This New Year, I want to try a resolution that would mandate how I approach the rest of my goals throughout the year:
Should any of my goals fail, I will revive them from where I left off INSTANTLY in some way. No starting over. No delays to tomorrow, next week, or next month.
No more “I should review for Physics. I know, I’ll start at Chapter 1, page 1.”
Instead: “I’m going to figure out my weak points in Physics and work my way outward from there rather than starting from page 1 every review.”
No more “I’ll just get by this semester and be more organized next semester.”
Instead: “I am pulling out my calender as we speak to write down all my remaining due dates and to start studying right now.”
Now that I have my resolution to not start over or delay anytime a goal falls short, I need some goals to go along with it. I’ll also start small, with three goals for January that I can work on during IAP:
1. Simplify and keep track of my finances.
3. Go through the INSANITY workout program for a full 60 days.
3. Write at least three blog posts a month.
1. Simplify and keep track of my finances
In order to save money while at MIT, I pulled together all of my rewards cards and coupons. I joined a credit union that had a rewards program where I earned points for using my debit card. I filled out any surveys that could get me free thing and I downloaded apps on my phone that would earn me money for watching advertisements.
But, during my first semester, I ended up not using any of the them. The Subway in the Student Center doesn’t accept rewards points, so I couldn’t use my Subway card unless I wanted to hike outside of campus looking for another Subway. I never used any of the Rite Aid or CVS coupons I had clipped, as I found myself buying anything I really needed either online at cheaper prices, at Shaw’s (a supermarket off of Mass Ave), or at La Verde’s (a 24-hour convenience store in the Student Center).
All the apps I watched ads on and the surveys I took earned me a total of about two dollars. And after one full year of using my debit card on things like a laptop, a mini-fridge, and even airline tickets, I only earned enough points for a $10 Amazon gift card.
Now, instead, I resolve to not care so much about squeezing out every single penny I can. I’d rather use the time for doing better at my job or for learning new things. As a college student I found that the only rewards cards that have helped me are my AMC Theatres card which I use back home and my Best Buy card which I use frequently when I make tech purchases.
Second, I want to have an easy and automated way to track my spending. I opened an account with the MIT Federal Credit Union (partially because I get a debit card with “MIT” on it and a free shirt). I linked my MITFCU account with my Mint.com account so I can see my current balance and all of my previous transactions from my phone or laptop, helping me keep track of my college expenses and making sure I’m gaining money rather than losing it.
Lastly, I also wanted to get my recurring payments in order. I made a spreadsheet listing any recurring payments I had and when they had to be paid, so that I’ll know what needs to be paid and when so that I won’t have unexpected withdrawals or overdraft fees hit me.
2. Go through the INSANITY workout program for a full 60 days.
For a full year before my first semester at MIT, I trained at the Hawthorne Institute of Martial Arts. During my time there, I went from training 3 times a week to 5 times a week, earning my green belt just four days before leaving for MIT. I made a mistake thinking that, at MIT, exercise would fit naturally into my schedule. When the semester started, I found that I had a both a lack of time and motivation to exercise.
Notice how exercise isn’t even listed.
Throughout first semester, I explored the various options MIT offers for staying in shape, including:
-joining a sport or club
-going to the Z-Center
-going to the Simmons gym
-exercising in my dorm room
-going running on MIT’s track or around the Charles River and Boston
-joining a gym or club off-campus
While adjusting to MIT’s intense workload, I wasn’t able to put in all the time necessary to go to the Z-Center on a regular basis. Now I know that I need to start off with an exercise routine with a minimal time commitment as I slowly start going to the gym more frequently.
I’ve done fragments of the INSANITY workout program in the past, but I had never completed the program from start to finish. I resolve to go through the INSANITY program from start to finish. I’d be able to do it easily in my dorm room for just 40 minutes a day. I started it yesterday (January 1st) and I’m going through the first week here at home so that when I get back to MIT I’ll already have a week done and be in a routine.
Since I can barely find free time during the day, I’m going to try making time to exercise in the morning. This means *gulp* waking up earlier. I’ve had such a problem with this last semester. I stayed up so late so many nights doing PSets that now I sleep until the very last possible minute that I could wake up and make it to class on time. So for IAP I’ll be testing out new methods for waking up earlier. One of them even goes so far as to involve going to bed earlier. I know, right? Crazy!
3. Write at least three blog posts a month
One down, two to go.