I watched the New Year’s Eve fireworks from above as my plane began its descent.
The city of Tampa glittered below me as I peered out the small porthole of my window seat. It stretched out like a vast grid; every few seconds, flashy bursts of light would go off, lighting up a dark corner or two.
What struck me the most was how small each explosion seemed. Fireworks look larger than life when you’re on the ground watching the entire sky turn into sparkling colors. From my vantage point, I could simultaneously see hundreds of fireworks shows, tiny and ephemeral against the night sky.
2019 is coming for me, I thought. All of a sudden, I no longer felt bad about the fact that I was spending my favorite holiday on a plane.
A strange premonition about 2019
I’m so excited for what this new year will bring. I feel like I’ve been spending the last few years working up to something that I’m not even fully aware of, and that something huge is going to happen this year.
This quote from Love and Ruin, one of my favorite books, describes this feeling perfectly:
“It may be the luckiest and purest thing of all to see time sharpen to a single point. To feel the world rise up and shake you hard, insisting that you rise, too, somehow. Some way. That you come awake and stretch, painfully. That you change, completely and irrevocably — with whatever means are at your disposal — into the person you were always meant to be …
… And if I would soon lose my heart forever, never to retrieve it, lose absolutely everything — I was ready for that, too. My life seemed to be demanding it. It was calling me forward. There wasn’t any choice to be made, in the end. I would have to go to it, with my eyes wide open, and my hands open, too, willing to pay the price.”
Time is sharpening for me, getting still and restless like the calm before a storm. Much of 2018 was spent questioning myself and unlearning toxic beliefs; tearing down an old house’s shitty foundation to build a strong new one, if you will. I feel like I was made to do it so that I could build a new, breathtaking house in 2019. 
I’m ready for it.
A two-tiered New Year’s resolution system
I’m not going to be sitting around waiting for things to happen to me — I have my own plans for the year. I take New Year’s resolutions pretty seriously and do my best to actually accomplish them throughout the year, because I think that one of the worst things someone can do is to give lip service to a cause while not bothering to walk the walk.
Last year, I divided up my New Year’s resolutions into two parts. One was a set of vague, big-picture guidelines; the other very specific, measurable goals. This was unintentional — I’d made the vague resolutions, and then I’d joined a personal development course called 52 Weeks of Momentum, where we had to make concrete goals — but it actually ended up working really well. The vague targets gave me direction, and the specific ones gave me focus.
The one thing I think would have been better was to not have the specific goals span the entire year. As I’m learning and growing, I often “course-correct” and change my mindset. My goals and priorities follow suit. Having specific goals such as “monetize my blog and partner with at least one cool company per month” can become restrictive once certain priorities change. I believe that this is why I didn’t do as well with last year’s New Year’s resolutions as I’d hoped.
That’s okay, though — I’m here to learn, iterate, and improve.
I’m stoked to be bringing back this two-tiered New Year’s resolution system for 2019, with one key difference: instead of having five concrete, specific goals to work on throughout the year, I will be doing twelve one-month projects throughout 2019. This will allow me to adjust my goals and course-correct as necessary, without feeling like I’m disturbing some sacred agreement I put in place at the beginning of the year.
One month projects as specific goals …
Because I know that my direction and priorities will change along with my experiences this year, I’m not even going to try to determine what my one month projects are going to be ahead of time. Instead, I will announce what I plan on doing at the beginning of each month and follow through accordingly. It’s not going to be totally spontaneous — as sexy as it sounds, I’m not really the type to make future-altering life decisions on a whim — but I’ve finally admitted to myself that I don’t work well with planning my days down to a T, either. This is my compromise.
… And a set of big-picture resolutions for 2019
I also have a sizable list of “big-picture” resolutions for the New Year. Last year’s goals were all about achievement and refining myself; this year’s are about discovery, connection, and openness to new experiences.
Achievement, career, and goal-setting
Realistically plan what I can/cannot do
Work somewhere that doesn’t make me feel like I’m selling my soul
Health and wellness
Eat fully balanced meals based on a nutrition schedule
Find enjoyable ways to cook
Find a physical activity that I can become really good at
Relationships and social life
Be authentic in every situation
Forge genuine connections with others
Help others reach their goals, making their success a priority of mine
Show the people in my life that they’re important to me
Meet and shoot photos with more people
Travel to cool places around the United States
Have more respectful conversations with people with different viewpoints on life, gender, etc.
Follow my curiosity
Publish a new blog post at least three times a week
Write as much and as honestly as possible
I’m not going to pretend that 2019 is going to be “my year” or anything — it’s naive to assume that everything will go well in an arbitrarily set period of time. 2018 gave me all the tough love and put me through some serious emotional trials, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad time. Similarly, even though I feel that huge, positive things are going to happen in 2019, I also fully expect to fall flat on my face and fuck up a few times (and live to write about it!).
I will always, always keep educating myself and pushing for growth, whether that’s at the beginning of a new year or in the throes of an existential crisis. These resolutions are meant to help me do so rather than be unrealistic guidelines I can’t quite live up to.
With that being said, 2019 is gonna be some year.
Let the games begin. ♚
 I like house metaphors a lot. I also really like actual houses — all the pictures on my software engineering blog, Sweetness and Light, are a tribute to beautiful architecture.