My goals for 2018 – blog, exercise and mental health

Last time I wrote about my most important goal for 2018 – writing. In this post I share a few other goals I have with regard to this blog, running and mental health.


I’ve been blogging once a week for over a year, and I definitely want to continue this in 2018. I do have to admit it’s tough to do something every week. This year I would like to schedule more posts in advance, batching the writing, scheduling and other tasks on the blog.

But next to writing which is a process goal, I also would like to have a performance goal of some kind. Number of readers, number of comments… you get the point! Next to just “showing up” every week, I think this would motivate me to write better, and follow through with sharing my posts. For example, I am somehow scared to share posts on Facebook, even though the posts are public and I know they will be read by people who know me in real life. If I want more readers, this is something I’ll have to address.

After a discussion on the Academic Blogging group, I thought I would try AdSense income as a performance goal – hence the (hopefully not too annoying) ads you see on this page. The income is correlated to the number of readers, but with a “real life gamification” factor. So far I have earned a “grand total” of EUR 3. You could say it’s not worth it, but to me it’s an interesting metric to keep track of.

It would be great if I would get to EUR 25 or so, past the break-even point of the direct costs of this website. I feel a bit guilty about this, because I can afford it and, from what I hear on Twitter, I’m in a better financial position than many academics in a similar career stage. But at the same time I feel I shouldn’t apologize for what I find interesting to do – and spend a lot of time on.



Last year I went from a cautious “just go running, anything counts” goal, to running two 10K races in reasonable time for somebody with my history of starting running and giving up again. Next year I will go for running 5-10K every week, and running 10K in under an hour. I don’t really want to run longer distances, but motivated by @Felienne I will also do the 15K Bruggenloop in December.

Maybe more importantly, I became more comfortable with talking about exercise. Similar to being scared of sharing posts on Facebook or wanting to have extra income from my blog, I have been somehow scared to share any goals related to fitness. If the topic comes up, I feel either embarrassed by my laziness (because the other person exercises every day), or embarrassed by my “first world problem” (because the other person is not able to exercise for whatever reason). I think we can agree that this is stupid and nobody should apologize for trying to be healthier.


Mental health

To continue on a similar theme, I would like to feel less anxious about a lot of things. Part of this is that I just need to do less things, so I should say no more often.

Another part is that I should get my brain to stay focused on one thing at a time, and not to overthink everything so much. Reading books, the Headspace app and journaling are helping with this, but there are definitely more things I could do, such as using my phone less and only checking email at fixed times of the day.

At this point these are more resolutions than goals. But I do see how most things can be turned into goals – maybe something to explore in another post?



As I was writing, I realized there was a pattern in seemingly unrelated things like blogging and running. In her post about 2018, @DoctorPMS talked about having a theme for the year, and I kind of liked that idea, but couldn’t find a word. But now I think I’m on to something…

My theme would be “less“.

Less projects and distractions, less apologizing for what I want, less fear and trying to make everyone else (except myself) happy. To make space for more writing, blogging and being healthy.

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