My 2020 New Year Resolutions

I never thought much about new year resolutions previously, due to this simple fact: it is useless and I never last for more than a month. And even a month would be considered impressive for me.

Just like the start of each semester I make a neat time table, pack in the time for going to the gym regularly, swear that I will play less video games, am assured that this semester I will finally be able to wake up early every day, and one week in, I am back to my old self.

This cycle of resolving to do something impressive or nice for a change never lasts, so what's the point?

This was until last year, 2019, I decided that I wanted to read more in the year of 2019, and so I had one single new year resolution, and that was to read 3 books a month.

And surprise! This was the first ever new year resolution I successfully achieved. Not only that, but I also learned so much from reading all these books. Along with how to make new year resolutions a decision that stick, and how it can help me achieve my goals.

Here are my three rules of thumb for making new year resolutions that are meaningful:

Create resolutions that you ACTUALLY care about.

Not someone else's resolution. Not a resolution you think you should care about. But rather, find things that you actually and desperately want to improve or achieve for the coming year. These are the goals that will last you through the year. Not the ones that you come up on the fly.

My core group of four friends and I used to meet up every year to make new year resolutions throughout college. Around Christmas each year, we would find a nice cozy place to eat, read over our resolutions from last year, discuss them, then create ones for the coming year.

I loved the exercise. It was helpful in getting me thinking what I wanted for the coming year - points of improvements I would like in my life. But it was only good for that: thinking about what I want. I would write a list of 3 - 5 bullet point resolutions and call it a day.

One year later, I would often (shamefully) realize that I had not acted on any of them. In fact I forgot most of them, or they had become so low priority that I no longer cared about them.

So finding something that you know you will care about one year from now is going to be of utmost importance.

Create SPECIFIC Resolutions

Just like setting goals, the more specific your resolution is, the more likely you are to achieve it. Another good thing for creating specific resolutions is that at the end of the year, you'll know exactly whether you have achieved your resolution instead of some wishy washy: I think I did, maybe. Or I definitely improved, but by how much, exactly?

A resolution where you can picture vividly in your head of what it will be like once you have achieved it are the ones that will stick to your brain throughout the year and really push you to strive for that.

Keep it simple, keep it few

Finally, as said above, keep it simple and limit the number of resolutions. You can't achieve your resolutions if you don't remember them, and I don't think anyone spends time memorizing their resolutions.

My way of going at it is finding a few key aspects of my life that I really want to improve on, and have one single goal for each. Sometimes even that it too much. And if down the line you are sticking to your resolution and finding it too easy, you can always add! Better that than being beaten down for not being able to achieve your resolution.

So here are my 2020 resolutions.

Intellectual - Read 3 books/month

I will keep it the same as last year: reading 3 books/month. I foresee this being harder to achieve than last year, since the month that I started working was the exact month I stopped being able to consistently read 3 books/month. However, I find this an important habit to keep going, so this year's goal will be exactly the same as last year.

No restriction on type of book, length of book, as long as I am reading consistently.

Physical/Health - Get to 100 lb and stay there

I would like to lose some weight. and get there through healthy means.

I find that the losing weight is probably easier than maintaining the lost weight. I am a person who has no self discipline, so if I starve myself, the rebound is definitely going to bad. Therefore, I find that the only way for me to consistently lose weight until my goal and staying there would be to eat healthier and more mindfully. Staying away from the cookies and pizzas and boba is probably also something to do. Cheat days are allowed, but not every day should be a cheat day.

Honestly, the recipe to weight loss and maintenance should be quite easy: move more, eat less. So that is what I will do.

Career - Being more aware and mindful of my development

It is way too easy to be consumed in everyday life, living from day to day, doing the things that want to be done and have to be done.

However, I find that quality thinking time is a must in order to live a successful and fulfilled life.

So this year, I am making it a goal to spend more time being aware of what I want, what I enjoy, and especially where I want to go in the future. Planning and thinking about where I want to go for the future is definitely important even if the plans themselves don't come true.

This goal is less precise, simply because I don't know how long I should spend on thinking, and it is simply very difficult to measure the amount of time you think about something.

My way around that is to set up a reminder every two weeks poking me to maybe spend some time thinking about the future and what I want.

Bonus - Finish writing my Duke/Song/Dance novel

Nanowrimo, or National Novel Writing Month, is something I have been doing for the past three years. The principle is to start and finish a brand new 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I have never succeeded.

Every year I start a new novel, have a great idea, and tell myself: this year is the year that I will finally finish that novel. I go through planning and plotting meticulously, and never get very far with the novels.

So this year, I am promising myself NOT to start a new novel. I think having three workable ideas that have been started is more than enough. I won't be starting a new novel this year until I finish at least one novel.

So this is the year, I will finally finish a novel. I don't have a good idea of which novel I will want to complete first, but I want to at least finish one.

And that concludes my new year resolutions.

Happy 2020 and Year of the Mouse!

Young Biomedical Engineer | sharing my side endeavors as I stumble upon them