Update: I changed my name from “Mimi” to “Marty” and started using he/him pronouns in July 2019. This article keeps the original “Mimi” and “she/her” self-references in order to maintain a sense of timeline.
I made two sets of resolutions for 2018.
One was a loosely defined set of guidelines for living, and the other consisted of five specific, measurable goals — key performance indicators, if you will — that I strived to hit during the year.
This was the first year I seriously made New Year’s Resolutions. I wasn’t sure if they were going to work. Nobody I knew kept their resolutions too long into the year. Every January, I’d see scores of people full of hope for what the year ahead would bring, and every December, those very same people would be like, “this year sucked, but at least we’ll have next year!”
I didn’t want to be like that.
I’ll admit that I fell off my own goal tracking somewhere during the middle of the year. April 2018 was the last time I looked at my specific goals. Then came thesis time, and graduation, and the start of a new job/life in a new city. For the remainder of the year, these goals would sit in the back of my mind, but I didn’t think too much of them until I dug them up recently to write this post. I was surprised to find that I achieved most of these goals — and, when I didn’t, it was because the motivation behind said goal had changed.
I guess that’s the beauty of having your New Year’s resolutions revolve around the things that are already on your mind 24/7.
There were four general “life guideline” resolutions I made:
- Try new shit
- Document everything, publicly if possible
- No more settling
- Actively practice Stoicism
Let’s see how I did on them. I scored each resolution on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being “I did jack shit toward this goal” and 10 being “I achieved this goal completely.”
Try new shit
Change generally makes me uncomfortable, so I was determined to actively seek it out this year. I got eyelid surgery, fell in love with traveling around the United States, sold my car, began to let other people take my photos, opened myself up to feeling emotions, started writing/making art again, began keeping a regular journal, and started climbing random things to get over my fear of heights.
This is only a few things I could think of off the top of my head. There are probably a lot more.
Document everything, publicly if possible
Although it did take a bit of an emotional toll on me, I put the “personal” back in “personal blogging” this year. I wrote about almost everything across my blogs. 
I do keep some of my life private, but I’m an obsessive journal-writer and photographer, so almost no part of my life goes unrecorded.
No more settling
I realized this year that when I am new to something, or unsure of what could go wrong, I “settle”. When I can kind of see the outcome, I demand the best for myself. I didn’t “stop settling” completely, as in I didn’t put an immediate stop to less-than-ideal situations, but I made sure that I ended up where I wanted to be.
Notable examples include:
My first apartment out of college was a pretty shitty deal: I was paying $1800 a month to live in a 100 ft2 shoebox. My windows directly faced the windows in the bathroom, so they had to be kept closed a hundred percent of the time. Sure, the house itself was cool (it was a remodeled Victorian) and I had great roommates, but I still found myself bitter when it came time to pay rent each month.
It took six months to find the “perfect” room, but I did! I now live in another Victorian house, in a gorgeous room with bay windows, lots of sunlight, and a lower monthly rent.
My romantic relationship
For all my talk about being honest about feelings and saying what I mean, I have a really tough time telling someone that I like them. It’s more emotionally stressful than publicly admitting I fucked up, and more nerve-wracking than a technical interview.
I, Mimi Nadia Chenyao, former Tinder fuckboy, realized that I actually had feelings for someone I was casually seeing. Oh God, I thought, I’m probably going to have to tell them, because I didn’t do so the last time this happened, and spent an entire year pissed at myself.
Despite the fact that even the idea of having such a conversation made me want to fall into a hole and never come back out, I asked him to be exclusive with me. We’ve now been dating for a few months, and I’m grateful every day that he’s in my life.
My photos / writing
This year I took content creation much more seriously. I no longer tolerate crooked angles (unless they’re part of the shot I’m going for) or badly written articles. The Internet is forever; I want my content to be good! I now read every article out loud to make sure it flows well, and there’s really no telling what I’ll climb in order to get a specific shot.
I realized soon after starting my first job out of college that my work environment wasn’t the best fit. I felt incredibly burnt out, pushed to make technical decisions I didn’t really understand, and pressured to give unrealistic time estimates in order to not look bad in front of the leadership. Furthermore, I was going through some personal issues, and didn’t feel like I had the space to process everything I needed to.
When I left, I was terrified but also excited. Now, I’m exploring other opportunities and making sure that the next place I join is a good fit on both sides.
Actively practice Stoicism
Stoic philosophy asserts that the only things within our control are our own selves, that life is incredibly ephemeral, and that every obstacle can become an opportunity if framed the right way. Basically, it lets one endure adverse situations without letting negative emotions cloud judgment. It was largely responsible for getting me through my own shit at the end of last year.
I explored a lot of mindsets and philosophies this year, some of which directly opposed Stoic teachings — such as “constituting self as group” (treating an entire group of people as though they were all a part of you), or letting yourself feel/let go of your deeply buried emotions.
