Groundhog Day Resolutions 2017

Just like that, I blew right past Feb 2nd. Schoolwork and life balance got messy last week, and I got caught up in writing papers and reading for class and practicing for choir and planning my research and…

Well, better late than never, I suppose. This is my third year, and if this resolution system has taught me anything it’s that I can be flexible about post dates to prioritize my health and wellbeing. So, without further ado, the goals:

  1. Practice self-care and express self-compassion: always a priority, and too easy to neglect; maybe some day I won’t need to include it in my resolutions, but for this year, it stays. Activities associated with this are reading and writing poetry, building a meditation practice, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, and cooking meals ahead to heat-and-eat when I’m busy or low energy. I’ve been using the Pacifica app and the Calm app for the last 3 weeks, and will be trying to keep up with that—so far, they’ve helped me reframe frustrations at home, give my body space for rest during the day, and get to sleep at night.
  2. Ask for support and use my resources: I tend to get wrapped up in my head and anxious about asking for help when I need it. I also struggle to remember that there are resources available to make things manageable for me, both accommodations I am entitled to through the Disability Resource Center on campus, and as a student of the university. This will be especially vital this year, because I am taking 15 credits this term, 17 next term, and then completing original history research and submitting an article for publication in a peer-reviewed journal—lots of knowledge and new experiences coming my way! Things to focus on in this area include asking my faculty mentor for assistance and feedback, emailing professors and teaching fellows with my questions, utilizing faculty office hours, keep in contact with previous professors for research and grad school app support, and study and connect with other students in McNair and my classes.
  3. Build discipline and be creatively strategic: I experience a lot of resistance in completing my work, often starting with perfectionism, stalling from overwhelm, stressing myself into a corner, and then powering through to finish my work at the last second, sleep-deprived and panicky. This is not a healthy, happy, or effective system. I need to find ways to start early, sustain effort, squish my perfectionist urge, and produce work on time. I need to think creatively about problems when they first come up, and not give in to procrastination. Focus areas here are things like creating reward systems, finding or making accountability structures, setting reminders, breaking big things up into small doable chunks, tracking and managing sources/data, and streamlining workflows for timely completion. Lots of weird process stuff that will (hopefully) help prepare me for grad school and the life of an academic researcher.

So, those are my 2017 Resolutions! With luck (and discipline) this year looks to be an amazing and expansive one for me, and I hope these resolutions help me make the most of every opportunity. By the last review of the year, I will be done with my undergrad, have at least one published research article, and will be sending applications into grad schools across (and maybe beyond!) the US.

Some possible tools to help me stay on top of these goals: the 100 Days of Productivity challenge, the Unstuck app (which I still don’t use enough), Zotero, Trello, Evernote, Scrivener, GRE Prep, Dave Seah’s amazing productivity tools, Structured Procrastination, and the studyblr community on Tumblr.

Resolution Review posts should go up on 3 March, 4 April, 5 May, 6 June, 7 July, 8 August, 9 September, 10 October, 11 November, and 12 December, and will show up under the GHDR 2017 tag. If you want to see those as they come out, just click the button under Follow Blog via Email to subscribe!

 

Over to you: what are your resolutions for the year? Do any of mine speak to you? If you don’t formally set resolutions, what are you hoping to achieve this year?

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Pre-Planning GHDR 2017—Reflecting on My Resolutions-To-Be

Happy Sunday, everyone. January’s almost over, and that means it’s resolution time! Well, almost: for the 3rd year in a row, I’ll be using Groundhog Day Resolutions to keep myself focused and accountable to my priorities and goals. (You can see all my past Groundhog Day Resolutions posts here.)

For those who don’t know about it, Groundhog Day Resolutions (GHDR) are a system created by Dave Seah to track work done and insights realized in a few focus areas over the course of a year. It’s a great system that helps my ADHD brain a lot, and serves as a good record of effort and discovery. The basics of GHDR are to set 3 focus areas, define them, think about the kind of work that is measurable proof of effort in each area, track tasks done, write reflections and insights, and blog a review each month. Goals are set on Groundhog Day, the 2nd of February, and then a GHDR Review post goes up (ideally) on the 3rd of March, the 4th of April, the 5th of May, and so on, with the last post going out on 12 December.

