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Happy New Year – Look Back at 2013 and Plans for 2014

Happy New Year to my dearest fans, friends and families. My best wishes for all your hopes and dreams to come true in 2014.

It’s amazing how a new year bring lot of energy, aspirations and hopes. I read about an invisible boundary research between rooms inside the home. When you walk from one room to next, often times you might forget things you came to do in a specific room – like picking up keys, books or towel. That invisible boundary makes you forget things.

New year does have the same effect. It make you forget the past to some extent and brings a ton of energy into the soul for the new year. One of the best things I can do is, utilize that energy to start new projects and complete them.

In this post, I will provide a look back into 2013 (Personal and Blog) and Look ahead into 2013 (Personal and Blog).

2013 : Personal Updates

I started 2013 with two simple goals.

  1. To to better than previous year (Physical, Emotional and Financial)
  2. Learn four new things

I tried two new things

  1. Worked out with Personal Trainer  to improve my fitness (March to November)
  2. Took swimming classes with my wife.

Fitness – Personal Training

This is one of my biggest accomplishment in 2013. I was an active person till I completed my Bachelors degree. Played Soccer, High Jump, 100mts, Relay Team, Basket Ball for college team.  But, after coming to US, my physical activity came to complete STOP. I decided to get back in shape.

It’s way easier to get back in shape when I started working out with a trainer. You pay the money upfront and there’s someone waiting to train you. So, even if you don’t feel like going through the painful process of weight training, you have to go (money and commitment).

If anyone planning to get back in shape, I strongly recommend starting out with a fitness trainer. Once you get used to a routine, then you can continue on your own.

Swimming Lessons

I learned to swim when I was in 10th grade. It was in a well that was like 160ft deep and had water for about 90ft. I could swim for about 10 ft. But, I didn’t learn proper floating or breathing technique. So, along with my wife we decided to take swimming classes.

It was a fun experience. There were 6 lanes in the pool and each lane is used by group of  people learning to swim (2 year old to 60 years). I could see how great swimmers come from USA. I was amazed to see 3-year-old kids doing flawless swimming, while I was splashing water all over the lane.

We enrolled our son to swimming classes as well. After 6 swim classes, he could float in the water for few seconds.

At end of our 6th class (one class per week for 45 minutes), we learned to swim and float the right way. We can float, breath and swim the right way. It was fun to learn to swim. You should try out.

Other Events

Here are other events to remember from 2013

  • Switched jobs earlier this year
    • Number of Jobs Applied : 10
    • Number of Phone Interviews Attended : 4
    • In-Person Interview : 1
    • Job Offer : 1
    • Total Days to find new job : Wednesday to next Thursday (9 Days)
  • Four Weeks trip to India for my brother’s Wedding
  • New Blog Design (under development)

You may already know about our love for travel. Every year, we try to go on a week-long mega trip and several two to three days trip per year.

Mini Trips

  • Asheville, North Carolina (2 days)
  • Outer Banks Islands, North Carolina (3 Days)
  • Chimney Rock, North Carolina  ( 3 days)
  • Grand Father Mountains for Fall Colors (2 Days)

Asheville, NC 

Biltmore Estate
Biltmore Estate
  • 4 Hours Drive
  • It’s a hippy little city. It has unique feel to it.
  • Beautiful downtown surrounded by mountains, access to Blue ridge Parkway, Falls, Biltmore Estate.

Outer Banks Islands, NC

Wright Brothers
Wright Brothers
  • 4 Hours Drive
  • We went to Kitty Hawk, where Wright Brothers flew for the first time
  • Took 1 Hour Ferry to Ocracoke island (about 13 mile long island).

