It is December 31st. That means it is time to make your new year’s resolutions. That is the main problem, new year’s resolutions are opportunities to reflect on yourself and see how to improve. People only do this once a year during this time. We should be doing this every day, looking back on the day so tomorrow will be better. That being said, there is some benefit to looking back on an entire year. The holidays are a time to take a break, relax and look back even further than one day. While you should aim to improve every day, looking back even further will allow you to find where the major improvements must be made to improve your life.
That is the easy part. Anyone can make new year’s resolutions. The issue is staying to these new year’s resolutions. I have heard many jokes about how “no one actually keeps their resolutions.” According to the definition of comedy according to Britannica, comedy is supposed to make people reflect on their own follies with the hopes that society will improve. If you do not try to improve your follies illustrated by the joke, you, as the audience, have failed to hold up you end of the art of comedy.
I will illustrate my own new year’s resolutions to document for myself and make sure my wife tries to hold me up to my own resolutions. I am also publishing them to hopefully inspire you to make good new year’s resolutions.
Continue To Improve Every Day
I try to reflect every day to find ways to improve every day. Even on holidays when I should relax, I look back to determine how I can improve myself. I always find something I could improve on. When I work in lab, I think that maybe I could run a reaction more efficiently or that I could improve the environment I work in to prevent contaminations and to make sure I delivery every molecule I intend. I have run reactions where even a single molecule can affect the results, and the results have never cared about my mental well being when they show me how the reaction went.
It may sound like I am being hard on myself, but I am not. Many times I look back and I can only find ways to improve the results, not to actually give me results. Finding ways to improve is not an admittance of incompetence, far from it. It is a way to enforce your competence.
If you have not started reflecting on how to improve yourself tomorrow, you will never be able to reflect to improve yourself next year. Instead of thinking of how you could improve yourself next year, ask yourself how you can be better tomorrow, on New Year’s Day. You will be surprised by the results.
Spend More Time With Family
My mother usually understates situations. Which is why when I was talking to her during Christmas after I have obtained my PhD she asked me how it felt to be done. Then she said, “you no longer have 50 hour work weeks.” I heard everyone snicker a little at the table because that was an understatement. I commonly worked 7 days a week in lab. Furthermore, it was far from uncommon for me to work into the next day. Even when I was at home I used my time to do literary research, to write, and prepare presentations.
I do not regret it. Furthermore, no one has ever told me a PhD only requires a small investment of time. Everyone told me things from: “you will be very busy” to “you will have to invest almost every hour of your day.” The work was worth it and the research was fulfilling.
Family Is Very Important
I need to remind my family that the time I spend with them is worth it. The research scientists do to try to improve the world will always be around. Family may not always be around though. Unfortunately, I have learned that lesson in one of the hardest ways possible. I have only told my closest friends and some other people in my family about what is going on. I will not go into specifics on Forge Your Wealth. All I can say is I was told of this situation and it made me try to find ways I could get back home sooner than I expected. The early graduation offer from my adviser was more like a deus ex machina. To this day I still question if my adviser knew what was going on even when I never told him about this. Either way, I am incredibly grateful.
I intend to move back to be closer to my family, but even if I do end up no closer to them, I do intend to make far more active attempts to spend more time with them.
More importantly though, I need to remind my wife that she is far more than a glorified roommate. I have taken her on more dates since my graduation. I have used more of my time to comfort her during the holiday stresses. My wife is very important, but I wanted to bring her up after I mention moving closer to my family so no one thinks the “hardest lesson” in spending time with family came from my wife.
Many people claim the best way to secure a career and have success is to continually move to find better jobs. I disagree. This is worth going into details in a future post. One thing I feel like I need to do is find a good place that I would feel good about living in for at least 5 years. I strongly believe finding a place to plant roots is more likely to secure your success.
I know this sounds like a strange resolution because I have moved to obtain my PhD. Even though I had spent 4 years at the same place, re-moving feels like such a stress. Even if there is no financial gain by staying in a place longer, planting roots would make me feel so much better.
I constantly have ideas. Not all of them are keepers. Each idea will require constant thinking. For instance, I was thinking of designing a company that would be capable of recycling much of the biological waste produced in lab. Much of the waste in lab has a recycling label. We just throw those out in waste containers to be incinerated as according to biological and chemical waste policies. My first thought was “why are these containers recyclable when these companies know we cannot recycle them?” My second thought was “why can’t we recycle them?” The reason why is because the contaminations can be dangerous and may even lower the quality of the recycled product. I had thought up of a system to sterilize and decontaminate the waste to prevent this. Unfortunately, such a system requires new policies and a rewrite of practices that have been well established.
There Are Other Ways
I have not given up though, just realized there are better places to put the efforts. Hazardous waste cannot be recycled very well with the US producing anywhere from 16.1-25.4 million tons in landfills while only 1.5 million tons of hazordous waste is reused. However, some the companies that dispose of this hazardous waste use the waste to produce energy. That is a fairly good system that does not require changes in policies nor practices. My system would not be readily used with our current policies and practices.
However, the system for recycling non-hazardous materials is lacking enough already. National Geographic reported that only 9% of plastics are recycled. Furthermore, only 30% of metals, one of the most easily recycled materials, are actually recycled. China has refused recycling due to contaminations. Apparently, it does not matter if the recyclable material is contaminated with a food or lethal pathogens, they are equally non-recyclable.
We need to improve our current recycling methods, not try to further complicate it. Which is why when I make a recycling program, it will look into removing non-hazardous impurities. I can work on removing hazardous impurities later.
Take New Risks
I do invest and take risks, but my retirement fund is pretty sizable and is probably the most diversified and risk allocated fund in the market. It will not do much more if I continue to invest only in that. If I want to forge my wealth I should invest in riskier investments with better rates of return including REITs and businesses. With the potential of a recession coming up, these investments may be an sale in the near future.
I started out Forge Your Wealth stating that new year’s resolutions are frequently money related and yet people fall short. Falling short is not an indication of character, the persistence to pursue what you desire is the true indication of character. Even if you are among the many who fall short on their financial goals, you can still chase pursue these goals. In my resolutions, none of my goals are to build wealth, but building wealth and success are a result of these goals. Try to establish your resolutions where wealth and success are the result but not specifically the goal.