2019 Resolutions!

2018 was the first year I set resolutions. I was able to build up some great habits and also learned how important it is to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

This year I decided to add a twist to it and I’m competing against a friend on who can accomplish their resolutions more on a weekly basis. But before I get to my 2019 resolutions, let’s take a look back at my 2018 resolutions and see how I did!

2018 Resolutions

My 2018 New Year’s Resolution

2018 Mid-Year Reflection

#1: Be Conversational in Spanish

I had spent more time in 2018 improving my Spanish than I’ve had in prior years. I enrolled myself in a Spanish course which has improved my grammar and my communication skills. I’ve also been watching tv shows/animes and reading books in Spanish.

Despite the improvements I’ve made, I do not feel comfortable enough to say I have accomplished this goal. If I travel to a Spanish speaking country alone, I’m confident I can get by with the day-to-day with my current communication skills. However, I’m not able to follow a conversation if it’s not slowed down a bit for me. This year I’ll make my resolutions more habit-centered so it’s more focused on the time and effort I put in.

#2: Complete and Promote My Flashcards Mobile App Project, My Vocab

My Vocab is a vocabulary builder mobile app that I spent the last few years working on. While learning Spanish a few years back, I needed an app to help me record, translate, and review the vocabulary I wanted to learn.

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By June of 2018, I finished developing all the key features that the app was planned for. All the reported bugs were addressed and I also redesigned and updated the app store listing for app store optimization.

I’m happy to have built an app that is beneficial to not only me but other users as well!

#3: Read 20 Books

I ended up reading 17 books for the year. Even though I fell short of my goal, I was able to develop a habit of reading regularly. Reading regularly is a habit I advise everyone to build. A piece of knowledge, an insight, or a different perspective can have an everlasting positive impact on you.

Looking back at it, I didn’t account for the extra time it’ll take me to read books in Spanish. However, I’m very glad I picked up some books in Spanish since it has significantly improved my Spanish reading comprehension.

#4: Develop My Personal Brand

This resolution is stemmed from one of the first books I read, Crush It!, last year. I have published 20 blog posts since I started this blog March of 2018. I have been posting ever since and have dedicated time to write and share my learnings regularly. My blog has not only given me a platform to share my learnings but more importantly serves as a medium for me to reflect and organize my thoughts, to improve my writing, and to document my growth.

#5: Start a New Project Improve My Verbal Communication Skills

After reflecting on my resolutions mid last year, I decided to focus on improving my verbal communication skills instead of starting a new project to improve my technical skills. I completed an online public speaking course given by TJ Walker and was able to improve my communication skills through video recordings of myself speaking, giving training sessions and communicating with internal teams at work. Even so, I didn’t allocate a concerted effort to improve my communication skills once I completed the online public speaking course.

One of the key things I learned from last year is the importance of setting specific and measurable goals. Since “Improve My Verbal Communication Skills” is vague, I let myself get by without allocating extra time and effort on the resolution. Moving forward my goals will be more specific and measurable.

2019 Resolutions

#1 Read 20 Books

Since I failed to reach this goal last year, I’ve decided to try to accomplish it again this year. I have developed a habit of reading, but I still want to allocate even more time for reading.

#2 Spend 30 Minutes Studying Spanish Twice per Week

Last year my resolution of “Be conversational in Spanish” was too generic and unmeasurable. Through listening to songs, reading books, and watching tv shows/animes in Spanish, I was able to improve my Spanish consistently. However, I didn’t allocate blocks of time to improve my Spanish outside of a 2 month period where I enrolled myself in a Spanish course.

Spending 30 minutes studying Spanish twice per week probably doesn’t sound much, but it’s the habit of allocating time and focus on improving Spanish that I want to build. Just earlier this week I signed up for Rosetta Stone. Since I have already studied Spanish for a few years, this is more so a refresher to reestablish my Spanish foundations and grammar. I’ll most likely go through all of the available course materials very quickly. By then, I might spend the two 30 minutes sessions per week on studying Spanish songs or attending a Spanish speaking meetup.

#3 Work out 4 Days per Week in the Morning

I have heard many people talking about the benefits of working out in the morning. Compared to working out at night when you are low in energy after work, working out in the morning can be more effective and can also set the tone and mindset of your day.

Although my resolution is to work out 4 days per week in the morning, I’m striving to work out every weekday morning before work. It’s still early but I have kept it up for 2 straight weeks. I’m looking forward to developing this habit as it can help me become fit and be more energetic throughout the day.

#4 Learn How to Play 5 Songs on the Piano Through Memorization

One of the activities I enjoyed doing when I was in primary school was playing the piano. However, I haven’t played piano since I moved to Halifax for high school. I want to develop a skill this year and being able to play the piano well is always in the back of my mind. I already ordered an electronic piano, Yamaha P-125, during boxing day and it is expected to get delivered by this upcoming week. I’m still compiling a list of the songs that I want to learn and I can’t wait to get started!

