proud of you.
  • What compliment would you liked to have given in 2009?  I feel that I gave all of them. I constantly give my family and friends compliments on their skills and talents and express my appreciation. When I consider what I could have said, I’m at a loss. I’ll continue to contemplate it and update it if I can think of anything.
  • What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2009? Move on with my personal life, putting aside the pain of  a failed relationship.

Creating the new year

  • What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2010? Getting a job that I love with people that I get along with in a place that I enjoy living.
  • What advice would you like to give yourself in 2010? Trust that things will work out and do not let stress overwhelm you.
  • What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in 2010? Consider carefully all purchases before making them.
  • What would you be most happy about completing in 2010? My dissertation
  • What major indulgence are you willing to experience in 2010? A trip to Italy
  • What would you most like to change about yourself in 2010? I’d like to improve my organizational skills and stress management.
  • What are you looking forward to learning in 2010? How to teach as a professor, adapting to the shift between graduate student and “professional” academic
  • What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2010? Choosing the next step in my career.
  • What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving in 2010? My methods of organizing, collecting, and saving information in my research
  • What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in 2010? Musical aptitude (if I can find the time)
  • What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2010? Writing. I intend to set aside a special time each day for my academic writing and a separate time (at least a few times a week) for personal writing.
  • Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2010? My mother
  • What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2010? Success!

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