Goal Review: 2012 Recap


It’s hard to imagine that there’s less than a week left in 2012. A year ago, I was a bit hesitant to publicly share my goals. In my opinion, goals are a highly personal matter. Did I want to make myself vulnerable and publicly share? I decided to share because of Brene’s Brown’s Ted Talk on vulnerability. Plus, I wanted to see how important of a role public accountability would play in my efforts to achieve my goals. In retrospect, my goals broke down into two categories: need to happen, and want to happen. Lets see how I did:


Get into graduate school. At the time, this was a need-to-happen goal. I was still in Taiwan and had planned to return to DC in the Fall of 2012 to begin a masters in international relations. I got into both schools I applied to, but got no financial aid from either. After turning down one and deferring the other, I finally decided to let my deferral lapse. I’d love to go back to school, but I was definitely not interested in adding more loans on top of the ones I still have for undergrad. School can wait. Maybe Fall 2014 or 2015?

Get published in an academic journal. This was a want-to-happen goal. After deciding to postpone grad school for another year or two, this goal no longer was something I wanted to achieve.

Pass the TOCFL Master or HSK 5. This was a want-to-happen goal. I had been in Taiwan for a month when I wrote my goals for 2012, and passing a government proficiency test seemed like a great way to demonstrate competency in Mandarin. Even after I decided to end my stay in Taiwan, I was still determined to earn the certificate, if only to justify the months I spent abroad. Despite signing up for the HSK in April and November, I skipped both exams knowing full well that I wasn’t adequately prepared.

Getting a policy- or IR-related job, preferably in DC. At the time, this was a want-to-happen goal. My intention last year was to work full-time while going to grad school part-time. Getting a job, however, became a need-to-happen goal after I decided I’d need to wait another year or two before heading back to school. After a lot of luck and determination, I finally managed to land a position with a fantastic PR firm! It’s not directly related to domestic or foreign policy, but the position enables me to be at least familiar with the policies that impact my team’s clients. I’m okay with this, because the projects I work on are incredibly interesting, I’m learning a lot, and I still see a lot of opportunities for growth and development in the months ahead.


Learn to code. This was a want-to-happen goal. My efforts to code likely warrant its own blog post, but overall I think I accomplished what I had set out to do. I’m aware of structures and objects, and I have a general sense of how things work. I’ve dabbled in HTML, CSS, Javascript and Python. I still haven’t made anything useful for the public – which was my ultimate goal, but I’ve certainly learned a lot about the basics of coding.

Run a half marathon. This was a want-to-happen goal. I really began trying in earnest to accomplish this goal over the summer when I began a training regiment. After two months though, I fell off the wagon. I began training again in October, but again soon stopped running. I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t accomplish this goal, which has been something that I’ve wanted to do for a couple years now.

Blog at least once a week. This was a want-to-happen goal. I didn’t post every week, but I did at least once a month. Good enough for me!

Go to church at least once a month. This was a want-to-happen goal. I also stuck to this goal!

Overall, I’m glad that I shared my goals this past year, if only for my own personal benefit. After twelve months, I can honestly say that public accountability had only a marginal impact on getting me to accomplish my need-to-happen goals, but were instrumental in at least getting me started on my want-to-happen goals. Documenting this journey has been a great experience, and I’m glad to have shared it with you all. I’ll be sharing my goals for the coming year soon, so stay tuned!