As the holiday season is picking up speed and 2018 is coming to an end, I'd like to celebrate this year with all of its highs and lows by creating a list of resolutions inspired by the lessons it has taught me.
1. Stop procrastinating so much
When I'm cramming all my homework at 4 a.m. before a test the next day, I sometimes ask myself, "Why am I so unhappy?"
Considering I can't manage time for my life, I wait until the last minute for everything and I sleep practically four hours per week, I think the answer's pretty clear at this point.
I have an absolutely horrible case of procrastination which probably accounts for my trashy grades, my gross skin, my abysmal sleep schedule and 99.99999 percent of the stress in my life. If I can overcome this obstacle for the new year, I think I could solve the root cause of my dissatisfaction with myself and take on the upcoming year with much more energy and happiness.
2. Start asking questions
Though I've been getting better at this, asking questions and seeking help has always been something hard for me, not because I'm overconfident in my abilities but because I'm insecure about my questions. If a question I have feels too stupid to be asked, I bottle it up out of fear of being judged.
I think I'd learn and improve so much more as a student if I could stop caring so much and realize no one else does either. A part of the learning experience is asking stupid questions, and I want to try to be more confident with myself in front of my teachers and my class.
3. Stop being so afraid of failure
As college slowly comes creeping up on me, and I'm reminded of the pressure to succeed every waking second of my life, I've begun to have a pervasive fear of failure. When I don't get a grade I'm satisfied with, it takes me a while to recover from feeling horrible instead of readily embracing failure and using it to learn. Along the same lines, I've stopped trying to take opportunities where the outcome is uncertain out of fear that I will fail. I've adopted a "why bother?" attitude I'm not proud of that I'd like to change in the upcoming year.
I think if I can fix this, I can be more adaptable to change and setbacks in my life. I think overcoming the fear of failure would make me more comfortable with myself, help me grow as a person and be happier.
4. Read a book for a change
I'm not necessarily a person who condescends others by saying, "Kids these days are too addicted to their technology to pick up a good book." However, I still believe in the value of a nice novel, and I feel like I've neglected to start reading something as I've become busier and Netflix has become my primary way to escape.
I hope in the new year that I'll find a good book, so I can sit down, relax and spend the whole day reading like I used to in my (somewhat) carefree childhood.
5. Stop being so awkward
I've had people tell me that I'm unnecessarily awkward to a fault. I find tiny lapses in conversations and small talk somewhat scary and I'm uncomfortable with silence when I'm talking to people I don't know. All of this either means I over-compensate and act like a squirrel on steroids or come across as shy, weird and remote when meeting new people.
For my Christmas gift, if I could just act like a normal person, stop stammering so much, stop making weird spazzy motions with my hands and have some degree of social tact, I'd be #blessed.
6. Work on commitment
I tend to give up on things quite easily when nothing seems to be going my way. I've always admired dedicated people willing to persevere through anything to pursue what they love. I hope that I can be inspired to find this kind of passion, motivation or determination in the new year instead of running away from my problems when they get too big.
So here's to a resolution to try to keep all my resolutions. I'm going to make an effort to stop avoiding what's bothering me and try to fix it for a change.
7. Be more efficient
A huge factor in my inability to manage time is my lack of efficiency. A lot of the time, I try to make something I care about "perfect" for my satisfaction. I read over essays hundreds of times and do then undo thousands of edits. In the end, hardly anything gets done, and I waste hours I could've spent doing something productive.
I think I need to realize that I only have a limited amount of time that I can't take for granted. In that small amount of time, is the font size or a simple period really worth spending hours over? I need to start prioritizing what's important in my life. Though I don't want to sacrifice quality for efficacy, I keep trying to work for perfection, but I never end up completely proud of anything I do. Thus, I think it's important to know when it's time to move on.
8. Learn more self-control
I am basically a giant hedonist who has no self-control and chooses to indulge in everything. Whether its food, emotions or time, I can't seem to bring myself to sacrifice for a long-term goal. This is probably the source of my procrastination as well. When I don't want to do homework, I choose to binge videos on a whim until I've wasted three hours I have to make up in cramming and sleep debt. This leads me to other unhealthy behaviors like eating whenever I want to and napping at random times throughout the day. Let's just say I was never the kid who saved their dessert for last.
I'd like to break this cycle of instant gratification and recognize that healthier things can come from discipline, routine and control. I hope in the new year that managing my procrastination will benefit my outlook, tolerance and patience.
9. Learn to be more empathetic
I'm not very useful to my friends when they're feeling down. Basically, as a general rule of thumb, I'm just bad at being human. When I try to help my friends feel better, I always manage to make them feel worse in the process. Their sadness makes me uncomfortable and awkward instead of someone willing to listen and comfort them.
I used to be able to justify this behavior by telling myself that their business was none of mine. However, as I've gone through difficult times myself, I've understood the importance of having good friends who can help you through it. Thus, I think it's time I reciprocate or give back to my friends by helping them out instead.
I'd like to learn to be more empathetic and willing to listen to other people's problems. I'd also like to say the right things to make someone feel better. No matter how much I relate or feel for someone, I can never seem to express it in the right way on the spot. I hope in this way, I can face my fears of awkward communication and difficult emotions while being a better friend.
