2017 New Year’s Resolutions
- Run a marathon.
- Exercise at least three times per week on average.
- Less Facebook: Remove FB app from phone and block FB on web* during work hours (9 to 5 on weekdays).
- Turn off push notifications for Messenger and Snapchat.
- Check phone only once an hour during work hours. (The previous bullet is useless without this one.)
- Read at least one academic paper per week on average.
Buy fewer things
- Buy at most one permanent** item per month.
*I’m using a chrome extension called StayFocusd. It blocks websites of my choice at certain hours of the day and allows a 10 minute grace period (i.e. I’m allowed to visit facebook for 10 minutes/day during work hours).
**Excludes food or shampoo but includes clothes, electronics, cooking utensils, etc.
I made these goals to be quite reasonable and achievable. To hold myself accountable, I’ll promise to donate $50 for every resolution (sub-bullet) I break.
2016 New Year’s Resolutions Recap
I made three resolutions at the beginning of 2016:
- Run 50 miles every month.
- Read 20 books.
- Befriend 10 new people.
TL;DR: I’ve successfully completed all three of these. Read more for deets.
1. Run 50 miles every month
I ran a total of 971 miles (1562 km) this year distributed over 208 runs (which I mostly tracked through Strava).
50 miles was a relatively easy baseline goal for me. I was debating on whether to set it higher like 80, but I’m glad I went with 50. Even if I slacked off for a week or two due to other aspects of life keeping me busy, I could still make 50 miles by running hard in the other two weeks. I am not planning to become a professional runner or anything like that, so giving myself a bit of slack for other things in life turned out to be a good idea.
2. Read 20 books
I read 23 books this year. Here they are:
|The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People||Stephen Convey|
|Life, the Universe, and Everything||Douglas Adams|
|The Alchemist||Paulo Coelho|
|Steve Jobs||Isaacson Walter|
|*City of Thieves||David Benioff|
|How to Win Friends and Influence People||Dale Carnegie|
|*The Girl With Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story||Hyeonseo Lee|
|The Rosie Project||Graeme Simsion|
|*Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt||Michael Lewis|
|The Girl with All the Gifts||M.R. Carey|
|What I Talk About When I Talk About Running||Haruki Murakami|
|Norwegian Wood||Haruki Murakami|
|The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty||Peter Singer|
|*From Then and Now: A Short History of the World||Christopher Moore|
|*I Am Malala||Malala Yousafzai|
|*Outliers: The Story of Success||Malcolm Gladwell|
|Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption||Laura Hillenbrand|
|Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future||Peter Thiel|
|*The Three-Body Problem||Cixin Liu|
|Hector and the Search for Happiness||Francois Lelord|
|Elon Musk: Inventing the Future||Ashlee Vance|
(* = really enjoyed)
I’m satisfied that I completed this resolution, but I am a bit saddened by the fact that I haven’t made time to read since starting grad school in September. I read 21 books by August, but I read 0 during the fall semester. I am not keeping this as a new year’s resolution for 2017 because I want to prioritize school/research/running over reading for pleasure (which is why I added reading papers as one of my goals).
3. Befriend 10 new people
This was the least concrete resolution since there isn’t a quantifiable way to define a friend. But no matter what definition I use, I definitely made more than ten friends this year. (By Facebook’s definition, I surpassed the goal by 18 x). This year was definitely an easier year for me to make new friends since I started attending a new school in a new city. I’m not going to continue this resolution in 2017, but I do want to always have the goal of meeting new people in mind.
That’s it! Happy New Year!