2018 is almost gone – where did time go?!
Though 2018 was an incredibly tough year for me – I got into my first car crash, endured a breakup after a nearly two-year relationship, relapsed after being sober for over a year, survived my first quarter of college, and much more – I grew exponentially through all the hardships. Trials and tribulations were constantly thrown my way, yet I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned along the way.
I wanted to share with you all my goals for the upcoming year. I’m not exactly a firm believer in “New Year’s resolutions” simply because they’re almost always temporal and impractical. In previous years, I would make “lose weight” or “get good grades” my New Year’s resolution, but because these goals were so ambiguous, I never stuck to them for the duration of the new year.
This time, I want to make goal-setting a practical, detail-oriented process that encompassed a plan revolving around one achievable goal per month (for a total of twelve goals). Here is a brief synopsis of the twelve goals I have set for myself for 2019:
- January: Prioritize sleep (and cut down on yerba mate).
If you know me personally, you’re probably already familiar with my affinity for (and hopeless addiction to) yerba mate. During my first quarter of college, I would chug a can of Guayakí Yerba Mate every weekday at 5:45 a.m. and down a second – or third, if necessary – can around noon to prevent myself from taking a nap that I believed would inevitably inhibit my productivity. I would continually sip on my second or third can until about 10 p.m., when I would still be wide awake studying in the library or in my dorm. I’d fall asleep at around 1 a.m. and repeat the same process the following morning.
I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. This was my daily routine in college, averaging about four hours of sleep per night and resulting in blinding migraines the first week of winter break due to caffeine withdrawals.
However, I want to switch it up for the first month of 2019. In January, I want to prioritize shuteye, gradually moving my way up from four hours of sleep to at least six hours of sleep by the last week of January. It may not appear to be a significant difference, but I know this will benefit me in the long run.
I’m also not aiming to erase Guayakí from my regular diet – I merely want to cut down on my daily consumption so I can earn an extra hour or two of sleep while saving some money.
- February: Make meditation a daily habit.
I go more in-depth about the benefits of meditation in my older blog posts, but meditation used to be a significant form of self-care for me when I was still in high school. When I was still a weekly or monthly therapy-goer, I used to squeeze ten minutes of meditation into my daily routine, whether it was in between classes or in the morning before I started getting ready for school. As a matter of fact, it helped me tremendously when I had the worst anxiety attacks and when my clinical depression was at its peak.
In college, however, I noticed that I haven’t meditated at all. Not once. In retrospect, this practice would have helped me quiet the thoughts in my mind when I had low confidence in my academic abilities during the first few weeks of college, or when my anxiety returned full force due to the pressures I placed on myself to be an excellent student.
In February, I want to make meditation a daily habit by squeezing in five to ten minutes of meditation every morning before I begin my day, every night before I fall asleep, or during study breaks. That way, there won’t be such a drastic change to my everyday routine and I will have something to do that benefits my mind and body rather than keeping my eyes glued to social media every time I’m bored.
- March: Be a more conscious spender.
A true product of my dad’s mannerisms and habits, I grew up a huge impulse-spender. The moment I saw an arbitrary item that caught my eye or considered booking a train ticket to a city over four hours away, I would drop money without hesitation.
But in 2019, I want to change this impulsive habit. When March hits, I’d like to keep track of all my expenses and my income (if I have a stable source of income from an on-campus job by then) to a T using apps or a notepad. Before purchasing something on a whim, I want to give myself a forty-eight-hour “hold” period in which I distract myself and occupy my thoughts with schoolwork, internship applications, etc.; if I still want the item after those busy two days, then I will purchase it. If the feeling subsides, then I won’t.
- April: Make gratitude a daily practice.
April is my birthday month (!), which means I will be turning nineteen years old in 2019. That being said, I don’t take enough time out of my day to express my gratitude toward my friends, family, professors, and other people who have played a large role in my personal growth and development over the course of my lifetime.
I want to change this by making gratitude a conscious, daily practice. Whether it be through calling my mom every week (which I know I should be doing more of while I’m in college) or writing a short and sweet thank-you note to my roommates out of the blue, I want to put more effort into thanking those around me and those who still care for me from afar while I’m at Cal Poly.
- May: Make more time for exercise.
I’m guilty of only heading to the gym once in a while and using the rest of my free time catching up on studying or socializing with friends. But during the times I would head to the gym, I would feel elated immediately after my workout. It almost felt like the literal manifestation of “physical therapy” – I felt emotionally and mentally better after doing physical activity, no matter how light or intense or how short or long my workout was.
Once May hits, I want to place exercise among the top of my priority list. Though daily hourlong workouts are not practical for a busy college student like myself, I can start by hitting the recreation center two to three times per week during the first two weeks of May and gradually increase the duration, intensity, and frequency of my workouts during the latter end of the month. I would also want to make this goal more enticing by attending group workout classes or trying something out that I’ve never done before, such as a hot yoga class or cycling.
- June: Start reading for leisure again.
