Below is a list of things I aim to accomplish this year. For a task to be considered “complete,” I will need to write a blog post explaining how I achieved my goal, what the experience was like, etc. Hopefully, this critical reflection will help me savor the accomplishment more and internalize how it affected my life (for better for or for worse). I will continue to update this post each time I check an item off the list, with a link to the relevant blog post. If you can help me accomplish any of these goals, or simply want to come along for the ride, reach out! Without further ado, here are my New Year’s resolutions for 2016!

  • Write one substantive blog post each month: My major does not place much weight on the importance of writing and I believe my ability to express my thoughts clearly and concisely has diminished as a result. I aim to write about a range of subjects, from politics to philosophy to programming. When writing about technical topics, I will endeavor to make it accessible to a non-technical audience where possible. I hope that one blog post a month will be enough to shake off the dust and further develop my unique voice. And speaking of blogs…

  • Finish blog setup: I’ve been meaning to replace my personal web presence for ages. What you’re reading now is simply a first pass at things. I still need to add a menu bar, set up the home page, add an “about page”, tweak the design, and tie up other loose ends. Once this item is checked off, I hopefully won’t have to touch it again for several more years (or until Medium goes out of style).

  • Hop in the Essex Hot Tub: Because why not. It sounds like codes are hard to come by if you are male, but I’m hoping someone reading this will be able to point me in the right direction.

  • Regain conversational fluency in Spanish: I haven’t spoken a lick of Spanish since graduating high school, and my skills are clearly rusting. I plan to spend the first few months rebuilding my vocabulary and brushing off the cobwebs thanks to Duolingo and random vloggers on YouTube. I gradually hope to transition to more conversation-based practice, like posting my own vlogs in Spanish and finding study buddies. If you know Spanish and would like to help me on my quest, give me a shout.

  • Read one new book a month: Pretty straightforward. I’ve got a pretty long backlog to work through. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

  • Visit Portland, Oregon: This is something I’ve been meaning to do since I moved out West, but have never found the time to do so. As it turns out, I’ve recently become friends with a Portland native who has promised to be my tour guide. He assures me there is much more to Portland than Voodoo Doughnut. I will report back with my findings.

  • Get a drink at the Faculty Club: Okay, so their beverage list isn’t very extensive. And yeah, I know the Bear’s Lair is back again. But I’ve walked past this building hundreds of times on my way to class. Just once, I’d like to stop in for a drink or three (preferably before a particularly boring lecture).

  • Play a game of Killer Queen: Killer Queen is a 10-player, real-time strategy arcade game. There are only a few setups in the entire world, and one of them is located at Brewcade in San Francisco. I’ve been meaning to get over to a meet-up for ages, but haven’t made it a priority until now. This also might be the game that launches my casting career…

  • Visit a country I’ve never been to before: Pretty straightforward. Mexico and Canada technically count, but I’m hoping for something a little more exotic. There are tons of international students at Cal and I’m sure I’ll find someone who is willing to give me the authentic experience of their home country. No place is too far afield; as long as I can get a visa, I’m game!

  • Eat at Chez Panisse: I’ve always wanted to get dinner here, but nabbing a reservation is tough and it is hard to justify paying ~$100 for a meal. Some would say that Chez Panisse is overrated, especially since it lost its Michelin star a few years back, and they may be right. But it’s a Berkeley institution, and the symbolism of eating at the most well-renowned restaurant in the city as I reach the peak of my college career is not lost on me.

  • Go skydiving: A cliché bucket list item, I know. It’s not very exotic (there are tons of outfitters), nor is it very expensive. And I fancy myself an adrenaline junkie. So why haven’t I done it yet? Well, to be honest, it’s because I’m scared. Which seems as good of a reason as any to do it. I can’t believe I’m publicly committing to this. I am pretty terrified.

  • Get fit: Last year, I decided to make my health a priority. And as much as I wish I could say I decided to do so because I wanted to run a marathon or live to be 108, let’s be real: the reason I started losing weight is because I want to look good naked. As it turns out it was a pretty good motivator – I dropped 14.3 pounds and got significantly stronger (which, I’ll allow, isn’t hard when you’re starting from zero). I thought I would derive a ton of satisfaction from looking in the mirror or having other people compliment me. Much to my surprise, most of my satisfaction comes from the little things I now notice. Like when you run after the bus and catch it without losing your breath. Or when you start to recognize people at the gym because you have been going so consistently. This internal validation is much more fulfilling than the external validation, and it’s inspired me to keep going this year.
    Last year was about losing the freshman fifteen. Getting there was fairly straightforward: no more unlimited food at the cafeteria, significantly reduced alcohol intake, and an exercise level above zero. Now, I am no longer “overweight.” But I’m also not fit. This year is about getting to a fitness level I have never been at before. My goal weight is 155, although I know this may be difficult given the training plan I’m using. And I’m cognizant of the fact that my weight is just a number and not a good indicator of overall fitness. That’s why this goal is so vague. It will be quite clear (to me, at least) if I’ve achieved this goal by the end of the year.

Thanks for reading this far! If you’d like to join me on any of my adventures, please reach out. Additionally, I welcome any and all feedback as I find my blogging groove. It’s not as easy as it looks!