It is another year and another letter from your future self. Nicely done with the 2014 Resolutions you had before you. An 87.75% really isn’t that shabby, and quite a few things were set into motion that are going to help get you to where you and I are now in 2022. The key is not to forget those resolutions and continue to work on them from here on out. I have full faith in you because, well, I should for I am you.
First, isn’t it something how different your life can be in just ten years? I know this has been on your mind ever since you took your passport renewal pic the other night and then stumbled across the passport-sized pic you had taken back in 2005 for the life-changing experience in Australia thanks to Rotary and their Ambassadorial Program.
Just wait until another seven years. And just like the last ten years, things will continue to get better. There are going to be some hard times for sure, but keep that attitude of yours and remember the three ways Viktor Frankl says in your favorite book about how one can find meaning: (1) by Creating a Work or Doing a Deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering. As you know, Frankl is spot on, and you are going to have to keep these three things in mind this year.
Second, there are so many things I know you want to know right now about this coming year. Your thoughts that you are thinking right now as you eat your New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Peas are right about this going to be quite the year. There is the reaccreditation of course and then everything else with your job. Then you start your PhD program in less than two weeks. Romance, friendships, opportunities, and so many more things are going to come your way. And then there is Callie too. Oh I so wish I could let you know, but you know the rules about these letters, no more spoilers than what I already revealed in the first letter last year.
But I can tell you the tasks you are getting for 2015 are crucial in so many ways, so definitely take these resolutions to heart and go forward.
- Domesticate the Instant Gratification Monkey and Get a Handle on Time Management
Yep, I know you tried giving up procrastination for Lent and it didn’t work. Nice try though, but you are going about it the wrong way, for you are always procrastinating from doing something else, so what you need to do is continue to imagine that pull towards procrastination as the cute Instant Gratification Monkey from the fantastic blog Wait But Why and domesticate him. Get him to pull you towards great and productive ways to procrastinate rather than towards the Dark Playground. You can do it.
Then the key to this resolution really is your time management skills. Sure you are a juggler, but the balls that will be coming your way in 2015 are many and heavy. You need to improve what you are currently doing and use time more wisely (work smarter they often say). Plus, this was part of the resolutions from last year but you had a hard time doing it, don’t waste your time on people who are hot and cold towards you. If it is always your making the effort and the friendship really seems one-sided, place them in the Tier 3 category (another great blog post from Wait But Why) and go forward. You have offered your friendship to them and if they want it, they will treat your better. You can let them back into an upper tier if they truly have changed their ways. Until then, sorry to say this, you are wasting your time, and time is definitely your most precious possession.
- Develop Better Sleep Habits with Getting at Least an Average of 7 Hours Each Night During the Work Week.
The studies are right and you seriously need to work on your sleep habits. This whole sleep 5 to 6 hours a night isn’t cutting, and you know that. Therefore, this year, you need to shoot for an average of 7 hours at least during the work week. This means that some nights you may sleep less and other nights you sleep more, but when the average is figured, it better be 7 hours or more. Trust me – this is managing your time very wisely.
- Create a Campaign Against Negative Campaigns.
Yep, negative political campaigns, for some crazy reason, work. The people who spend the most money on them get elected the majority of the time. However, you are right about how the negative campaigns are having a greater ill effect on the country with the huge partisan divide and the voter apathy. Since November, you have been asking tons of people about how one can change the culture and pretty much all of them have told you that you can’t. Well, here is to an impossible goal for you. The good thing is you just have to create the campaign. It does not have to succeed but be optimistic, for this really needs to happen. Go forward and do you best. On a side note, you have a certain book you really need to read before you can put this into effect. You know which one it is for it was a Christmas present to yourself, and it is going to be extremely, extremely useful to you.
- Make the 15 Minute Conversation in Spanish Happen (Plus, Work through Another Language on Duolingo Too).
There really is a good chance you could have pulled this off last year with just a little preparation. However, you didn’t do this for whatever reason, and that is okay. This year, though, you are going to make the 15 minute conversation in Spanish happen. Plus, it needs to take place earlier rather than later in the year, for afterwards, you need to work through the whole program for another language on Duolingo. You get to pick that one though (I hear French is a great language to know by the way. Hint, hint).
