It's a new year, with new possibilities.

It’s a new year, and we all know what that means. It’s time for some good, old-fashioned new years resolutions. Most of the time, I do not make resolutions on new years – and if I do, I certainly don’t document them, and I forget after a little while that I ever made them in the first place. Well, now that I have this awesome and useful blog, it’s time for some documentation. And besides, it’s a well-established fact that the world is ending next December – I better make the most of my time here.

It seems a bit arbitrary to make resolutions on new years – why can’t we just make resolutions whenever we want? Why do we need an arbitrary date, a rising of the sun sometime in winter, to signify when we want to start improving our lives? I guess it’s all just a matter of psychology. It seems arbitrary because it is arbitrary, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. With Christmas and New Years celebrations behind me, and with many friends returning to school at the beginning of January, this is time I have to myself to focus on what I want to change about my life. This is the time for me to sow the seeds of habit, to start a routine and keep it going into the school year.

I’m taking a leaf from a good friend’s book and restricting my resolutions to merely 10 that I deem really important, and as she did, I will call them my Ten Commandments. I haven’t thought about this list overmuch, but they are all things I definitely want to do and I think they can get me started on the road of optimizing my time and my life. Without further ado, here are my Ten Commandments for the year of 2012:


1) Maximum 1 hour of reddit each day.
2) Minimum 1 hour physical activity each day.
3) Minimum 1 blog post each week.
4) Maximum 10 minute showers.
5) In person > call > email. Text only when necessary.
6) Eat at Hoyt 5 days a week, home 2 days.
7) Fulfill all obligations.
8) No more porn.
9) Collect mementos.
10) Never lose perspective.

I tried to make everything intuitive and brief, easy to remember. Just to humor you, I’ll provide a brief explanation for everything.

1) Maximum 1 hour of reddit each day – Straightforward. It’s easy to get lost on reddit and spend hours of time. It’s fun at the time, but it’s just not worth it in the end. I’ll leave myself an hour to check the front page, r/berkeley, and r/picturesofiansleeping. One day I might cut it out of my life altogether, although to be fair, it does keep me updated with some current events / cultural phenomena, and is really entertaining.

2) Minimum 1 hour of physical activity each day –  Although I feel pretty physically healthy (strong, energetic, thin) there is always more I could do. I want to strengthen my cardiovascular system by running, and build up a bit of muscle. Goal: look like Dexter Morgan by next Halloween so I can dress as him. A boy can dream. I’ll be going to the school gym more often, and probably also playing some frisbee or badminton if I’m lucky. I might try to get into rockclimbing – I hear that’s what the kids are doing these days, and it’s great exercise. Useful in real life, too!

3) Minimum 1 blog post per week – I really like doing this. It helps me share my ideas, document my important decisions, and be a motherfucking hipster. I don’t want to let this die, so I will be sure to post at least once a week, maybe twice if I’m bored or if something notable happens.

4) Maximum 10 minute showers – this is an easy way to save water, energy, and time. Showers are very relaxing, but they often don’t need to be long. If I need to take a long shower for some special reason, then fine – but if I’m just waking myself up or washing myself off after a workout, then 10 minutes is more than enough, and I’m sure I don’t even need that long. I never timed myself in the shower before, and my showers are probably about 10 minutes already, but I will start timing now. It’s easy enough to do.

5) In person > call > email. Text only when necessary – I rely far too much on texting and emailing to convey information. Although those mediums are very useful, I don’t call nearly as much as I should. This is not out of sheer laziness. I have an irrational fear of calling people. It doesn’t bother me to call people that I’m very close to, but otherwise, I have a strange mental barrier to calling people that I really want to get over because calling is convenient, fast, personal, and overall the most effective form of communication in many scenarios. Meeting in person is always the best if you really need to get things done. This commandment is going to be very relevant when I do CalSol work.

6) Eat at Hoyt 5 days a week, home 2 days – This requires some explaining, and is also the least strict of the rules. Hoyt is a coop (pronounced co-opp) residence, which means that a bunch of students live there and it’s all student run. It’s very cheap and fun to live in a coop, the main disadvantage being that you have to do regular chores and deal with other people being messy / a general lack of regulation because you are largely self-governed. Hoyt Hall is an all-girls coop where many of my close friends at Berkeley live. Next semester I am planning to board there, which means that I pay some flat rate and get to eat there for the whole semester. This will give me some much-needed “coop points”, which will help me get into the coop I want in the fall. The cheapest of such boarding plans is a 5-day-a-week plan, and thus I will eat at Hoyt about 5 days a week, and eat at my apartment the other 2, which gives me ample time to bond with my housemates as well as Hoytians. I plan to get closer to Hoytians that I didn’t know very well before. Even though this plan is more costly than just cooking for myself, it will give me some extra time by eliminating the need to grocery shop, it will facilitate social interaction, and it will make my diet more diverse since the Hoyt kitchen is infinitely more well-stocked than my own.