This means that, in less than a week, I’ll be setting 3 big areas of focus in my life, thinking of actionable items and desired outcomes for each, and posting about it here on the blog. I’ve been percolating a few ideas for focus areas since late December, and now I have to narrow it down to 3. Here’s what I have so far:

  • self-care & self-compassion: this has been on the list the last two years, and will almost definitely stay on this year
  • possible self-care subgoals: build a meditation practice, build healthy habits, read more for fun
  • learning new things: another goal from last year, but it ended up not quite suiting my needs or fulfilling the vision I had for it; if it stays on, it will definitely be overhauled
  • building discipline, aka finish what I start: big things happening in my life this year, starting with McNair and ending  with grad school applications next winter, so this will be an important component of my life this year… but should it be a GHDR? more thought needed
  • ask for help/utilize the resources I have: I have wonderful supportive community and lots of folks willing to help when I need it or who have ideas and resources they could share when I’m stuck, but I’m bad at asking for help when I need it
  • sharing my journey: I’ve been playing with the idea of creating a category here on the site titled ADHD2PhD to collect resources, share my thoughts and process, and create some community around grad school for folks with ADHD; I plan to blog about it a lot this year, and this seemed like a fun little idea
  • creating sustainable communities/creative community building: I’ve been getting more and more reclusive over the last two years, and I have so much on my plate that this won’t likely change much, so I need to think about how to keep in touch with folks, how to support and be supported by community, and how to fit my life into the larger picture; the US is a bit of a mess right now, and that will impact my life and my loved ones, for example, so I need to be ready for that
  • seek collaborations: some of the work I do is all me, but I do love sharing work and collaborating on projects, and I would love to do some small, fun things with other folks this year to decompress

Some of these are a little redundant, and none of them are in their final form yet, obviously, but thinking about it is helping me clarify what I want out of my life and how I want to feel. By this Thursday I will narrow the list and write my first GHDR post of the 2017 cycle. I love the first and last posts of each cycle: the February post is shiny and new, with all the excitement and vision I have for the year, while the December post helps me stop and take stock of all the amazing things I accomplished and the things I learned about myself and the world around me.

But the stuff in between is vitally important, as well. It feels authentic to me, to share my process here; not just the highs, but the lows as well. My moments of failure and struggle are as important a part of who I am as my moments of triumph and strength. By checking in with my resolutions every month, I can recalibrate, figure out what needs to change, and let go of what can’t be carried forward. I can challenge myself and my community to grow. It’s an important time for reflection in my life, and I value it for that. It keeps me real.

I’ve been thinking about what I want my blog to be and do this year. I want to add more posts regularly, and build more community here, to make the blog less about just me and more about other folks. I want to include some guest blog posts, some more resources, and get others involved here. At the same time, GHDR posts are important for me, so they’ll remain an important part of this blog. The rest depends on time and energy—I’m excited to see what this year becomes.

See you Thursday!

 

How about you: do you have a process to keep track of progress and hold yourself accountable to your goals for the year? What works for you?

Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: December Check-In & Year-End Review

Here ends my second year of Groundhog Day Resolutions. I feel like I’ve learned so much and done so much this year! In 3 days, I’ll be hopping on a plane to return to the US, and I’ll admit that I’m nowhere near ready. I wish so much I could stay here in Ghana. At the same time, I am very ready to finish my last three terms as a PSU undergrad, and graduate.

Three terms, what? Yep, I’m doing summer, too, because of some really amazing, brilliant news: I was chosen for the 2016 cohort of the McNair Scholars Program! Over the next two terms, I’ll learn skills and make connections that will help me get into a good graduate program and succeed in whatever program I go to. Over summer, I’ll complete a research project and write a journal article to submit for publication. I’m so relieved I got in, and so excited to start!

Getting into the McNair program makes going back a little less scary, and I’m looking forward to seeing and hugging so many people that I’ve missed the last few months. I also look forward to a more varied diet (lots of gluten here, not a lot of gluten-free), though I will miss fresh mango and pineapple.

