Planning For 2012 (Doing Skepticism Smarter Not Harder – Any Suggestions?)

In short? Ooof. I’m at a loss at what to do for next year.

Apart from hold my copy of the UK Skeptic in a goofy manner, and point at the title of the article I wrote for it and hope that the photo isn’t too blurry.

In case you don’t know, Prof. Richard Wiseman has advice for this time of the year, regarding New Year resolutions:

Psychologist Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire has studied the differences between the winners and losers in the resolution race and found those who fail, are more likely to fall by the wayside within the first week. And his research shows that relying on willpower alone is not enough to see you through. Those that stayed the distance used a series of practical strategies:

  • They broke their goal into a series of steps and rewarded themselves when they achieved each step.
  • They told their friends and family what they were trying to achieve, so they got support and the fear of failure kept them on track.
  • And they regularly reminded themselves about the benefits of achieving their goal.

Oh, and in addition: Women succeeded more when they shared their goals with others in order to gain support and were held accountable.

…my problem is that I’ve kind of done all the big things that I wanted to do already, in 2011.

These included: complete more units for my Grad Dip in Psychology; podcast about science and skepticism and promote as many people as I could with the show (yay Token Skeptic podcast!); write for the CSICOP column and for other publications (see the picture! Another article done for UK Skeptic, waheeee!) and contribute to the JREF Educational Advisory group resources. Then there was the surprise bonus of “Official recognition for my work as an activist (The Secular Student Alliance 2011 Best Individual College Activist Awards)”, which rounded off all the effort put into the Australian 10:23 Campaign beautifully.

Then, to add to that list, I went BACK to teach Philosophy and Ethics to final-year high school students during this year, although it wasn’t planned… and now I have two years of experience of teaching the course, let alone resources. I still want to contribute further resources, of course, but it’ll be great to devote some time to studying Psychology full time again and volunteering at the Science and outreach museum during the week rather than just the weekends or evenings.

Oh – and published a book (Skeptical Blog Anthology) with some truly wonderful people, with another one hot on its heels. And joined this blogging network that not only pays for my writing (which, yes, is a big incentive) but continually challenges and throws every controversial topic you could possibly imagine into the blogosphere with its very existence.

Don’t get me started on conferences and lectures – I’ve presented at QEDCon, did a paper presentation at the annual Philosophy for Children conference, did a handful of panels at Dragon*Con, was a keynote speaker along with Martin Bridgstock at the Skeptics Conference in New Zealand, have done a lecture tour of Melbourne Universities, thanks to the Freethought Student Alliance… and as many meetings and get-togethers for the group of Perth Skeptics that I run and the Perth Atheists as I could possibly fit in while still being able to sleep in on a Sunday morning.

…and I’ve already got a packed-out 2012 (Global Atheist Convention, World Skeptics Convention) for the first half of the year, let alone a brand new job for the holiday season that involves teaching Philosophy to University students (as opposed to high school). That has me more and more excited every time I think of it, which I didn’t think was possible.

Sheesh.

So, now what? There were a few personal goals that I failed to meet (who hasn’t got those?) – but professionally, I don’t think I paused to hit the ground running. I just kind of threw myself in the direction of everything that I wanted to get done and landed with as many things as I could hang onto. Just listing everything here has me wondering if I got any sleep at all for the past 365 days or so – and I need to list these things, otherwise I honestly think that I haven’t done enough and start trying to cram in more things in the last week. Which is just silly.

Oh, did finish all of Portal and Portal II, I should point out. It hasn’t been all work.

I originally planned on doing a new podcast/blog series, but I’m not entirely convinced that what I need to do is add ANOTHER podcast to the growing number on iTunes. It was going to be used as resources for the Philosophy and Ethics high school course, but I can do that without turning it into a firmly scheduled project (especially since the start of the year will already be quite hectic, and I don’t think I’ll do the subject justice).

I should be taking a break now, of course, but I have exactly four episodes of the Token Skeptic podcast to edit and put online – to make the magic number of 100 episodes done by the end of 2011. Just because I set myself that goal, no other reason.

What’s left? What do you suggest? Go wild.

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • Kylie Sturgess

    (By the way, today’s schedule is:

    Play Starcraft II
    Clean the kitchen).

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/ Ophelia Benson

    Clean all the things!

    That’s always on my schedule, and never gets done.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      I hear that Allie Brosh gets a trophy when she cleans all the things, but once it’s done, getting the energy to do it all over again… INTERNET! FOREVER!!

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM.

    Have you ever considered doing the Clipper ‘Round the World sailboat race?

    • Kylie Sturgess

      No – although I like boats, it’s not something that appeals to me. I’ve gone to two different continents (and across the country twice!) already in 2011, and prefer planes when getting there!

  • karlakearney

    Your daily schedule sounds much like mine, although I substitute watching Netflix for the games:)

    • Kylie Sturgess

      We don’t have Netflix in this country! I have, however, been doing a Veronica Mars / Hitchcock / Orson Wells movie marathon while cleaning #noirsummer

  • BB

    Even if you’re not going to do a podcast, I’d like to see

    History and Philosophy of Science course
    Basic skepticism 101
    Interviews with people on just ONE topic of skepticism [which I'm sure you can do]
    Critical thinking 101 with fallacies

    Maybe not at the start of 2012 but when you’re less busy?

    • Kylie Sturgess

      Definitely not at the start of 2012, too much to do at the moment – but thank you!

  • MG

    You get this feedback already I’m sure but the podcast isn’t really a weekly thing as it is and maybe you should stick to fortnightly?

    Other suggestions I have

    Your skeptical book Top Twenty should be promoted more and you should continue doing podcasts with Embiggen books to encourage reading

    Keep the skeptics-on-the-fringe interviews and people who are up and coming in skepticism

    Education, education, education and where we can go to get more resources. Could you do a readers’ questions segment?

    Top ten links for skeptics and starters in skepticism

    Keep it up, you do fine work. M.G.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      Thank you!! That really helps boost my spirits. I’ll keep thinking and brainstorming, with these in mind!


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