My Completely Realistic Goals for 2016
At this point in my life, I’m not interested in pressuring myself unnecessarily, which is what ends up happening when I create “resolutions.” Unrealistic expectations aren’t of interest to me and I’d rather not perpetuate them by half-heartedly committing to idealistic “goals” I will likely abandon in a week or two.
So instead, I’m picking small things that I know I can do better this year. Hopefully, choosing to do these small things in a better way will lead to a long-term change, to healthier, smarter, and better habits. More importantly than even just impacting my life, hopefully these changes will influence the world.
- Reduce paper waste
- Keep technology (laptop, phone, and iPad) out of the bed
- Make an effort to meet new people and network
- Say “sorry” less
It doesn’t matter if I start to eat “better” or commit to drinking three more glasses of water a day than usual. Those are promises I likely won’t keep up and they also only skim the surface of bigger issues. So I thought a really great place to start was with reducing the amount of waste I create. I write little notes and reminders constantly. They’re everywhere! I write things down in an effort to avoid forgetting something I need to do or because I heard a beautiful lyric. But I realized more often times than not, I end up finding these notes and just throwing it out. I make lists and keep and store lists just to eventually chuck them anyway. So why not prioritize and minimize and help save the planet by taking action in some small way?
I am making a conscious effort to use less paper by writing lists and reminders on my phone.
The bed should be for two things only: sleep and sex. I’ve read countless reports and recommendations about how screen time should be limited and most of those documents concur that people shouldn’t fall asleep holding a 5-inch screen above their heads. The official recommendation is to turn off all screens about an hour before expecting to fall asleep, so the brain has time to wind down from the bright light and the stimulation electronics offer. Even still, I struggle with committing to kick this habit despite knowing about the research. On nights when I choose to read (an actual book, not a screen!) before bed, I experience a more quality sleep cycle than when I pass out with Netflix still running through episodes of Parenthood. This year, I’m going to fight the urge to cuddle my laptop so I can find out the outcome of Making a Murderer and keep the electronics where they belong: on the futon, on the coffee table, or in another room. Bed is for sleep and sex and that’s it.
Throw me into a new situation with strangers and I basically lose 90% of my personality, though I’m not a shy person around people I know. Being social terrifies me, as so does the prospect of networking and trying to get people to like me. But the industry I am in doesn’t exactly lend itself to being terrified of networking. That’s why I want 2016 to be the year I put myself in as many squirm-worthy situations as possible. I need to condition myself to have the hard conversations, to conquer what gives me anxiety, and then perhaps I’ll head into 2017 a little more fearless than before.
Lastly, I’m limiting just how much I say, “sorry” from now on. At first, that might sound trite and selfish, but I don’t mean limiting myself from apologizing when necessary. Quite the contrary, I hope to become better at apologizing when I deserve to apologize.
But the kind of sorry’s I’m talking about are the silly little ones that are almost a reflex — the ones that have no real value. They are placeholder sorry’s that subconsciously take the place of something else, something with more merit that could have been said instead. I will not apologize for existing. I will not apologize for almost running into someone when we were both at fault. I will not apologize for wanting to see something in a store when another customer is blocking me. And I will not apologize when someone else does something wrong. Because I think, all these years, I’ve viewed “sorry” as a polite courtesy word — synonymous with “excuse me” or “please,” but in fact, all a meaningless, wrongly-used “sorry” does is perpetuate blame in blameless situations. I don’t want to blame myself anymore. Read more about it in this essay here.
What are you striving to do better this year? Comment below!