I didn’t get to travel after my exams, because I couldn’t get the funds together. I also missed my last payment for my payment plan, and now have a registration hold and $100 late fee. If you can help me cover this last $341 of my tuition and fees, and pay for food and toiletries here and during my travels, please donate on Crowdrise.

The review is below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: November Check-In

Just one month left here in Ghana. I’ve been trying to take it easy, especially since next week is the last week of classes, and then I have revision week and final exams. I have reading to go through, and prep for a last minute exam in one of my classes — the professor was gone and then things were pushed back, and so on, so we’re taking the 2nd midterm during our last class, and then we have a final in that class on the Sunday of revision week. It seems silly to me, but what can you do?

There’s been a bit of a stir here, since my last post: there was a big fight in my dorm after a white student used a racial slur against a Black student and spat on another Black student. It was all international students, and we ended up having a big forum with the International Programs office to talk about the incident and what would happen next. It was pretty stressful for a while, but life has mostly moved on. Now, however, a lot of folks are feeling very upset and lost after the US election results. (I wrote a piece on Medium about my own feelings towards the election, which you can read here.) There’s a lot of disappointment and frustration, and some fear. The US still impacts so much of our lives here, and soon we’ll be headed back. Honestly, I have pretty mixed feelings about it. (More on that here.) I wish I could stay longer.

Since my exams are all frontloaded, I’m planning to spend the last two weeks I’m here travelling, funds allowing. I’d like to visit Kumasi, Mole, and the Volta Region, and I’m not sure how realistic that is, but I’m going to try to do at least one. If you can help me cover the last $341 of my tuition and fees, pay for food and toiletries, and support me in visiting other parts of Ghana before I have to leave, please donate on Crowdrise. I’ve received so much support, and I’m so grateful for everyone helping me. This has been an amazing experience — thank you.

Review post, as always, is below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: October Check-In

I can hardly believe the term is half over! Midterms this week and next, and a bit of melancholy about the time slipping away. Also struggling with motivation, and remembering why I don’t take many 300 level courses nowadays. It may seem contradictory, but the less challenging a course is the less motivation I can muster to study for it. I’m trying to make it easier to study, but I have trouble focusing in my room, and it’s hard to find a secure, comfortable spot to study: the chairs are really hard to sit in for long, and I can’t get up and go to the bathroom, etc., and leave my stuff out unless I’m studying in my room. This is an issue I’ve struggled with for a long time, though, and probably will keep struggling with for years to come. That’s life. I planned a couple pretty successful study groups with folks for the midterm I had this morning, and I think they really helped me and the other students out, so yay for that!

I’m feeling some anxiety about the university charges. The deadline to opt out of insurance for the term was Sunday, but it wouldn’t let me, and I’m thinking it’s because I’m not in the country right now, but it still makes me nervous about them charging me $900 I can’t afford right now. Additionally, my student account reflects that I paid my installment when it was due on Thursday, but it hasn’t come out of my bank account yet, and I hate when they do that. I get paranoid something else I forgot about will go through and then it will bounce or overdraw me and then the school will freak out. Poverty is basically the worst, and so stressful. On that note: I’m still raising funds (you can donate on Crowdrise) to cover the gap between my financial aid and my program costs (including food, toiletries, and $1,023 in tuition and fees). Please give and share, if you can.

The university here is very different than I’m used to. I’m struggling a bit to adjust, honestly, but there’s good and bad in it. Dance class is my favorite, and I really like my Twi instructor and my history professors, but some of my classes are causing a lot of difficulties for me. More on that in the review post, below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: September Check-In

Several days late, but only because the internet in the student housing I’m staying at completely stopped working last week. I bit the bullet and bought a personal wifi router, which includes free Facebook and Youtube until mid-October, and free internet between midnight and 5am, for about $30 USD.

I’m still raising funds (you can donate on Crowdrise or Patreon), to cover the gap between my financial aid and my program costs (including food, toiletries, and $1,023 in tuition and fees). I would much appreciate your support.

