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My List of Resolutions for 2016 and Looking Ahead at 2017

At the beginning of 2016, I committed to complete 20 different resolutions, one for each year of my life. It was an ambitious list to start with, and some of these resolutions were goals that many people would focus on one at a time.

Now that 2016 is over, I want to take a chance to reflect on my accomplishments and come up with a revised list for 2017 based off some of the personal feedback I’ve generated from my list of resolutions in 2016.

As of 12/31/16, I’ve completed 14 out of the 20 resolutions I set out to accomplish in 2016. This equates to a 70% completion rate, one that I’m not very proud of, but when I take a look at each one of these goals, I’m happy to say that these are things that I couldn’t even hope to achieve unless I had set out to finish them with a goal in mind in the first place.

Highlights of the year include finishing a half marathon, reading 12 different books (which ended up becoming 15), transcribing and recording an acapella song, typing up my childhood stories, and designing and getting my own tattoo. Although I accomplished a lot, I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to finish a lot of the resolutions I promised to finish. With that said, here are my three revisions for my list of resolutions in 2017.

1. Focus on fewer, but more difficult resolutions

In 2016, I wanted to challenge myself by coming up with a large list of resolutions I wanted to finish by the end of the year. However, none of the items I wanted to finish had a common theme or tied in to my life aspirations. This year, I want to hone my list of 20 items down to a list of five, but make these five items especially important to me. Instead of just creating a checklist of resolutions like I did last year, I want to center each one of my resolutions around a particular goal or life objective, and create subtasks under each resolution that I need to accomplish to reach that particular goal.

2. Vow to commit and finish all the resolutions on my list

I was afraid at the end of 2016 that if I didn’t finish some of the resolutions on my list, I would be less compelled to continue making resolutions for 2017 and following through, mainly because I had already set a precedent for myself. However, I realize that by focusing on fewer and more difficult resolutions, I would have more of a focus and be more willing to finish big (also the title of the last book I read in 2016).

In 2017, I vow to completely commit and finish all the resolutions that I come up with. For much of my life, I’ve been much of a starter, fiery with interest when I start something, but also lack the ambition to finish what I start. This year, I want to change that and finish all the things I commit to. As a result, I’m hoping this will help push me toward a mindset where I become more determined to finish and less compelled to quit.

3. Define a set of criteria that allows me to know when I am done

Finally, in order to objectively determine that I am actually done with one of the resolutions on my list, I will write down a list of well-defined criteria associated with each resolution so that I know I will not be able to half-ass a resolutions and mark it off as done (which is what I regretfully admit to have done for some of the resolutions in 2016). Only by being able to check off the criteria I define for each resolution will I be able to say that I achieved my goal with pride.


With all that said, here’s my list of resolutions for 2017.

1. Read 12 Books

Last year, I ended up reading 12 books, but didn’t read take the time to sit down and reflect on each one. This year, I’ll be reading 12 more books and writing a few paragraphs on each one with my thoughts and how it relates to my life.

1. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman (DONE)

2. Columbine by Dave Cullen (DONE)

3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson (DONE)

4. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

5. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (DONE)

6. Our Final Invention by James Barrat

7. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

8. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley

9. The Hero’s Body: A Memoir by William Giraldi (DONE)

10. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

11. Do Less by Rachel Jonat

12. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

2. Learn Mandarin Chinese

Throughout elementary, middle, and high school, I chose to take Spanish over several other languages, mainly due to its widespread usage across the world. However, in recent years, I’ve found it more and more difficult to converse with people who speak Mandarin, even though I had taken several years of it Sunday mornings at the local Chinese school. This year, I’m resolving to teach myself Chinese and prep myself for my trip to China this upcoming summer.

  • Finish Mango Languages Mandarin Track
  • Finish All Free Lessons on the Chinese Skill App

By completing these lessons and practicing every day, I hope to become at least somewhat fluent when speaking to others in Chinese. Given my background and exposure to Chinese and Chinese culture, I’m looking to improve my speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills.

3. Develop My Programming Skills and Learn New Technologies

Last year, I committed to develop two applications (one mobile and one web) and a website. For both applications, I started, but wasn’t able to finish because I had reached a point where I was stuck on what I was working on. This year, I want to continue working on developing my hard skills so that I can become more confident in my ability to program. As I progressed throughout college, I realized I perhaps spread myself a bit too thin by deciding to triple major, which resulted in me spending less time on personal programming projects and more time on completing schoolwork. For this year, I’m deciding to focus on learning new languages, stacks, and technologies to build applications that I will use, while concurrently building my knowledge and aptitude to code and think like a computer scientist.

  • Build and Deploy a MEAN Stack App for Tracking Job/School Applications
  • Reading all 10 Chapters of this SEO/SEM Guide (https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo)
  • Finish Building My iOS Habit Tracker App

I’ve realized that because so many of these goals have such a steep learning curve, I expect to ask a lot of questions to my more intelligent programmer friends and pick their brains so that I’ll be able to finish my resolutions for this year.

4. Challenge Myself Physically

Since the beginning of college, I’ve started making an effort to eat healthier and exercise more. This has included challenging myself to participate and progress in sports and weightlifting, things I have slowly picked up over the past few years. However, instead of aimlessly exercising without a purpose, I’ve set some quantifiable fitness goals I want to reach.

  • Run a Marathon
  • Bench Press 205 x 5 or 225 x 1
  • Start Deadlifting and Reach a Goal of 185 x 5
  • Squat More and Reach a Goal of 185 x 5
  • Barbell Curl 90 x 5
  • Do All of the Above While Maintaining a Weight Between 160 and 170

5. Become More Financially Independent

Now that college is almost over for me and I’ve accepted a full time job, I realize it’s time to get my finances in order. This starts by paying off my student loans and developing a strong financial base that I can continue to grow in the future.

  • Pay Off My Student Loans
  • Get My First Credit Card
  • Set Up IRA and Deposit $1000 Over the Course of the Year
  • Streamline my Bank Accounts and Close Accounts I No Longer Need

With all this said, I expect 2017 to be better and greater than 2016. I saw 2016 as the year for personal exploration — this is the year for finishing what I start. I want to give thanks to everyone who helped me achieve my goals for 2016, and look forward to accomplishing bigger and better things in 2017!

If you want to share your resolutions or learn more about me, feel free to follow me on Instagram and Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn! I’ll be constantly updating this page and labelling completed resolutions as (DONE).

Thanks for reading!

-Derek Mei