10. Put effort into maintaining distant relationships
I often say that friends come and go in life. However, that implies fate was partially responsible for this. In reality, I'm the reason many friendships don't last because I don't communicate the same way I do in person than in text. To me, there's a certain quality to texting that almost makes it almost like a chore I'm obligated to do. In real encounters, I know I must keep up a conversation and reciprocate discussion in order for something not to get awkward. However, when there's do not disturb options, mute buttons, silent keys and notification settings, it makes communication seem almost optional or trivial.
However, I know this is a bad habit of mine I need to correct. Texting is sometimes the only way I can get to know a person better or keep in touch with them. I've lost so many friends and given so many potential ones the wrong impression because I forget to answer back. Even if I like someone a lot, I tend to mislead people into thinking I don't. Thus, I think I'd like to strengthen my communication skills next year so I can meet and reconnect with friends. In the process, I hope to make myself a better person as well.
11. Improve my hearing
Most of my friends jokingly call me an 80-year-old man because I can never hear what they're saying. And when I do think I've heard something right, it ends up being laughably wrong. One time, I listened to my friend talk about snakes for five minutes under the pretense that she was talking about steak. It was only until she said snakes were slippery and tasted like fish that I told her, "I don't think that's how steak works."
In 2019, I'd like to either get a hearing aid, improve my hearing or get better at guessing what the heck my friends are saying.
12. Stop being so hypocritical
I don't really have a problem with being a hypocrite. I think everyone has to be one at some point in order to grow as a person and develop new perspectives. Consistency sometimes limits the views someone can take and renders them static or one-dimensional. However, I probably say this because I am a massive hypocrite.
Though I don't want to necessarily be consistent with my viewpoints, I think what I can improve about my hypocrisy is to stop criticizing others or making them feel bad. I hope that I can recognize that my opinions will change sooner or later so I should never be so confident as to criticize what I might become in the new year.
13. Be more grateful for what I have
Sometimes when I'm angry or annoyed, I forget how lucky I am to live the way I do now. When there are millions who are less fortunate than me, it definitely puts my complaining into perspective. Especially when I criticize others for being ungrateful, I forget to apply that to myself or overlook the fact that I'm essentially the same.
Next year, I want to appreciate my life and what I've been gifted with more. I realize now that I'm so thankful for everything I've gone through and everyone around me because they've all helped shape me into who I am today.
14. Stop being so complacent
If there's anything this year has taught me, it's that there is always someone better than you. Sometimes, when things are going too well for me, I become too comfortable with where I am. In the new year, I want to remind myself to keep going even when I feel like I'm on top of the world. This way, when my inevitable downfall comes, I can find comfort in the fact that I'm still working and improving on myself.
15. Improve my skills as a writer
I've read some really good writing this year that leaves me shocked and humbled at my own essays. I hope I can learn or emulate some of their techniques to improve myself in 2019. Among some of the many things I want to work on is preplanning and organization. If you couldn't already tell, I tend to go on tangents and ramble because I don't always effectively plan out the point of my works. Next year, I'm going to strive to be a better writer and try to fix these gaps in my writing.
16. Learn from my mistakes
Everyone always says to, "learn from your mistakes" to inspire others. However, this isn't as easy as it seems for me. The thing everyone conveniently leaves out of that saying is how exactly I should learn from them. Besides recovering from my mistakes, I also want to learn from them too. So in 2019, I'm going to try to establish a method to gain something from my failures or at least acknowledge that I have learned from them.
17. Fix my skin
I have too much acne. It's as simple as that. My face looks like the Pacific Ring of Fire except with acne eruptions instead of volcanoes. Whether because of stress or oily skin, I'd like to see clear skin in the upcoming year. Maybe I'll start with moisturizing...
18. Be healthier
Considering I'm stressed, sleep-deprived, hungry and dehydrated every day, I don't think I'm at my peak in terms of health right now. Maybe in 2019, I'll try drinking more water, sleeping earlier, exercising more and eating healthy food if I find a way to make it taste less like cardboard.
19. Make people important to me smile
Sometimes, I feel like I take more than I give in relationships or take the people around me for granted. In the new year, I want to show my appreciation for them, make them happy or remind them why we're so close in the first place.
20. Get a sense of fashion
I am the least fashionable person I know. I have tons of clothes I never wear or end up donating because I regret buying them. Since I don't really have an eye for what looks good on me and what doesn't, I'd like to maybe revamp my wardrobe in 2019 and start by making some informed purchases where I'm sure I like what I'm wearing. Maybe I'll even develop a style instead of throwing random clothes together!
21. Be satisfied with myself
Even if this entire article is about how to improve myself for the coming year, it's still important that I accept myself. It's okay if I can't keep all of my New Year's resolutions because I'm only human. Constantly working to fix myself means I'll never be happy with who I am at this moment. Sometimes, it's still important to let go and enjoy the journey instead of the end goal.
So ironically, one of the ways I want to improve myself is to stop improving myself once in a while. Next year, I want to focus on what matters. I'm optimistic for what 2019 will bring. But as for now, I think I'll sit back and savor the last moments of 2018. What a year it has been.