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!

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New Reading Challenge?

Stephanie over at Life In Limbo turned me on to PopSugar’s 2015 Reading Challenge. The idea is to expand your horizons with respects to the types of books you are reading. I know that I often fall into periods where I purposefully seek out similar book: my sci-fi phase, whenever I read a long series like The Boxcar Children, that time I checked out every book about dolphins that my library offered.

This challenge seems really different to me, and I know it would be really challenging for me to complete. Here are some that I found particularly interesting:

  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  • A book your mom loves
  • A book that takes place in your hometown
  • A book that came out the year you were born
  • A book with bad reviews
  • A book written by an author with your same initials

It’s a refreshing list that definitely will inject some variety to your reading list. I’m so used to seeing lists that follow a kind of Eat, Pray, Love model of suggesting books that make you laugh, make you cry, make you feel old, make you feel young, whatever. Not that those aren’t good books to read, but this list is a little quirky and I like that.

Stephanie has made a handy dandy Google Doc for you to fill in the titles of the books as you complete the challenge. If you’d like to follow along with PopSugar’s checklist, you can download their printable.

If you want to follow along with my 2015 Reading Challenge (we’ll see if when I complete it!), I am on GoodReads!

P.S. I’ve finished our January books – #GIRLBOSS and Bossypants. What would you recommend for February?

One Down

The reason I took my little hiatus was because I suddenly was thrown into GMAT cramming. To accommodate deadlines I had just learned about 30 minutes after talking to my boyfriend, I was suddenly given the insanely short 3 weeks to study for a test that I had almost zero familiarity with at all. (Sorry for lying, Mom!)

Well, I thought I had 3 weeks, but one week into studying, I was derailed by the fact that there were no test dates available for the week I wanted. In order to make a deadline — which, to remind you, I had only learned about one week prior to this — I needed to register for the test coming up in 7 days.

panic animated GIF

I had 2 weeks to study and I had already spent one of those weeks not really feeling too confident. I only had 7 days to get my score up. I didn’t have time to even think about if I was going to apply for grad school because I had to give myself the luxury of making that decision by pwning the GMAT.

Because my test appointment was at 4 PM, the latest I have ever taken a standardized test (and I have taken many), I was a nervous wreck. It was maybe the worst test anxiety I’ve ever experienced, if only because it was over such a long period of time. Even when I had calmed down listening to “Bring ‘Em Out“, it was only noon and I managed to ruminate myself into nausea just 2 hours later. By the time the test started, however, I felt more at ease. I had taken nearly 20 standardized tests before this one (holy moly) and the stakes were low. I knew what kind of score I was capable of getting.

I came just shy of getting a score I would have been able to walk away satisfied with, but I fulfilled my New Year’s resolution! I didn’t think I would have check that off for months, but 3 weeks into 2015 and it’s done. 🙂

I feel really proud of myself for what I accomplished, not only overall but in 15 days, with a huge push during the last 7 days. You guys, if I can do it, SO CAN YOU.

Christ

2015 Resolutions – Abstract

Ah… the tough list. The one that gnaws at me every day of the new year. The one that has more to do with who I am rather than simply what I do. If you thought concrete resolutions were hard to keep, you should see how much harder it is to modify thoughts over behaviors. But I studied psychology – I know it can be done.

Here’s what I’d like to do in 2015:

