New Year, New Mike: The wheel of reinvention never stops.

Yes, it is January. And what does that mean? Reflection but of course. My blog is one big ode to my self improvement. Years ago, I had the brilliant idea of using my blog as a way to keep track of my New Year’s resolutions. A look at what I want to be and a way to hold myself accountable. Since then, I’ve been able to look back at years past and see if I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. I’ve had surprising success writing out my resolutions this way and I’m excited to share what I have planned for this year.

What I’ve Learned

Since I’ve started posting my habits on my blog, I’ve kept my goals as continuous goals. It’s not a one and done list! Instead, I modify and adapt. As such, my goals aren’t shear chaos as they were in years past. They are a constant and I’m glad. With each passing year, they become more focused and refined.

I have started using January as a planning month. Instead of running to the gym come January first, I take my time to carefully consider what I want to do. Since I’ve only started doing this quite recently, I have no idea what the end result will be.

Not a French Kisser

One of my goals for last year was to learn French. My German has become much improved since my youth and I found it time for a new language. I have a French friend and one of my dreams is to make my triumphant return to Europe, not as a boy but as a man. So I’ve been practicing French. The great news is that I’ve started. The bad news is I haven’t been practicing as much as I like. So this year, I’m doubling down. Lessons every day, more French shows, and listening to podcasts. As an added goal, I want to do more to measure my success with languages. My reasons, pardon my French, are rather dorky. I am learning Japanese simply for the sake that I’ve played Nintendo games my entire life. French is to impress my friend. And German was so that I wouldn’t starve to death in the airport when I did study abroad.

My goal right now is to learn French, German, Spanish, and Japanese to fluency. Outside of those languages, I may or may not pick up sign language but only time will tell. My Spanish is rusty and needs work. German I can understand but like Spanish my goal is to learn it so I can hold conversation. This is going to be a year of polish and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

Coding

Coding went surprisingly well. My main focus this year is web development. I’ve been lazy the last couple of months but I found coding material that is not only practical but enjoyable. But tough. Very, very tough. If I build a game, great, but web development comes above all else. I’m putting no pressure on myself for this, I am simply treating it as another skill to learn. It could take years or weeks, but my pace is my own.

Piano Man play me a tune

One of my goals has been to hone my musical craft. In my effort to be the smartest man in the room, music is one obstacle I haven’t quite been able to tackle. Motivation is key. So I reviewed instruments and landed on piano. It’s a social instrument and meant to be shared. I can walk into a building and should I find a piano, nine times out of ten I can sit down and play. The other aspect is lessons are easily available. Piano song guides are plastered around the internet and if I want to learn a song, I can. Try doing the same for violin and you’ll find much more of a headache. I still have my Skillshare account, so I’ll be doing lessons over there. It’ll be off and on but I’m hopeful something will stick eventually. The goal is to make it fun and slowly but surely I am getting there.

Cooking

An elusive habit since I’ve moved back home. In college, I learned how to cook. I made many dishes during my studies and found that cooking was not only cost effective but also a tastier option to eating out. So this year, I’d like to ease back into cooking my own meals. The plan currently is to sign up for a New York Times Cooking subscription and to start looking through a cooking blog I only recently found out about, Food52. I am going to slowly integrate cooking as a lifestyle choice rather than simply force myself to cook for the sake of cooking. There is no set plan for my meals but I’m starting the year by simply looking at interesting recipes. Life is a little chaotic right now so I don’t know when I’ll go shopping but I have faith this year I can really get back into making delicious meals.

Big Picture Goal

Individual, SMART goals are great, but they’re not enough to move someone forward. As has become tradition, I’ve been theming my years. A year of Assertive here, a year of New there… These frameworks help set up the plan for the year and help bring together my “Why”.

So this year I want to be my year of Desire. Desire in the sense of asking myself what I want and setting out to get what I want. When I became an Eagle Scout, I picked out a silver coin of one of our laws. In that moment, I picked courteous as I thought it best represented who I was. Always thinking of others, trying to please everyone to the best of my abilities. Later in life I learned that if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. And now I’m ready for the next evolution of that concept; being courteous to myself. So this year is about my goals and getting ahead in life. It’ll be paying off my student loans, helping with as many events as I can and eventually transitioning to project management roles. It’s time I stop sidelining myself and focus on my success, whatever it takes to get there.

Other Goals for the Year

While new skills are a blessing to learn and typically what I choose to focus on, I also want to instill other habits beyond simply building my human capital. For that, I have two goals for 2022. And those two goals are more walks and riding my bike again.

