17 Changes that I’m Making

Around a year ago, I wrote my first real post on Medium. Coincidentally, it was also about New Year’s Resolutions:

The essential message that I was trying to make was that you don’t need an arbitrary date, like January 1st, to mark that you want to change. You can change — or do new things — anytime you want. And that it was better to do anything at all, than it was to do nothing.

But, looking back on this, I realized that I didn’t go into detail at all with what I truly wanted to accomplish.

Something I have learned the hard way, after trying time and time again, is that you cannot change your entire self.

When I read a lot of self-help articles and books, I often find the author telling the reader the many things that they need to start doing differently. My skepticism makes me often wonder if the author themselves practice what they preach.

So I am plainly going to write out what I plan on trying to accomplish. None of it is rather grand — baby steps. Feel free to copy any of it.

These aren’t goals, either, rather they are plans for a better system. Things I can work on every day, and not stop when I reach a specific milestone.

I. Health

  1. Have a healthier diet. The exact science of ideal human nutrition has become more of a debate as time goes on — polar opposite diets regarding specific macros are said to be the healthiest way, with studies to back them up. But I’m a simple person, so really this just means cutting out things that have a high sugar (or artificial sweetener) content, as well as stopping myself from overeating. Maybe adding a few more fruits and veggies to my diet, too.
  2. Stretch for 15 minutes every morning. This routine is also one that’s debated, as runners that do stretch show signs of strain and injury nearly as much as those that don’t. But I find limbering myself up before the day makes it easier for me to handle physical activity.
  3. Meditate for 10 minutes every morning. Meditation is something I have done since I became a practicing Mahayana Buddhist when I was around 13 or so. I believe it is one of the most essential habits one could have, as it allows you to truly and deeply think about what exactly you want to do with your day. Visualizing your day is a powerful tool.
  4. Go for a 25 minute jog every other day. Back when I was in high school I used to do a lot of sprinting, but I now usually find myself barely able to write-in any physical activity into my schedule. Using a tool like Runkeeper is also a great motivator.
  5. Sit less. While I don’t think sitting is as detrimental to your health as some might believe, I do think that it’d be healthy to get up every 20 or so minutes, particularly if I’m working at a screen.
  6. Go to bed early, wake up early. My circadian rhythm has proven to be difficult, and I often find myself staying up late and consequently waking up late, giving myself no time to focus on the rest of my day. And I know that nothing makes me feel more energized or gives me more momentum than having spare time to do the things I enjoy in the morning.

II. Creativity

  1. Publish a story on Medium bi-weekly. When I post, I find myself doing it sporadically and in great quantity all at once. By queuing and planning ahead with my writing, I’d be better able to maintain a consistent pace and write more often.
  2. Read and comment on more Medium stories. Something I need to take advantage more of on this platform is the community. There are so many amazing stories and authors that go unrecognized and ignored, and I want to start a dialogue with that.
  3. Learn a new language. I’ve been using Duolingo on-and-off for a few years trying to improve my French. If I start using it, among other language resources, every day and expose myself to more French media, I know I’ll be able to become fluent.
  4. Self-host a blog for a side-project. As much as I thoroughly enjoy Medium for blogging, using it as a host is a crutch. I need to expose myself to more front-end and back-end web development by deploying my own blog for another niche hobby (maybe poetry, photography, music — who knows). A few good examples would be Jekyll or Ghost.

III. Productivity

  1. Tame my monkey mind. I believe this is the most important thing I want to accomplish. It’s a humorous way of saying I want to stop procrastinating and wasting time — allowing myself to subside and mindlessly scroll through Facebook or Reddit. I would much rather spend half of that time doing something I sincerely enjoy to relax and feel a lot better about it.
  2. Write a weekly review, every week. One habit I seldom partake in when I journal write is reviewing. I often leave my notes said and done with, but going back and reviewing the most important aspects of my week would really help me see where I can improve. In addition, once I have my weeks reviewed, it’s far easier to review the month, the year, etc.
  3. Start working with a Pomodoro timer. One of my worst problems when working is burnout. I usually work for three or four hours straight — or don’t do any work all. Pacing is key to working longer without a decay in quality.
  4. Review and study for 30 minutes each day. Whether it’s for school or for my own self-education. Utilizing flashcards and mnemonics instead of rote learning helps exponentially.

IV. Personal

  1. Be kinder to all. I am often times, too hard on myself, and others around me as well. Whether it be strangers or good friends.
  2. Care less. On the other hand, I also find myself getting mixed up in things that truly hold no meaning. I can’t waste my time fretting about fake news, or getting worked up about differences of opinions. I have no time or energy for things that don’t consume me entirely.
  3. Review this document each day in 2017. Most of the time, we unconsciously give up our resolutions because life becomes too busy and we fall back into complacency. By forcing myself to look at this document every day, I’ll be sure to increase my chances of sticking to what I want to start doing. Maybe I could start making updates? I’m not sure, for now.