First of all, clearly, to blog.
But as a new year (Happy New Year!) is always a built-in opportunity to reflect and set goals for self-improvement, I'm adding five additional things I hope to work on through 2016 and beyond.
1. Repurpose down time.
This past semester, whenever I had any unstructured time to myself, it automatically turned into crashing in my bed and binge-watching YouTube videos or Netflix and/or binge-eating unhealthy snacks. And I don't think it was because these were things I necessarily wanted to do as much as me physically not having the energy for anything else. Thiscoming semester, I want to be generous enough to myself so I don't need to crash and completely recharge every time I have a few minutes to spare. I want to have the option during my free time of socializing or working out or exploring new places because those are activities that fulfill me in healthier ways!
2. Find a balance between health and body positivity,
So often trying to be healthy, whether working out or eating clean, is done for the purpose of looking better, which suggests that one doesn't look good now. I love running and find going to the gym a natural part of my day; but when my schedule gets overwhelming and I can't fit in a few miles, I feel guilty and unbalanced. On the other hand, I like fruit but tend to choose desserts over the more nutritious options in the dhall, which obviously isn't great for my health or body image either. I want to strive to be healthier, making time for workouts and making better food selections on a daily basis, without weighing myself or trying to find physical ways that the changes are paying off (even when they can be a source of motivation): solely for the purpose of being a healthier me!
3. Speak up more (but meaningfully).
I want to take up more space in the classroom and during intellectual discussions especially. I think that fifteen years of schooling have made me very comfortable in the "learning student" position, and taught me to always listen to the opinions of others first and to think before I personally speak. Now as I begin to engage in creative and collaborative internships and jobs, this is no longer necessarily the best default setting. This year, I want to be comfortable throwing out half-baked ideas, but also mindful about not wasting a group's time by speaking just to hear my own voice (particularly in section settings when participation counts as a grade). I want to feel fewer inhibitions surrounding my own sharing as long as it has the potential to positively contribute to discussion.
4. Separate stressed, school-mode Michelle from social interactions.
No need to always feel the weight of the world (or more like papers, psets, and projects) on my shoulders. I want to be able to let go of academic-related anxieties and concerns when I meet friends for a meal and hang out. And while I don't think that I talk too much about these things (I've experienced it more as just a general feeling of always needing to be "on"), this year I want to reeeelaaaaxxxxxx when I'm not actually in the process of working, and particularly while with people!
5. Travel whenever possible.
Visiting Bangladesh—my first non-family-vacation-and-non-work-related travel experience—this winter break has given me the travel bug. I want to see more and interact more and feel more and understand more. School offers so many travel opportunities, and I want to make sure I take advantage of what Harvard offers before I graduate and have to pay for everything myself. Adventure is out there!!
Cheers to the new year!