Metamorphosis in (for) 2022
Fri Jan 21 2022
I realize I'm posting this late. I know. I've been contemplating my goals and resolutions this year for a long time now.
Growth is a key aspect of improvement, and with that - habit and choice. Every year I make it a goal for myself to grow and improve from the previous year. This year I have set a multitude of attainable goals for myself. I've tried to categorize my goals based on general areas of interest (or aspects of myself) that I want to improve on. I don't normally verbalize my personal goals but I find it good practice to monitor my behaviour through written medium, and what better way to track my growth than by sharing my progress with others?
Below is my list of goals for 2022 and beyond. Let's make 2022 a fantastic year!
Health is vitality. If you take care of yourself, you will look better, feel better, and think straighter. One main goal of mine is to improve my overall health.
Get more than 6 hours of sleep every night. ¶
I struggle with sleep. My body has been conditioned to run on less than six hours of sleep every night as a result of academic deadlines and extracurricular activities. It's extremely hard for me to sleep much longer than that. In fact, I often wake up after six hours of sleep even if my alarm is set much later. I would like to start getting at least seven hours of sleep and work my way up to eight or more hours this year.
Go vegetarian (with special exceptions). ¶
I want to abstain from the sickening meat industry America has cultivated over the past few generations. As individuals we have a voice and can impact the world with our actions. I want to demonstrate that it is possible to convert to a vegetarian (and even vegan) diet after living in a environment nurturing the consumption of animals. In fact, I have already begun taking steps in this direction: in June of 2020 I decided to stop purchasing meat from grocery stores. I still allowed myself to eat meat from restaurants but I prohibited cooking using meat products. Once I stabilized this behaviour, in August of 2021 I decided to loosely abstain from purchasing or consuming meat products anywhere. This was a much larger change and much harder to handle. In the last five months of the year I ate animal products less than ten times - very good considering I primarily consumed beef and pork just two years prior.
It's important to understand that a lot of habit changing comes down to incremental changes. It's extremely difficult to make persistent changes overnight; however, gradual movements towards an overarching goal leads to stable progress. This year I've decided to make my policy stricter once more: reducing the amount of meat consumption even further. No more animal abuse!
Eat fruit every day. ¶
This is a behaviour I've already started to incorporate into my daily routine. I usually eat a banana combined with another various fruit in the form of overnight oats every morning. It's a good behaviour (and an extremely healthy meal) I want to continue into the rest of the year.
Eat only one dessert a week. ¶
This is straightforward. I consider dessert to be something with a higher concentration of sugar or chocolate than normal. I would even classify boba and candy as dessert. This usually isn't an issue for me but I would like to formalize it.
Cook something new at least once a week. ¶
It is easy for me to fall into habit and routine. The same applies to my meals: once I have established a routine of weekly meals, I tend to stick to my schedule. This year I would like to push outside my comfort zone and try to cook different types of food from different cultures.
In addition to this, I will try my best to document my cooking process throughout the year in the form of digestable recipes, which I will also post on my website.
Don't use vegetable oil ¶
The most important question of cooking is this: what oils and fats do you use to cook?
When I first start cooking on my own, I had no idea how to cook and only used animal fats and butter. After cutting animal fats out of my diet, I began transitioning from butter to vegetable oil. Although vegetable oil is objectively healthier than animal fat (and maybe butter), seed oils are usually heavily processed and extremely oxidized. On the other hand, coconut and olive oils such as extra virgin olive oil are usually not oxidized and usually contain more nutritional value. Coconut oil can additionally act as a lotion for soothing skin.
This year I want to completely replace my usage of vegetable oil with olive oil.
Work out every day ¶
I already participate in yoga and stretching every day and I would like to continue that trend.
Run 3-4 days a week ¶
Running in the bay area is difficult due to the sheer amount of pollutants and dust in the air. It was difficult for me to run last Fall and I gave up the act. I would like to try again in different conditions - either running with a mask or changing to a location with cleaner air. I don't really like running indoors or on a treadmill because it doesn't feel quite the same.
