This time last year, I wrote a blog post about why new year’s resolutions aren’t always helpful for perfectionists, and how it can be hard to maintain ambition whilst not being too hard on yourself.
This year, that’s something I’ve tried to bear in mind whilst writing my resolutions. While there are a lot of things I want to achieve both academically and professionally this year, my resolutions are all about personal development, specifically, about doing more of the things I love, and working towards being the happiest and most authentic version of myself.
Here are a few of the baby steps I’m hoping to take towards this:
Build Resilience and Adaptability
These are my words of the year: the qualities I want to try to embody for the next twelve months. Last year, my words were drive and ambition, and I think I embodied these pretty well. This year I want to continue to embody these, but at the same time I want to work on my ability to keep a level-head, and adapt my strategy as necessary to bounce back when things get tough.
Occasionally, when I’m on my way to achieving something I really care about, and an obstacle comes out of nowhere, my immediate response is that this is a catastrophe – my meticulous planning has been ruined. This kind of thinking is draining, and it just isn’t me. Afterwards, whether that’s a few minutes, or a few days later, my determination kicks in, and I realise that this isn’t the end, and that I can find away around whatever obstacles I face. Ideally, I would like to entirely remove that moment of catastrophic thinking, and skip straight to the part where I start to figure out a way around the problem.
I need to learn that no matter how much I plan, I can’t predict the future, and sometimes life gets in the way. If I can take a few deep breaths and halt that kind of negative thinking, I get the feeling the obstacles will feel smaller and smaller.
Read More Great Books (But Also Buy Less Books!)
My Goodreads challenge for this year is to read 30 books by 2018. I would love to read even more, but I want to make sure that I don’t become too weighed down by numbers. The important thing about reading is quality,not quantity. I want to read some fantastic books, discover some enchanting fantasy worlds, and meet some awesome characters in 2017.
It doesn’t matter too much if I fall short on my reading challenge, but if I end up reading less than I did in 2016 (25 books in total, including a couple of graphic novels), then I probably won’t be reading enough to keep me happy. Meanwhile, I want to buy less books, because my to-read shelf is growing at an insane rate, and I have more than enough to keep me going for the year. I know I won’t stop buying books entirely, but I should probably slow down and enjoy what I already have.
I’m rarely happier than when I’m immersed in a good book, and better still, it really helps me to relax and get to sleep at night. This goal is completely selfish, and that’s why it’s important.
Write More Blogs, and Read More Blogs
This should fit in well with my previous goal of reading more. If I can read more books, then I’ll have more to write about. I’m hoping to write more book blogs, so alongside my monthly book reviews, I’ll have one or two full-length reviews of books I’ve really loved, and wanted to talk more about. I’ve also recently joined Top 5 Wednesday, so that should help with those times I’m struggling to find inspiration, and hopefully means I can get closer to my goal of writing a blog post each week.
Even when I manage to stick to my writing goals, sometimes I forget to read other peoples’ blog posts. I’m a bad follower. This year, my plan is to spend more time in the Reader section of WordPress, talking to people who are into the same things as I am.
Keep Learning Python
This might sound like a cop-out, because it’s already something I’m doing. But it’s hard to keep up with learning Python when I’m already doing a lot of programming as part of my Computer Science MSc. It’s going to take a lot of effort on my part to maintain this. This year, I want to finish making my way through the textbook I’ve been using to learn Python, and then I’d like to make something with it.
I’d like to combine computing with two of my other loves, storytelling and video games, to finish the text-based RPG I started working on a couple of months ago. This would be such an awesome thing to complete, and I think I could have a lot of fun with it. It also has the added bonus of building my programming and problem-solving skills, so might even help with my professional development too.
Even goals related to things that I love can be hard work. I need to make sure I take time out to do things like play Dungeons and Dragons with my friends, or just watch some TV on my own, without thinking about writing, or coding, or achieving goals. This is my final goal, and it might be the most important.
What are your new year’s goals?