  1. Spend fewer weekend evenings alone. I spent a lot of time this past year just sitting by myself. As an extrovert, this bothered me a lot. I’m not comfortable spending that much time with myself and only myself. It would get extra difficult on the weekends, because I am so used to reserving my weekends as time to be spent with other people. Spending those Friday and Saturday nights alone was not good for me, so I just have to resolve not to do that anymore.
  2. In fact, learn how to be alone, full stop. The most frustrating thing I learned about my extroversion was that I could never pull a Thoreau and run off into the woods to live alone. The fact of the matter is that I cannot 100% control if I am alone or not; that depends on other people’s cooperation. So, I have to learn not to fall apart if I am alone.
  3. Ask for what I want. I don’t know where I got this idea that dropping hints about what I wanted and then pretending I’d be surprised if I somehow did get it was a better idea than just asking for what I want. It’s not. 2015 is the year when I start being frank and direct about what I would like to see from myself and my life.
  4. Practice my languages. I definitely dropped the ball with my goals here last year, but I need to work on this skillset that I once had. I’ll definitely be trying to dust off my Chinese and French. Will I be able to read a book in a different language by December? Ehhh who knows! This is why this resolution has been moved off the concrete list 😛
  5. Make time for fitness. AKA the most common and cliché resolution of all time? What I need to do is find something that will keep me on track, whether it’s a class or an event. (Another 5K? Ugh… maybe…) I’d love to find a fitness class that I feel obligated to keep up with, so that’s probably my best bet. This could be a concrete resolution, but in general, I just want to carve out more time for being active.
  6. Spend more time outside. Sometime in the past 10 years, I went from being a really outdoorsy girl to being an awfully indoorsy girl. It’s probably a combination of my new fear of the sun, aversion to extreme temperatures, and general sexist suggestions that I stay indoors rather than exerting myself outside. I miss being outside. I miss breathing in fresh air. I miss the warmth of the sun on my (SPFed) face without a window interrupting. There is just this alive energy that you can feel when you’re outside and I miss it. Maybe I’ll start hiking this year, who knows!
  7. Trim the fat. Not only with regards to the above fitness-related resolution. I find that there is a lot of dead weight in my life, in the form of people, attitudes, etc. etc. etc. It’s time to just get rid of all of that, even though it won’t be easy.
  8. Create schedules and stick to them. I shied away from the idea of writing down an hour-by-hour itinerary for my days but maybe I need that. I know that I am the kind of person who needs a lot of structure to work effectively, and maybe knowing that my 11-12 block is for blogging and not for YouTube is important. On a similar note:
  9. Have plans every week. This goes with my concrete resolution of keeping up with my planner; it’s hard to make sure there’s something written every week if I don’t have anything planned. It doesn’t have to be going out or meeting up with people but having things to look forward to in the week is really important for my mental health. I used to joke that having really small rewards like whatever I wanted for dessert on a Friday was all that got me through the week. But it was true. Sometimes the only thing that kept me going was knowing I could get an eclair AND chocolate cake AND mango mousse at dinner in just a few days, so I need to make sure I have similar little rewards for just surviving.
  10. Discipline, discipline, discipline. This will always be one of my biggest struggles but I think the key is creating a system where I have no choice but to do what I need to do. Again, structure reigns supreme in my life, and if I create a sturdy frame for my life, everything else should fall into place.

 

:)

This year feels different. I ended 2014 feeling a bit down, but last night, I struggled to sleep because I was riding this momentum swelling within me. I was so excited about the things I wanted to do and the person I wanted to be that I couldn’t sleep. What was almost as energizing as this feeling was the fact that I was feeling it at all. Just days ago, I was feeling stuck, not sure where I was or where I was going, more than happy to just sleep all of my days away to escape that feeling.

It’s a great way for me to start the year and I feel optimistic that I can change for the better and get closer to becoming the person I want to be.

2015 Resolutions – Concrete

Here we are, 2015!  If I kept a resolution to blog about my resolutions every year, it would be one of the few resolutions I have kept! (My resolutions aren’t all up on this blog, which hasn’t always been active, but they’re out there in the Internet.)

Resolutions: A way for people to acknowledge their shortcomings and flaws as well as the person they want to be.

I do have to say that a lot of my resolutions will be repeated from last year’s list. For some of them, I had already failed by February. I would think about that blog post in June and tell myself that I needed to start, better late than never! By November, I was just painfully aware of my acute failure to achieve some of these resolutions, and I had basically accepted that I would need to include them in my 2015 resolutions. Oh well! Without further ado:

Concrete Goals

As with last year, I’m dividing my resolutions into 2 categories. This first category is of my measurable goals, wherein, by this time next year, I’ll know if I’ve achieved them or not.