I’ve gotten a flurry of acceptances for poetry I’ve written, as a result of submitting a bunch of work in July. I’ve got poems in the latest issues of Words Dance and Wordgathering, and I’ve had a piece accepted for an upcoming anthology by Zoetic Press, and another by Hermeneutic Chaos. So, that’s all felt pretty nice.

I’m pretty well settled in here, and dealing with the ups and downs of life. I’ve also been grappling with my own loner tendencies and my course load. More details are in the review post, which is below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: August Check-In

A day late, but full of good news and excitement! Despite my fears and stress, everything’s falling into place for my trip, and I’m feeling so excited and thankful and blessed. I’m still raising funds (you can support me on Crowdrise or Patreon, if you have cash to spare), but I’m now officially days out. Lovely friends have been housing me and helping me out, and I wouldn’t be 2 days from departure without y’all — thanks so much for all the love and support, really.

This month once again has no tracker photos, because those have basically fallen by the wayside with most of my stuff in storage and living out of backpacks. This month’s review is below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: July Check-In

Still fundraising for my trip (you can support me here), and prepping for that — just about a month left before I go. I am now homeless, staying with friends and living out of a duffel and backpack, which is making everything a bit harder and more complicated. This post is, as usual, late, but on purpose this time, because I wanted to finish up some work before I posted. (More on that below!)

I’ve also been struggling a lot with the recent highly publicized shootings of unarmed/unresisting Black people. I am well aware these happen all the time — US police are on pace to kill one unarmed Black person a day in 2016 — but if I let myself marinate in Black death all the time, I wouldn’t be able to function. Sad to say, but wilfully ignoring the violence is better for my health on the average day. I set aside time to do what work I can in the struggle for justice, including on the Fists Up OR/WA Facebook page, and try not to feel too guilty the rest of the time.

No GHDR Tracker Photos this time — moving has done a number on me and my organization. Should be back next month, though. Review below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: June Check-In

Better late than never, eh? I have been so busy and stressed that this is the first time I’ve really had time and energy to work on this post. It was meant to go up on the 6th, of course, but that was finals week, and I had to crank out three papers, give a presentation in Spanish, and take a final exam — everything else was put on the backburner. Since then I’ve been frantically trying to get things together for my trip to Ghana. There’s so much for this trip I didn’t even think about. I’m giving myself serious adulting points for all of this — it’s a lot of work! Below are May’s points, and the Review post is below the cut.

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: May Check-In

I’ve been very frazzled this past month: there has been a lot of violence and unsafety in my community, which has gotten to the point that my doctor and I are talking about me going on anxiety meds. I’m having trouble getting restful sleep, which impacts my concentration, anxiety, chemical sensitivity, and pain levels. I’m tired all the time, and I’ve been really scattered and clumsy. For example, I managed to drop and break my phone rushing to catch the bus to school on Monday of this week, and that really feels like it encapsulates so much of my experiences this past month.

I can live without a phone, but I use it to track and manage my health, so I’d prefer not to, if possible. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to get it fixed right now, but it’s been shedding glass shards in my purse and cutting up my palms, so leaving it broken isn’t going to work out. I’m trying to do some creative thinking about how to solve that problem.

I’m still using the GHDR Tracker form, and it’s really helping to motivate me. Dave made some updates to the Tracker form; I used the new version for two weeks, but found that the reduced number of bubbles irked me (I missed out on some points because I maxed out levels a few times) and that I really relied on the central task list to help me stay focused, so I switched back to the previous version. Below are April’s points, and the Review post is below the cut.

2016-04-04 01.09.02 HDR 2016-04-11 00.23.44 HDR 2016-04-26 14.44.20 HDR 2016-04-26 14.43.58 HDR 2016-05-02 02.46.20 HDR

 

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: April Check-In

Since my last post, a term of school has ended and another has started. I’m mostly recovered from “the Glutening” (which I just realized I never made a post about here, so y’all still probably don’t have any idea what I’m talking about), but I’ve managed to have a bunch of other problems, so my health is definitely still an issue.

