I’ve always made resolutions for myself, however I normally just keep them in my head. Over the last few years though I have begun writing them down as a way for me to visualize what I want to accomplish for the year. Last year a friend of mine invited me to be in a private resolution group and I decided to accept the invitation as a way of staying committed to myself and my goals. As it turns out, I didn’t reach the projected 70% achievement I was aiming for…more like 35 ~ 40% overall. I learned a lot from tracking based on which goals became less important throughout the year and which ones gained importance. These factors played into the overall success of my resolutions and it left me feeling positive going into 2019.
I don’t believe in letting things go unfinished. I might be slow as shit, but if I keep trying, eventually I will finish the task if I put my mind to it. The greatest benefit of being in the group and tracking each resolution showed me that although not perfect, I did make progress. Even little progress, is better than no progress. For example, last year I lost 7 kg (~15lbs), and in 2017, I lost 11kg (~24 lbs). The weight loss I achieved in 2018 was only from January to May. After May I continued to fluctuate up and down 2-3 kg until now January 2019. What does that tell me? One while I did not achieve my weight loss goal in 2018 when it was possible, I did maintain said weight loss while indulging in my favorite foods and not exercising. To me that is impressive! I maintained whatever I lost for almost 8 months! The old me would have been frustrated and given up. Instead I just realized that I wasn’t exercising and I ate what I wanted, so why should I be surprised?
#1 Break the Weight Loss Plateau! With that thought in mind I decided to refocus in 2019 and continue my goal from the last two years of losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight and body image for 2019. To be honest during the last 23 days I have exercised 6 times. Those are not very good starting odds for 2019, but I have been tracking it and will continue to do so, to see how much effort I put into it. I’m also aware that I have been eating a lot of chocolate thanks to all of my care packages and that is okay! I still don’t know how to savor sweets, but maybe I should work on that, haha. I know my downfalls and I am working on little things to improve while still enjoying all my favorite foods. Normally when working on a weight loss goal I only focus on the end number and I always get really bothered by how far away it seems, so I give up. This year I am checking off each kilogram as I pass it. It makes the goal smaller and manageable and I can see how far I have come without focusing on how far I have to go.
As you can see, I started with my weight loss plateau and I actually had to add 2 boxes for 74 and 75kg. They aren’t pictured here though.
I have 15 resolutions in total and a few are already underway while others are on hold.
#2 Read 4 Books. Reading four books this year seems like a very low goal, but I only finished 3.5 books last year. I’m not a huge reader, I tend to read long scholarly articles when friends share them, but I don’t actually read books often. I start many books and then never finish them, I think I have four books like that either at home or on my kindle. So this year my goal is to complete reading four books, I actually have already read two and I am about half way done with a third. I’ve learned reading doesn’t take a lot of time, but I have to put sometime aside in order to get any reading done.
#3 Payoff 40% of Credit Card Debt. This is the only remaining debt I have and if I include the interest I also paid last year, I paid off 50% of it. This year I have a lower number as a safety net. In case things don’t go as planned, I want to at least hit 40%, but I am actually hoping it will be closer to 60% by the end of 2019. The goal is to not add any purchases to my credit card, I may reroute my yearly charges such as Amazon Prime, Blog Domain and Hosting, and VPN to my debit card. Therefore, I will no longer incur those charges and additional interest. <- I should probably do that.
#4 40,000 RMB Savings (~$5,800) While this does not seem like a high number to many people I know back home it is roughly 40% of my salary for the year. Which means this will be my safety net for the future life I want to build that isn’t dependent on paying down my debt. I could pay my debt faster, but I always think having a savings on hand is better just in case. Hopefully there won’t be any surprise expenses this year and it will easily be achieved!
