Welcome to 2018, which marks your fifth letter from your 2022 self. Similar to the first, second, third, and fourth letters over the past years, this one is going to give you another set of New Year’s Resolutions to serve as your guide for the coming year as you work towards becoming the man I am now. In honor of this being the fifth year, there is a bit of twist, but we will get to that in due time.
First, of course, is a recap of the 2017 New Year’s Resolutions.
This last year was really quite the year for you, and I think it would be easy to say you accomplished your first resolution to live a better story. Let’s see – you peered into a deep canyon, hiked on the Pacific Crest Trail, hiked on the Appalachian Trail, climbed a tower in a castle, walked through a palace, viewed a solar eclipse surrounded by many great people, strolled through groves of giant trees, listened to the waves of the Pacific Ocean, gazed at the waterfalls of Yosemite, explored a lost coast, watched a sunset on Lake Tahoe, cycled the hills of San Francisco, investigated a lava tube cave by flashlight, was hit by a snowball thrown by your mother with the peak of the largest plug dome volcano in the world right behind you, made friends with very nifty people from all over the world, stopped a young, brilliant guy from killing himself, helped start Social Saturday that brought many great people together, repelled down Hutchinson’s First National Bank Building, led bike tours 650 feet underground at Strataca, created and launched HutchCalendar.com, gave a Talk20 about your New Year’s Resolutions, donated blood four times, saved the lives of eight baby opossums, and had many other adventures along the way. It was indeed a fantastic year.
As far as the other resolutions go, you had some great successes, some failures, and some that landed somewhere in between. Overall, you did indeed do rather than only read with your putting into practice self-help ideas that you had encountered in the past as well as share some great sources with others to help them along the way. Many books tempted you, but you resisted the urge after thumbing through them to see, as was pointed out in the last letter, there was nothing new to be learned in them. With that said, Dalio’s Principles was an excellent purchase, and you should set your own principles after you finish it in the next few days.
Other wins would include writing often pieces that were read by others as well as creating and carrying out monthly themes/challenges. Your Personalized Progress Log was updated the majority of the time too.
Although you did work on your drawing skills, that wasn’t quite the success as it should have been. Being in the now rather than in the phone was mixed too, but you are heading in the right direction. The same goes with improving your timeliness (good job turning in your last assignments for your fall classes 24 hours before they were due). The resolution to perform four songs for at least four people this year via a mix of violin and guitar didn’t happen although you did learn some chords on the guitar, and you will continue learn more. It was a bit unfair of me to throw the violin on that list given yours broke during the first few months of the year, and you were not able to get a replacement until a week ago. However, you will get there.
Finally, getting in the best shape of your life definitely did not happen with your probably being in the worst shape in your life right now. That though will also be changing as you head towards a much better direction this year, and this year you will do it. As far what you learned goes, you saw how fad diets don’t work for the long run unless they become lifestyle choices. Therefore, it is much better to alter your ways rather than rely solely on quick fixes.
Introspection was definitely a big thing for you this year. Some of the monthly challenges, particularly the Art of Manliness 30 Day Challenge (Part I and Part II) and No Shame November, greatly helped with that. Then there were the things outside your control that also led to a lot of contemplation, particularly about you and relationships of any kind. You will keep growing, and the key thing is to learn, adjust, and move forward as well as continue to keep Ruiz’s The Four Agreements in mind. There was definitely some hurt that came your way this last year, but you did the right thing of moving forward and trying to handle the situations the best way you could.
That was 2017, and now for the game plan for 2018. The twist this time is in honor of this being the fifth year of seriously tackling New Year’s Resolutions. You will be revisiting resolutions from the past four years that either are still in need of attention or can help you grow some more. Now, without any further ado, here is your list for 2018.
- From 2014 and 2015, carry on a 15 minute conversation in Spanish
You made it through this resolution in 2015 technically speaking; however, you can and will do better this time around (basically, the majority of the conversation cannot be “¿Cómo se dice en español?” (How do you say in Spanish)). Being a reader again for the Critical Language Scholarship was inspiring, and everything you need to better improve your skills with the language are around you. You just need to actually use them.
- From 2015, finish a readable second draft of the novel
You have worked on the infamous novel some since you finished the first draft in September 2014, but seriously, it’s time to get this project completed and ready for the eyes of others to see it. That way you can move onto your next big writing project.
- From both 2015 and 2016, mail at least one physical card/letter/postcard/note each week
You have tried this two different years, and you haven’t managed to succeed yet, but third time’s a charm, right? Plus, with your not completing a good enough sketch for your Christmas cards, you will be able to start this resolution off strong with the New Year’s cards you will be sending out after the Downtown Hutch business finishes printing them.
- From 2015 and 2016, build and stick to a financial budget
This is another you have tried two different years and failed both times. This last year was a wake up call when you had pretty much only $47 of money to your name back in September after all of your bills were paid and such. Never again should that happen to you, and things will be easier once you finish your doctorate; however, until then, master your living on a financial budget. Doing so will help you out for the rest of your life in so many different ways and open the doors to many great opportunities.