Communication is key. Picture any historic tragedy or dilemma - I believe more than 90 percent of the world's problems arise from miscommunication or lack of communication. I want to learn how to more effectively communicate with others.
At the same time, I want to be more outwardly reflective this year. I want to share my thoughts, struggles, and fears.
Remove ableist or gendered language from vocabulary. ¶
I naturally use a lot of ableist and gendered language in my daily conversation. This year, I want to change. Instead of using the words "crazy", "insane", or "dumb", I should instead use "wild", "unbelievable", or "not great". Similarly, it is customary to use "he", "her", "dude", "guy", and other pronouns to refer to friends and strangers. I want to get into the habit of replacing those pronouns with "they", "them", "person", or other agender pronouns. Instead of saying "she was really nice", I can instead say "that cashier was really nice". I want to stop assuming the gender identity of every person I meet.
Language is the foundation by which we present our ideas and make the world a better place. If we learn to better our language, we inherently improve our verbal and nonverbal communication.
Remove self-deprecation and arrogance from vocabulary. ¶
I believe everyone uses some form of self-deprecating language in every day conversation. Phrases such as "I'm dumb", "I can't X", and others only place hard barriers on what you believe you are and what you are capable of doing. Self-deprecation prevents us from achieving more.
At the same time, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. You should be proud of your accomplishments without being the only voice in the room. While I do not struggle as much with arrogance, I occasionally let some self-deprecation slip from my mind from time to time. By reducing our verbalization of these things, they begin to lose grasp in our minds and fade away.
Write one website post every month. ¶
This is self explanatory. I tend to only write about the content I have time to write about. If I don't make the time to write about a topic of interest to me, I won't write about it. I think it would be a good practice to get into the habit of sharing more of my opinions and passions on my website instead of keeping them to myself. It will also help me maintain a digital record of my growth and change over time. Even now, some of my opinions have changed from my previous writings. I am proud of my metamorphosis and I hope to continue to grow.
Journal at least once every week. ¶
I used to journal nearly every day and have fallen off track since mid 2020. I want to start again by slowly easing myself into reflective writing this year.
Sustainability and ecofriendliness has become very important to me the past few months. Living in California, it would truly be a shame for me not to utilize the wonderful sustainability propositions and alternatives my local government has provided for me. I want to be greener and more environment-aware this year.
Fill 1 bag of litter every week. ¶
Moving to a city has helped me realize how disgusting cities are in real life. Litter is abundant in every corner of every street. It's ironic considering the trash cans lining the streets have litter awareness campaigns plastered to the sides.
I want to live in a clean and ecofriendly world. Last year, I went litter scavenging with my housemate a few times to pick up litter and clean our local neighborhoods. This year, I want to push myself even further. I would like to fill at least one 20-30 gallon trash bag with litter every week (as if that's enough to compensate for the mountains of garbage collecting along the road!).
Reduce my dependence on utilities. ¶
I want to reduce my dependence on electricity, water, and gas. This is a hard goal to achieve because I'm not sure how it can be quantified. Luckily, PG&E (my gas and electric provider) provides information-dense bill reports that track my usage of said utilities. I aim to achieve this by reducing consumption where unnecessary: turning off lights when not in use, reducing excessive heating/stove usage, and taking shorter showers.
Only use green energy to charge my phone. ¶
California is the perfect state to utilize solar energy due to its nearly perfect sunny forecast. I can finally use solar panels to provide power! I aim to use solar power to charge my smartphone for the remainder of the year.
In all honesty, I'm not sure how feasible this goal is considering the energy consumption of a modern smartphone compared to the square metered surface of my solar panels in addition to my relatively shaded housing, but I'm willing to try.
Compost all food waste. ¶
The additional outdoor space in my apartment allows me to partake in activities I have never considered before such as composting, sun-drying clothes, and growing vegetables. Because I consume primarily vegetables and plant products, I would love to recycle my food waste into rich soil which can benefit the environment and help me grow vegetables in the future. If my composting results in a massive success, I will likely write about my findings in the future.
