Molly and Zoey Blue Swing Dress

Dress from Molly and Zoey

My five New Year’s resolutions are to try new shit, to document everything (publicly if possible), to stop settling for less, and to actively practice Stoicism.

If you look carefully, you’ll notice that these are more like general guidelines on how I’m going to live in 2018. This is on purpose — I often begin new projects with vaguely defined standards because I have no idea what I’ll run into or who I’ll become as I start working.

A few months ago, one of my favorite motivational writers announced that he would be creating a year-long program called 52 Weeks of Momentum, which would basically force participants to take daily action using the methods that he outlines in his articles.

I went back and forth on whether I should participate. The program cost a lot of money ($997) and would be a daily commitment. There was a Facebook group where goals would be tracked and new challenges would be introduced often. If you consistently put in effort and focused on helping others, you’d get extra content. If your participation dropped, you would stop getting new content altogether.

I finally made the jump, on the literal last day that people could sign up (yay me!). 52 Weeks of Momentum fits my first four resolutions nicely: I’ve never done a program like this before, it encourages participants to blog about their goals publicly, and I forking over ~$1k of my own money was the opposite of settling. Some may even call it a borderline irresponsible thing to do. But everyone has their investments — some invest in nice cars, others invest in Bitcoin, I invest in my mindset. I only have a limited amount of time to be young and alive, and I want to make sure I do everything in my power to become the best version of myself.

The first “assignment” of the year was to create very five specific goals for 2018. These are super specific and contain in them how I’m going to go about reaching them (for example, instead of saying “I want to eat healthier”, I said that I would “prepare and enjoy a delicious, healthy meal at least once a day.”) Here are mine.

Molly and Zoey Blue Swing Dress

Monetize my blog and partner with at least one cool company per month

Why is this goal important to me?

I put so much effort into the blog already — I look at it as a legitimate second career that I’m pursuing. I believe that my work is worth something. Also, working with companies is so much fun when done right, and connecting visitors with stuff I think will make them happy is super rewarding.

What’s stopping me?

“Monetization” still low-key sounds like a dirty word to me, and a part of me still thinks that affiliate marketing (partnering with brands and basically advertising for them on your blog) is inauthentic.  

What will I need to do to achieve this goal?

Get out there and talk to brands properly (and seek coaching/help making and maintaining these professional relationships if I need to). Take each of my partnerships seriously. At the same time, don’t be anal about every single little detail — focus on making every experience a good time for everyone involved.

Molly and Zoey Blue Swing Dress

Obtain a fit, flexible physique with great posture by working out and stretching daily

Why is this goal important to me?

As someone who spends the majority of the day at a desk, I often find myself hunching over my computer doing work. When I’m in “the Zone”, I get into a position that’s comfortable in the moment at the expense of my future self — sometimes I actually have to stop what I’m doing because my back hurts too much. I also used to lift weights and stretch almost every day, and I’ve pretty much stopped doing those things altogether.

I’m twenty one (and a half ????) now, and I refuse to harm my body any further. Mental and personal growth doesn’t have to come at the expense of physical health.

What’s stopping me?

I was going to say “I don’t have time”, but the truth is that I’m just lazy (until I get started) and a total wimp about any sort of physical pain whatsoever. I also feel super strange sitting up straight when everybody around me is slouching.

What will I need to do to achieve this goal?

Just start/get over that social weirdness. Once I get going, it’s easy to keep that streak going. The endorphins from working out and constant stretching help too. I’ve signed up for Pure Barre and will go every day this week; it’s something I’ve already paid for and committed to. I’ll also make full use of my ergonomic chair/desk at work and adjust the size of the letters on my screen — I’ve noticed that I tend to hunch over the most when I can’t quite see what I’m doing, and if I make the words big enough (like I’m doing now), that need will easily be eliminated.

Molly and Zoey Blue Swing Dress

Prepare and enjoy a delicious, healthy meal at least once a day

Why is this goal important to me?

