2015 goals

Posted on 26.01.2015


I know I’m a little late in writing this, but I’ve been thinking about my goals and wanted to flesh them out before posting them all. I’m pretty sure I bombed most of my 2014 goals (although I DID read more books than I did in 2013) because of how much was going on and the sheer amount of time I spent at work.

This year, I’m mostly settled into my mostly furnished house, and am able to calm down a bit, even though work is still difficult (more on that in the goals listing) and I have to renew my visa AGAIN in January 2016, so I’m still going to have to walk the line this year in order to get sponsored again next year.

I’m pretty sure most of these goals are totally achievable and I can easily make it through all of them. I’ve come a long way since ‘trying new things for 30 days’, and now I know what I’m capable of, and what I just won’t do.

So here they are. Plans for 2015, listed in order of importance (to me):

took this photo BEFORE finding out I made a mistake in my spelling of Omamori...

took this photo BEFORE finding out I made a mistake in my spelling of Omamori…

I’ve been trying since we moved to Japan to learn Japanese, but traditional routes don’t/won’t work for me. I don’t have time to go to the free lessons offered in my area (I’m working when they are given). I refuse to pay for lessons unless the teaching style suits me (so far, none have matched very well). It’s hard to be diligent with a daily routine, as my routine at work sometimes varies.

This year, I’m trying something I’ve been suggesting to my students for years: I got a notebook. I’ve sectioned mine off so that each spread has a different kana or kanji character on it, and on these pages, I’ll write the words that begin with the one featured on the page. This will help me build my vocabulary, and I think it’ll help me to form sentences once I get grammar down. It will also force me to get used to writing and seeing the kana, so I’ll be forcing myself to learn to read in the process.


As a tie-on to the above-mentioned, the goal is to be able to read all of the Sailor Moon mangas I’ve bought (I promised Mark I wouldn’t buy any more until I read the ones I have, so I need to get on this YESTERDAY if I want to collect the new ones before they’re discontinued. First editions!!), and also to be able to use all of my home appliances (heaters, rice cooker, fans) without help or a search on google for appliance kanji. Because that’s all kanji.


We’re going to be spending a LOT on our trip to Australia, I want to pay off all of the credit cards, and there appear to be TWO trips to visit parents coming up this year. Although we generally save a lot and don’t spend on much, I’m a little guilty of spending too much at the convenience store next to my office, because I sometimes get lazy and don’t bother to prepare a lunch to bring with me. I have over 1,000 points on my Lawson card, and I had to spend much more than that to get them.

So my goal will focus on NOT spending so much at the convenience store or on eating out in general: I’ve put myself on a budget of Y2000 per week, which I can’t go over. So far, this one is going well.

On top of this, I want to make sure to cook smarter at home. We have a lot of food at the house that I’m NOT cooking, and I want to be able to use all of that, rather than just buying more. So I want to buy ingredients and use them all up, and I want to bring lunches (and snacks, which cost less at the grocery store than they do at 7-11 or Lawson) to work. It won’t save a HUGE amount, but it’s the one financial area I could be doing better in. So I want to do that.


Of course. Last year I read 39, so this year I want to do at least 40. That’s less than one each week. I have the audible account loaded up and we have a lot of hard copies in the house that I haven’t read yet. My plan is to go through the audible ones, get back onto Shakespeare (Richard III is next) with the kindle (those bitches are free in the kindle store), and read everything on the shelves. Ok. Can do.

Since we’ll be driving around Australia for 3 weeks in March, I’m planning to bring at least 3 books for the trip!


I gave myself a pass last year since I was recovering from REALLY BAD at the end of 2013. I’m now mostly back to normal and need to make use of my spare time, or rearrange it, to incorporate fitness back into my life. I have no idea WHY I lost so much weight at the end of 2013, so I’ll blame it on the MS, but I doubt it’ll stay off, since it never seems to. I want to get back to running as regularly as possible, get back to yoga in the mornings, and get back to Budo on AT LEAST Monday nights. That Nidan test isn’t going to pass itself.


This is a 3-part goal, as these things are all related. Last year, we made the plan to work our asses off in order to try to hit the ground running and get our lives on track. We’ve both done really well and work enough hours to save money (or ‘pay off debt’, you can’t technically do both at the same time), but now we have to get back to enjoying our lives a bit more. We’ve gotten into a schedule that we like and agree that we NEED 2 days off from work to fully recharge.

With this in mind, I want to try to make the most of my off time, and not waste it all ‘doing shit’. This means I’m planning my work wardrobe mostly a week in advance, getting things ready the night before and THEN getting into bed, and planning my lunch for the following day in the evening when I get home. It makes my mornings faster so I can relax, and not feel so stressed. Even when I get home late, I’m normally pretty awake, thanks to all of the walking between trains, home and office that has to be done. So I should utilise that awake time, rather than forcing myself out of bed earlier in the mornings to be stressed.


In the last year or so, I really feel like I’ve let my artistic side go. This wasn’t because I wasn’t feeling it or not in the mood, it was due in part to a lack of inspiration (I really grew to hate Wuerzburg in the end) and then the constant stress when we were looking for jobs, moving, trying to work enough, etc. I just pushed art aside to deal with life, and I feel like I can finally get back to that now. I feel like I need to get my ‘eye’ back, as I seem to have lost it even during my vacations. I plan to bring a sketchbook with me on vacation in March, but also plan to buy the supplies I need to do more drawing at home.

I miss photography. I miss seeing the beauty in things. I know it’s still there, I’m just not paying attention. I need to get back to paying attention.


I’m not going to lie: my company has beaten the literal shit out of me. Mark says that if it had happened to him, he may have already quit and we’d be screwed. Thankfully, it happened to me. All it means is that I understand how my company views its workers, and I’m not too concerned about my ratings from students, since they’ll rate me how they want regardless of how great of an ESL teacher I am.

I’m really afraid that I’ll lose my job. I’m really afraid of meeting new students, who are the most likely to give a bad review. I’m afraid to touch my face or shift my weight in my seat during a lesson. My manager has told me that I have nothing to worry about, but I really can’t feel comfortable about it when my contract gets renewed, and I get reviewed, every 6 months.

This job is here, I have it now, and I’m making good money at the moment. However, I’m making it a top priority to find out about my other options this year, and to start doing more freelance work with different companies, which pays WAY better.

In the meantime, I don’t want to be a bitter bitch at work. I like most of my coworkers and want to get to  know them better, and I’m going to try to be ok with my current situation, since even being the best teacher won’t keep away negative reviews in the land of impeccable customer service and astronomical expectations.

I think, too, that getting back to art and finding beauty in the mundane might help with this, which is why THIS very important goal is listed at the bottom. I need to see better to feel better.


These are the 2015 goals. I hope to achieve everything on the list this year. We shall see.