It’s kind of hard to say which framework I believe in the most; I tend to use different ones for different situations.
There was one Stoic practice that I did continuously keep up. I journaled obsessively, examining the depths of my motivations with excruciating honesty. I ended up filling about one 200-page (wide-ruled) book a month.
I’m struggling a little between the “change your perspective on life and your negative emotions will dissipate” and the “let out your negative emotions and they will naturally pass” schools of thought. I still believe in Stoicism and its ability to keep people on track with what they want out of life.
Specific, measurable resolutions
I also had five specific resolutions:
- Monetize my blog and partner with at least one cool company per month
- Obtain a fit, flexible physique with great posture by working out and stretching daily
- Prepare and enjoy a delicious, healthy meal at least once a day
- Be an iOS engineer (for a product I would actually use) by September 2018
- Gain 10,000 engaged blog readers by December 2018
I did “reach” these goals, but I often didn’t hit the concrete numbers that I set — here, a 0 means I didn’t achieve the goal at all, a 5 means I achieved at least part of the goal, and a 10 means I achieved the goal in its entirety.
Monetize my blog and partner with at least one cool company per month
I totally fell off the blogging wagon this summer. Fall/winter was spent rebuilding and rebranding. I focused on asking myself “what content do I want to create? What do I want to stand for?” before plunging back into the world of partnerships and sponsorships.
I didn’t do as many collaborations as I could have this year (definitely not one per month), but I’m pretty proud of the ones I did do. They’re all aligned with products/goals that I legitimately believe in:
Obtain a fit, flexible physique with great posture by working out and stretching daily
I definitely don’t work out or stretch as much as I should, and I definitely definitely do not do this daily. I believe that a big part of the problem is that I simply haven’t found a form of physical exercise that I like enough to continue — I see stretching and working out as a chore, which sucks all the fun right out of it.
I’m currently on the lookout for fun physical activities.
Prepare and enjoy a delicious, healthy meal at least once a day
I may not be working out much, but diet-wise, I’m the healthiest I’ve been since moving out for college four years ago.
I completely cut out soda, eat healthy meals throughout the day, and drink alcohol/eat junk foods in moderation. I don’t eat as regularly as I should, and some of my meals aren’t as balanced as they could be,  but I’m on my way there.
Be an iOS engineer (for a product I would actually use) by September 2018
I worked full time as an iOS engineer at a startup from June to November. I ended up leaving after six months because I didn’t think the company was a good fit for me at the beginning stages of my career.
I did reach this goal in its entirety, but I’m going to dock myself one point since it’s an active goal once more.
Gain 10,000 engaged blog readers by December 2018
This goal pretty much went down the drain when I stopped blogging this summer. /sigh
It was the focus of my 90-Day Passion Project at the beginning of the year, too, which makes this extra disappointing. I did gain a few new readers, but I lost a significant amount of my audience when I disappeared, and have yet to get those numbers back. 
Consistency is key, I’ve learned. While I fell short of my goal this year, it’s one of those things that is always on the back of my mind, and I’m confident that I’ll reach it with the right strategy.
Aside from the disappointing blog numbers, I did a decent job on these goals, especially considering the fact that I kind of forgot about them. I started off 2018 with a lot of focus and direction. This summer forced me to question my motivations, which led to a slip in performance.
I had a much easier time “achieving” the general goals because I didn’t have specific measurements in place. A lot of personal development people will say that this is a bad thing, but I’m not actually sure about that. When you’re looking for direction, it’s better to have guidelines than specific do-or-die benchmarks.
Overall numeric score: (10 + 10 + 8 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 9 + 9 + 0) / 9 = 6.7
“A D PLUS!” my inner Asian tiger parent scolds.
I, however, am pretty satisfied with my result. I’m not super happy, but definitely not super disappointed, either. You can’t really quantify experiences, and the numbers don’t take into consideration the things I’ve learned, such as finding new direction after graduation or learning to set better goals.
Did I achieve my 2018 New Year’s resolutions? I think so.
Next year, I will want to set better goals for sure — 2018 was one hell of a learning experience. Happy New Year! ♚
 One thing I haven’t covered is college graduation. My school encouraged us to wear costumes rather than the traditional caps and gowns. I dressed up as Po, the red Teletubby, and stayed up the entire night reflecting on the past/talking about the future with one of my best friends. I can’t wait to discuss it soon.
 My boyfriend, who literally made me a nutrition schedule, is so bothered by this. I’m doing better, I promise!
 One factor may be the fact that I split up my gigantic blog into three smaller niche blogs. Before I did this, all my readers were going to one site; now, they’re split up among three. This is a theory I have to explore further, both by looking at analytics and conducting reader interviews.