New Years Resolutions
I thought I'd make a New Years post reviewing some resolutions I made last year and making some new ones for next year .
I actually made a note for myself about the changes I wanted to make last year. Here it is with some annotations:
- Go to the Farmer's market (May)
- I did actually do this one. The global pandemic sort of got in the way but it opened up in the summer in a spacious parking lot and I went a few times. It was actually great. There was some incredible bread, steaks, blueberries and garlic. I definitely plan to do this again next year.
- Make a new recipe at least weekly
- This one was sort of in response to a culinary rut I thought Rhiannon and I were in. We did make a lot of great new dishes this year, including soup dumplings on New Years Eve. Though I suppose as written I probably failed the challenge.
- I was just reminded of this post though. I guess I started out strong.
- Update website at least monthly
- Well I definitely did this one! Though I think in a blog post around this time last year I said I was going to focus more on quality which maybe didn't happen. Thanks for reading everyone!
- Going forward I'm not sure what I want to do with the site. Looking back I've actually written a lot. I definitely learned a lot. But I wouldn't say I actually made or wrote anything I'm proud of. I think I'll keep going for now but I should think more about what I really want out of this site and why I'm making it.
- Write 1-2 papers
- Well I submitted something to the arxiv on New Years eve so I guess I sort of got this one in just barely. Sort of.
- do candidacy
- I did it in July! Ironically I scheduled it for July so everyone would be in Columbus but then of course it was on zoom anyway.
- Exercise at least bidaily
- Just like the cooking resolution I would say I'm happy with the amount I got in during the year but I probably didn't exercise two days in a row at least once.
- Play tennis
- I sort of forgot this resolution. But by coincidence my parents got us tennis rackets for my birthday and a friend challenged me during the summer so I did play a bit. It was a lot of fun.
- Use slow cooker
- I think we made a chili once? I'm not sure why I made this resolution.
- Experiment on self
- Not sure what I intended with this one. Some sort of 'try new things' resolution expressed as weirdly as possible. I did tinker with various habits and whatnot but I don't know if I fulfilled the spirit of this resolution.
- Make more art
- I wanted to make more generative art in the spirit of this post but I guess I never got around to it. I did have to generate a new Brownian motion image when I got a larger screen though.
So I guess I did okay last year. Here's some more for next year.
I have some goals around habits and others around goals.
Do pomodoros. I've been doing them a little more regularly with a script I made and I think they help me focus a lot. I think in the past I'd often sit down with the intention of 'work all morning' or 'work until you're too tired'. But I think I do need to take breaks if I want to work for a length of time longer than an hour. But everything I do for fun is sort of addictive so it's important to have good habits around the breaks I take. I think a work pattern of 25 on, 25 off for 3 hours or so will be fun and sustainable.
Read at least 5 pages of mathematics a day. I've been focusing on writing and solving various problems lately and I'd go weeks without really reading anything. But there's a lot of stuff I do want to read. I think a small daily habit instead of looking for blocks to read for hours will lead to me reading the most in the long run.
Take notes around those two goals. Specifically I want to write down how many poms and what I read every day. I think it will be cool to have that data later. I also want to publish that data somewhere on my website. Maybe make cool graphs. I haven't thought that far ahead. I have this vague sense that it would be good to be a less private person. That privacy is somehow bad. It just seems unnatural to sit alone in my apartment for hours every day. I guess this was sort of the motivation behind my failed lunchtime discord and burrito stream. I think I'll try to try more things in that vein this coming year. Though maybe focusing more on participating in the communities I'm already a part of than starting new ones.
I want to write 3 papers this year. I've got a number of things half finished so hopefully I can get them out.
I want to be more social on the internet. A lot of the internet for me has been reading things by people I'll never talk to and writing things that mostly no one reads (I guess this post is part of the problem). I want to get better at actually having social experiences on the internet. I'm part of some discords I don't participate much in and I'd like to change that. Part of the problem is I need to configure the notifications somewhere between 'never seeing anything' and 'a constant deluge of pings'. I think it's just a matter of picking what channels on a given server I want to pay attention to. I guess the other problem is it's sort of annoying for Rhiannon when I'm in voice calls late at night. I think that's a problem best solved by more rooms so I resolve to get more rooms in the new year. That will probably have to wait for the summer though.
Also I resolve to get married. Our first date got sort of pandemiced out but I'm sure we'll get it figured out this year.
I want to exercise first thing in the morning. Just a short run or whatever is fine. I've been in the habit of starting the day with coffee but I think this would be better for my health and happiness.
Also I want to meditate for ~10 minutes after my run. This one is sort of speculative so I might stop after January if I end up not liking it. I'm just picturing sitting on the porch doing nothing for a bit mostly focusing on my breath. I feel like there's a lot of media signals telling me this is a good thing to try. I'm skeptical, but it's free.
 I have the sense that New Years resolutions are much maligned in our culture. Maybe more for being a cliche than being a bad idea. Maybe there's an archetype of person who makes unattainable goals or commits to unsustainable new habits every New Years only to be back to who they were by February. Maybe New Years can also be a way to procrastinate on new habits. It's fine to eat a ton of chocolate over Christmas; my new years resolutions will kick me back into shape (Maybe I'm both those people). But to the first point I kind of think I got something out of various habits I didn't maintain anyway. You can at least try something new and learn something about yourself. And to the second point I think if anything there are too few places in life that prompt one to stop and think "maybe I should be doing things differently". Steven Levitt's experiment assigning people to either make a big change they were thinking about or keep the status quo comes to mind.