From elementary to middle school, required readings metamorphosized from constant bores to a leisure activity I could do for hours on end. In fact, in middle school, I would arrange “reading marathons” in which from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every Saturday, I would read books ranging from 200 to 600 pages in length and only leave my bed to use the restroom or to grab a quick snack.
From the beginning of high school to the present, reading has exclusively become a supplement to in-class lectures for me as opposed to a fun activity I make time for every day. College has exacerbated this issue, with assigned readings comprising a large percentage of my time outside of class, resulting in little to no time for leisure reading.
In May, though, I want to switch the way I perceive reading from one of compulsion to one of adoration. Whether it be reading thirty pages a night or over 100 on a weekend, I want to get into the habit of reaching for a book instead of my cell phone whenever I’m idle.
- July: Travel somewhere outside of SoCal alone.
Every time I would take the train or drive my car somewhere, it would always be somewhere in the SoCal region. However, in July 2019, I want to actively seek discomfort by traveling solo beyond what is familiar to me, such as taking a trip to NorCal or perhaps even out of state, if my budget permits.
Because July is typically the peak of summer for me, I want to experience a new vicinity of the world while also discovering who I am without the company of a family member, friend, or significant other. This way, I can see the world for myself, by myself.
My ideal destination for a summer solo trip would be San Francisco since it’s still in California, but simultaneously far away enough to be a huge leap outside my comfort zone. If I do go somewhere out of state, I’d love to explore New York, New York; however, because it’s such a busy city, I’m not sure if I’d have the guts to roam around on my own.
When the time comes, I’ll see what I can afford and share my experiences in a future blog post.
- August: Discover one cause I’m passionate about and do some volunteer work for said cause.
With my academic performance being at the forefront of my priorities in college, it’s a struggle for me to make time to volunteer or to explore humanitarian, political, or environmental causes that I’m passionate about.
In August 2019, I want to traverse various causes to see which one(s) pique my interest and begin volunteering for organizations related to the causes to which I strongly connect.
This may mean driving beyond the Ventura County region (aka my hometown) since there aren’t as many non-profits that I am aware of in my area and that stimulate my curiosity, but I’m perfectly OK with budgeting some extra gas money to attend meetings and see which organizations truly resonate with me that I can possibly join or bring with me to college.
- September: Explore spirituality and/or my personal meaning of life.
This goal may be a bit vague for my liking, but I think it’s important that I at least begin to scratch the surface of my spirituality before I enter my second year of college. Whether that means attending church services regularly, reading more on Buddhism, asking close friends of their religious views and why they believe in what or whom they believe, or researching non-denominational or agnostic/atheistic sects of religion, I want to start the solidification of my own spiritual or religious beliefs, not those of my family or of my future significant other.
This is a deeply personal goal that I was initially apprehensive about including in my list of goals for 2019, but I think that by looking for and finding my “meaning of life” (as cliché as that sounds), I can use it to directly support all other aspects of my life, including school, work, leisure, philanthropy, and more.
- October: Eat more fruits and vegetables and drink more water.
For lack of better words, my diet in college has been absolute crap – like I mentioned earlier, yerba mate became my godsend, paired with chicken-flavored Yakisoba noodles for breakfast, Hello Panda cookies for snacks, peanut butter and chocolate granola/protein bars for lunch, and Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and waffle fries for dinner. Sounds healthy, right?
During my second year of college, I want to be more intent on what foods and drinks I consume on a daily basis. By drinking more water and less caffeinated beverages and eating more superfoods and less “super-sized” foods, I would take great strides in improving my overall physical and mental health.
The only problem in accomplishing this goal, however, is the spending that comes with clean eating. Hopefully, I can have a stable source of income that allows me to purchase more fresh produce by this month.
- November: Learn how to say “no” without feeling guilty for it.
I grew up saying “YES!” to anything and everything. From tackling more extracurricular activities than I could sanely juggle in high school to sacrificing study time to party with friends in college (FOMO is a very real phenomenon), saying “no” comfortably has been a goal of mine ever since I could remember. A lot of this stems from my lifelong tendency to please other people and my own insecurity when it came to potentially hurting others’ feelings. This upcoming November, though, I want to feel OK being selfish, especially when it concerns – or potentially impacts – my time, grades, money, energy, or all of the above.
I’d like to challenge myself further by making it a goal to say “no” without an explanation for at least one event per week. This may seem easy for some, but for me, it’s a huge test on my seemingly constant craving for validation from other individuals.
- December: Implement as many of the above goals as possible in my everyday life.
Now that the end of 2019 has arrived (assuming I’ve been able to successfully accomplish all eleven goals outlined above), I’d like to incorporate as many of these goals in my daily routine throughout December and hopefully into 2020. Of course, I won’t be able to personify the epitome of my idea of “perfection” at the beginning of December, but by the end of 2019, I want to be a well-rested, calm, frugal, thankful, fit, well-read, well-traveled, philanthropic, spiritual, healthy, and assertive young woman ready to tackle her double decades.