#5 Blog Twice A Month So this has been my goal for the last 2 years. And many months it is easy to accomplish while others not so much if I am on the road or have bad wifi access. So far for January, I have already achieved this goal. I know that maintaining an active blog is better for me to stay in contact with friends and family that want to know what is going on in my life. So I will do my best to continue to post regularly. Also if you read this and are curious about something let me know! Maybe I can make a blog post about it! 😀
#6 Make a Budget I always have a working budget in my head of how much my monthly expenses are, but that can go awry very quickly. All of last year I had no idea how much money I had unless I went to an ATM to check my balance. I only did this on payday, so my habit of treating myself to coffee and going out to eat when I was too lazy to cook hit my savings very hard. Literally to the point I had no savings, talk about bad money management. This year I went to the bank and signed up for automated text message banking. Fucking genius. I didn’t have it in Korea, because I used online banking, but here I don’t even use that because its a pain in the ass for foreigners. So now I can actually see my balance every time I make a purchase. Another factor that made it difficult was that China isn’t really big on debit cards, they exist and people do use them, but the method of payment is changing. Things are paid with cash or through your phone using WeChat Pay or Alipay. I send money to a coworker who wires it to my American bank account through Alipay, because it is easier for her than me. I plan to create a budget during the next week or so, although I know February will be an odd month as we will be away for 3 weeks. If I can budget better, I can save better.
#7 Limit Social Media Screen Time Last year I didn’t do well with this goal and I wanted to revisit it. I’m a conflicted person when it comes to social media as I find it useful for staying in contact with friends and family, but damaging to my self-esteem and makes me a giant procrastinator. I know some amazing people who share very informative articles and opinion pieces and I love reading them on social media, but its the scrolling and other crap that gets in the way. I also realize I can do more of my own research on topics I am interested in and how to become a better and more informed person on my own. I have to take the time to find good resources and read more which brings me back to #2. Luckily, the last update on the iphone started telling me how much screen time I use each day and how much is devoted to each app. This week I decided to keep social media apps limited to 1 hour, 30 minutes to entertainment, and 30 minutes to reference & reading. The apps I need most often, messaging apps, Tibetan & Chinese dictionaries, and google translate aren’t restricted. So far I am more aware of how much time I spend on it, but I can still hit the ‘ignore time limit’ button if I want to continue being lost in the social media crap. One step at a time, hopefully by spring it will be reduced enough that I won’t even want to look at those apps often.
#8 Create Self-Care Routine One of my goals over the last few years by creating the Mocha Diaries was to work on myself, my inner world, and self-care. I don’t really have a self-care routine so this year I want to think of things I can do that will help me focus on my self-care. I want my self-care to be grounded in things I am trying to focus on that improve my physical and mental well-being. For now I have decided to try and incorporate yoga, mani mantras, prostrations, a foot bath, meditation, tea/ coffee time, reading or drawing as my self-care. The foot bath is an easy thing as I just fill a small tub with water while I take a shower and my feet can relax. The rest I would like to incorporate daily somehow even if it is only a few minutes a day. This morning I did four sun salutations, it wasn’t much but I felt better after doing it. This is about trying to add a little self-care in each day!
#9 Be More Environmentally Friendly The environment is really in need of help and for as long as I can remember, I have tried my best to get better at doing more. When I lived in America and even Korea it was much easier for me to do as I was aware of what I was buying and could easily find greener products that were somewhat affordable based on my salary. I have a few tasks I really want to focus on this year. First, taking shorter showers. I am terrible at this in the winter, but I don’t shower everyday. So the goal is to eventually take as quick a shower as I can even in the colder months, I may need to buy a shower timer to get better at this. Second, to not buy as many snacks or drinks outside of the house. It is a very easy habit to stop and buy a snack or drink at the store on my way to work if I feel a little hungry, but all that packaging ends up somewhere and it’s a waste of money. Third, turning off the lights. I’m actually really good at this, except in the winter when Chengdu’s smog is so thick that s the sky is very gray which make using the lights necessary. Otherwise, if I can go without I do until night time as I enjoy natural light much more. Fourth, to recycle more. I try to recycle, but there is no separation here where I live in Chengdu. So I am trying to at least put recyclables in a separate bag to other trash. Fifth, donate old clothes. At some point I want to donate older clothes or pass them on to others who may use them. Sixth, reduce and reuse. I’m trying to reduce my consumption and to reuse things where I can. For example, many gift bags I keep to reuse for another occasion. I also try to use containers once empty for other items if I can. I’m also being more conscious of if I need something or not before purchasing. There are other ways I am pondering how I can be better, but I haven’t done any research on that yet here in China.