7) Fulfill all obligations – This sounds very vague, but it’s very important that I do this. One of my prized strengths is my reliability – I want to be dependable, and I don’t like to feel like I’ve failed someone by not doing what is expected of me. I owe some people money, favors, lunch dates, presents, and I need to pay everything back in full to have a clear conscience and to show people that I really care about them and that they can rely on me. I don’t want to be flaky, and I don’t want my flakiness to negatively affect others. I took on a lot of responsibility on CalSol this past semester (google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about), and I feel as though I let down my team. I will make up for this. I have the time and I have the motivation. I will not let people who are relying on me down because I was unable to fulfill obligations. This commandment is going to be time consuming and hard, but it is of utmost importance to me.

8) No more porn – Stop the presses. This will take a lot of my friends by surprise. I realized that porn, like many other things on the internet, is unnecessary and largely a waste of time. I apologize to people who read this who didn’t realize that I watched porn, but come on, what did you expect. NOTE – this is not to say that I will stop masturbating. That’s foolish. But I have a beautiful girlfriend, and when she’s not near, a vivid imagination. I don’t see the need for porn anymore, so I will cut it out of my life. I will not allow myself to irrationally cling to something that I know will not help me or improve my life or others’.

9) Collect mementos – A few days ago I was cleaning my room, and I realized I have a bunch of old shit. And a lot of that old shit has a lot of memories that I never thought about. This past semester a good friend of mine graduated, and the year before that, I lost a few good friends to unfortunate circumstances. Not being around people makes you forget them easily, but I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to forget anything ever. Even the bad times I want to remember, so that I can learn and grow from them. And most of all, I don’t want to forget the people I love, or once loved. I decided that thinking about them sometimes is not enough, so I will start keeping little trinkets to remind me of friends or of fun and exciting times in my life. One day I hope to have my own “wall of stuff”, such as the one owned by charlieissocoollike. Until then, I have cleared off the top of my dresser and have started putting mementos up.

10) Never lose perspective – While the rest of the list is largely unordered, this is placed at the end because it is the most important to me of all. There are two very powerful opposing forces in my life, and those are focus and perspective. These are sort of loaded words, but this is what they mean to me: focus means concentrating on one task or thing or mindset in particular, so that I can excel at that thing. Perspective means having an open mind, understanding other people and their goals, understanding larger contexts than myself or the task that I am currently working on, and in general being aware of everything. Focus is depth, and perspective is breadth. Historically my problem has always been with focus. It is very difficult for me to concentrate on one task and just get it done. This is why I even make these resolutions. With stricter rules and regulations I place on myself, I can become more focused and more productive. However, while I endeavor to do this, I must never lose perspective. I need to know why I am doing what I do. I need to know how my actions are affecting others. I need to know what future I’m working towards. And most of all, I need to always remember that I live in a world larger than myself. I must be always focused on conserving energy, conserving resources, promoting sustainability, and in the long run, making a positive impact on the world. Things I do now, in the short term, to improve myself are only a stepping stone to get where I really want to be, which is helping the world in whatever way I can. Right now I haven’t done any of that. But if I can learn how to optimize my time and how to improve myself, then one day I might be prepared to make a difference. You can start to see, I think, why a powerful sense of perspective is the most important to me of these resolutions.

So there you have it. This year I can sink or swim. I can take hold of my life and make good decisions for the future, or I can leave these resolutions aside and let them dwindle into obscurity. If any of you reading this are truly interested in my success, check in on me every now and then and see if I’m actually holding true to these Ten Commandments. Maybe if I’ve forgotten or abandoned them, some decent guilt-tripping can set me back on track. Or perhaps I will have reevaluated my goals. Regardless, I have a lot of hope for 2012.

One last thing I’d like to mention – this past year has been amazing for me, one of the best years of my life. I’ve made a ton of friends, grown as a person, joined an awesome club, improved academically, fit into my new minor (computer science), completed my first (paid) internship, and dated two beautiful women, one of whom I became very good friends with, and the other I am still happily dating – I love her very much. I have a lot of momentum now. Everything is getting better for me, and I won’t let it stop now.

  1. I’m enjoying this blog, just discovered it via fcbk. Looking forward to seeing you more at Hoyt! Happy New year 🙂

    • david
    • January 8th, 2012

    Keep up your resolutions~

    Especially 3, as it’s been a week.

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