Attainable Resolutions for the Year Ahead


Published 3 years ago
on Jan 1, 2021, 12:00 AM

Newton's first law applies to human behavior just much as it does to moving objects: it is always easier to just keep doing what you're already doing. Adjusting your behavior requires a deliberate application of willpower.

So I've decided to set some new years resolutions. The objective of this post is to serve as a written record, to create a bit of accountability and increase the chances of achieving these targets.

1. Focus on health and fitness

Over the last few years, my fitness has gradually declined. While I'm healthy overall and my BMI is normal, I'm no longer able to run, lift and swim like I used to just a few years ago. My mind rationalizes this decline with all sorts of mental gymnastics but really there is no excuse. This year, the most important goal I have set is to focus on my fitness. I know, I know - everyone says this at the start of the new year.

The first aspect of this goal is to enforce a daily morning exercise routine for at least 45 minutes. The second part is to sustain my juul-free lifestyle for this entire year and beyond. At the time of writing, I've been working out daily for 14 days and been nicotine free for 121 days. It's also time I gradually adjust my diet and routine. I'm going to sleep by 12 AM and be up by 7:00. I'm resolving to cook something everyday and add more vegetables and protein into my meals. Eliminating my weakness for junk food will be very important - ice cream, potato chips and other such items will be an occasional treat.

2. Invest in relationships

As an introvert, it's hard for me to connect with new people and make friends. While I seem gregarious enough at gatherings, I rarely go out of my way to attend or plan them which makes meeting new people difficult. This year, I will make a habit of meeting new people both online and offline. My strategy will be to meet more people through Lunchclub, meetups and in general saying "yes" to more things. I will also be more open with new people about things I tend not to share.

3. Read and write more

When I was in highschool I would devour books at a fairly rapid clip, around 2 a month. As I grew older and busier, physical books were replaced by online articles, podcasts and audiobooks. Over the last 4 years especially, my mental diet has feels like it is full of empty calories. I tend to gloss over content and rarely dive deep into topics like I used to. This year, I'm going to change all that by using my Kindle for at least an hour a day and completing at least one book a month.

I also want to write more than I currently do. Sowell said "the only way to become a good writer is to keep being a bad writer and improving slowly". When it comes to writing things down, I often fall into a vicious cycle of procrastination, perfection and paralysis. This year, I plan to overcome it by writing a daily log (for myself), a monthly book report and at least one post every week until writing becomes second nature again.

4. Build something cool and sell it

I've always enjoyed building things but I usually fail to complete them. My intrinsic nature as an engineer is to keep tinkering for the sake of it even when it stops making practical sense to do so. Over the last few years I have trained myself to take a more holistic viewpoint and balance my desire for perfect code with just getting things done. Done is better than perfect and this year my goal will be to internalize this mantra as I complete and publish the multitude of half-baked projects lying in private GitHub repos. The goal here will be to revamp, polish and launch some of my legacy code within 3-7 days.

This is also the year where I will build a commercially viable product and go to market. While I have cofounded or co-created other ventures before, none have attained the product-market fit necessary for long term success. This year, I'm going to give myself a solid 6 months to build and launch something others are willing to pay for. The only measure of success will be revenue and number of customers. This will be a forcing function that gets me out of my comfort zone and helps me to take stock of how I spend my time.

5. Start a garden, pursue my hobbies and volunteer

I find it difficult to keep a pet given all the traveling I do so I've decided the next best thing is to start a garden. I have some space on the roof of my building so I'm going to work on a small garden as occupational therapy. I'll post regular pictures of my plants once I've potted them when the weather improves.

I'm going to restart my old hobbies; I will take photos or make origami at least once a week and post the results on this blog. Also, it's really been too long since I gave my time to helping others so I'm going to find an interesting volunteer opportunity and give it at least 2-3 hours every other week.


That's it for now - health, relationships, reading, writing, work, hobbies, making won't be easy but as Paul Graham once put it best - boring progress makes for exceptional results.