Chimney Rock, NC

Chimney Rock
Chimney Rock
  • 3.5 Hours Drive
  • Stayed at a beautiful home on the river
  • Last of Mohicans (Movie) trail was closed
  • Climbed up to Chimney Rock

Grand Father Mountains, NC

Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway
  • 3.5 Hours Drive
  • Fall Colors was amazing
  • Drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Linville Falls trek was beautiful

Mega Trip

Carnival Fantasy Cruise Ship
Carnival Fantasy Cruise Ship in Nassau Port Bahamas.
  • Charleston, South Carolina for Cruise to Bahamas (5 days) for Christmas
  • 4.5 Hours Drive
  • 5 Days on Carnival Fantasy Cruise
  • 2 Stops on Bahamas (Nassau, Freeport)
  • It was one Amazing trip (more about the trip in my personal blog)
  • Head to my Google Plus Profile for more Carnival Fantasy Cruise Photos ( and while there add me to your Circle)

2013 : Happy Schools Blog

  • Another Good year from HSB
  • New Articles Published : 381
  • Total Articles : 2519
  • Articles in Draft : 724 ( Visa interviews, Ideas, unfinished  articles)
  • Total Comments : 58,619
  • I took a break from producing contents last 2 months.

Lessons Learned

One of the lessons I learned is to deal with uncertainty and fear. Those two emotions are ingrained in human brain. As we grown up, fear starts creeping in. After certain age, we start dealing with uncertainty.

Biggest lessons I learned and probably it can help you as well –  When things doesn’t go as planned, learn to recognize that, take a step back and look at the bigger picture and adjust your expectations.

Bottom line is things will never go the way you had planned.  But, you can get out of it by using your knowledge and life experience. Deal head-on with fear and uncertainty.

2014 : Personal

  • Learn Four New Things (Planned : Writing Class, Dance Class, Photo Graphy and Possibly Painting )
  • Read Two new books per month (Going to complete one in next couple of days)
  • Create a Systems for doing Things (from Email to task management)
  • Optimize the System for efficiency
  • Become better at decision making
  • Write frequently in Personal Blog (Personal Finance, Travel and Living)

2014 : Blog

  • New Blog Design (launch in next couple of months)
  • 100% Focus  on Community building
  • Weekly Podcast
  • Create a Manifesto

Why Share Personal goals?

  • Everyday I try hard to learn something new and expand the knowledge boundary
  • I hope my efforts would help others to learn new things and try new things.
  • That’s why having a Manifesto will be a useful tool ( should be out in next 30 days)

Over To you

  • How was your 2013?
  • What plans do you have for 2014?
  • What changes do you like to see in Happy Schools?

Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with to achieve your goals.

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  1. Happy new year to everyone and i wish you all the best. I want to focus to my aim which is doing a PhD in the USA in Optics Physics more precise. I am going to raise my IELTS score to 7 and I really need to brush up my English. Besides, I should improve my cover letter. Unfortunately I haven’t succeeded yet. I really need your guides.

  2. Happy new year to everyone. I wish all the best. I am going to focus to my aim more precise including applying for a PhD position in Optics Physics. Unfortunately I did not succeed in the last past years. please guide me. I need to improve my cover letter and I am going to brush up my English and raise my IELTS score to 7.

  3. Wishing you a very happy new year and thankyou for your blogs. I want to apply for spring 2015 for MS biotechnology.will you please guide me with application procedure. Thankyou and may God bless you.

  4. Raghu,

    You have been simply superb & great motivator for lot of people!, I have been reading your post for the 7 years but I rarely add the comments but all these years you have given a valuable guidance right from GRE to personal savings. I wish you a very good 2014 and looking for your new website.

  5. In 2013 I trimmed 20 kilos of my body.Managed to write GRE with my work and got a decent score of 313. Thanks to HSB i hope i am on the right path. for 2014 I have set a goal to revise all my core subjects and get competent in them before I leave for MS(hopefully I get an admit). Wishing a happy new year everyone 🙂

    1. Good accomplishment. reducing 20kgs is not an easy task. Congrats. 313 is good score. Good luck for 2014. Keep posting comments.

    2. Hey Dilip, new year’s wishes to you. When did you graduate? And which semester and major will you be applying for?

  6. I am not utilizing HSB to the fullest extent. So in 2014 my first and foremost aim is to utilize HSB the best way I Can.The blog helped me whenever I needed. My dream is to go for a Phd. in Statistics from one of the top most universities around the world. The blog is very much capable of offering information regarding why one should go for Phd and all. But if the admission procedure and all other procedures which are very necessary regarding Phd can be discussed here,then it would be very helpful. Apart from that,all i can say is this is a great endeavor. May God bless you,Raghu.

    1. Sourav – About 2 months back I shared 5 articles about PhD. It’s not specific to Statistics, but thats all you need for PhD.

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