#5 Get Better at Public Speaking

Although I want to focus on getting better at public speaking, I do not know what habits I plan to develop for it yet. I went to a few Toastmaster sessions near the end of last year and I didn’t find it useful since due to the popularity of Toastmaster you only get a chance to present at most once per month. Due to that, I’m not sure what’s the best way to improve public speaking. I’m considering joining a debate club or volunteering for a project that will require me to do presentations. I have reached out on Twitter and on Reddit, and will hopefully get some ideas on how best to get more public speaking practice. So if you have tried something that you find useful in helping you improve on public speaking, please do let me know. 🙂

Until I narrow down on the habit I want to build, I’ll mark this resolution as on hold.

On a Side Note…

To motivate myself and my friend to accomplish our resolutions, I started a competition on who can fulfill their resolutions more frequently on a weekly basis.

I created an Excel template where my friend and I listed the resolutions that we want to compete with each other on. Through a calendar, we update it daily so that each of us is aware of how the other is progressing on their resolution. At the end of the week, the week will be reflected and examined to see if each person has accomplished their weekly resolutions. Then whenever we meet up, whoever is ‘losing’ will have to treat the other person to dinner. It has gone very well so far and has motivated me to accomplish my weekly resolutions since we started this competition two weeks ago. I’ll share the look of the excel template here in case you are interested in trying this out with your friends and family. 🙂

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Thank you for your time and I’ll love to hear any feedback!

2018 Mid-Year Reflection

This is the first year in which I have set resolutions. Due to my coworkers switching departments, I was thrust into more responsibilities. I have learned a lot so far and since we are halfway through the year I’ll reflect on my progress and see what I can further improve on.

On a side note, I started video blogging for the first time. Improving my communication skills has become a priority for me in the recent months. Even though it’s essentially just me speaking into a camera, it’s still a great way for me to improve how I articulate and communicate my thoughts. Like every habit, I’ll start small and aim to do one every month. There will be no editings involved so please bear with me as I improve my communication skills gradually. 😀

Thank you in advance to anyone who watched my first video content. And if you prefer written content, please feel free to skip the video and thank you as well for your time! 🙂

Complete My Vocab Project

My Vocab is an Android vocabulary builder application that I’ve been spending the past few years working on and off. While learning Spanish a few years back, I needed an app to help me record, translate, and review the vocabulary I wanted to learn. At the time I just finished my commerce undergrad degree a few months ago and wanted to learn more about programming. So naturally, I decided to build a vocabulary builder application to help me learn more effectively and I’m glad it has been able to help others as well.

A few weeks ago, I’ve finished developing all the key features that are beneficial for what the app was set out to accomplish. I have addressed all the reported bugs as well as redesigned the screenshots for the app store listing.

I’m glad to say I’ve completed this project! It has been a great journey up to this point and I’ve definitely learned a lot from this experience.

Be Conversational in Spanish

Up until two months ago, I was watching anime in Spanish every day as well as reading Spanish books during my commute. However, since then, I’ve opted for reading personal development books in English instead. Therefore the time I’ve spent on improving Spanish is considerably less than before even though I still watch anime in Spanish every day.

In order to reach my goal, my action item on this front is to find a Spanish meetup for me to have Spanish conversations on a weekly basis.

Read 20 Books

I’ve read 6 books so far. For a few months, I was dedicating 1 hour to read every other day. I was reading at a good pace, but it has slowed down considerably since. In the past month, I have only been reading during my commute. As improving my communication skills and finishing up My Vocab project became a priority, I put less and less emphasis on reading.

One thing about setting goals that I’ve learned is to reflect and readjust your goals periodically. I thought about readjusting my goal to 15 books instead. However, If I can dedicate 30 mins each day for reading as well as getting better at skipping materials that aren’t beneficial, I can still accomplish my 20 books a year goal. We’ll see how I do at the end of the year, but for now, I’m still sticking with 20 books.

Build Personal Brand

After reading Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk, I learned the importance of building a personal brand. I have since been posting articles once every 2 weeks on my personal blog as well as Medium. I don’t have any goals in terms of wanting X number of followers since my content is for me to document my learnings and to connect with people. I’m happy with my progress and as long as I keep posting content on a regular basis I’ll consider this goal accomplished.

Start a New Project

This was my fifth and final resolution for the year. It was made due to My Vocab project coming to a close. I wanted to improve my technical skills off of work which is why I wanted a new project to work on.

However, my focus for the year has changed since. I’m going to put a stronger emphasis on improving my communication skills rather than my technical skills. If I were to start a project, it will be because I have a good idea or an opportunity that I’m passionate about. So until then, this resolution has been crossed off my list.

Improve My Verbal Communication Skills

This is the area which I have dedicated the most time for in the past month. Communication skills have always been something that I need and want to work on. And public speaking specifically is an area where I struggle the most. I want to be able to speak in public confidently but more importantly, I want to be able to articulate and communicate my key messages effectively.

I have been taking an online public speaking course by TJ Walker. By recording myself speaking and getting feedback from TJ Walker, I can see the improvements I’ve made. However as helpful as the course has been, it is still an online course. To complement the course, I’ll look for and participate in either a toastmaster club or a public speaking meetup at least once every two weeks. And as mentioned, my video content will be a channel for me to practice as well as share my progress with you.

I’ve made some good progress but there are some action items I need to take in order for me to reach my goals. I’m very excited to see how much progress I can make by the end of the year! Thank you for dropping by and I’ll love to hear your thoughts and feedback. 🙂