I’m still using Dave Seah’s GHDR Tracker Form, and I made a customized points rubric for my own use, which made it a lot easier to determine how much I’m getting done. Previously I was eyeballing the somewhat abstract (for my own purposes) rubric that Dave made and haphazardly assigning points to things, with almost no standardization from day to day. I’m having a slight problem with maxing out some of the points levels some days, so I may have to sit down and think more about it. Anyway, here’s the points for March (I apologize for the wall of text):

2016-03-07 02.25.16 HDR 2016-03-14 00.17.28 HDR 2016-03-21 12.38.52 HDR 2016-03-28 01.05.06 HDR 2016-04-04 01.09.01 HDR

Tracking my effort in this way has revealed some interesting things to me. Mainly, some of the days I feel the worst about my ability to get things done are the days with the highest points. I think this is probably because self care and self love are one of my goal areas, so the days I feel least productive, I am taking care of my body or mental health, but my guilt about taking time off to do so means that physical downtime is often used to do things on my computer that I’ve been putting off, such as respond to emails or make graphics in Photoshop or make lesson plans, and so on.

For example, the week of the 21st, I came down with a sinus infection on Monday (somewhat conveniently, as it was the start of my woefully short spring break), and felt miserable on Tuesday, but also managed to do some graphics work and promotion for the poetry workshops I’m running this month, and finish applications for various components of study abroad; my points for the day came out to 63. The week of the 28th was the first week of classes, and the first week I used my custom rubric (though the sheet still shows the old one). On Wednesday of that week, I found an Islamophobic poster on campus that really rattled me. I pulled it down, and then had a panic attack. Despite knowing I should stay home, I went back to campus in the morning, because I didn’t want to miss Spanish (still my worst class), and proceeded to have possibly the worst panic attack I’ve ever had — I spent two hours squeezed into a corner in the Queer Resource Center’s back office, crying and obsessively watching the office door, until a friend brought me a tranquilizer, and I was able to function more normally; I have 80 points for that Thursday, some of which are for taking care of myself and some of which are for getting other homework done and sending emails and talking to school staff about the poster. I’m not sure exactly what this means about me — and it’s important to note that last week I was unusually productive, because it was the first week of classes, so I had a lot to be doing — but I’m going to keep tracking things and adjust my rubric as needed. If nothing else, tracking what I’m doing has helped me be more compassionate to myself in some ways, which is totally worth it.

 

Anyway, this month’s resolution review is below the cut:

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Groundhog Day 2016 Resolutions: March Check-In

Wow, I almost forgot to post a review for this month! But here it is: my first GHDR review post.

School has been a bit of a challenge, and my health is dodgy — I’m still recovering, clearly, and struggling with the after effects of the Gluten Incident, as I’ve been calling it. (Did I make a post about that here? I’ll do that; some of y’all probably don’t know what I’m even talking about…) My professors have been pretty great about it, but I’ve been feeling exhausted and depressed. Still, I’ve managed to get a lot done, even if I still need to do other things.

I’ve also been using Dave Seah’s GHDR Tracker Form, which has been pretty useful, and has helped me realize I am getting things done, even when I don’t feel like it. Here’s the ones I completed for February:

2016-02-22 17.33.47 HDR 2016-02-29 23.17.01 HDR

(This month’s resolution review below the cut:)

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Groundhog Day Resolutions 2016

For a second year, I’m following Dave Seah and creating Groundhog Day Resolutions. Even though I posted late a lot last year, having the resolutions and the posting schedule as a guide helped me keep my priorities at the top of my mind, and trim away the things that didn’t serve me. (You can see all of 2015’s posts here.)

This year’s looking to be one of growth and exciting opportunities. Also, the terror of being an adult — if all goes according to plan, I’ll be graduating from PSU with my first bachelor’s degree, and I’ll have gone into a not insignificant amount of debt to do it. (Ah, capitalism…) Unless I can get grants and scholarships, grad school will require more loans and possibly also a job, which is scary to consider here in the middle of 17 credits.

