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New Year is one of my favorite days of the year. It might be helpful to start with admitting that I’m a very hopeful person. I’m quite optimistic, although I also consider myself a realist. I believe of a bright future and happy days ahead of me, if I will them to, and with the right mindset. And I think New Year brings us that. It gives us hope, and a whole fresh start of a year. It’s a day when people become optimists even for just a while.

I stopped making resolutions, I think, back in 2010. At the start of that year, I’ve made a list of resolutions and promises I set to keep and make a habit, but it was fruitless, and made me believe on the jinx of New Year’s resolutions.

So now I make yearly goals instead. Measurable, attainable and time-bound goals I challenge myself with.

Here’s a list of the things I want to accomplish for the year, for a Big High Ten 2013.

10. Pass 2 actuarial exams. 

I work as an actuarial analyst in the insurance industry. My work has the privilege (and sometimes burden Hehe) of taking exams every season. Passing actuarial exams speeds up career growth, with better chances of promotion and gives a corresponding salary increase depending on exam difficulty. Too good eh?

But actually passing them isn’t at all butter. In my experience, I should study for 4 months minimum for an exam, sacrificing almost all galas. I even gave up a Cebu-Bohol trip last year for this.

This year, I’m hoping to pass 2 exams, without being too nerdy and a hermit. I think this is pretty doable if I manage my time wisely. I already did a study schedule for the next months for my exam in May, and I had actually started on a few chapters.

9. Attend a creative writing seminar.

Math found me first, as it is my first love. But writing is something I always go back to. It is the one thing I would always love to do. This year, I’d like to improve my writing by actually investing on it. That is, attend a creative writing seminar. May it be a week, a couple of days or even just an afternoon, I want to take that first step in enhancing my writing skills.

8. Blog at least 50 posts.

A forever personal worry is that ‘I don’t write as much as I want to’. May it be blogging or just plainly writing scribbles. Thinking about it now, it’s pretty attainable; I already ditched my journal this year, so I can write blog posts instead of journal entries. And if I do that weekly, with 52 weeks in a calendar year, I can cross #8 step-by-step.

One thing also, is I would like to write for myself. And not thinking if it’ll get hits, or be read by people, although I must admit it would be fancy if it’ll actually happen.

7. Win a writing contest/competition.

Last year, I won three writing contests. Not that I’m a contest addict (oh wait, I am), but winning something because I wrote well is one of the great joys of 2012. Plus it encourages me to write and practice on my craft more.

6. Learn how to swim.

This is something I should have done last year. I actually have a fear of water, and being in the ocean with no one/nothing to hold to is one of my worst fears. This year, I hope to conquer my ultimate fear and be able to swim. And with a white-water rafting adventure on October, I think I'm forced to do this. Aja!

5. Learn driving.

This one also is something I should have done last year. I’m turning 25 this April, and I hope to enroll in a driving class, or else kulitin si Papa na turuan ako ulit! I’m planning to apply for a student’s driver’s license at the first quarter. Aja aja!

4. Develop a new hobby (cooking!).

Jey and I are craving for a new hobby, and not just spend weekends alternating watching movies and eating out. Soooo, as one of our “couple” goals for the year, we WILL learn how to cook. Special mentions are adobo, pesto and cream dory. Yumyum!

3. Investment portfolio goal = minimum of 60% profit.

Last April, I took my first step to financial freedom: equities investment. It had been eight months of discovering and learning stocks trading by experience and so far I have a good at-least-10% return. 

This year, I hope to make more sound investment decisions by frequenting stock forums and reading more about it. Hopefully, I could attain my 60% profit by end of the year. (60% more from the actual money I invested.) Plus, elections are coming so I’m a little optimistic.

2. Read 12 novels. 

I love reading books. It’s just that they take a lot of time amidst all my other priorities. This year, I hope to read one novel every month, or 12 novels. I figured I could do it on the evenings half-hour before I go to sleep, or when I need some escape (and not that Temple Run game

To be honest, 12 books is not so much of a challenge for me. Last year, I targeted 20 but only finished 18, but I think it's a pretty good sum. I would like to limit my love for books to just 12 novels because I want to be picky and only read what would actually interest me. And of course, I have a lot of things to do this year what with this loooong list. 

For January, I’ve already read 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. And I’m eyeing Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler on Feb.

1. And finally, like a prized trophy, three awesome trips!

With cherries on top. 

It started in 2011 with Sagada, Boracay and Caramoan. And continued in 2012 with Pulag Benguet, Pico de Loro and Puerto Princesa.

And I'm not planning to break that 3-year streak of three awesome trips in the near future. Hence, for 2013, I've got HK-Macau in March, CDO in October, and somewhere else. Haha I know there'll be one more but it isn't planned yet.


And so those are my goals for 2013. I will blog when I cross out one, so I can actually monitor my progress. All I know is whether all these goals are fulfilled or not by the next New Year, I'm sure I'm in for a big adventure.