#10 Spread Generosity This year I decided I wanted to spread generosity. I don’t have a lot of money to give, but I thought that there are many ways to spread generosity. I want to document it for myself and to see how easy it is to be generous to others. I’ve always been a generous person, but I felt like now I want to be more generous when I can. I thought that I can focus on making donations, even if they are small to different causes throughout the year. If I am unable to donate, I can help share a cause so that it reaches more people who may be able to donate. I can share my time with others if they need someone to listen to them, or if they need help with something. I can volunteer if the opportunity arises and I am able to go. I may evolve this resolution to contain loving-kindness, as well, as I think spreading love, helping others, without expecting something in return is something we could all benefit from more in this world. I’m still thinking of what other ways I can show generosity, and I may figure that out as the year goes.
#11 Idea Planning This one is a bit of a secret project I was to work on over the next year. Which reading more and limiting my time on social media will help me focus on it. If it gets under the way at any point I will share more information about it later.
12 Create a Morning Routine I lack a morning routine, in the sense that I have a really lazy morning routine grounded in scrolling through social media while drinking coffee kind of morning. I have been thinking for awhile that this is a really unhealthy way to start the day. So I want to create a better morning focused on waking up and oriented towards self-care and my goals. I probably should start with a set wake-up time. To be honest I just wake up when I want at this point, if I am tired I sleep in, but never too late. So I want to start the morning early by making a cup of tea or coffee. Then maybe doing a few sun salutations or light exercise followed by breakfast and then studying. I think if I created somewhat of a routine I might be more successful with what I want to achieve this year.
#13 Read a Book in Korean I haven’t studied Korean in close to 2 years now, and to be honest I rarely use it. I watch Korean dramas on occasion with subtitles so that I can still hear the language, although I could understand it without using the subtitles, I’m just lazy. I have two books in Korean back home and I will probably have my mom bring them with her to Chengdu so that I have something to read to keep up my language skills as well as learn new words. I also have a pdf I plan to use more that teaches basic Chinese through Korean. Killing two birds with one stone, I’d say.
#14 Study Chinese I admit, I have been a terrible Chinese language student. Every year, I think about starting somewhere to learn and I just don’t do it. I have focused on other items that were more important at the time. I am surrounded by Chinese on a day to day basis, so I have picked up a few words and phrases, not much at all really. Although it isn’t my priority, I believe after one year of living here, I need to start somewhere even if the progress is slow. I was thinking to learn pinyin and 300 characters by the end of the year. Not an incredibly lofty goal, but useful enough. I even recognize a few characters from studying Japanese, some of them have been changed but others are the same, so yay!
#15 Tibetan Goals My Tibetan language goals have their own page. Although this is the last resolution listed it is one of the most important to me. I broke this down into five parts as they are different ideas I thought about focusing on. First, I was inspired by a friend for how many hours of study I will devote this year to learning Tibetan. In total it is 365 hours, roughly an hour a day. Some days I might do none, somedays I might do 3 hours, but it is a good way to track how much I actually studied. This number is strictly going to come from textbook studying focusing on reading/writing/grammar/ and vocabulary. Second, I wanted to do a daily Tibetan diary. I actually did this when I first studied Korean and I thought it was useful, so I want to reuse that tactic now. However, so far I think I have only written one diary entry this month. I’m off to a bad start, so I need to fix that. Third, a daily instagram post. I actually created an instagram account to do this, but I have been lazy posting and that is not okay. The purpose was to share what I was learning to find other language learners or just to show myself how far I have come by the end of the year. Fourth, is to talk more in the family chat. I am part of my boyfriend’s family chat and he is part of mine. It is part of our way of helping each other listen and practice the language with people besides ourselves. I have a hard time understanding some of what is being said, so I don’t reply often in the chat. But this year, I want to make more of an effort. I think after visiting everyone this winter I will become more active. And finally, an Amdo dialect class or exchange. When I wrote this I still had class with my friend, and I am hoping in the spring we can continue, but if we can’t I will see who else is available or I can set aside a designated amount of time to focus on studying and practicing Amdo dialect actively.
So those are my 15 resolutions for 2019. They are all a little different, but they all focus on things I would like to achieve this year. There are other things I would like to do or focus on but I can’t say if they will become part of the resolutions or not. Rather, maybe I will tack them on as a bonus.