- Organize Your Life through the Implementation of Good Habits
Good job last year with the dishes and clothes. Now it needs to expand for the rest of the house. The best way to do this is to assign a room for each day of the week and make sure the room is clean that day. Nice and easy, right? You might as well put your car on that schedule too, for that would be a very good thing.
Then after that, you need to learn to do something with the items that come into your world. It is time to move beyond the piles you form and file, recycle, donate, or pitch. Plus, put things back. You really can do this. This article also provides some other great ideas to implement in your life right away. Don’t worry – you will not become OCD. You will simply become organized, and this will help you with Resolution #1 too. Plus, your future partner will also greatly appreciate this too (Yep, that was just verified I was right about this appreciation. You definitely need to do this).
- Mail at Least One Physical Card/Letter/Post Card/Note Each Week
People like getting mail, and the US Postal Service needs the business. Therefore, you can start this by using your leftover stamps from your Christmas cards and send hand-written notes to people. This is also just a good habit to do. Sure, sure, your handwriting is not the greatest (It doesn’t get better either, so there is a spoiler for you), but do your best and make sure at least your name is readable so you don’t have another incidence like you did with the Hoys who could not figure out who had sent them the card because they couldn’t read your writing.
- Get in the Best Shape of Your Life!
- Maintain a 10% for your Body Fat Percentage
- Add 10 lbs of Muscle
- Improve Your Eating Habits
Well, you figured out the loophole with the sub-resolution from last year with the word “Maintain” missing from the task I gave you. Not this year. This time you really need to take care of yourself physically and mentally. This will be your stress reliever for sure. Plus, I am still glad that I did this when I was your age so I can be in the shape I am in now rather than like a lot of other 40 year olds.
Last year’s focus was largely on exercise. This time, you need to work on your eating habits. You know your weaknesses, so resist them. Plus, yoga will just be good for your mind, body, and soul.
- Read at least One Book a Month for Pleasure
You have this amazing library of unread books all around you in your house. It is time to start chipping away at them. Once you do, you are going to kick yourself for not doing it earlier. And speaking of libraries, use the Hutchinson Public Library in the future. That will help you with Resolution #9 greatly. Sure you may regret not owning the book afterward like you have done with your checking out Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach rather than buying it, but you can always remedy that in the future (and how often do you really reread books these days? Yep, that is exactly the reason why you don’t need to buy a used copy of that book on Amazon. Stop listening to the Instant Gratification Monkey).
- Build and Stick to a Financial Budget.
Those two months of living on a budget based upon minimum wage has greatly prepared you for this year. While you don’t have to go to that extreme, you need to set up a budget and follow it if you are planning on making it through your PhD program debt free and still be able to make some trips during the year. Do some research, talk to some people, and figure out the best ways to set up budget. Then utilize both Mint and Toshl to do this.
Furthermore, you definitely need to be smarter with how you spend your money. Remember those people you are cutting out of your life under Resolution #1, don’t dinner, coffee, presents, or anything for them. Seriously. That is just idiotic. Then continue to weigh purchases by examining need versus want just like you did today when the Instant Gratification Monkey tried to persuade you to get a second salad spinner so you could keep kale in one and romaine lettuce in the other in the refrigerator (and you seriously thought this was a great use of your money?). Yep, just as you came to realize later, taking that extra step to utilize your Pyrex, as you have always done in the past, is the way to go (the lettuce will keep longer too). This is all going to be worth it as you work through your current debts, avoid picking up more debt, have a financial safety net, have less clutter in your house (works with Resolution 5), and be able to travel, which is crucial this year.
- Finish a Readable Second Draft of the Novel.
You finally finished a draft of your novel in September, and it has remained mainly untouched since then. That needs to change. With everything being written out, it is just like you tell your students with the drafts of their papers – you have the clay, but now you need to sculpt it into something you would be willing to share with others. Start by going through a chapter a week, and you will have no problems having something your friends, who have been hearing about this novel of yours for so long, can read, critique, and help you with getting a much better third draft that you can send off to publishers.
Extra Credit – Play “Moon River” by the Year’s End on the Violin.
You were not able to get your skill level to this point in 2014, but you will indeed be able to do this in 2015. Just remember to keep violin practice as part of your morning routine.
Well, there you go, Ryan. Those are your tasks for 2015. Go forward, smile, and remember both beauty and happiness are all around you. Don’t overlook them. This too is greatly important.
Take care and plan on receiving another letter next year for 2016.
Here is a list of all the resolutions together: