2017 Resolutions & 2016 Resolutions Recap

2017 New Year’s Resolutions

Exercise

  • Run a marathon.
  • Exercise at least three times per week on average.

Procrastinate less

  • 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

  • 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:

  1. Run 50 miles every month.
  2. Read 20 books.
  3. 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
Profession Isaac Asimov
*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
*1Q84 Haruki Murakami
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!