It is that time of year again. Time to reflect on what kind of person I want to be and what I can do to become that person.
2016 was one of the best years yet with regards to achieving personal goals and growth. I made more time for friends, I got and kept a great new job in a brand new career, I have been reading, and I have been blogging on a regular schedule since I actually committed to doing so in February! (With the brief exception of the change in schedule that I made and then immediately realized was a huge mistake.)
So what can I do in 2017 to continue with my self-improvement? With my personal stake in world-improvement? Here are my CONCRETE RESOLUTIONS that I will resolve to have achieved by December 31, 2017…
Continue reading (15 books)
I found a lot of success with my reading goal in 2016 because of a few things:
- The Blogging for Books program, which motivated me to read new books so I could post reviews and receive new books
- My new Kindle, which lets me carry more books with me, carry long books more easily, and immediately start a new book after finishing one
- Extensive repairs to the DC metro system which caused my commute to become much longer than usual, aka extra reading time
I resolve to read at least 15 books in 2017, as I believe I can find the time to read more than one book per month given my success this past year.
Continue blogging on a regular schedule (2x/week, Tuesday/Friday)
The Tuesday/Friday schedule has been going much better than I thought it would. There have even been times when I’ve considered increasing my post frequency because I have had to artificially delay posts for the sake of the schedule. (Of course, then I would rush to put together posts or be at a loss for what to post and be very grateful for the backlog, even if the posts weren’t as relevant as they would have been with a more immediate release.)
I resolve to maintain this schedule. At the very least, I am trying to go one full calendar year on this schedule, so let’s hope I make it to February!
Learn to lift
This is something that has been at the back of my mind for a long time, as someone who had a lot of friends who got really into lifting in college and who works with people who are quite passionate about weightlifting. I’m not very physically fit, across every measure of fitness. I would like to start doing something about what I lack in strength, especially given that I have read a lot of literature on the benefits of weightlifting and strength training.
I resolve to put my pride aside and seek help learning to lift, whether that means asking one of my friends/coworkers to teach me or investing in a personal trainer.
* Halfway through the year, I’d like to have a specific goal weight to be lifting.
Run a mile
I am not a runner, and I don’t know if I’m ever going to be the kind of person who really loves running. But running, like lifting things, is a practical fitness skill, especially for someone who really hates being chased and maybe is not yet strong enough to stand her ground to fight? If i don’t yet have strength, I need to work on stamina. So I am going to give myself a small goal of just running a mile without stopping, which I believe I have only been able to do once before in my entire life.
I resolve to run one mile, without stopping or walking.
* Halfway through the year, I’d like to have a specific time to be running.
Perform a full split
This has been a formal, on-the-blog resolution since 2013. Why I am so intent on achieving it now, I’m no longer sure… it’s just personal, at this point, something I just can’t let go. Last year, I made a big point about how I have to set aside time to achieve my goals, which meant that nearly every day, I thought about spending time on stretching my legs and went to bed feeling guilty that I didn’t. This ends.
I resolve to be able to perform a full split.
Attend and cosplay at a fan convention
I believe I discovered cosplay and conventions at the same time, and since that moment, I’ve wanted to participate. This past year, I finally lived out my Halloween costume dream of being Sailor Mars and I definitely did not get enough of that costume. After staying in the same hotel that San Francisco Comic Con was held at and getting a lot of encouragement from friends…
I resolve to cosplay at a fan convention this year.
Present a full-length talk
I attended my very first tech conference this year at RubyConf, where I took a big breath and a big chance by doing a 5-minute lightning talk that I put together the night before. As I gain more experience and more confidence, I’d like to present more formally at a meetup or even at another conference.
I resolve to give a present a full-length talk to a large tech audience.
Eat out less, stay home more
When I was taking full-time classes in web development, I didn’t eat out for lunch a single day; not only was I not making any money, but the course was expensive and I needed to be very conservative with my savings. Now that I am working and there is more of a culture of eating out because my coworkers tend to buy more than bring (and my boyfriend is like this as well… I suspect that there is a bit of a trend among computer programmers…), I find my lunch spendings are way more than I initially anticipated.
