Jan 5, 2020 | New Years resolutions

Frankly speaking, I am not sure how to set New Year’s resolutions properly so that all my plans come true—usually, my success rate is about 50%. It is partly because during the year I get new, better ideas and some of the things I planned before, are not necessary anymore. And, partly because motivation is leaking and fading—a classic problem related to New Year’s Resolutions. I guess that one secret to setting plans more successfully would be to not overdo and to concentrate on improving on a few important aspects rather than trying to be ideal. So, this year, I am planning to do “only” ten things better than the year before.

1. Continue learning about the job market

Last year I discovered that I highly enjoy talking to people about their working experience (see: What I learned this year). The more I talk, the more interesting problems of the current job market I discover—so it is a never-ending story. However, I would rather contribute a tiny bit to a really important discipline that has a direct influence on society than revolutionize a niche, abstract field which has to payoff for other people. I am also not bitter about the fact that this work will never end; I feel excited about it instead. I have a background in mathematics so initially, it was hard for me to accept that human resources is not rocket science—you cannot come up with a closed-form solution for how to steer yourself on the job market. I had to let go of this expectation and accept that in this area, every solution can only increase the probability of success but will never give a guarantee. However, it is a challenge worth the pain.

2. Relax

Just like everyone else, I have buttons—and if pressed in the wrong combination, I can turn really angry. Some of my relatives know this wrong combination quite well! Anyways, this year I challenged myself not to get angry (not even once!) for the whole year. We will see how that goes 🙂 I know that some of my friends will ruthlessly test this resolution as soon as they read this post but yep—try me!

3. Dutch

Time to finally learn Dutch properly, after so many years of living here… It is not too decent on me that I haven’t managed yet. Honestly, Dutch people do not give you too many chances to learn; they immediately turn to English whenever they see you struggle to put together a sentence. Since the strategy of casual learning did not work for many years, I assigned myself for shock therapy, namely an intense course that involves 9 hours of Dutch per week. If that cannot help my Dutch, nothing can.

4. Learn more about entrepreneurship

I also assigned myself for an online course organized by Y Combinator, one of the most famous startup accelerators in the world. One can always know more about how to develop a company properly—especially if you can learn from the best!

5. Build a network

The Netherlands is a small and well-connected country, which makes it easier to reach out to a lot of people. In business, connections are everything. So, my plan for this year is to extend my professional network by going to meetups and small conferences as much as possible. When I was working on an academic contract, I was in a little bubble and used to connect mostly with other researchers. Now I know that this is not the best strategy, and it is way better to reach out to people very different from me. One can learn from everyone!

I also feel a need to meet more people with a purpose. Something bad happens to some people I know: when they turn 30 or 35, they stop dreaming and start looking forward to their death: try to find a safe, well-paid job, settle down, and start aggregating savings for their retirement. I know that I will never have this mindset in my life, and I badly need to meet more people who are alike.

6. Learn more about blockchains

When I do research projects or learn about the job market, I sometimes forget to update my knowledge about blockchains. Which is a pity given that I already know a lot of people in that field, and I am conscious that now, in the bear market, it is even more important to learn than before. I learned almost all I know about blockchains back in 2017. Since then, I only sporadically read about consensus algorithms and new developments in the field. Partially, it is because it is hard to well-written materials about blockchain in which the authors do not assume that you are a professional programmer or a cryptographer. Anyway, this is just an excuse! I made a strong resolution that this year, I will be more systematic and learn on a more regular basis—ideally, one evening per week. In he past, I used to learn e.g. at Ivan on Tech Academy, and I am planning to get back to these habits.

7. Move more. Well, move in the first place

I haven’t been big on sports for the last few years—to say the least. Over the years, I have turned into a shameless couch potato whose only sports are occasional visits at the supermarket behind the corner even though she has a gym in her garage. But when during Christmas break, I realized that I exercise less than my 65-year-old parents, I made a strong resolution that this would change and that I will start every day with some form of exercise—even if it was for five minutes.

8. Smile

Some people have a naturally expressive face while others, including me, have pokerface and need to put active effort into showing any emotions on their face. I use to have a never-ending thunderstorm on my mind, and strong emotions as well, but all this rarely comes to the surface and shows up on my face. I think I lost quite a few opportunities because people whose accompany I used to enjoy, did not even know anything about that. So, I need to pay more attention—and put on a happy face sometimes.

9. Dance more

Every day without dancing is a lost day, and there were way too many days like that in 2019. More dancing this time — even if it means dancing around a room with the headphones on for a few minutes.

10. Make my company profitable

Last year, I made a major mental shift and discovered that I have the soul of an entrepreneur. Now, it is time to work hard on my company to make it profitable. 2020 will be an exciting year!

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