  1. Find a new new job. I’m on the job hunt again, as I am learning the hard way what I should have already known and that is how difficult it can be to be in a good place, work-wise. (And also that I do miss being in an office.) I feel like I’m getting to a place where I know where I want to be for the first time since I quit being pre-med, and that’s a really great place to start. I also need to be better about asking for help with this because I am still very lost in the non-pre-med world and I have always been too proud to ask for help but I need it. I need help.
  2. Read 25 books. I failed this goal really miserably last year. Barely read at all. According to Goodreads, I only read a dozen books this entire year. My problem is that I don’t set aside time for reading. The only reason I even read as many as I did this past year was because of the time I spent on a 1-hour train ride commuting to my last job. I didn’t have anything else to do but read, and it became my dedicated reading time. I need to carve out dedicated reading time in my schedule again in order to achieve my sad, sad goal. I’m also going to try really hard to stop wasting my time on books that I just don’t enjoy. I normally devour books in a day or two, but struggling through a book for weeks or months on end doesn’t do anyone any favors. (Looking at you, terrible chapter of Cloud Atlas!) So this goal would come out to about 2 books a month? That seems so doable and yet…
  3. Take more photos. And archive them better. I realized with my very belated Europe posts that my documentation of my trip was crucial in my being able to remember what had happened. This year, I tried not to let photo-taking interfere with me actually experiencing my life, so I have to find a delicate balance here. I have decided to take at least one photo every day and will be documenting via Instagram and Tumblr. This is not only an exercise in documenting my life but, hopefully, will also be a photography exercise in and of itself. I know what I’m doing with a camera, so I should try to act like it.
  4. Edit videos for video documentation. I have wanted to explore video for a while, as a long-time YouTube addict. I have so much footage that I just don’t want to edit because, well, I hate video editing a lot. It is tedious work for me because I’m not good at it but I’m very meticulous about it. I hope I can practice editing this year so that it can go by faster and I can get footage of Europe and more up and become YouTube famous. I’m trying to think of a way to quantify this goal, maybe one video per month? Or one video per quarter? I guess we’ll see at the end of January how I’m feeling about this, and whether it’ll be a monthly or quarterly thing.
  5. Maintain regular blogging schedule. I am really proud of myself for sticking to my self-imposed schedule of posting every Tuesday and Friday. I’ve cut it really close a few times, but I managed to make it! The only problem I encountered with this schedule was that I found myself wanting to post things in between those days (e.g. for holidays, immediate recaps, etc.) but waiting because I knew that I wouldn’t have the energy/inspiration to post for my Tuesday/Friday schedule. I will try to guarantee a post on Tuesday and Friday and supplement with additional time-sensitive posts, like today’s New Year’s Day resolutions post! This might go terribly wrong, but it will teach me that I have to plan ahead.
  6. Get 700+ on the GMAT. I did not seriously consider taking the test last year, now that I look back. I’ve been holding onto my boyfriend’s GMAT prep books for years now and have barely opened them. I haven’t even taken any practice tests yet. This year, I’m going to take the test because this year, I need to apply for school. Not being in a formal educational setting is kind of killing me. I planned on being in school for the next 4-7 years, and now I’ll be school-less for 2 years.
  7. Perfect split. How many years is this going to be a goal…? But let’s get down to business with this one. I am going to set an alarm for myself to stretch if I have to. Here’s the kicker: I know I can do a split right now. I was essentially dared to do one over the summer and I did it. I was in pain for about 2 weeks afterwards, however, so that’s what we’re going to try to eliminate this year.
  8. Learn to code. I feel really motivated, lately, to get serious about coding. Historically, computers and I have never gotten along. They scream at me and sometimes literally fume because they hate me so much. (No, really. You haven’t experienced fear of technology until your vision was clouded by smoke and you could smell burning plastic.) But I need to conquer technology and I think this is the year I will do it. Being able to code my blog (when I move hosts?!) and personal website would be a good concrete marker to look for here.
  9. Keep up with my planner/journaling. I don’t know how well journaling will work out this year (likely not well at all), but I want to consistently keep up with my planning in my planner. I often have gaps from when I just forget about my planner and I’d like to avoid that this year, especially since I have a brand new planner that I just love looking at. As long as I have something written every week (hoping that I have something every week) would be a success here.
  10. Get a new primary care physician. This is more of a to-do for the coming month but ever since that nightmare visit with a PCP who wasn’t my pediatrician, I haven’t listed a new physician for primary care, and I haven’t had a full physical since. As someone who constantly tells people that their specialists should not be their PCPS (ob/gyns are not PCPs, ladies), I feel really uneasy not having one of my own. We recently switched insurance, so now that the dust has settled I should be clear to find a new doctor and get a physical.
  11. Plan at least one themed party. I have been itching to plan and throw a fun party. I love planning events and getting little details right. It’s part of why I love planning those random outfits I keep doing for the occasion. I know I’m not the only one who gets excited when all those seasonal items come out in stores, whether it’s patriotic napkins or decorative cornucopias.
Goodbyee!!
How clever is this??

Please let me know if you have any tips/advice for my resolutions and what yours are this year, especially if we have any overlapping! We can help keep each other on track and be resolution buddies. 🙂
I hope your resolutions go better than mine usually do!

P.S. I am always brutally honest and hard on myself around resolution time, but I know I have actually succeeded with several of my resolutions in the past, especially with regards to small habits that improve my health. I drink a lot more water than I used to, I SPF and moisturize way more regularly than before, etc. If there’s hope for me, you’ll definitely knock your goals and resolutions out of the park!