I am also not eating dinner at home very often. This has a lot to do with the fact that I don’t go home before 8PM many evenings, as well as the fact that, if I do come home in time for dinner, I’m feeling too lazy to prepare my meals. The thing is, I do love to cook! And I don’t like spending so much money eating out.
I resolve to buy lunch no more than twice during the work week and dinner no more than three times a week – including weekends. I also resolve to have at least one or two evenings per workweek where I am home by 6PM.
Manage my piles
Because I tend to come home late many weekdays and maybe not be home on the weekends, I often get lazy and just put things in a pile for Future Starr to deal with at a later time. And then I come home to a pile of clothes from when I was deciding what to wear every morning, and a pile of mail to sort through, and a pile of dishes in the sink… and it doesn’t feel good.
I resolve to not let my piles live in my home for longer than one week at a time, even more preferably no more than four days.
Of course, what washes down concrete resolutions better than ABSTRACT RESOLUTIONS? As in past years, these are harder to check off on a list at a certain point in the year or even by December 31, but they are guiding principles and goals I want to keep in mind for myself this year.
Fight back against mediocrity
I am in a new career, and I know that I am not great at my new line of work yet. However, I find myself either slipping into “It’s okay, someone has to be the worst on the team because not everyone can be the best even if I improve” or “This is so hard, I’ll never get good at this” mindsets. This is not me.
I resolve to push myself to continue trying, even when I am not improving as quickly as I’d like, and to be more strategic so that I can improve faster.
Improve my crafts
I look at many of the things that I create and I see so much room for improvement: computer programming, writing, photography, even my karaoke sessions. There is a lot of room for me to improve all around, and I want to do so. I have already identified some specific areas of improvements (for example, my movie reviews are really painful for me to write, let alone for anyone – myself included – to read) in some of these areas.
I resolve to work to improve the quality of the art I put into the world as a service to myself and to others.
Prioritize my health
In 2017, I will be on my own health insurance plan despite being eligible to stay on my parents’ plan for just a little while longer. Before I switched plans, I did a lot of doctor’s visits in the latter part of 2016 and have had to make a few changes to my weekly routine for my health. My health is something I need to be investing myself in, because it is not something I can get back so easily later on.
I resolve to make my health a priority by scheduling healthcare appointments with the necessary providers when needed and for checkups.
This is something I started actively doing in very small capacities in 2016, specifically in restaurants and other service-oriented industries. If I didn’t like something, I would let the server know then and in-person, because I realized it was unfair to not give them a chance to address and possibly fix the problem. Being passive is a little more socially acceptable, especially for a girl who has often been told by people that I come off “too strong”. However, it’s important to stand your ground when it’s important and to not give in when it’s not worth it.
I resolve to make myself heard when necessary and not to let potential discomfort and disagreement prevent me from having a voice.
These are kind of the big things I have been thinking about throughout 2016 that I wanted to focus on in 2017. Of course, my self-improvement won’t be limited to the items listed here, but I think I’m going to write these down and put them somewhere where I can see them and hold myself accountable.
One of the worst feelings for me in 2016 was going to bed thinking about these resolutions and how I didn’t act to keep them that day, or that week, or that month. Not only is that guilt so unnecessary and unhealthy, but if I am able to think about my resolutions, I should act on them. Period.
If my guiding word for my resolutions in 2016 was “effort”, then the word that will guide 2017’s goals will be “active”. It’s closely related to effort, since I want to make active efforts for many of these things, but I do think that being active about my goals is very important. Even being active about automating goals so that they’re easier for me is important; actively building a habit that you don’t have to think about later is maybe even more important than actively thinking about something every single day. I have to even be active about… my passivity. I cannot just let whims take me for a ride in my own life.
I did well on my resolutions last year. I hope I do better this year and find myself in a better place one year from now, and I wish the same for you.
What are some of your resolutions for 2017? Do we share any?