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Today's my 21st birthday. Woo hoo, now I'm a first-class citizen! I've never been a really big birthday person1, but I do love an opportunity for reflection and goal setting, so, without further ado, my goals for the 22nd year of my life:
Kick my procrastination habit: This is the big one, the one I'm going to spend most of my attention on and the one that will most improve my life if achieved successfully. I know almost everyone procrastinates now and again, but I'm really bad. Nearly every project I undertake gets set back and put off time and time again (I've even been getting distracted from this blog post as I've been writing it), and the vast majority of my work gets done in the hours leading up to the deadline. The majority of every day is spent in between spurts of productivity. This has resulted in unmet obligations, extreme stress levels, lowered expectations on the part of those who are counting on my work, and a huge gap between the amazing things I could be achieving and what I actually output. Honestly, sometimes the only reason I get by as well as I do is that I'm really fucking good at most things I do. But I could and should be so much more, so this stops here. I'm going to pair some serious research into tricks, tools, and long-term solutions (don't tell me I need to "just do it", it doesn't work like that and is honestly extremely condescending) with brutally honest regular introspection to identify times when I've procrastinated, the causes, and how I can avoid it or snap out of it earlier in the future. If I reach September 9 and don't feel I've made significant progress, I will start seeing a therapist. My dad has issues like this on a similar scale, and he thinks this is just how I'll be the rest of my life. I'm going to spend this year as a big fat NO2 to that attitude.
Live healthier: This one consists of two main subgoals: Have a better sleep schedule and start eating well. I get into really bad cycles of far too little sleep for too long then oversleeping for a few days and not being able to sleep the next night. My first approach is going to be to set my alarm for 5 AM every morning and get up without fail, no matter when I got to sleep the night before. My hope is that this will force my bedtime to stabilize a bit, but if this doesn't work I'll have to go back to the drawing board. As for eating, well, I've been eating a lot of shit and it shows around my stomach and bank account. I don't think I'm going to go full-on Paleo or anything (though I may try that Whole 30 thing at some point), but I just want to be more conscientious about what I'm eating and about stopping eating when I'm no longer hungry. I get cravings, though, so I'm going to have a hard time with this one.
Treat my belongings better: I'll probably always be a klutz, but I have way too many things that I've broken, gotten dirty, scuffed, and generally mistreated. My electronics are all dented and messy, I drop things all the time, I crumple up really nice clothes, etc. This is largely a problem with conscientiousness, so I'm going to try to set up some sort of system to get me into better habits and then hope I can automatize a new approach to my stuff.
Present myself better: I'm not unhygenic or anything, but I don't regularly put too much thought into how I look or how I carry myself. I want to try to find a style that works for me and start really embracing it, and I also want to work on things like combing my hair, trimming my nails more frequently, and improving my posture.
Figure out what path I want to start on: Right now, I've got two really good career paths I'm pursuing: biomedical device design and computer programming. I want to spend this year making progress with both and finding out whether I enjoy both the day-to-day and the long-term outlook for either field. I want to gauge my skill and enjoyment and decide where to focus. Exploring programming will come from my job (most of the money I make is now from programming gigs), and exploring device design will come from research and some basic design attempts on the side. I'm really excited about this one, and can't wait to see what I find
So, that's what I'm going to be doing this year. I've worked on all of these for a while now, but this year I'm really going to focus on them and hammer them down. If I don't procrastinate too much, I'll be sure to keep y'all informed of how it goes!
1: Celebrating on my birthday has been difficult since ninth grade, since it's right in the middle of AP exam week and college finals week 2: I don't mean any disrespect to my father here. He has a lot of different coping mechanisms that allow him to live a really productive, great life, and he's told me he thinks I will be a lot happier when I stop fighting this and accept it as a permanent part of who I am. I just refuse to reach that point without trying everything I can think of to try, and if that means I have the potential to resolve this issue at the cost of potentially wasting a year of my life trying to fix a problem that can't be fixed, I'm ok with that.