2014 Resolutions – Goals & Aspirations

It is that time of year again. You already know what it is, I am the kind of person who requires a list goals to keep myself on track. Let’s get this party started.

Concrete Goals

This is my list of achievable, measurable goals. By the time December 31st rolls around, I will know whether these were completed or not.

  1. Find a new full-time job. I delayed entering the real world because I worked in the research lab that I was at for 4 years as an undergrad for the first half year of me being graduated. That job was making me unhappy, and it was no longer aiding in my new career goals.
  2. Clean my room. Hahahahahaha okay I’ve given myself a year to do this, it should work out, right? This mostly means that I need to
    1. Organize my clothes and books
    2. Throw out a lot of things I have been hoarding
  3. Move out. I think I will need to move out and be on my own again, soon. Getting my room in order will likely help me with that. I don’t need to do this ASAP, but it would go hand-in-hand with getting a new job. Sometime this year, I should move back out.
  4. Post 50 blog posts. I have really enjoyed blogging more regularly again. I’m going to aim for about one a week, so, with any luck, I should have no less than 50 posts by December 31.
  5. Read 30 books. This will be tricky, especially if I don’t have a designated commute time to read books.But I do miss reading and I should try to set aside some time for it. (I anticipate not being able to do one a week.)
  6. Win NaNoWriMo. “Winning” means that I’ll have written 50,000 words between November 1 and 30. This year’s effort didn’t go very well, because I hadn’t given much thought to it until November 3. Next year, I’ll develop my story a bit more and try again.
  7. Full. Split. I completely dropped the bomb on this resolution this past year. That’s frustrating but I learned my mistake: Not only do I need to set a concrete physical goal, I need to have in place a training plan to achieve it.
  8. Get 700+ on the GMAT. I should really think about taking this test if I want to think about applying to business school. I think a score in the 700+ range should leave me in good shape to worry about other admission considerations besides GMAT score.
  9. Wake up by 8 on weekdays, by 10 on weekends. Admittedly, this is primarily so my parents get off my back about me sleeping in and “when I was young, I woke up before dawn because I had a dream and I had to have it!” but I should get my life together and stop wasting away my daylight hours. This may help with my oft-failed resolution of not sleeping too late.
  10. Read The Little Prince in French and Chinese (and Russian?). I would like to really work on my language skills this year. Le Petit Prince is a book that I have loved for a long time, but it’s also short and has relatively simple language. To be able to read it in other languages without having to refer to a dictionary AND while being able to fully understand everything I read would be great. (This book may be changed depending on if I find one better suited to this goal.)
  11. Drink no less than one liter of water a dayAnd perhaps other non-dehydrating beverages, but I primarily drink water and nothing quite quenches my thirst like water. I have been working on this one for a while and I do drink more water than I used to, but there is more room for improvement. I know that humans get a lot of water in food, but this is specific to me ingesting water in water form.
  12. Eat at least one full serving of fruit and one full serving of vegetable a day. Last time I put this resolution down, I knew it was not enough and I was called out on it. But so many days pass that are so carb heavy with nothing more than maybe burger or noodle toppings to pass off as vegetables. I need to more consciously incorporate fruits & veggies into my diet. Some days, I would buy a smoothie or a Naked juice just to make sure that I did this consciously. I think I often eat my vegetables incorporated into other dishes (e.g. celery + carrots in chicken noodle soup), but it would be good to have just a dedicated veggie dish every single day.
  13. Do not buy any more makeup or skincare. Buy skincare only when previous products are empty. My little Black Friday splurge was fun, but I have zero reasons to buy more makeup. I have more mascara than I know what to do with, because I always buy sets, and mascara is always in those sets, and I wear makeup never. I do, however, want to continue investing in my skincare but it is unnecessary to buy new things while I still have products that work well.

I have many other goals that I can probably make more concrete, but this seems like a good place to start.

Abstract Aspirations

This list will be harder to keep track of, as far as whether I’ve achieved them or not, but they are nonetheless important.

