This time of year, people everywhere are thinking of ways to make next year better. Or rather, yesterday people were thinking of ways to make this year better. That’s right, in case you haven’t heard the fireworks, it’s officially 2010 almost everywhere in the world, and most people have already celebrated and begun down the road of resolutions… I bet some of you have even started to break a few?
In the interest of the season, I figured I should compile a list of things that I would like to do over the next 12 months. A list that I can be proud of, a list that I can look at in 2011 and say “Yes, I did those things” proudly, a list that I’ll take more seriously than those I developed in elementary school just to keep my parents off my back (I’m sure we’ve all added “do my homework” to our lists sometime over the years, but who really followed through on that one?).
The list is as follows:
There are a ton or memorable quotes out there that motivate you to read, but the one I like most is “No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” That was Confucius, telling it like it is. The truth is that if you don’t open yourself to the world of reading, you’re not going to only be missing out on mountains of information, but also ignorance will be unavoidable. Without keeping informed on the things around you, how are you going to be able to remove yourself from your own little world when necessary? Of course some will argue that you can get the same information from TV, but can we really trust the news? (It’s all propaganda!)
I’ll admit, I’m definitely not the guy who has a book at arm’s length all hours of the day. Far from it, in fact, hence the resolution, but I think reading is one of the most important things you can do, and so I plan to do more of it this year. I’m not making the excuse that I’ve been too busy, because the fact is that I’m not, but I haven’t made a concerted effort to read, and in my opinion, that’s worse. Well, this is the year to turn it around. Good luck, me.
Write more / Blog more
I think this one goes hand-in-hand with Read More. When you read, or at least when I used to read a lot in school, I found that I needed an outlet for all the information that I was sucking in. After all, there’s only so much space in my brain, and there are only certain things Evernote can hold for me. I always found that writing was a great outlet, because I could easily incorporate everything I learned and everything I felt. I did and will write a variety of things, from more blog entries to (hopefully) a book that I started a few months ago. That book probably won’t happen, realistically, but I think it’s an important project to take on.
Be more social
This may seem like a stupid resolution to a lot of people, but the fact remains that I live alone, work individually and don’t have any high school friends left in the city. It’s high time I do something about not doing anything on Saturday night. Setting the bar at “committed relationship” might be a bit of a lark, but challenging myself to get out and meet new people seems like something I can sink my teeth into, and I plan to.
Things are in motion for me to move in with a few friends I met on Twitter about six months ago. We have similar interests and are of similar age, so I think it’s a great start.
Volunteer less for the leave-work-early-list
So I work as a technical support agent for an ISP here in Canada, and work in a room of about 200 people. Sometimes things get a little slow as customers don’t always follow the same call flow patterns they did last year. No biggie, but this means that the company is paying a lot of people to work when they really don’t need to, thereby losing money. Their solution is to start sending people home until the customer/agent ratio is more normal. Personally, I like this system. It’s especially handy for those days when you just don’t want to be there, taking annoying phone calls from people who can’t update their Facebook status. Now, it is against the law for an employer to send an employee home without just cause, vis à vis performance or hygiene, but when we were employed we agreed to it, so it’s legit.
When the powers-at-be begin to notice the overwhelming presence of enthusiastic employees on the floor, they’ll first let people know that there is, and will give people the ability to volunteer to go home first. At this point, most peoples’ hands go up. Some days, like statutory holidays when pay is worth working, it doesn’t always happen, and people get sent home based on how many hours worked that day and seniority.
This is all beside the point, but I feel like you need some background information.
Last year, in the few weeks leading up to my 6-week leave of absence (on account of surgery), I couldn’t stand to be at work for a minute if I didn’t have to be. The instant I found out about what we call the “sloop list”, my hand was up. Sure it was fun, leaving all of my coworkers behind for the rest of the day and going home to play video games, but it bit me in the ass, when I ended up only getting paid $90 for two weeks’ work. Enough of that. That’s why my resolution list includes not volunteering for the sloop list. If I get sent home, awesome, but my hand won’t be going up in the air this year.
Don’t pirate media
Have you spent any time on the internet or watching the tail-end of the 11 o’clock news the past year? If so, you probably heard mention of the torrent feud going on between the guys over at Pirate Bay and some lawyers somewhere. The issue is that the film, music and video game industries have been losing a ton of money since torrenting media became popular a few years ago. Now, I don’t want to get into a debate here, but I will say that there are arguments for both sides, which brings me to another resolution. I plan on giving the lawyers a chance to prove to me, an average citizen and media consumer, that pirating is bad. Since high school, I’ve been downloading various movies and albums for free from people around the world. Even during the periods of my life when I got into a DVD buying frenzy, I still watched movies at home without paying for them.
For the next 12 months, I am going to do my best to not take advantage of the free media out there, and instead give something back to the people that made these things possible in the first place… the producers.
This is probably one on everyone’s list, and for good reason, but I think mine is different, because at 20-years-old I don’t have a super-solid nest egg of cash saved up. I have, of course, been putting a small percentage of every cash gift I got for my birthdays or Christmas, away into an account, but that was recently used to buy a house. It’s a solid investment, no doubt, but it still left me without much security, and that worries me a little. When I started my job about eight months ago, I went to the bank and asked them to take 15% of my bi-weekly paycheque and put it into another-nother account. Well, that didn’t exactly go to plan, when I decided to take a trip or buy that new phone or buy those other video games. I’m not as diligent as I should be when it comes to these things, and I think that publishing a promise to myself to save more money will help me to do it.
And that’s it! I hope I’m able to outgrow some of my deep-seeded habits and incorporate some good practices this year, because it looks like I have a challenging one ahead of me.
I want to hear about what you guys plan to do to better yourselves over the next 12 months. Feel free to comment, or of course, tweet me!