2018 Resolutions

It may be halfway through January already (?!) but it’s never too late to set resolutions and intentions for the year! My most cumbersome but most personally valuable posts on this blog are my beginning- and end-of-year blogs, with the resolutions post kicking off the year with ways I can bring myself closer to the person I want to be.

2018 Resolutions: photo featuring a hand holding a sparkler above water

Last year’s resolutions focused a lot around making concrete plans to do things that I’ve been making resolutions for over the past several years. I didn’t check all those boxes off, but I know that specific goals are easier for me to achieve than vague ones. By the end of 2017, I found myself formulating  new concrete goals, some of which were not even considerations at the beginning of the year. Here are the ways I aim to improve myself in 2018…Read More »

Advertisements

Resolutions 2017 Check-In

Happy Independence Day, to those celebrating the Fourth of July! Please be sure to observe this holiday safely, as it is a very scary holiday for many of our loved ones, like vets and pets. 

As strange as it seems, we have officially passed the halfway mark of the year. I thought now would be a good time to check in on some of my resolutions, especially because I specifically wanted to check in and adjust some of the goals I set in January at this time.

Let’s start with the concrete resolutions:

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.

According to Goodreads, I am on track to meet this goal, as I am currently working my way through my 12th book this year. I was actually a little bit concerned about reaching my reading goal because I spent so much of the first half of the year working laboriously through the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Each volume is so thick and took me so long to read that I was worried I’d fall behind and spend most of the year reading them. I forgot how voraciously I read when I’m really engrossed in a serial story like Martin’s!

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!

With the exception of my mental health hiatus, I haven’t done too badly with the schedule this year! And I did make it to February and the full calendar year of posting on schedule, so I’m really glad for that. I’m jumping back into the posting schedule right now and I hope I can stick with it.

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.

Ah, the resolution that I knew would give me trouble. I haven’t quite gotten around to hiring a personal trainer yet, but I think it’s because I’ve been adjusting this goal mentally. I am much more interested in just… doing good form push-ups than lifting a barbell right now, so I’ve shifted my energy over to that as my goal. I am still strength-training, and that does involve weights, and I do often have people helping me check my form, but lifting as a primary strength-training activity is no longer my goal.

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.

I actually achieved this a few months ago! I don’t run very often, and given that I wanted to increase my stamina via cardio, I do need to run more. However, back in March, I managed to run an entire mile without stopping to walk, and that was a huge accomplishment for me, even though it took me almost a full 10 minutes (literally it took me 9:59?). Then, I did it again just a few days later, and I was faster then. It was one of the little ways I could feel myself getting into better shape. Unfortunately, I had a small hiccup in my fitness routine (wherein… I wasn’t doing much of it at all…), so I probably cannot currently run an entire mile without stopping. I’ll have to get back to it but I think I want to put a realistic goal of an 8-minute mile and a more ambitious goal of 7 minutes? (The 8-minute mile, while not particularly impressive, would be a big feat for me, so that’s what I’ll be aiming for!)

I resolve to be able to perform a full split.

OOPS I have definitely dropped the ball on this one. While I stretch when I work out and feel myself getting a little more flexible, I am not in splits territory at all yet, so I need to refocus on this goal so it doesn’t get left in the dust for another year.

I resolve to cosplay at a fan convention this year.

I DID THIS! My AwesomeCon recaps are coming right after this, so stay tuned for those, but I am so so so happy to have accomplished this. It was even better than I thought it would be.

I resolve to give a present a full-length talk to a large tech audience.

This is going to be really tricky. I still don’t know what subjects I am confident enough to talk about to a tech audience for an hour. It would be good for me to try to figure this out, as I really would like to start speaking at tech events more. However, this was a super ambitious goal so I’m not extremely confident I’ll achieve it by the end of this year.

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.

Admittedly, this has not been going great. I can only chalk it up to poor planning, as far as the meals go, as well as just a bit of a lack of energy after a long work day and a hard workout. I’ve started getting myself back on track with this lately, so hopefully things will be better for the second half of the year! However, I am staying home more days this year, and I’m really relishing it. While I don’t come home at 6PM very often, as I try to put in a few extra hours when I am able so I can take other time off, it is still nice to come home from work, instead of stopping at another event first. The FOMO is slowly fading away.

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.

Okay so… this has kind of been a failure, my piles have gotten a bit out of control. I plan to take advantage of the federal holiday today and sort them out, and I really hope I am able to follow through with that plan. I still have a pile (contained in a storage box) of my birthday party supplies that I really need to sort! And I don’t want to talk about my clothing pile, aka The Pile. Ahhhh I need to get that sorted out, it stresses me out.

… and that wraps up the concrete resolutions! You know, I’m doing better on these than I thought I would be, and I think that this post is just what I needed to kick my butt into gear to try to achieve the rest of them before the year is over.

Now, onto those wibbly-wobbly abstract resolutions:

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.

