Progress check: 2020 Resolutions

When 2020 rolled in, I decided (like everyone else) that it was going to be my year. I set up this blog and listed down my resolutions, determined to stick to them. Publicising my resolutions would put the pressure on me to fulfill them.

No one expected the crazy crap that this year has given us, though. The whole world has been swept off its feet, and by the look of things, we are still in for a lot of grim surprises. I can’t wait for this year to end – yet I’m sure 2021 won’t be any better.

The crappiness of 2020 is not an excuse to throw in the towel, though. My resolutions still serve as a reminder of how I wanted to change myself. I thought of checking in on my progress in the middle of the year, alas I found excuses not to, the primary one being my laptop breaking. No laptop = no means of blogging.

This has been four months late. I have a replacement laptop now, so it’s time to take stock of my progress.

  1. Control my life and not just let it happen to me
    2019 was a year when I was on autopilot: I never did anything outside of my routine. It made my life painfully boring, so much so that I vowed never to repeat it.

    This year has unwittingly helped in preventing that. How can you live on autopilot when the world is burning? So, yes, I think I have more control over my life and actions this year. Thanks for the help, 2020!

  2. Actually socialise
    Fulfilled. I’m more social now. I’m still not as good in banter in English as I am in Filipino, but I now talk with my colleagues more, and I’ve also enrolled in French lessons. There are now people in my vicinity whom I actually consider as friends.

  3. Join a club
    Yes, I joined a club. It’s not Toastmasters as I originally intended, but rather Alliance Francaise. I also enrolled in the latter’s French lessons, which I take up once a week.

  4. Get in touch with 24 long-time friends
    I thought I was doing a bad job at this… my journal says otherwise, though. I caught up with sixteen friends, so far! These friends of mine are based in different parts of the world: Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Las Vegas, Manila, Bangkok, and Dubai. The catch, though, is I’ve spoken to most of them only once this year. I should make our catch ups bi-annual.

  5. Juggle hobbies
    I’m doing poorly on this one. When my laptop broke last June, I stopped writing and drawing. But I regularly engage in hobbies that don’t require it: exercising, learning French, and reading… so I guess I’m doing okay.

  6. Either do a side hustle or enroll in a Master’s degree
    I was close to doing the latter, but decided against it for reasons too boring to list down. So no, I have no side hustle, and I’m not pursuing a Master’s degree.

  7. Diversify funds
    This I’ve done with the help of my mum. Apart from my job, I have two other streams of income.

  8. Save 50% of my emergency funds, and 70% of my funds for savings
    I spectacularly failed this one. My circumstances have changed, and I’m spending more money now than I did last year.

    I feel bad for not hitting my financial goals… but the quality of my life has improved because I put my earnings to use. (I have to drill this to my head – don’t feel bad for spending!!!)

  9. Learn to use WordPress
    Well, I am using it.

  10. Open a Youtube channel
    I wanted to do an ASMR channel at the beginning of the year, hahaha. Not sure if I still want to do it, though. So no, I haven’t opened a Youtube channel.

Books for the year

I have a conservative goal for myself this year regarding books: read 15 novels. Compared to last year’s 55, it’s a low target. It’s more achievable though, considering the other resolutions I have.

I’m proud to say that I’ve already finished three books this year: Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient, and Jane Harper’s The Lost Man. Becoming I only managed as I read the majority of it last December (does that count as cheating?). I finished the other two, meanwhile, as I was killing time in the Philippines. I’m already on my way to finishing my fourth book, Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman.

This is what I really want to achieve, though: to read, and actually enjoy, non-fiction. Autobiographies, essays, history: I’d like to have a deeper understanding of how great people think. I want to understand how their beliefs shaped their decisions. Admittedly it will take effort to enjoy non-fiction, considering my many, many failed attempts. But, perhaps, having these in the form of audiobooks would make it easier.

Prime example: Michelle Obama’s Becoming. I enjoyed her autobiography as an audiobook. Curious about the hype, I downloaded it off Audible and listened to it while in the Philippines. Poignant and genuine, Becoming chronicles Michelle’s roots, and shows her vulnerabilities as she grew from a young lawyer to the first lady of the USA. It helped me see that great people don’t have their path forged for them from birth. No matter what circumstance you’re born into, working hard, thinking through your decisions, and living purposefully takes you to greater heights.

Here are the other books I’d like to read this year:

  • Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
  • Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama
  • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

My hope is that, by delving deep into these writers’ lives and thoughts, I become a more enriched person. There’s always something to learn from others; no harm comes in expanding your thoughts. But of course, reading shouldn’t only be about learning! There’s a reason why, thus far, I’ve read more fiction than non-fiction.

What other books, non-fiction or not, do you recommend? Let me know!