Goals For 2014
Happy New Years! Around this time last year, I posted this post, posing the question, "What if every day were New Years?". I wondered how much more we'd accomplish if we frequently set resolutions and how that might make us "better versions of ourselves". I'm not asking questions this year. I've come to acknowledge how precious "the present moment" is and I try not to make ridiculous goals for myself which ultimately end up making me feel worse, because not only did I not do what I wanted, but I also renege on my own promises.
Rather than make resolutions, I just want to share some parts of my life that I'm working on and some of the awesome projects I have coming in 2014. Not making promises, but my theory is that if I write my ambitions in public, not only will I be more committed, but I'll create a pseudo support group to help me see these things become a reality.
1 - No Alcohol
This may sound like a "ridiculous goal" but honestly, I already rarely drink any alcohol. Making the transition to "no alcohol" would be more more of a commitment rather than a goal. If vegans can give up chocolate, I can cut out alcohol.
2 - First Book
In my Happy Birthday.. To Me post, I wrote that I wanted to write a book. I've been learning more and more about the book creation process: finding designers, publishers, printers, book marketing, etc. Why? I trust my gut. Sometimes, I have these indescribable inclinations to do things, and usually there's some logic behind it. I don't try to dissect it, I just try to listen when I feel it coming. It's one of those "universe conspiring in your favor" moments. What's it going to be about? This blog has taught be a lot about myself. I can now look back on my first few posts and see how much I've changed and grown as a writer. It's a bit like reviewing old football game footage and analyzing your performance. Continuing to write is a tremendous exercise for my creative muscles. Writing doesn't come naturally for me and I'm aware of how much work I still need to do before I call myself a serious writer, but the commitment to practice is the first step. "All long journeys begin with a single step."
3 - Saving Money + Cooking
Breaking news! San Francisco is expensive. I'm not into hyper-budgeting. I'm not in debt. I just want to start saving more so I can put this money to use when I really need it. Right now I'm single, living in an urban area, less than a block away from gourmet grocery stores. The temptation to eat out is perpetual, especially with so many tasty options near by, but there's no competing with the price of a home-cooked meal, plus you get left-overs. When I first moved I set a goal to cook one night a week. Lately, I've increased this to 2-3 times, plus breakfast at home almost every day.
Why cooking? Kitchen skills pay dividends and keep money in your pocket. It might take more effort and dishes, but like writing, cooking is a commitment. This Christmas, I received some fancy measuring cups, a miniature blender, and a book on gourmet mac-n'-cheese as presents. If you want to come to my house for dinner, let me know.
4 - Read
There's never enough time to read. Author, life-hacker, Tim Ferriss has techniques to improve your average reading speed by 300% but even then, it requires a conscious effort to make time to get through material. Here's what I'm reading right now. I just bought three new books yesterday, which I haven't added yet. I love the phrase, "You never know what you don't know". Reading introduces me to things I've never even thought about. In biological terms, this means creating new neurological pathways, promoting healthier mental activity. I try to only read the "good stuff", there's so much random information out there and it's important to develop good taste so you're able to discern the quality from the nonsense. Like exercise, I want to set aside more time in 2014 for reading.
5 - Meditate
I started meditating my junior year of college, but I didn't really "get it right" until the following year. My capstone was approaching, I had a thesis to write, finals, and the regular homework continued to stack up. I needed a method to tackle these seemingly impossible projects. Here's what I did. I listened to this guided meditation, by Thich Nhat Hanh. I sat on my bed with my eyes closed and just focused on my breath--in through my nose, out through my mouth. By the end of the video, I felt so much better. My projects no longer felt insurmountable and I graduated Magna Cum Laude with Departmental + University Honors.
I've experimented doing brief meditations as soon as I wake up but usually I just fall back asleep. This year, I want to explore more routines so I can make this a habit. Fortunately, I'm honored to have Leo Babauta of Zenhabits as a mentor--if you aren't already a subscriber, I highly recommend checking it out and hitting subscribe.
In 2013 I moved to a beautiful neighborhood in San Francisco, have been working for an amazing company, met some inspiring people, and accomplished things I could only dream about a year ago. Also, this blog is now approaching a year-and-a-half, it's been an honor to share my thoughts, embarrassing moments, and updates with you. I'm so grateful for my readers!
2014 is going to be awesome. I can feel it. I'll keep you updated on my "goals", thanks in advance for your support. Have a safe and happy New Years.