  1. Allow myself to be happy. The ThoughtCatalog post “10 Lies Depression Tells You” really forced myself to criticize thoughts I had, such as “I deserve the unhappiness I have and any future unhappiness I inevitably come across”. It is time to stop being such a defeatist. I acknowledged a short while back that happiness is an active process. I acknowledge now that everyone – myself included, as difficult as that is to believe – deserves to be involved in this process.
  2. Pick my battles. I want to detail this a bit more in a post later, but I have improved significantly with regards to inhibiting myself and not getting into arguments that would benefit no one. However, I am not blind to my less-than-savoury interactions with my loved ones, and I acknowledge that I have a ways to improve here.
  3. Make fitness a priority. I liked the person I became when I was training for a 5K and then taking a ballet class. Every year, I berate myself for not being physically active. My ballet class lent support to my hypothesis that I need an external structure, i.e. a class or an event, to keep myself committed to my physical fitness. Preferably, I’d love to find a new ballet class, or perhaps even a barre class, to attend. I know I dislike running (although that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing it), so ideally I can find a really fun dance class or two to keep me moving.
  4. Hone my music skills. My heart aches at how long it has been since I’ve played my piano. And I joke often about how I am addicted to karaoke, but I seriously love it and it makes me legitimately blue that I haven’t been in several months. I would love to join this competitive karaoke league I heard about, but I need to do some more research first.
  5. Refine my web presence. I am kind of playing around with my web presence since graduating. I don’t know how serious I want to be about it, but right now I kind of want to make the plunge and make this a real thing. I also have a collaborative project with a friend, and ideally, I’d love to be able to see some real results from both my personal stuff and that project to the point where it is an investment with foreseeable returns if I, for example, purchase a nicer camera and learn to use better editing software for photos and videos.
  6. Talk slower and less. I tend to talk really fast, especially if I’m excited about something. Often, it’s because I’m worried that the other party will lose interest and stop listening before my amazing story is over, so I just want to get to the end before then. Ridiculous, right? I also talk a lot. I’m a loquacious gal. It’s exhausting for myself and all unfortunate listeners, so this has to be addressed.
  7. Discipline myself. Many, if not all, of my goals will require discipline. I lack discipline and I usually do. I’ve relied on being admittedly bright for a lot of things, but that just isn’t cutting it anymore. I need to stop being afraid of hard work, and of the possibility that working hard may not fix my shortcomings.
  8. Invest time in my relationships. This was a year when I feel like I both neglected myself and my loved ones, which is ridiculous. I spent more time feeling guilty than with the people I care about. Obviously, this has got to change.

I always get nervous about publishing resolutions, not only because it does force me to be accountable (which is the whole point of me publicly announcing them), but also because I worry that I’ve forgotten something important. But the beauty of resolutions is that you can resolve to make a change in your life at any given moment. January 1st is just a neat day to do a big list like this. But if I decide sometime mid-April that I want to be able to run 10 miles (ha!) or in October that I want to get paid to cosplay, then I have every right to do so.

The only thing that changes on January 1st is the numerical assignment of the year. I will struggle to not write 2013 for about a month or two before I finally get the hang of writing out 2014. (I still tell people I’m 21, but that hasn’t been true for a short while now. Change is difficult for me :P)

I hope you all are having fun celebrating ringing in the New Year, whether you’re going out and have an amazing outfit or you’re staying in and watching the ball drop on TV. I’m off to sit with my family to watch a movie and see if i can convince them that watching the ball is a tradition worth keeping.

1. 1. 2014

Looking Back on 2013

I am currently writing my annual resolutions post. Often, resolutions blog posts make me feel really frustrated with what I haven’t yet accomplished. They’re rarely things like “Continue to be awesome!” or “Keep being perfect!”

Even though this was another admittedly difficult year, I am more than aware of how many wonderful things happened this year.

So, without further ado, a quick little rundown of the things I accomplished this year that made me happy and/or proud:

  • I took a voice class
  • I played intramural basketball
  • I had an A+ in a biology class, if only for a brief moment
  • I produced, directed, and starred in a short film for class
  • I graduated college
    Stone and I on graduation day
  • I watched my brother graduate high school
  • I quit being pre-med
  • I saw Saturn
  • I started getting help
  • I began blogging more regularly
    • I made new friends as a result
  • I had my wisdom teeth removed
  • I got a smartphone whoa
  • I became Yelp Elite
    Embedded image permalink
  • I went to Europe, where I was able to check off bucket list places like:
    • London
      • I took my first-ever bike tour

        Helmet = ready!
        Helmet = ready!
    • Paris
    • Berlin
    • St. Petersburg
      • I learned that I should not be THAT scared of vodka

        Coming soon in my St. Petersburg posts!
        Coming soon in my St. Petersburg posts!
    • Copenhagen
    • Helsinki
    • Stockholm
    • Tallinn
  • I experienced a cruise ship for the first time