Do you know how much I’ve straight-up eaten like shit over the course of my college career?! At first it was super fun eating out every single day, but that gets expensive, and soon I was drinking soda for lunch and trying to make a single helping of Chick-Fil-A nuggets or one Chipotle burrito bowl last an entire day. There were very noticeable effects on my mood, sleep, and subsequent performance, academic or otherwise. Garbage in, garbage out. I’m sick of being a human trash function and am so ready to actually look forward to eating again.

What’s stopping me?

Again, I’m lazy (at first) about grocery shopping and getting up and actually cooking meals. I’ve also always been pretty uncomfortable about the subtle gender dynamics of cooking meals, and I think a good part of why I’m not a great cook is because I’ve associated meal-creation with negative feminine stereotypes.

What will I need to do to achieve this goal?

Get Over My Own Toxic Masculinity 2k18. Make a game out of going and buying food. Meal-prep with friends and make dinnertime a fun event!

Molly and Zoey Blue Swing Dress

Be an iOS engineer (for a product I would actually use) by September 2018

Why is this goal important to me?

In my short hackathon/software engineering career, I’ve worked on products that I believed in and/or and used myself, and I’ve worked on products that I secretly didn’t care about at all. I thought at first that there’d be no difference — I love the act of programming itself, and it’s all iOS development, right?

Surprisingly … wrong. When I’m working on something I legitimately love, it kind of becomes my pet and I want to give more of myself to it and push myself harder. From now on, I only want to work at places with products or services that I believe in.

What’s stopping me?

As much as I’ve practiced, technical interviews are still scary! That, and after some especially hard days, I still question whether or not I’m truly a competent iOS developer.

What will I need to do to achieve this goal?

More coding challenge practice (preferably with actual people over the phone or at a whiteboard!), and actually working on products that I like already. I don’t think that there are many open-source iOS apps, but I have my thesis, I have hackathons, and I have friends who I could build stuff with.

Molly and Zoey Blue Swing Dress

Gain 10,000 engaged blog readers by December 2018

Why is this goal important to me?

It’s so cool to log in to Google Analytics every day and see my stats — this confirms that I’m not screaming out into a boundless void, and that there are people who are interested in what I’m writing about, which means that there are more people who I could share ideas with in the future. One of the best feelings in the world is talking to people about interesting topics, or learning about how some of my content helped others.

What’s stopping me?

10,000 is a (much) larger number than I’m used to. In order to get this many engaged readers, I’m going to have to significantly step up my writing and my outreach. I’ve only got a very vague idea of how I’m supposed to do that.

What will I need to do to achieve this goal?

Write as though I already have 10k readers. Have a strategy and end goal (this specific number!) in mind. Invest money and energy into advertising the right way. Be flexible enough to completely change my strategy if a better one comes along. Know what works for me and what doesn’t — and strive to reach people I’d actually want to talk to and get to know in real life, not random eyeballs who will visit once and never want to come back.

Molly and Zoey Blue Swing Dress

I wanna improve myself too, but I don’t have $1k!

Honestly, I have a sneaking suspicion that the $1k was the easy part. I wrote in my review of the Big Nerd Ranch coding bootcamp that my biggest investment in that course wasn’t the money, but my own time and the mental energy I devoted into getting better.

Same thing applies here. The things I’ll be doing aren’t secret or even really that special — they just require me getting scary honest/specific about what I want out of life and showing up every day to work towards improving myself.

I’ll be blogging about nearly everything I do in this course and tracking my progress right here. There’s nothing stopping you from following along with me. You can use this exact template to set your goals, too. 🙂 Simply write down five of your top goals for 2018 in a way that they are specific, quantifiable, and require you to become a better person in order to accomplish. Then, answer the following questions (your responses don’t have to be long like mine):

Why is this goal important to me?

What’s stopping me?

What will I need to do to achieve this goal?

And, just like that, you’re off! And so am I.

Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

My Top Five Goals for 2018 | Fake & Basic

This article is part of the Morning Content Challenge, where I write a blog post each morning before going to work. It’s an exercise in imperfection, timing, and self-discipline. If you have any questions or topic suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out!