I love list-making and goal-setting, and so it follows that I regularly evaluate my goals to see if I have achieved or am on the way to achieving them. Just before the beginning of the second half every year, I give in to introspection, reflect upon the past months and ask myself how well I have done. So, off we go with this year's resolutions
Health and Diet
- Complete ban on caffeine and fizzy drinks (failing miserably on this count, really need to re-tighten my belt)
- Minimise junk food consumption (doing ok)
- Increase intake of water, fruit and vegetables. Practise quasi-vegetarianism (spot on)
- Increase fitness, heart-rate and muscle tone (doing great)
- Get rid of acne (failing miserably, thanks to all the sugary drinks)
- Walk 2x15mins a day (going above and beyond, I regularly do 1-1.5hrs/day)
- Stay in touch; contact at least 4 friends abroad, each week (doing ok)
- Spend more time making and developing Brussels friendships (doing great, thanks to church, internations, Hanna, Temi, Tolu, lovely work colleagues etc.)
- Learn German, I hope to have achieved a level C1 at least by December 2015
- Use time wisely and improve punctuality (could be better, but I'm doing ok)
- Read more books by Nigerian/African authors (failing, but this is because of the complete ban on English/French language books)
- Go dancing, to the opera/cinema, sightseeing etc. Be cheesy, have fun! (not a lot of "high culture" opportunities at the mo, but between travelling, getting visitors and hanging out with Hanna, I'd say I'm doing just fine)
- Be aggressive with my student loan, pay back at least 6000€ (on track, thank God even though some months are harder than others! I think I might even end up paying slightly more than the amount I initially decided)
While looking at the list this morning, I realised that with a few minor adjustments, I could make even more progress in the 3 most important areas of finances, German and my health.
Since the beginning of the year, I have given myself a monthly budget and kept a strict record of all my expenditure. This helped me see that a lot of my money actually goes on junk food and unnecessary purchases of clothing items. I mean I have so many things that I wear rarely, or have never even worn in my wardrobe, yet I continue to add to the pile! I also have a stash of toiletries that I either bought on sale myself or was given by the MIL, J from ibibiogirl or other friends, however instead of using them, I continue to spend money on new ones. As someone who has a pseudo-nomadic lifestyle, it is even more important that I have as few things as possible, because moving as you can imagine is a pain otherwise. Another way of improving both my finances and my health would be cutting out the junk food which has slowly made its way back into my diet. My face tells the story of the countless grams of sugar my body has ingested recently, and my purse certainly agrees with it. Being radical and completely eliminating junk would mean killing one bird with two stones. So the conclusion here is that I will from July to December 2015, not be spending any of my own money on either clothes (except possibly for one swimsuit) or junk food/drinks (going to restaurants with friends/family is acceptable).
As for German, I realise that I have reached a plateau again with my learning and have become very lazy. In fact, I can feel myself slowly losing the little I know, and I am worried that if I don't do something soon, I will end up with the same situation as I have with my Italian. In order to avoid that, I have decided to register for the TestDaF (an official German exam) in September. The exam tests from the intermediate level and there are only three levels (B2.1, B2.2, C1.1), with German universities systematically accepting the B2.2 and C1.1 for studying. Now even though I don't think I'll be studying at a German university any time soon, I'd like to reach at least the second level of the test, because who knows what the future holds? The exam is quite expensive at 175€, so as a bona fide cheapskate, I'm hoping wagering money on it will motivate me to work hard on my German and I have re-enlisted the help of T, Hanna and the MIL for this seemingly mammoth task.
So those are the major goals for the next half of the year, see you in December for the next review. Have a lovely week everyone!