2016: Looking Ahead

“I haven’t ________ since last year!” —People everywhere during the first week of January who are 110% fresh-out of good jokes

A couple days ago, on New Year’s Eve, I posted a typical end-of-the-year review with my own spin on 2015 (here it is if you missed it). I mentioned that I used to do this on my Tumblr, but decided to start writing my New Year’s goals/resolutions on this blog since I don’t write personal posts on Tumblr much anymore. Now that 2015 is officially over and 2016 has commenced, it is time to make my goal list for 2016.

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[  ] Attend church services in Winona at least three Sundays a month and get more involved with other Christians. Although I did try to make God a priority and I did improve in some ways, I know I let my faith slip down on my priority list at times this year, and I really want to be more intentional about it next year (and, of course, in the years to come). I physically attended church fairly regularly when I first got to Winona, but as time went on, I found myself watching online services far more often because I didn’t have to leave my bed. God gave up his only son to die in my place, so the least I can do is make him my number one priority. (And this isn’t to discredit the online service I watch—it’s a wonderful church with absolutely great speakers; but it’s just not the same as physically going to a service and being in contact with other believers.)

[  ] Make the Dean’s List (3.5 GPA) for at least one semester of 2016. I did it fall semester of 2015, and even though my classes will progressively get more difficult throughout my college career, I know for a fact that this goal is achievable and I can do it with some (or a lot) of hard work.

[  ] Go to the gym/exercise at least three days a week for at least an hour each time. I hate physical activity, and although I made it to the gym a little more often in 2015 than I have previously, I need to get in better exercise habits. I rely a little too heavily on my fast metabolism. Though that works for now, it won’t work in my favor forever. Oh, and three days a week and one hour each is the bare minimum. Four or five days a week for more than an hour would be great, but a goal of five days a week would be, for me, unrealistic.

[  ] Go at least one day a week without any junk food and try to eat a fairly balanced diet the other six days of the week. I rarely eat copious amounts of junk food, but sometimes I eat half a bag of chips or “accidentally” consume an entire pizza or eat fast food multiple times a day. Although I have never gained a noticeable amount of weight from it, I tend to feel a lot better when I eat healthier. One “cheat day” is allowed per week, but it doesn’t have to be used (which means try really hard not to, but it’s okay if I feel like I need to/there’s a special occasion).

[  ] Make and keep up with a health/wellness diary to hold me more accountable for what I eat and how often I exercise. This is mainly to help accomplish the prior two goals. I’m hoping that if I force myself to write down everything I consume in a day, I’ll be less inclined to eat an entire large pizza just because I’m bored.

[  ] Get a second job for the summer. I have a job that pays pretty well and I don’t mind, but I feel like splitting a bunch of hours between two jobs will help me continue to not mind the one I have (while also gaining more work experience at a different place).

[  ] Post on this blog at least once every two weeks, even if it’s really short or about something insignificant. Looking back at 2015, I realized I was really, really inconsistent with my blog posts. While that probably didn’t bother anyone else, it annoyed me, and I wish I would have posted more frequently. If for no other reason, blog posts are fun to look back on for me personally, and I enjoy writing them.

[  ] Read at least one book a month for leisure (books for schoolwork or classes do not count). I used to really, really enjoy reading and would have a new book to read every chance I could, but after being forced to read so many books my last couple years of high school and first semester of college, I haven’t really wanted to read in my spare time. I wish I still read as much as I did, though, hence this goal. It can be a fairly short book, but 100 pages is the minimum.

[  ] Get another tattoo, but only if it has significant meaning to me and has been well-thought out. I have some ideas for future tattoos, but if I’m going to use my hard-earned money to get thousands of tiny needles stabbed repeatedly into my skin that results in a permanent piece, I want it to have some important meaning behind it. (Sorry, mom and dad—I promise they’ll be small, meaningful to me, and easy to hide to appease the work place or disapproving relatives/whoever. And I won’t pay a fortune for it.)

And those are my goals for 2016. Now, with 2016 already underway, I challenge you to come up with a list of realistic goals you want to achieve in 2016. If you’ve already made one, make sure said goals are challenging yet still reachable, and that you have specific steps you can take that will help you accomplish that goal. For example, in place of just making a resolution to lose weight (or even to lose x-amount of pounds), make a detailed goal (eg. Lose 20 pounds by going to the gym 4-5 times per week for at least an hour each and limiting myself to one sweet/sugary treat a day). Even that could be more detailed than it is—basically, the more of an actual plan, the better. By including more distinct and measurable details as to how you want to lose that weight and what ways you will make sure you are held accountable for that goal, you are setting yourself up for success. Otherwise, without a specified course of action, the task will seem far too difficult to achieve and, unfortunately, progress probably won’t make it past the first couple weeks of January. It will take continual hard work throughout the year, of course, but you might as well do as much as possible to set yourself up to achieve your goals.

With all of that being said, I hope you are all able to set realistic goals for yourselves and find the motivation to begin (and continue) working on them. Surround yourselves with positive people who will build you up and help you reach the goals you set, and try not to worry about those who do the opposite. You can do it!

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