Today, I spent a good portion of my day reviewing my past year in depth.
I did an 80/20 analysis of 2016, figuring out what 20% of people, what 20% of tasks I took on, what 20% of my hobbies, and what 20% of my money-related activities brought me at least 80% of my general good feelings. In contrast, I examined what 20% of things in those same categories brought me 80% of my general bad feelings.
This post is dedicated to this 2016 review and will be a guideline for me to look back on throughout the year.
Essentially, it is an introspective and in-depth resolutions list.
I began by spending roughly 5 minutes writing down all of the best and worst things I could think of revolving around my 2016 year. Next to each item, I put a plus or a minus sign, respectively. I then spent another 20 or 30 minutes going through my calendar, starting from January of 2016, all the way to December, and figuring out what appointments, events, meetings, friends, clubs, or whatever else, had a positive or negative impact on my life.
I then put each of these items into 4 distinct categories and found trends within each category to create an overall summary of what to improve in 2017 and beyond.
Academic and Career:
- Take on less at the same time.
- This was because I joined many various clubs, all while studying for the MCAT/GRE, writing grants, and working more than 15 hours a week in my research lab, all with a full course load. I felt that I wasn’t able to form connections with anyone in the organizations that I joined, or really have a meaningful impact on anything I did.
- Dedicate more time to my senior design team.
- I kind of pushed this one aside for a while, especially the development side of my senior design project. Although I worked on a lot of the actual in-class assignments, I feel as though knowledge-wise, I am quite a bit behind on the topic and on the software usage.
- I also want to get closer to my actual team members. Not just laugh/drink close, but deep meaningful relationships close.
- Dedicate more time to my research lab.
- This is potentially my future career, which means I should not be half-assing any of this. Already I have gotten criticism from my mentor about not meeting his expectations throughout this quarter. I felt as though I made a great impact over the summer when I dedicated 40 hours a week to my research, but ever since starting up classes again, and applying for graduate schools and grant, I have really fallen behind.
- Start important things earlier.
- Many of the things I did over 2016 were very last minute, and I was ill prepared for most of them. This was mostly big, important things like the MCAT, the GRE, the NSF grant, and my graduate applications. I should plan things further in advance, and break each task into steps that I can complete over time.
- Summary: Give real dedication to the tasks that I choose, or otherwise need to take on. No commitments should be half-assed, they should be full-assed, both in terms of actual work, and making the connections in those areas. Deep work is key to make the most of my time and feel fully immersed in my work.
- Go rock climbing more, and schedule it in advance. If it’s not on the calendar, it will never happen.
- Keep meditating twice daily, the benefits are huge, and the peace of mind is needed.
- Get really into making my own beer, like from the full on hops, not the pellets. And from full grains too, not the kits.
- Go camping more, especially when my mind begins to clutter, and I am in need of some serious introspection. The stars and nature are unbeatable for peace of mind.
- Keep going to the gym, and go alone.
- The frat isn’t worth it. I don’t feel close, nor do I feel like I could get close to many of the guys in there. The ones that I am already close to won’t suddenly stop being my friend. No more of this just because stuff. (Plus it’s $300 a quarter).
- Read more fiction/fantasy books, and stop reading it if I don’t like it.
- Although non-fiction and self-help books are great and motivational, I need a bit of fiction and story-telling in my life.
- Summary: Schedule the good stuff, or they won’t ever happen. Deep work on my academics so that I can make more time for the fun stuff.
- Figure out the best way to hang out with each friend.
- I have a friend whom I cannot stand hanging out with when we’re around other people, but the minute we’re alone, we have great conversation and we are the best of friends. Thus, I should only hang out with him alone.
- Be a better friend to those who make me feel happiest, or whom I feel closest to.
- This means sacrifice time to go out of my way and do the things that are most meaningful to them, even if it doesn’t sound that great. I know they would do it for me.
- Schedule more stuff with those who are closest to me. I hardly have time even for myself, but I need to make time for the important things in my life, and friends are one of the top priorities.
- Call my long-distance friends more often. I always have trouble talking on the phone, or over skype, but I need to make the effort.
- Summary: Focus more time on good friends, and be the friend that I would want them to be for me.
- Spend less money going out for food and coffee.
- I will try to cut it down to at most once a week, both for coffee and for food.
- Meal prep more often, and plan it better (i.e. plan next Sunday’s meal prep on the previous Sunday).
- Not only is it healthier, but way cheaper, too.
- Cook more often with Stephanie. Again, cheaper, and it’s fun.
- Don’t spend any money (besides Uber) going out to Pacific Beach.
- Drinks downtown are extortion, especially when I can have a fun pregame with friends beforehand.
- Also, the pregame is usually the most fun part of the night, which brings me to my next point.
- Have more hangouts at my place with close friends.
- Just invite them over for drinks sometimes.
- It’s fun, and it’s a great way to connect. Going to clubs hardly allows any actual time to talk.
- Summary: Be conscious of the spending. Stop spending on the things I can make myself at home, and stop spending on extortionary nights out.
There’s the entirety of my list thus far. If I think of more points, I will likely append them to the post. In fact, I will probably make a page on this blog specifically for this post, and update that page instead.
I highly suggest everyone make a similar introspective post of their year (and yes, you can make it even after the 1st of January). It will keep you accountable, and it will be much more of a motivation to yourself if you give the “why’s” of your resolutions.
I look forward to applying these resolutions to my life, and improving myself in 2017 and beyond. I am curious to see what kinds of points will be on my list a year from now.