    2013-08-03 20.09.32
    The views were unreal.
  • I sang karaoke in front of strangers
  • I attended the Maryland Crab & Beer Festival
    2013-08-17 17.50.59
  • I attended two free, very different, movie screenings and thoroughly enjoyed them both
  • I finally walked along the Brooklyn Bridge
    2013-09-28 16.01.40
  • I ran my first-ever 5K (and lived!)
    My first time wearing numbers pinned to my shirt?
  • I attended my first-ever real concert

  • I took a ballet class

    My ballet classmates, instructor, and myself on the right.
    My ballet classmates, instructor, and myself on the right.
  • I met Buzz Aldrin

    Getting a signed book (and a compliment!) from Buzz Aldrin
    Getting a signed book (and a compliment!) from Buzz Aldrin
  • I sort of met Ice Cube

    Yeah, I could've touched him, no big deal.
    Yeah, I could’ve touched him, no big deal.

I had my Snow White costume featured on the Disneybound blog

Thank you Brittany for this screenshot!
Thank you Brittany for this screenshot!
  • I visited the Wall Street bull for the first time


All in all, I was so incredibly fortunate to have all of these experiences and more this year. I’m happy to have been able to experience these wonderful things and that I was able to share almost all of them here with my small bunch of readers.

I think that 2013, with its extreme ups and extreme downs, has made me a better person than I was in 2012. I’ve become more of a person of action. Mind you, I still have a long ways to go with this, but I didn’t say no to as many opportunities that I wanted so badly to say yes to. Resume vocal training? No more talking about it, time to register for a class and sing. Take up ballet again? Oh, maybe I could… or maybe I’ll just register for a class and dance.

I tried to not just talk about doing things with the false air of being too busy to actually do them. In truth, I was, and often am, too embarrassed to do things, Singing in front of complete strangers without a spotlight blinding me to their presence? Biking around a city that I don’t know? Paying MONEY to RUN even though I am slow and have poor endurance?

What’s more is that many of these experiences are actually the result of my own agency. Yes, my dad booked us for the bike tour, but I’m the one who called it to his attention and suggested it. He bought my tickets to The Nutcracker but only because he knew how badly I wanted to see it. (So badly that I was actually vocal about it, instead of willing people with my non-existent psychic powers to know.)

I am proud of myself for many of the things I accomplished, but maybe I’m most proud that I acted on things I wanted to do. Instead of “Oh, I wish I could do this…” I actually got up and did. I feel empowered by my newfound sense of agency.

This is what assures me that I will be a better person in 2014.
This is why I am grateful for 2013.

Great Russian Nutcracker

When I was in St. Petersburg (I swear I’ll write that blog post for my next installment of my vacation recaps really soon), we had the option of attending a ballet, a Russian folk dance performance, or an evening out. We opted for the evening out because my dad said that the Moscow Ballet was going to be in the area around Christmas, so I could catch them then.

For my birthday, he got me great seats to see them perform the Great Russian Nutcracker.
Simply put: It was incredible!

My dad got me orchestra seats, so I was really quite close to the stage. I was able to take in the dancers’ faces and their absolutely gorgeous, stunning costumes. It was only difficult at times because there is so much going on onstage and it’s hard to take it all in at once.

After a small hiccup right off the bat of the show (one of the girls fell), the rest of the show went off without a hitch and was so incredibly spectacular. Costuming was SERIOUSLY beautiful. There was one male dancer who was so magnificently tall. I couldn’t tell just how tall he was, since ballet dancers are often a bit short, but his legs went on for miles and miles, like actually. He played the Mouse King and was so great.
(Also he looked a little like Robbie Kay, so I was not ready to see the Mouse King get stabbed, oh no I was not.)

Clockwise from the top: my view of the beautiful theater, me and my friend Rachel, my ticket, my program cover, and in the center is the set

I highly recommend this show! They are touring the country and I believe they do this annually? The Arabian variation was so mind-blowing and breathtaking. You need to see it.

Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet
Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet

Also, their Dove of Peace was gorgeous.

Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet
Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet
Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet
Photo courtesy of the Moscow Ballet

Go see it if you can!


Holiday Music Curating

I was pretty disappointed with my holiday music post this year. It left out a few songs I like, but more importantly, I wasn’t able to provide playable playlists because I was having a lot of trouble deciding on the right version to use.

My cousin gave me a hard time about this, so I decided I was going to be hardcore and make a spreadsheet.

We generally agree on which version is the best, but not always. (He is a way bigger fan of Taylor Swift than I am, for example.)

With this, I hope that next year’s list will be way better, and I’ll definitely have playable playlists available then, too.