I’ve organized my 2015 New Year’s Resolutions into 6 categories: (1) Simplify, (2) Experiences, (3) Innovation, (4) Learning, (5) Wellness, and (6) Selflessness. For each category I tried to come up with at least one quantifiable resolution, as discussed below.
My first resolution for 2015 will be to simplify how I live. Living a minimalist lifestyle has been one of the recent trends in my life. I have significantly reduced the amount of clutter around the apartment. One big area was converting to an all electronic library of books. There are a lot of opportunities for further simplification in 2015. In particular, I want to accomplish the following goals:
- Keeping a cleaner apartment (or house, if that purchase occurs this year) and office,
- Being more organized at both home and work, and
- Reducing the number of clothes (most of which I never wear) and simultaneously improving how I dress.
An additional 2015 resolution is to pursue new experiences. This specifically means doing things outside of the apartment. New experiences include:
- At least 2 long distance vacations (e.g. national parks, other countries)
- At least 30 cases of local exploration (e.g. restaurants, historical sites, concerts, hiking)
- At least 30 social opportunities (e.g. entrepreneurial meetings, networking, dating, hanging out)
Photography fits nicely into this resolution. I want to continue improving my photography skills and this means taking lots of photos. The number of photos I capture each year seems to be decreasing. I’d like to reverse that trend this year by finding more opportunities for photography. I would like to get at least 5 pictures that I feel are good enough to be displayed on my wall at home.
- Taking more pictures with the goal of obtaining at least 5 wall-worthy photos.
In 2014, I tried to make a list of 365 opportunities for new products. I didn’t come anywhere close to fulfilling this goal. However, I still believe this is an important area where I should focus in 2015. Instead of a specific number of ideas, I want to keep an innovation notebook. New ideas, various innovation exercises, and related analyses will be stored in this notebook. Various techniques (questioning, association exercises and experimentation) mentioned in the Innovator’s DNA book could be recorded in the notebook as well as any notes from additional innovation or entrepreneurial books that I read in 2015.
This gives me a lot of freedom to pursue whatever comes up. For example, if I have a great idea on January 3, I can spend the rest of the year working exclusively on that idea. Otherwise, maybe the notebook becomes a huge list of ideas that are interesting but not really exciting for further development.
- Complete at least 12 pages each month in the innovation notebook for a total of >150 pages at the end of the year.
I’m really happy with my 2014 progress for learning-related resolutions. I completed five courses in a range of subjects. For 2015, I want to continue to place lifelong learning as a top priority. I want to ensure that my learning activities improve both my breadth (new areas) and depth of knowledge (learning more in areas where I specialize). The learning will most likely be a combination of online courses and reading textbooks.
- Complete five online courses or textbooks
A new goal for this year will be to perform a thorough review of optics literature. Since I don’t have a subscription to the closed access journals, I will probably focus only on articles published in open journals such as Optics Express. The goal of the literature review is to deepen my knowledge in the field of optical sciences. I think a reasonable goal will be to review one article per week.
- Review 52 scientific articles.
I also want to continue the progress I’ve made with book reading. I think 52 books in 2014 was overkill and all that reading took time away from other worthy pursuits. For 2015, my goal will be to complete a total of 30 books, with no restrictions on the genre, topic, or format (i.e. audiobooks).
- Read 30 books over the course of the year
I did an awesome job this past summer with exercising and nutrition. Although I have been eating better this year, the exercise was only consistent during the summer months. For 2015, the goal will be to exercise consistently throughout the year. For some quantifiable goals, I plan to run at least 300 miles which corresponds to about 100 5km runs or 2 runs each week.
- Run for over 300 miles in 2015.
I’d also like to also improve my general nutrition including eating more fruits and vegetables, eating less carbohydrates, and drinking less beverages with high amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, or caffeine.
- Drink at least 32 fluid ounces of water each day.
- Consume at least 365 servings of fruit over the course of the year.
- Consume at least 365 servings of vegetable over the course of the year.
A few months ago I became concerned that I wasn’t placing enough emphasis on being selfless. I read a few books specifically in search of ways I could lend a hand or money to help others. Ironically, the books actually diminished my initial enthusiasm as they discussed many of the complications associated with traditional forms of charity. Despite the smothering effect of the charity books, in 2015 I would like to work on various areas of being selfless including increasing empathy, embracing altruism, and consistently give to charity.
- Stick to charitable plan devoting time and money to something other than myself.
- Being polite and considerate of others.