Two weeks into 2015, many people are busy making New Year’s resolutions, hoping to make their lives more productive and meaningful. According to Forbes, about 40% of Americans making resolutions in the beginning of the year, and only 8% achieve their goals. I am, like many others, reflecting on the past and trying to come up with a few things to focus on. But I am not gong to tell you how to stick to your resolutions. To me, purpose and attitude are what determines the outcome.
I have had quite a journey in the past few years: getting a green card, switching from corporate marketing to the digital advertising industry, and moving from Detroit to Washington, DC. When I look back my resolution in 2014 and try to come up with what I want to work on this year, I realize my goals aren’t that much different. I am still itching for a promotion in the current ad agency; I am still far behind on the programming skills that I had liked to learn; and I am still struggling with finding people I can connect with here at DC (and I’ve lived here for about a year and a half). Making my 2015 resolution the same as last year just doesn’t feel right.
It took me a few days to come up with a new definition of the New Year’s resolution. First, I will not get hung up on things that are out my control—for example, that promotion. I thought it’s only fair to put promotion on my New Year’s resolution because of the amount of time and effort that I dedicate to my job. There are far more reasons determining promotion that I do not see, nor do I have any control over. So instead of aiming for what I can’t control (and getting frustrated if things don’t go as planned), I adjust my mindset to think of those resolutions as personal projects – things I personally would like to work on (and have more control) to enrich my personal and professional self.
- Use R and Python for different projects: I’ve wanted to learn R and Python for at least two years (And it’s been on my resolution list for two years). In the past, I wanted to learn because both programming languages enhance statistical analysis, something I deem helpful for my career advancement. I’ve tried Coursera, Udacity, and many local meetups. But the inability to apply those languages to projects greatly hinders me from practicing and improving. That’s why I am going to change my strategy by limiting the learning and emphasizing the practice.
- Master my own mind: yoga has been a part of my life because it allows me to temporarily focus on the practice and turn my mind off everything else. We set our intentions in the beginning of the practice, and through moving meditation we focus on our own techniques. I am far from being a spiritual practitioner, but I’m drawn to the concept of being in control of my own thoughts and mind. Too often we let other people indirectly change our value proposition, and that is why I want to consciously monitor my emotion and thought process, and explore meditation to find peace in my own very way.
- Finish “Own The Room” (by Jen Su and Maignan Wilkins) and “Thinking Fast and Slow” (by Daniel Kahneman): reading has many benefits, and one of them is to help me learn more vocabulary and write more frequently. I want to find my signature voice (Owning The Room) and better articulate my thoughts in different scenarios (Thinking Fast and Slow) in 2015.
Those are the three personal projects I’m dedicated to this year. Of course, there are other things not in my list that I want to work on, like being active in different communities/meetups, seeking speaking opportunities, keeping in touch with my friends (and not just superficial networking and meaningless chitchat). I didn’t include them in my project list because I know my limits. And I also realize through small changes, I can make a bigger impact. Focusing on inner self will (hopefully) attract people of the same mindset and build stronger relationships.
What are your personal projects in 2015?