I've been writing down New Year's resolutions every year since 2013. I have found this practice to be really helpful to me. Every January is a reminder to check in on myself and what I want out of life. I try to make my resolutions as measurable and actionable as possible which has led me to be relatively successful in achieving my goals.
My resolutions tend to cover all aspects of my life and push me to be better. Some of my past resolutions include reading over 50 books, getting a driver's license, saving $25,000 to bootstrap my startup, squatting 225 pounds. and meditating once a week.
I used to do monthly check-ins on all my resolutions to make sure that I didn't get off track but I haven't done so in the last few years and I've noticed that there have been a few resolutions that I just completely forgot about so I will be bringing back the monthly check-ins for 2020. I might share some of them in this blog.
Here are some of the resolutions I have planned for 2020:
Start each day by drinking a glass of water
One of my resolutions last year was to drink a bottle of water a day after reading about all the great benefits drinking more water has for your body. That ended up being too ambitious especially with all the travel I did last year and I ended up quickly forgetting about it. Starting each day with a glass of water should be a more achievable resolution that will establish a good habit I can build on.
Limit social media to 30 minutes a day
Social media really is a blessing and a curse. Apps like Instagram and Facebook let me stay in touch with friends and family that are spread out across the globe. But it is also a source of distraction and anxiety. 30 minutes will be enough time for me to catch up on people's lives but not rely on it so much throughout the day to fill in any gaps that I'm ideal or looking to procrastinate. Most of my social media time goes to Instagram so I've set the native timer there to alert me when I've been on the app for more than 25 minutes during a day.
Read a book in Spanish
Spanish was the language I first spoke and was the primary way I communicated with my grandmother growing up. Despite that I never became super comfortable speaking it and my ability to speak it deteriorated once my grandmother passed away and I went off to college. I have been working on improving it again the last couple of years. I have been able to communicate better with my family on my recent trips to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. My long term goal is to get to a level where I am comfortable speaking Spanish in a business context over the next few years. I will be spending the next month in Medellin, Colombia where I hope to continue to improve and will be getting a private tutor. I will also go back to practicing Spanish on duolingo daily. During the Stanford Latino Alumni Summit last year, I bought a book in Spanish called Camino a Las Estrellas (A Path to the Stars) by Stanford alum Sylvia Acevedo who was a rocket scientist at NASA and is now the CEO of the Girl Scouts. My goal is to read this book by the end of the year. It will be the first book I've read in Spanish since my AP Spanish Literature class in high school.
Reduce personal reliance on large tech companies
Tech companies have become massive corporations that have huge influence on many aspects of our daily lives. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet (Google), and Facebook are the five largest U.S companies by market capitalization. Living your tech life within these tech ecosystems can be really convenient with data moving seamlessly among all the apps in their ecosystems. But lately it's become clearer that the incentives have gotten too strong for these companies to do anything to keep you within their walls which has led to privacy concerns and anti-competitive practices. These companies are making it extremely difficult for startups to compete in any area that is even remotely close to any of their lines of business with them often either copying, blocking, or in the best case buying competing companies. This is why I want to take steps to reduce my reliance of these companies and especially on Amazon, Google, and Facebook which I believed are the largest culprits. I plan to shop less on Amazon and try to shop on other sites or in person. Since last year, I have been using Brave as my main browser instead of Google Chrome and this year I will be switching to Firefox mobile on my phone and DuckDuckGo for searching instead of Google search. Facebook is harder to free yourself from because their products have incredibly strong network effects and most of my friends and family use at least one of them: Facebook, Instagram, or Whatsapp. My plan to limit social media will help reduce my reliance on Facebook a little bit. I've also started to encourage my friends to message me on Signal which is open-sourced, end-to-end encrypted, and backed by a non-profit started by the founder of Whatsapp. I would also like to support more small businesses in general. Instead of Starbucks, I will go to local coffee shops. Instead of getting a membership at a large gym chain, I will go to local gyms.
After thinking about all the negative effects of eating meat, I decided to set this resolution for environmental, ethical, and health reasons. I have already been trying to limit my red meat intake over the last few years but have never set any concrete goals around it. It would be difficult for me to go fully vegan right away but this resolution is an achievable step to maybe getting there one day. With the rapid progress in meat alternatives like impossible burgers I could see myself eventually becoming vegan. I already don't eat diary because of my lactose intolerance and usually just eat chicken so forgoing it meat altogether one day a week is very doable. Growing up Catholic, Fridays during lent were days I would traditionally not eat meat. But I often found myself making too many exceptions for Fridays which I don't think will be the case for Mondays.
At least one blog post a month
I read a ton but don't give myself the time to reflect on all I've read. These blog posts have become a good way for me to stop, reflect, and articulate all that I'm thinking and learning about. I want to continue doing this in 2020 and become a better writer and thinker through it.