Spend less than $30 on paper products this year. ¶
As a spoiled and privileged American, I easily forget how much I consume and how much I waste. Paper products is a perfect example - abhoring napkins, paper towels, and toilet paper when said items are usually unnecessary in most cases. I have already started reducing my paper usage - in 2020 I decided to stop using napkins, and in 2021 I decided to stop using paper towels. This year, I want to reduce my unnecessary toilet paper usage and (hopefully) eliminate my spending on paper products entirely.
Only use reusable grocery bags. ¶
When I shop for groceries, I rely on plastic bags for convenience. Instead of finishing the year with a stockpile of plastic bags, I would like to slowly transition to using reusable cloth or synthetic grocery bags. My job luckily makes it easier for me to switch.
Only use reusable utensils. ¶
I don't normally use plastic utensils except in the case of boba. I would like to prevent this and use a reusable straw and reusable utensils.
Mental Aptitude ¶
Since my graduation, I have realized my mental aptitude will only decrease as time continues. I want to maintain my mental aptitude by exercising my brain daily.
Implement all basic algorithms and data structures in one or more strictly-typed languages. ¶
As I continue to work primarily in frontend software development, I notice my algorithm skills steadily declining. I would like to refresh my memory and focus on retaining my knowledge of data structures and algorithm implementation, as well as asymptotic runtimes. I plan on training my intellect through technical interview preparation websites (Leetcode, Hackerrank) as well as implementing all data structures and algorithms presented to me previously in university courses.
I am forcing myself to only do so in a more modern strictly-typed language such as C, Typescript, or Golang to force myself outside of my comfort zone and help my mind stay vigilant.
Read one book every month. ¶
Consuming literature is a quintessential aspect of art appreciation. It is unreasonable to try to fix the problems of today without understanding the culture and struggles of the past. By reading, we grow in our understanding of culture, rhetoric, and communication. Lately I have fallen away from literature, consuming only one to three books a year. I would like to change that and read at least one book per month. To do this, I have created a book club to hold myself accountable and read at least twelve books by the end of the year.
Create one shirt by the end of the year. ¶
I have recently fallen in love with sewing as a new pastime. I originally wanted to fix my torn clothing (mostly ripped jeans from skating and falling) but have transitioned into wanting to create new pieces of clothing. I hope to create at least one shirt (regardless of quality or fit) by the end of 2022.
Try going to church every Sunday. ¶
A personal goal of mine: I have stopped attending church services (largely in part due to the circumstances regarding COVID-19 and in part to my move across the country) and I would like to change that.
Play guitar for at least 30 minutes every day. ¶
I often categorize my time into two categories: periods of time in which I play an excessive amount of guitar and periods of time in which I never touch my guitar. I would like to reduce the desparity of my musical creativity by inciting myself to practice guitar whether I am willing or unwilling to play. I think that in the past two years of playing guitar, I have not grown in my skill at all and would like to change that.
All the same, I have realized that I tend to pick up guitar tabs of a different variety of songs fairly quickly, learn to play that song in a few weeks, then stop practicing that song and forget the song. While I cannot expect myself to remember all the hundreds of songs I have played over nearly ten years of playing guitar, I want to document the songs I have learned and share my knowledge with others. In many cases, a lot of the songs I learn on guitar are very niche and do not have guitar tabs available online (a perfect example is Joshua Sandoval's guitar adaptation of the "Littleroot Town" theme). I have created a new section on my website entitled "Tabs" in which I hope to digitalize all the tabs of previous songs I have ever learned to play. My hope is that other fellow guitarists might find my guitar tabs useful.
"Littleroot Town" by Joshua Sandoval
Learn to hold chopsticks properly. ¶
I have learned from a very young age to hold chopsticks the wrong way. Although there is no scientifically correct way to hold chopsticks, I would like to learn the standard method of using chopsticks. My chopstick skills are already proficient but I would like to improve upon them in any way possible.
Create one video. ¶
It's a bit daunting for me to attempt the creation of something I have never seriously tried before. I want to produce content in both a video format in addition to a written format. I told myself I would start last year, but those plans never came to fruition. This year I hope that setting a tangible goal for myself will spur my creativity into producing more than just one video.