- 2017 – Create and Carry Out Monthly Themes/Challenges
Without a doubt, this was last year’s fan favorite, and taking on this resolution for another year will lead to some more great adventures to say the least.
- Learn to be able to focus on one thing by taming the wandering mind
Tim Ferriss calls it the “monkey mind,” and you definitely have it. Your thoughts are all over the place, and your attention, unfortunately, has greatly dwindled with your easily getting distracted and jumping from one thing or thought to another to then another. Modern society doesn’t help with this thanks to placing so many shiny things all over the place to grab one’s attention; however, you will need to rework your mind this year and learn to focus and conquer one thing at time. As science now says after years of growing up hearing otherwise, the majority of people truly do not have the ability to be great multitaskers. Needless to say, you are not part of the minority that can multitask and achieve great things, so don’t kid yourself by thinking otherwise.
- Improve your interactions with others (watch out for shaming people, improve your dating skills, and stop wasting time on people who don’t deserve it)
As mentioned, No Shame November was a great wake-up call. While you should always hold people accountable, you can definitely work on your delivery. Then to say you are extremely socially awkward when it comes to dating would be an understatement. I know your original plan was to just take a year break from dating, but Bailey is right – you shouldn’t do that. Rather, just work on getting better at this. Then last but definitely not least, remember time is extremely valuable, and you need to use it wisely. If people don’t appreciate the time you are willing to dedicate to a relationship of any kind, they don’t deserve it. Never will they suddenly gain a great appreciation for you and change their ways by your always being there and trying to be the person you would like them to be. Then if they are nonsermitis sufferers, don’t even bother unless you have to because of the situation. Life is too short for that.
- No buying a new book unless two currently owned books have been read
You could stock a small library with the amount of books you own, and so many of them are fantastic as well as unread by you. Rather than reading them, you usually just end up buying more to add to your collection. To turn this around a bit, you have to read at least two books, although you should try for three, before a new book can be purchased by you to add to your collect (unless, of course, the books are for school, for those do not count).
- Improve Your Follow Through
During the presentation of the 2017 Patty Carey Star Award at the Cosmosphere’s Everything Under the Stars amazing event, one piece of much praise about this year’s recipient, the late John Neal, was about how if he said was going to do something, he would always see it through. That stuck with you, and it should, for this too is extremely important. Sure, there are certain things that are okay to abandon; however, being a man of your word is vital to who you need to become. You are not too bad at this now, but there is a lot of room for improvement. For an example, there was no reason for you to take over four months to get your sister the photos from your nephew’s birthday party to her, and that only happened because she reminded you about your telling her you were going to send them. We have already addressed how you dropped the ball last year for the campaign for positive campaigns. Don’t do that again with the Hutch Calendar or your other obligations. Regardless of how big or small the task may be, if you say you are going to do it, get it done.
- Get in the best shape of your life
a. Continue to strive for at least 7 hours of sleep
b. Meditate at least three times a week
c. Improve your eating habits
d. Work towards getting your body fat percentage to 10% or below
As warned, this is going to be a standard resolution every year with some tweaks happening to it here and there. This time be sure it is on the list of successes when you get the sixth letter from me a year from now.
Extra Credit: Continue your work on becoming a Renaissance man (play music, write, investigate the sciences, work with mathematics, draw, etc.)
Your time may be limited thanks to work, community work, and homework, but these different tasks can easily fit into little spots of free time when you have it, and they will be much more rewarding than using all of that free time to scroll through some sort of social media app or shoot messages through a time-sucking dating app
And there you go – your list of New Year’s Resolutions for 2018. Similar to the last four years, these resolutions will serve you well not only this year but for some time to come. Things will happen this year you won’t expect, and I would like to tell you, but, as mentioned before, no spoilers are allowed. However, keep in mind two things:
First, the quotation Ray Dalio used as the opener for Principles:
“Time is like a river that carries us forward into encounters with reality that require us to make decisions. We can’t stop our movement down this river and we can’t avoid those encounters. We can only approach them in the best possible way.”
Second, never forget each second is a second that will not come again. Every interaction and experience that can and does occur will never have the opportunity come around again with the context all being the same. Remember to think about how we have around 100 10-minute blocks in each day at our disposal. Use them wisely as you build your life to how you would like it to become.
With those thoughts in mind and a new list of resolutions to conquer, that wraps up things for now. Remember what you learned from making your mother’s divinity recipe during the past two days. Failure can happen just like it did with your first, second, and third batch; however, persistence can indeed pay off just as it did with the fourth batch of that tasty, sugary goodness. Just like in previous years, failure will come with the resolutions for this year too, but just learn from those times, adapt, and not give up on that goal in mind. You got this! After all, that is how I made it to where I am now, so have fun and continue living one amazing story.
Until next year, cheers!