I have written New Year’s resolutions since 2014, and do post-mortems to evaluate my progress. All of my resolutions are in separate text documents in my laptop’s desktop, so I see them every morning.
In the past I’ve only blogged about the 2015 edition, where I briefly covered my resolutions for the year. That was four years ago, so how are things looking today?
The good news: I have maintained tracking New Year’s resolutions throughout the years, and have achieved many of my goals. Some resolutions are specific, such as “run a half marathon in under 1:45”, but others are vague, such as “run consistently on Tuesdays and Thursdays”, so I don’t keep track of the number of successes or failures. Instead, I jot down several “positive,” “neutral,” and “negative” conclusions at each year’s end.
Possibly because of my newfound goals and ambitions, my current resolutions are much longer than they were in 2015. My 2019 resolutions are split into six categories: (1) reading books, (2) blogging, (3) academics, education, and work, (4) physical fitness and health, (5) money and finances, and (6) miscellaneous. Each is further sub-divided as needed.
Probably the most notable change I’ve made since 2015 is my book reading habit, which has rapidly turned into my #1 non-academic activity. It’s the one I default to during my evenings, my vacations, my plane rides, and on Saturdays when I generally do not work in order to recharge and to preserve my sanity.
Ultimately, much of my future career/life will depend on how well I meet my goals under class (3) above, in the academics, education, and work category, At a high level, the goals here (which could be applied to my other categories, but I view them mostly under the lens of “work”) are:
Be Better At Minimizing Distractions. I am reasonably good at this, but there is still a wide chasm between where I’m at and my ideal state. I checked email way too often this past year, and need to cut that down.
Be Better At Reading Research Papers. Reading academic papers is hard. I have read many, as evident by my GitHub paper notes repository. But not all of those notes have reflected true understanding, and it’s easy to get bogged down into irrelevant details. I also need to be more skeptical of research papers, since no paper is perfect.
Be Better At Learning New Concepts. When learning new concepts (examples: reading a textbook, self-studying an online course, understanding a new code base), apply deliberate practice. It’s the best way to quickly get up to speed and rapidly attain the level of expertise I require.
I hope I make a leap in 2019. Feel free to contact me if you’ve had some good experiences or insights from forming your own New Year’s resolutions!