Sigh… I don’t think I’ve really been pushing myself to do this, and it’s disappointing to acknowledge and admit that. I push myself with fitness now, but I don’t think that’s any excuse for me to not push myself in other areas of my life. It seems like it is, because I am tired afterward, but it’s not. I need to do better here.

I resolve to work to improve the quality of the art I put into the world as a service to myself and to others.

Unfortunately, I haven’t really felt like I’ve done this either? What are the arts I’m even putting out into the world? (I haven’t gone to karaoke at all in 2017?!) This is something I don’t know how I feel about, but it’s not a good feeling, so I will have to take some time to think about how I can turn this one around.

I resolve to make my health a priority by scheduling healthcare appointments with the necessary providers when needed and for checkups.

2017 is the first year I’ve been fully in charge of my own healthcare, having switched over to my employer insurance and getting off my family plan. But I have tried to take this in stride and this has meant a lot of doctor’s appointments. Luckily, nothing bad so far! A lot of follow-ups but that’s not bad either. I am just making sure I’m healthy from a lot of different perspectives. I do have some concerns and I’m not quite sure how I’ll feel if I get those checked and followed-up and there isn’t something diagnosable. It just means… I feel unwell and the doctor can’t tell me how to feel better? But there is nothing serious going on, it’s just small visits and a lot of little bills. I still procrastinate scheduling things (and sometimes paying the bills) for days or weeks but, in general, this has been a bigger priority for me.

I resolve to make myself heard when necessary and not to let potential discomfort and disagreement prevent me from having a voice.

This is so hard. I found myself facing how hard it is yesterday at work, because things were being said that I wasn’t comfortable with and I had to be really un-fun to address it. In the workplace is the hardest place to do this, and unfortunately it just seems to be getting harder. I’m also trying to do this in little ways like speaking up when I’m at a restaurant and the food is straight-up bad, or if someone shoves past me in a line. A lot of times when things like the latter happen, I am too shocked to say something fast enough, but I am working on voicing it. (So that lady who used two hands to push me aside on the escalator the other day? I have words for you!)

… the abstract goals are the hard ones. Because it’s hard to check them off a list on December 31, but it’s very easy to feel that you haven’t achieved them at all. Still, I make them every year because it’s important to keep in mind what kind of person I want to be and what kind of mindset and intentions will help me become that person.


It was a little harder than I thought to take a hard look at my progress with these resolutions, but it was good. I feel reinvigorated to achieve my goals and to become the person I want to be.

How are you doing on your goals and resolutions?
Do you have any tips for me on the ones that I’m slipping on?

Making Fitness a Habit (with ClassPass)

Back when I was setting my New Year’s Resolutions for the year, I really wanted to take my fitness resolutions more seriously, as they are pretty consistently the resolutions I take the least seriously and, as a result, see the least amount of progress on.

I set 3 concrete fitness resolutions and follow-up resolutions:

  1. Learn to lift + lift a certain weight once I did
  2. Run a mile without stopping + get that mile within a certain time
  3. Do a full split + both vertically and horizontally

We are almost halfway-through the year, so it is time for me to get to the point of looking at the follow-up resolutions and check in on my progress. While these resolutions have not been the primary focus of my short-term fitness goals, I have been doing really well with making fitness a regular weekly habit for myself since January and I really do have to thank ClassPass for it.

ClassPass is a monthly membership that gives you access to many, many boutique fitness studios and gyms in over 30 cities around the world. It’s great specifically if:

  • … you want to try out classes at a boutique studio or using the equipment at a gym but don’t want to commit to a membership fee without knowing if you like it
  • … you would rather go to many different studios and gyms throughout the month than commit to one kind of workout or one facility

In celebration of that “new year, new me” mentality, ClassPass was running a promotion in January: 50% off their usual $55 for 5 classes deal, which meant I got 5 classes a month for $27, with each class being just a little over $6, for 3 months. That’s an awesome deal, so I went for it, hoping that 3 months was enough time for me to form a habit.

Long story short, I think this was one of the better moves I’ve made with my time and money in a really long time. I’ve found studios and classes that I really love. With my ClassPass plan, I’m able to visit a studio 2 times within a month, so I’m able to switch it up while still visiting my favorite workout spots twice a month. It’s added something to my routine and I am seeing physical results. There are little baby pre-muscle bumps on my legs and my arms that weren’t there at the beginning of January, and I cannot tell you how exciting that is!

I won’t mince words: it was, and remains, really hard. I knew that the only time I could regularly commit to working out was in the morning before work, since my post-work schedule varies wildly but usually is filled with other activities. To give myself enough time to work out in the mornings meant I was choosing 7AM classes, which still kills me many mornings. The pain was also intense. I was going from being quite sedentary to working out 1-2 times a week (and up to 4 or 5 times a week some weeks), and that was extremely painful. I felt sore sore sore and the hardest class for me was my first session at a local kickboxing gym where I do high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Because it was so painful for me to just walk out of that gym, on top of the several days where I was so sore that it was difficult to bring food to my mouth, I have made that kickboxing gym one of the spots that I visit twice a month, every month. It’s one of my shortest workouts at 30 minutes and I love it loads.

