Resolutions— an easy way to make promises, and an even easier way to let yourself down and feel like a failure. Being a general workaholic with ambitious self-improvement goals, I have made resolutions at the start of each year for a long time. And every year, I have gone through a cycle of having grand, sweeping goals, forgetting about them within weeks, and occasionally jump-starting them back up throughout the year when I felt like it— like those one-month bouts of working out every day.
In short, I want that to change this time. (That’s a meta-resolution!)
I identified a couple key problems with the way I’ve been handling resolutions so far. The most crucial was that they were too vague. This made resolution-making more like wishful fantasizing about some ideal, picture-perfect human I wanted to be. “Read more” or “jog often”— who can keep track of that? Thus, this year, I am writing my goals to be as measurable as possible.
The second issue was my own spontaneity. Especially with creative projects, I tend to get inspired on a whim and launch a long-term plan within minutes. I could plan for writing a play in January, but by February, want to write a screenplay instead. More generally, I feel a bit daunted at the task of anticipating how my entire year will go and what my lifestyle will be like throughout it, all by January 1st. I realized this is a framework I don’t have to follow. I make my own rules. So I broke the year into two. The resolutions I list at the bottom are for January through June. After a mid-year evaluation, I’ll set goals for the latter half of 2019. This made it feel a lot more immediate and realistic.
Last of all, I never held myself accountable for my resolutions, partly because they were so grand that I only half-expected myself to fulfill them. This time around, I’m making things more reasonable by aiming for a 70% success rate. This means I won’t be holding myself to the standard of perfection, and also that I’ll be less afraid to put down resolutions I’m only half-sure I’ll be able to commit to. I also hope that tracking my progress publicly through my blog will motivate me to stick to my goals.
With that in mind, below are my resolutions for the first half of 2019. Another key improvement is that I’ve categorized them into relevant clusters, so I can work on a balanced set of goals at any given time.
- Self-study the material for AP Calculus BC and take the test. This is so I can get college credit for calculus when I enter university. I’ve already taken Calculus AB, which is a level below it, and the additional material is not too much.
- Self-study the material for 검정고시, the Korean high school equivalency exam (sort of like the GED). I’m only concerned with Korean, Korean history, and social studies. No need for the actual test— I’ll consider this fulfilled if I earn a passing score in those subjects on a practice exam.
- Review Mandarin. This will have to be evaluated subjectively. I just want to dedicate some time to recovering what I’ve forgotten.
- Read at least 8 books, at least 1 of them Korean, and keep track of them. I hope to be able to blog about the books as well. I want to focus on reading classics this time.
- Blog weekly. I’m so excited for this one.
- Upload the S(e)oul City Series biweekly. Stay tuned for my first post series, where I’ll be solo-exploring Seoul! Details to be announced…
- Work out 3 times a week. Cardio, strength, yoga, whatever I feel like, as long as I’m putting in the time and conscious effort.
- Consistently use my planner. 2018 has seen bursts of obsessive planning and hyped productivity as well as weeks when I don’t touch my planner. I want to have schedule organization and time management down pat as I enter college.
- Find a summer job. I mean, I want some money. And real-life experience.
- Seoul-based short story. There’s an anthology I want to submit to by the end of January, as well as a collaboration with a comic artist it’ll hopefully inspire.
- Learn screenplay formatting and write one feature film. Probably the biggest project I’m planning on undertaking anytime soon.
- Edit novel. I wrote a first draft in 2018, and it’s time to make it better. I’ll consider it fulfilled if I end with a draft I’m satisfied enough to let my parents read, and there’s nothing more I want to change before paying for professional critique.
- Take acting classes. A friend and I have been looking forward to this for a long time.
- Write the lyrics to one song. Some songwriting friends have been bugging me for lyrics, and I want to make the collaboration happen.
- Launch Project Interview. Another idea that’s been brewing… to be announced in a future post.
This makes a total of 15 resolutions. I am aiming to complete at least 70%, which is around 11. But they’re not just vague, meditative fantasies anymore, they’re concrete ideas with a purpose. I’m turning new year’s resolutions into a method of long-term planning. Here’s to a satisfying, productive six months!