I think I tend to forget how much I do, actually — I’ve been stressed out about working, and getting down on myself because I know other students work and go to school full time, so why can’t I? But when I actually think about it, a) I’m disabled, and that impacts how much I can take on, and b) I actually am working and going to school at the same time. Alas, it doesn’t pay much, but I’m taking 17 credits, running my small press, writing essays and articles occasionally, and dedicating several hours each week to Black Lives Matter Portland business. On top of that, I do a lot of emotional labor in terms of community support, and unpaid education around social justice issues and language.

So, here are my resolutions for the year:

  1. Build up my small press: I am moving this up from a subgoal to its own goal this year. I’m going to focus away from writing for publication, and instead work on my press. MGP has been  pushed to the side a bit with my health issues and busy class schedule, but I want to get it on solid ground. Things to work on in this area will include finishing the graphic business plan, finishing the traditional business plan, getting our books into more local shops, launching a campaign to get the books in shops outside the Portland area, intentionally marketing the press, reaching out to find more manuscripts, booking readings for our authors, and publishing 3-5 books over the course of the year.
  2. Consciously love and care for myself: This will probably be on every list forever, because it’s the first thing I tend to let go when I need it most. During times of stress, I will not eat well or often enough, I will skimp on sleep to meet deadlines, and I will sacrifice personal time scheduled self-care to the demands of work or school. However, I recently realized that I’m gluten intolerant, and that plus my allergies and diabetes means I need to be mindful about my food. So things to work on include creating meal plans, making large batches of food to cover multiple meals during the week, finding recipes and snack ideas that I can use to keep fed at school, and so on.
  3. Continue learning and expanding my skill set: If I stay on track, I should be graduating by the end of the year. I need to apply to the study abroad program, apply for study abroad scholarships, meet with an academic advisor, pick a graduate degree program, apply to grad school, finish the four remaining classes for my undergrad degree, and apply to graduate. I also want to keep practicing graphic design, develop my art skills, achieve fluency in Spanish, etc. I’ll try to pick an area of focus each month and update on that.

So, those are my 2016 Resolutions! Possible tools to help me work on this: the 100 Days of Productivity challenge, the Unstuck app (which I have on my iPad and don’t use enough), Dave Seah’s amazing productivity tools, the Pause app, and the studyblr community on Tumblr.

Resolution Review posts should go up on 3 March, 4 April, 5 May, 6 June, 7 July, 8 August, 9 September, 10 October, 11 November, and 12 December, and will show up under the GHDR 2016 tag.

Last year was definitely an improvement over 2014, but I’m excited for what 2016 will bring. I feel more prepared, and I definitely feel like I have more support, so I’ll see how it goes!

Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: December Check-In & Year-In-Review

Wow! Here we are, at year’s end (well, nearly). I think I may try this again next year, because it’s been a good reminder to focus in on fewer things, and to think regularly about how I can work on what I want to get done. I sprung for the 2016 Passion Planner as well, for looking at larger, over-arching goals, on a 1-5 year timeline. Between those two things, I think I can really ramp it up by next summer. I’m feeling hopeful about my future right now. (Touch wood.)

Finals were a hot mess: I stayed up two nights in a row working on my final for Science Fiction and Fantasy Costumes in Film. It was my first time sewing an entire garment from scratch, and I learned a lot and got rather thoroughly frustrated and worked myself into a frenzy, and came out the other end with a decently passable Hogwarts student robe, which I wore to school. I also made a delicious mac and cheese for the potluck and presentations session of my bell hooks class. (No pictures; my mac and cheese doesn’t usually stick around long enough, if I don’t get a shot of it right out of the oven.)

The last 2015 Groundhog Day Resolution Review is below the cut:

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Groundhog Day 2015 Resolutions: November Check-In

This post is so very late! This term has gone so fast, and as we head into finals (one more week) I’m trying not to get too frazzled. Thankfully my classes remain brilliant and engaging, my teachers continue to be a bunch of cool cats, and my study binder is still saving my butt in a pretty big way. (Bless the study binder, and whoever gave me the idea, because this thing is seriously the major reason I’m not failing right now. It’s magical.)

I’m finally moving forward on some things that I’d stalled on, and I’m really excited for everything happening between now and the next review. I can hardly wait to share it all with you!

(This month’s resolution review below the cut:)

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