One thing that has helped with the amount of soreness and reducing my recovery time from days to singular days is consuming protein powder. I know, I KNOW, I hardly recognize myself right now. But there are a lot of fitness and weight-lifting enthusiasts in my office, and I overheard one of them suggesting increasing another person’s protein intake upon hearing that the other person was taking a long time to recover from muscle soreness. I figured it wouldn’t hurt, and whaddya know, I am not feeling as sore for as long. (In fact, sometimes I am suspicious that I’m not working out hard enough because I am not feeling as sore as I did those first 4 weeks I started working out.)

On top of my 5 fitness classes a month, I am also trying to take advantage of the gym in my office building that is available to me free of charge! Especially during weeks that I only have one fitness class scheduled, I’ll try to make time to go to my building gym (again, at 7AM), and lift weights and then run on the treadmill. I’m going to be honest: I never have a real plan when I lift weights. This is a problem that I think may be remedied by me investing in a trainer, as was my original plan back in December, but right now I do essentially every exercise I know I can do with dumbbells and that takes me about 40 minutes. Then I run for about 20 minutes. I move up to heavier dumbbells when the ones I usually use are not on the rack. That is maybe not the best reason to increase weight but that’s what I do!

This is really uncharted territory here. I now own grippy socks and boxing handwraps, because my favorite classes are barre and kickboxing. (?!) I have a tub of protein powder in my pantry. I am increasingly finding myself in the unfamiliar dilemma of needing more workout clothes because I really don’t do laundry frequently enough to get by on how much I have currently.

And I like working out. That is maybe the most bizarre thing to me, but I look forward to my workouts. It’s a time when I am too busy trying to keep myself alive to worry about the myriad of other things I concern myself with usually. Exercise keeps me too physically busy to be anxious. It becomes an almost meditative experience, that I’m able to be so focused on physical activity that my mental activity has to take a backseat.

I’m not expecting to be swole (despite how much I joke about it). (It is maybe not funny how many times I now utter the word “swole” out loud.) I am still in that stage where I talk about my working out pretty often because I’m still in a state of shock that I’m doing it and I kind of need to vocalize it to confirm that it’s really happening. There are weeks where I don’t work out as much as I know I should and I’m still struggling with problem areas on my body that need more attention. I need to really get serious about weight-lifting if I want to set certain weight goals there to reach by December, and that will require me to do something different from just… all the dumbbell exercises I know. I also need to get more serious about running and flexibility.

But I think I like this new version of myself that is exercising and investing time and money and energy into my health. And I hope I like her enough to keep investing in her and making her better.


How do you stay in shape? The studios I have favorited are barre, kickboxing, and yoga. I am a creature of habit, which means I’m actually having a hard time trying out any new classes, so if you’re in the DC area and have specific studios to recommend or you just have a workout to recommend in general (I keep seeing Bodypump pop up!), let me know!

Do you like group fitness or doing your own thing at the gym more? I really love group fitness, because I think the peer pressure of a bunch of strangers really keeps me on track and helps push me a bit farther than if I were just working out on my own. I don’t like working out with friends very much because I know I’m not in shape and I fear judgement from people I know and care about. I am getting better about working on out my own at the gym, but my biggest source of anxiety there is just running into coworkers. This social pressure is all in my head, I know, and I am getting over it little by little as I get stronger, little by little. I also tend to not push myself quite as hard and, of course, not have a particularly good comprehensive workout plan when I am on my own.

This is not a sponsored post, by the way. I just wouldn’t be in the place I am in right now without having paid for a month of exercise upfront for 4 months, and I know that, and ClassPass has been really great for me and my needs specifically. I am including a referral link if you’re interested in trying it out for $30 off.

2017 Resolutions

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…Read More »

2016 Resolutions

Even though it seems contrived to repeat myself year after year after year, my resolutions posts are easily the most important blog posts I write. I could write nothing else but resolution posts and they would validate the existence of my blog, personally. It’s important for me to have them bookmarked so that I can look back on them. Yes, most of the time, most of my resolutions go unkept by December 31, but it’s still important for me to set these goals for myself. I like the promise of a fresh Gregorian calendar year ahead of me to taking more steps towards becoming the person I want to be.

This year, I’m going to do what I’ve been futzing about and not doing in past years: I’m going to schedule time for these resolutions every day, every week, every month. After not achieving certain resolutions year after year after year (see #1 and #2), I really understand the value of me making time for myself and the goals I am setting for myself. Even though my schedule has been — and will remain for some time — painfully uncertain, I can still make sure to make time for goals that are important to me. I’ll denote things I need to schedule with an asterisk(*).

2016 Resolutions
Here we go!

Read More »