Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Knowledge Goals

While everyone should make yearly knowledge goals, it's particularly imperative for those of us with chronic illnesses that affect our memory and brain function.  Autoimmune problems are notoriously responsible for "brain fog," or the feeling of trying to think through pea soup.  It's awful!  There are times where I'm talking to my husband and can't think of the word I'm trying to say, so I "umm" and "err" for 10 minutes trying to find it.  Eventually, I give up; the story is lost.  These are the smaller, moderately annoying side effects of my disease, but add up a full year of stalls in thought and you start to see why it's so important to flex that brain muscle!

Here's the chart:

While I'm usually pretty satisfied in the knowledge area, I knocked myself down a couple blocks because my health suffered this year.  I've noticed more brain fog issues in the past six months than I have in a while.

There's no direct "knowledge" area on the pentacle chart, though if I had to chose a place to put it, I'd likely go in air.  However, there are certainly a few things I can do to help myself in this area.

Daily Mental Exercises

Typically, I leave this as working with the free version of Lumosity everyday, but doing the same thing doesn't really flex the muscle as much as changing it up.  On top of Lumosity, I could try learning a new word a day, or look for new Android apps that test your brain.  I could try using my left hand instead of my right to draw and write with a few times a week or switch out Lumosity for Sudoku.   There are also some health-conscious things I can do to help, such as drinking more water, getting the appropriate amount of sleep, taking my Omega 3 supplements, drinking green tea or even using brain-boosting seasoning.  I'm going to try all of these to see what helps me the most and what makes me feel more... "clear" during the day.

Read the News

I'm not the best at keeping up with current events, so I'd like to start.  Every day, I want to visit one news-related site to keep up on the latest events.  I chose everything from science, to international news, to local news and more.  Also, as suggested by one of my readers last year, I'll be spending a single morning reading Daily Skimm e-mails.  That should keep me at least knowledgeable enough to hold a short conversation about current events.  And who knows, I might find something that moves me enough to research it further!

Read 12 Books

This has been one of my goals every year since I started The Progressive Planner.  I want to tackle one book a month to keep on top of topics I enjoy and books I know I need to read.  In order to avoid boredom, I sorted books I wanted to read into four categories.  Some of them directly relate to my life, such as books for my job as a caricature artist or books related to my spirituality.  Others are books that I feel I should read to become more well-rounded as a person or books suggested to me to read before I hit 30.  Through dedicated research, I found 28 books I really wanted to read.  From January to July, I'll have to select one of four different books each month.  This way, I can choose something that truly interests me at the time.  After July, I'll be tracking back through my list to see what else I haven't read that I should.  My goal is to read three books from each list by the end of the year.  Here's the official list:

Take a Class Outside your Comfort Zone

It's proven that reaching beyond your personal specialty helps improve your core skills.  So why not test that by forcing myself to take a class outside of my comfort zone every month?  This doesn't have to be something that is purely thinking.  This month, I'll be taking a belly dancing class.  My inner introverted Virgo is dying at the thought of shaking my hips, especially because I kind of dance like Elaine from Seinfeld:

Or maybe like I'm at a 90's prom:

So obviously belly dancing will push me far out of my comfort zone.  Either I'll pick up a new skill or enjoy being goofy and lose some weight! Either way, I'm in.

I'm also taking Zumba, which is another dancing/exercise class.  That runs all the way until May.  Once it starts feeling like I know what I'm doing there, I want to reach out to our local school district's Community Education courses, local craft stores, community colleges or other places and see what else I can find.  Because schedules haven't been produced yet, it's hard to plan this up front.  As long as I'm enrolled in one class where I don't feel 100% comfortable, I'll count this goal as complete for the month!

Tracking Knowledge Goals

In order to keep track of my goals, I will be posting up a list of them with some details about my progress and percentages of where I'm at from time to time.  Every month, I'll look at my progress for that month.  On the side column of my blog, I'll be keeping a yearly track of them.  The percentages will be based on the concise plan I develop at the beginning of the month to complete the goal.  Here is the template for my knowledge goals!

Knowledge Goals - 0% Complete for the month.
(Pictures and some notes on this month's progress)

Daily mental exercises. – 0% complete
Visit news sites. – 0% complete.
Read one book. – 0% complete.
Take one class. – 0% complete.

Coming up:
2015 Relationship Goals

To my audience:
What are your knowledge goals for 2015?

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