[I’m posting this a bit late, so if you’re confused by things like “this year” and “next year,” imagine I posted this on Dec 31, 2014, 23:59:59.]
At the beginning of this year, the mere thought of speaking in front of a group of people literally scared me to death. I can now present a homework problem I have not spent a huge amount of thought on in the most sloppy way possible, be told in front of everyone that I did everything wrong, trip over something on the way back to my seat, and take it all without a sweat.
Finally, we’re making progress. Nino: 1, his brain: 0.
The year is coming to a close and everyone is doing yearly reviews, so I decided to create my own. I used the 8760 hours template and ended up with a text that is around 6,000 words long1 and contains pretty much everything that happened this past year, including many unpublishable details. This is a much shorter version that doesn’t have that problem and is hopefully less boring than the original for everyone who isn’t me.
While 2014 was certainly not a good year, I think I can safely say it was the best one I’ve had, so far.
I learned a lot of new things, both about my field of study and about life in general, and, as I described above, I made a lot of progress on improving my mental health and confidence. I’ve managed to keep my depressive episodes to a minimum and, in an attempt to be a bit more agenty, I even moved out of my parents’ house and into a small place close to my university. On top of all that, financially, I’m in as good a position as someone without an income can hope to be.
The “not good” part of the year mostly revolved around school: In 2013 I’d discovered for the first time, that I am able to pass exams if I study enough. So, in 2014, I thought, I would just keep doing that and have the best grades in the world and everything would be amazing. After four exams I barely passed and one I postponed for another year because I was too distracted to focus, that optimism quickly vanished.
Over the course of the year I tried several techniques I read about on the internet to increase my productivity, and some worked for a while, which led me to announce numerous times to my friends and family, that I’d finally solved my productivity issues and it would all be smooth sailing from now on. Sadly, I kept being wrong. The fact that I always tried so many new things made my therapist very happy, but it was still frustrating that no lasting benefit ever came from the attempts.
The present and future
Over the last few weeks, things have been getting better again. To maintain some of that momentum, I sat down and had a good think about what I wanted to do with my life, since, maybe, having long-term goals would help motivate me to be more effective now. These are the main goals I came up with for 2015:
Wherever I choose to go after I finish my bachelor’s degree, better grades would probably increase my chances, since many schools, surprisingly, won’t accept students with bad grades. Therefore I commit to only producing grades that start with a “1,” starting next semester (that’s like an A(±), for all my millions of international readers). I’m not sure how hard this will be but I feel like my brain should be capable enough to make this reasonably possible, with some preparation.
Additionally, I will finish 10 textbooks. I don’t think I’ve ever actually read a textbook from start to finish, but this seems like a reasonable number to learn some new things. Also I think I read a similar number somewhere else so I’m sure this is a good idea.
I’m not a fantastic writer, and since it seems like writing would be a good skill to have, I’ll try to write at least 60,000 words this year and get into a habit of doing at least one pomo of writing per day. If this works well enough, I might even post more stuff on this site.
A few months ago I started doing mindfulness meditation and that was kind of fun, so I’ll try to keep doing a 10 –20 minute session every day.
In addition to that, I’ll go back to writing journals / daily reviews, and weekly reviews. I did the daily reviews for a while last year and it helped my brain stay sane, but I stopped when I figured out how to do the same without writing. Now that I’m having a more goal-oriented year, I’d like to have more content to base my next yearly review on, so I’ll start again. The weekly reviews are intended to give me more of a big-picture view and track my overall progress toward my goals. We’ll see how that goes.
Lastly, I have an extremely embarrassing habit, that I desperately need to get rid of. It looks a bit similar to this (maybe don’t click that link if you’re eating), and if I still haven’t stopped that shit by next December, I’ll give out 100 €. I’ll do a big raffle and everything. It’ll be amazing. But seriously. Why is this so hard.
And that’s it. Let’s make 2015 the best year yet.
- Fun fact: My review of 2014 is the longest document I have ever written in my entire life, with the second place being a school report for a 2-week internship, which was around 2,200 words. Also, the school report took me about 2 months and help from my mother to complete, while the review took me like 5 days. This is also the reason why I need to point out the enormous length of the yearly review every time I talk about it. ↩