I am in an elite group of society in that I completed all of my 2019 New Year’s resolutions, and now I am going to tell the rest of you mortals about it.
There is research out there that suggests only about 8% of people accomplish their resolutions, and mine were ambitious but achievable. I noticed that I was wasting too much time scrolling Twitter, binge-ing shows on Netflix or getting sucked into YouTube vortexes, and it left me disengaged from the people and world around me.
I’ve read plenty about how increased technology use is one reason people are feeling disconnected and how technology could be contributing to a rise in mental health issues and depression, and I realized heading down that road was unacceptable.
So I made goals that would encourage me to cut short on my technology use, specifically my smartphone, which for many millenials like myself is essentially another appendage.
Goals are more likely to be achieved when they are specific and measurable, is what “they” say, so I made a list of three things I wanted to accomplish.
The first was to read 15 books for pleasure. This was in addition to the reading I did for my graduate classes, which means I read a plenty this year as I surpassed my target and read 19 books. My best recommendation: “A Bright Shining Lie” by Neil Sheehan, if you’re interested in a dense, lengthy, thought-provoking education on the Vietnam War.
The second was to run a 5 minute, 30 second mile. I didn’t think I was going to reach this one, but on a surprisingly warm day toward the end of October, I pushed myself and crossed the finish line in 5:29. After I stopped feeling light-headed, I felt very accomplished. My advice: run more consistently than I did.
My third goal was another fitness one, and that was to do 20 pullups during a set at some point during the year. I accomplished this one early in December. I’ve previously done pull ups and plateaued around 17, so pumping out those last three was gratifying.
None of these goals held any particular meaning to me. Again, this was based on my desire to cut down on smartphone use and feel more engaged with the world around me. If I’m reading books, that means my eyes aren’t glazed over as I refresh my Twitter feed for the 15th time. If I’m out on a run then I’m not wasting a pleasant evening bumming it on the couch.
For 2020 I kept the 15 books goal but I’m making myself read them in at least five different genres. I tend to read a lot of nonfiction and wanted to test my literary palette. My mile goal is now 5:15.
Bring it on, 2020.