The Third Letter from 2022: The 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

G’day Ryan,

It is your future self once again with a third letter to help you set up your year (If you need a reminder, you can check out the first or second letters).

Well, 2015 was an interesting year to say the least with a mixture of highs and lows. You made it through it though, and that was an accomplishment. Many of your New Year’s Resolutions, on the other hand, were not accomplished. However, there is nothing wrong with failure, and you know that. Always take it as a learning experience and go from there. Plus, you still had a (somewhat iffy) 15 minute conversation in Spanish, read a book for pleasure each month, started (but did not really follow through) with a campaign against negative campaigns, worked in a short yoga routine into most mornings, and played Moon River many times on the violin. Sure, you weren’t as successful as in 2014, but you really had to find your footing with everything that was going on at work, with the Ph.D. program, and with life in general. Now that you have, it’s time to tackle another year’s of resolutions that will get you closer to where I am now in 2022.

First off, the world is definitely amusing with its ways. One of your first resolutions you had planned for 2016 was giving up dating apps and reinvesting that time in more constructive ways. And then, thanks to one of those dating apps during the final days of 2015, you found yourself into a relationship that will change your life in so many ways. Keep smiling as you are right now. I can also simply say, “I told you so” with that hint about dancing two years ago in that first letter from me. Now if you only would have taken that hint from last year about learning French, but here is to new year with a renewed focus.

Speaking of 2016, with no further ado, here are your resolutions.

  1. Establish and follow a morning ritual.

Remember when you used to sleep in until 11 or so on Saturdays during your Freshmen year in college and then one time you woke up earlier to discover how great mornings are? The fact still remains. Thankfully, the years have led to your becoming a morning person, and you will never regret that (much to the regret of others – especially some travel companions). With that said, avoid the snooze button (as ASAP Science has pointed out, it does more harm than help) and begin each day with a self-constructed morning ritual. Two of the books you read last year, Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning and Kevin Kruse’s 15 Secrets Successful People Know about Time Management, were spot on about the power of creating a routine. You don’t necessarily have to follow those to a T, but take some of those components, add some of your own, and establish a structure as your method of saying to the world, “Good morning.”

  1. Domesticate the Instant Gratification Monkey by improving time management practices.


The words from Wait But Why are wise (Elon Musk is also a fan of this fantastic blog that has changed my perspective on many different things in many different ways), and you shared many of their posts with so many people last year. You had some good attempts with taming the Instant Gratification Monkey, but ultimately, that furry little guy and its tempting ways won the year. You now come armed with great techniques to implement in your life to have a very different outcome. Good luck!

  1. Whether it be reworking the novel, creating worlds through short stories and plays, or composing works of non-fiction of some sort, write often.

So that readable second draft of your novel? Yep, that one that has yet to happen. It must come into being this year. You really are not that far away from that goal either, so you should get to work with that. This resolution goes far beyond just the novel though. Your last minute becoming a playwright for the 24 Hour Plays awoken the writing spirit in you. Now don’t let it go back into hibernation. Sure, you are writing papers often for your classes, but your writing needs to go beyond those. Listen to your grad advisor and do some academic writing. Also throw some creative writing into the mix. Plus, it is time to revive this blog too. New Recipe Sundays can be placed on hold, but posts about other nifty things you encounter and progress with these resolutions should not be.

  1. Learn how to draw beyond stick figures and other basics objects.


Sure, your grade-school comical-looking bunny, monkey, and turkey are within your skills, but the time has come to learn how to go beyond these. The reasons to learn are plentiful as you will learn for yourself this coming year and for many years after. Continue your question to become a Renaissance Man by dabbling in the world of drawing and sketching.

  1. Campaign for positive campaigns.

A Campaign Against Negative Campaigns was a bit too negative to really fly, and you realized this in 2015. However, campaigning for positive campaigns is a different story. Your time at the legislative lunch was eye-opening. Emerson Spartz’s keynote address at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference provided you with fantastic ideas for this resolution. While you didn’t get to see your 24 Hours play performed, your time spent was where you needed to be that evening in the greater scheme of things. Wichita’s Mayor Longwell is definitely an inspiration for positive campaigning. Now it is time to bring all of this together. The races for the 2016 election have already been brutal and standing on the sidelines will lead you to regret your doing so. You have the domain and the ideas. Now it is time to take the next step to put everything in action.

  1. Keep track of expenses and stick to a financial budget.


Simply put, the little monsters of Toshl need to appear in your life more often. They will definitely help you with the domestication of the instant gratification monkey when urges you to follow the siren songs coming from various merchants. Then the budget you put together for 2015 is legit. It will be tricky, but it will allow for enough carry over to take care of the big expenses that hit your life throughout the year while also putting money into savings. Now you just need to stick with it.

  1. Learn and work with languages besides English on a regular basis.


Your 2015 work with learning Spanish was admirable through most of the year, and that should continue. You have much to learn, and you need to have more confidence with practicing the language. Don’t focus only on Spanish though. Working French and Armenian into the mix will be very good for you as well. Trust me on that.

  1. Practice mindfulness techniques to be present in life.

This resolution is going to date the entire list thanks to mindfulness being all the rage right now. There is a reason for its importance. The books and articles you read in 2015 are spot on, and definitely, follow the advise of the YouTube video, look up, and be part of the world around you. Conversations, meetings, walking from place to place, and everything in between all need your full attention. Also, don’t even think about texting and driving. Rather, don’t miss out on the life taking place all around you.

  1. Send at least one physical card, letter, postcard, or note each week.
FullSizeRender (1)
The supplies are ready!

Your half-hearted attempt at this resolution last year led to some very happy people who let you know they enjoyed your hard-to-read handwriting. It is time to work this into a weekly routine. Although you have tons of stamps in your possession right now, don’t feel like you need to limit yourself to only mailing these. While a carrier pigeon is out of the question, the U.S. Postal System (although they still need as much business as they can get) is not the only method to use, and you will understand this during the coming year.

  1. Get in the best shape of your life!
    1. Continue to improve eating habits.
    2. Get your body fat percentage to 10% or below.
    3. Pack on 10 lbs of muscle.
    4. Strive for at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

You should likely get used to this being on the list. While the sub-resolutions may change, the overall point of this likely most stereotypical New Year’s Resolution will always be valid, and your future self will be very appreciative of your being mindful of taking care of your present health.

Extra Credit: Revisit past successful New Year’s Resolutions (except for the self-mandated time of being single) to continue their roles in your life.

The last two years led to some great experiences thanks to the resolutions, but those habits that had formed can get lost in the mix. For an example, many times you did fall asleep this last year with dirty dishes needing to be washed and laundry needing to be put away. Rather than starting over each year, these resolutions are all about your building upon them, so be sure to do that. This definitely includes your continuing to work dancing into your life. Last night was only a taste of great things to come.


2015 ultimately turned out well, and 2016 is already looking like it is going to be a year filled with adventures and experiences that will be huge turning points in your life. Last year was a learning experience to say the least and will help you succeed in 2016. Don’t be too hard on yourself, which I know is a bad habit of yours.

Happy New Year to you! Keep smiling and keep enjoying all of the beauty and happiness all around you.




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