Walking

In Corvallis, I opted to walk every day to class. It gave me time to think and enjoy simply being in the moment. I could walk everywhere and it was great. Now, when I try to walk, I find I have no destination. So I’ve been looking to change that. I’ve recently gotten into Pok√©mon Go this past year and downloaded Pikmin Bloom as a way to encourage walking. Now going out has a destination and I couldn’t be happier. This year, I want to ramp up my walks and make them more rewarding. Between the two apps, I think I’m on the right track.

Biking

I bought an electric bike. Right before the Pandemic… The good news, last year I finally put it together. How many times have I ridden it? Once… I went from biking every day in college to nothing. So this year, we are going to course correct. I want to ride and I’m going to use my brother to help me get back in the habit. He’s started riding a lot this last year and he clearly has found a motivation I am lacking. So the easiest way forward is to join him. Sibling outings until I’m comfortably riding on my own again. I’ve felt rather homebound for the last couple years with my anxiety, so I’m hoping bike rides will help restore some of the freedom I lost. It’ll be nice to bike to work instead of taking the bus and should I need to get somewhere, it’ll hopefully be less of an ordeal than it has been for the last two years.


Happy New Year! That’s it for the article! Overall, I’m hopeful 2022 is going to be a great year. I’ve taken a lot of time for myself during the Pandemic and have come away better for it. Cheers to 2022!

January 2022 Newsletter: The Clock keeps ticking

It’s reflection month! Each year I like to take time to look back at my life and see what I’ve accomplished and how far I have yet to go. There are two times I typically do this: September, my birth month, and January, the start of the year itself. The Pandemic has forced me to reassess a lot of my goals and find what I value.

A Look Back At 2019, 2020, and 2021

2019 was without a question a horrible year for me. My anxiety was at an all time high, I was working a dead end job of two years, and to round it off my father passed away. At 26, my life was unraveling before my eyes and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Come 2020, I was ready for a fresh start.

The months following my fathers death were extremely difficult. A handful of friends knew and that was that. After October, I simply showed up to work and did my job. October 2019 was major life event one. Major life event two was The Pandemic. And I threw my hands up. I said enough and quit my job. Originally the plan was to work until I paid off my student debt and while I can handle a lot of stress, The Pandemic pushed me over the edge. I was put in a no win situation and my only real option was to quit.

2021 was consumed by the job search. For 6 months I strategized and learned the best practices. Three to Five applications a week, weekly meetings with a recruiter, and a completely reworked resume. On top of this, I was posting to LinkedIn every couple of weeks and keeping a strong presence with my network.

October was a tough month where I was studying to be an insurance agent, only to fail the exam. I am now working part-time and have recovered the money I lost during The Pandemic. Life has slowed down to a crawl and slowly but surely I am finding solid ground.

2022

Looking ahead, I have a better grasp on how I want to tackle my challenges head on. I’ve learned that I can persevere no matter the circumstance and my circumstances could be far worse right now. I am better off now than I was 6 months ago and that’s all I can really ask for. My main task for this upcoming year is to pay off my student loans. $14,000 left and frozen till May, I’m feeling I can turn my fortune around. It’ll mean extra hours at work but ultimately I believe it will be worth it in the end. I’m going to double down on coding once more and obtain certificates by completing coursework. In the coming month I’ll go over my goals in more detail but those are the most practical ones.

A Look Ahead for January

As has become somewhat tradition for this blog, I’ll be dedicating a lot of time to reflection. It’ll be an article focused month, most likely in the form of a new years resolution post and a look at the blog itself. The blog has undergone many changes throughout the years, so I always find it nice to take a look back.

This Year

The main goal is to get my fourth ‘Special Series’ month set in stone. I have been flip flopping back and forth this last year between a horror month and a short story month. Outside of that the blog is in a great spot. Mental Health, Poetry, and Sustainability Month have all been wonderful to write. The last aspect of my writing that I want to work on is writing short stories, hence why the fourth series is my most difficult.


That’s it. We are now in 2022. I can hold my head high knowing I persevered and survived. This year will put what I’ve learned to the test and I have to say I’m excited. Cheers to the new year and here’s to hoping prosperity finds you. This year I’m going to be trying polls! My hope is they spark a little more engagement and lead to more discussion in the comments.

December 2021 Newsletter: A crazy couple of months.

So it is now officially November December. A lot has happened since September and I’ve risen from the dead to give an update.

The New

Towards the end of September, I had accepted an offer to become an insurance account manager. Come mid October, the offer slipped from my hands and within a matter of weeks I landed a new job as a Welcome Desk Associate. October was stressful but ended on a high note as I’m now making money and can take a deep breath after what has been pure chaos for a little over a year now.

