New Year’s Resolutions

If I’m gonna be honest, 2016 wasn’t the best year. But I suppose it wasn’t the worst either.

Anyways, it’s all over now. I’m putting the past behind me. If 2016 was the year of change and uncertainty, here’s to be hoping that 2017 will be the year of clarity and self-improvement.

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So here’s a compilation of my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve also made a list of concrete steps that I will take to achieve them. If you’re reading this and any of our goals overlap, feel free to try out any of my tips and tricks.

1. Sleep before 1 AM every night.

An ambitious goal. I know.Especially for a night owl like me. This is not something that I can do immediately, but I hope that I can get to the point of achieving this goal by February. I realised that it’s essential to change my sleep schedule if I want to become more a happy and productive person. I find that I’m always more energetic and refreshed after a good night’s sleep, and I’m tired of hearing people say to me, “You look really tired. Are you ok?”

Concrete goals:

  1. Keep my phone at the farthest corner of the room when I sleep.
    • Keeping your phone at a distance removes the temptation to reach for it on your bedside and start scrolling mindlessly when sleep alludes you. Not only does checking your cell phone before bed decrease the chance of falling asleep, it is also extremely damaging to your eyes.
  2. Read a book for 20 minutes before going to bed every night.
    1. This helps to clear you head. Distract yourself from electronics, the troubles in your life, and lose yourself in the ideas of someone else.

2. Consume less. Create more. 

By consumption, I am referring to the consuming of mass amounts of largely useless online content.

I admit this is a big fault of mine. In the age of the internet and social media, we are constantly getting information bombarded at us from every side. While we have access to unprecedented amounts of information, these can actually be distractions, causing us to be unable to focus on the areas that we are truly passionate about. I constantly lie on my bed at night watching YouTube videos, or mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed clicking on whatever article or share catches my eye.

However, I rarely stop to think, is what I’m doing really contributing to my knowledge, or merely a waste of time? Rather than simply reading a book, finishing it, putting it down and thinking: well, that was nice, why not write a book review? Read a thought provoking article online, why not jot down a few notes and write a response or op-ed on the issue?

For more on this issue, check out this original oratory speech by the National Forensics League 2012 Champion Nader Helmy:

Concrete goals:

  1. Post on my blog at least twice a week
  2. Practice photography skills: I just got a new DSLR for Christmas that I plan to use as often as possible. After all, practice makes perfect!

3. Be more friendly and social. 

Be friendly to everyone you meet. Wave hello to people that you know on campus, even if you only met once in a club meeting. Go out of your way to help others in any way that you can.

This is also something that I’m not particularly good at. I’m definitely more of an introvert, and while I’ve come to terms with that,  I shouldn’t let that fact stop from cultivating meaningful and fulfilling relationships with those around me. Most of the time I am way too wrapped up in my own life, I often neglect to connect with my friends and families and understand the troubles and events going on in their lives.

Concrete goals:

  1. Invite a friend to lunch at least once a week to catch up with their lives.
  2. Go to office hours at least once a week. Get to know my professors, chat with them about my life and goals.
  3. Call grandparents at least twice a week. 
  4. Start a random conversation with a stranger at least once a week.
  5. Smile more. Be more friendly, even to strangers.

4. Stop procrastinating

I often find myself frantically typing up 1000 words of a paper an hour before the deadline, or getting up in the early hours of the morning to cram for an exam, just because I didn’t start early enough.

In fact, if I measured my level of productivity in the time leading up to a deadline and plotted it on a graph, it would probably resemble that of an an exponential equation:

exponential_functions

This year, I want it to resemble that of a natural log:

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Concrete goals:

  1. Turn on SelfControl.
    • I always find that my productivity grows exponentially on the rare occasion that I remember to turn on this nifty little app. SelfControl is an application on your computer that allows you to enter in the urls of the websites that you tend to waste the most time procrastinating on (e.g. Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr). You can set the amount of time that you wish to remain focused, and it will block these sites from your laptop so that you can’t access them for a certain amount of time, allowing you a block of time to concentrate on work free from all distractions.
    • Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out: https://selfcontrolapp.com/

So there you have it, my four New Year’s Resolutions for 2017. If any of you are reading this, I wish you all the success in your endeavours!

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