Horror Month: Oops

I had big plans for October and ultimately, they fell through… Horror Month I still think will be fun but I have begun questioning the limitations of making it a story centric month. I had great ideas for horror themed poetry and articles but was so focused on short stories that I ultimately did nothing. That said, I might repurpose some of the drafts that never saw the light of day for future short stories. Horror month is my most experimental so I honestly don’t know if I want to keep it. All other series from last year were a resounding success (Mental Health, Sustainability, and Poetry) but Horror Month has proven tricky. I’ll be tinkering with the final series category yet again… I’ve done Horror Month for one year so I might try simply making a Short Story Month.

Thanksgiving

It has come and gone. I sang, I ate, and even got my haircut. For the first time in about four years, I was able to spend it with my cousins and relatives. No Black Friday and no Cyber Monday! It was fun, cheery, and motivation to get my life in order.

Upcoming Plans

For this month, this is it. The blog was set up last year to make it easy to post while having a job, so I’m finally putting that theory to the test. Write a book? I now have time. Create a podcast? I can really dive into that. Gain certificate after certificate to build credentials for work? Also very feasible. And of course, blog!

The Winter season (aka now) will be slow filled with poetry and delight; two poems, spread out between the December weeks. Come 2022 I’ll be doing Poetry, Mental Health, and Sustainability Month so that will keep me quite busy as I explore those topics further. I have some great ideas and am looking forward to begin work on each. And the Fourth Series will land one of these days. Short Story Month is sounding much better the more and more I say it.

This Last Year.

Has been a huge success. I am grateful for how much the blog has grown and however crazy my life has gotten, through the ups and downs, my blog has been here. From a blog I never expected anyone to read to now, it’s been a journey I’ve enjoyed. As we get closer to January, I’m glad to keep writing and improve myself in the process. Thanks for reading and stay safe as we usher in a new year!

September 2021 Personal Newsletter: The Twilight of my Twenties

I am back! It honestly felt weird not writing throughout August but the break was nice. In the future, I think I’ll plan for a 3 week vacation and then write something towards the end of August. A month is a very long time.

The Month of October

I’ve been giving this month a lot of thought. And at the moment, I’ve settled on doing an Autumn celebration / horror month. I tried to stay away from horror and simply make it a short story month but that doesn’t really excite me to write. Any other genre would ultimately feel out of place and I just love the fall, so it really can’t be any other way. It’ll most likely be a two part horror short story, spread across multiple weeks. I like the idea of doing that rather than a one off. For the final week, it’ll be Autumn themed and a little bit more on the peaceful side for those who don’t like horror.

Sustainability Month

Was a huge success! For years I have wanted to talk about sustainability. ‘New Horizon’ was my first attempt to tackle the issues we face in a way that was fun and engaging. In other years, I’ve mulled through other sustainability projects that could potentially make their way onto the blog but for one reason or the other didn’t make the cut. This last year the pieces came together and I think the topic is worth a month dedicated to just talking about it. The topics were a lot of fun to write and my hope is to expand upon the foundation for next year.

Housekeeping and other musings

The big one, I’ve changed the name of the ‘Status Update’ to ‘Personal Newsletter’. I thought about just ‘Newsletter’ but then I was like, nah. This may not seem like a big deal but the verbiage lines up better with what is commonly used and the Business Major in me just can’t help myself. The ‘Series and Special Projects’ is more or less complete as far as format goes. As I start to write professionally, I’m starting to showcase more and more of my work, so it’s been helpful when people ask what I write just to send them to one place. And as far as traffic goes on the website, it makes it much easier for everyone to find the projects I put the most work into. Other than that, I’ve made slight updates to the flow of the website such as how many articles you see when you scroll. I opted for four as I typically write two to three articles in a given month, so it allows you to see the previous month as well as the newer content.

Outside of Blogging

Coding! That’s been my main priority other than finding a job. I’ve taken the last couple months to refocus my goals and landed on taking a 10 week website building course. I’ve been learning lots and hope to wrap up the course soon. I was also able to finish the first episode of a podcast and hope to practice writing more podcast scripts this upcoming year to see if it’s something I want to continue. The podcast is top secret for now but we’ll see down the road what happens with it. I still want to publish a book, but that is a very long term goal and I have quite a few things I need to figure out before I even feel comfortable doing so.

This Month

This month will be primarily articles! I’m in the mood to publish some topics that have been on my mind quite recently. The first will be on productivity apps I’ve been using and the other is undecided but I’m thinking an exercise related article might be in order.

Birthday Month

I am turning twenty eight this year! It’s hard to believe that in a couple years, I’ll be thirty. To be honest, I’m not thrilled to be hitting this age milestone but am hopeful good things are in store this year; I could use a break from what has been one of the most chaotic years of my life.


And that’s it for the newsletter! Next month will be all about horror with a sprinkle of seasonal celebration. If you like my content, I do have a Patreon and Ko-fi; the link will be listed below. And as always, thanks for reading!

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