Forget about New Year’s Resolutions for 2015. That’s what everybody is doing.
People get a surge of motivation when a year ends. The beginning of a new one feels like an opportunity to turn their lives around. They set fitness goals, professional goals and lifestyle goals, yet 92% can’t reach them.
If you’re looking to create something, learn a new skill or improve yourself in any way, keep in mind these 3 facts. They’ll place you in the top 5% of the population.
- You must think long-term. Don’t expect quick results. Rome wasn’t built in a day (in fact it took centuries). It won’t take centuries to build enough endurance to run a marathon, but don’t expect to nail it next month.
- You must work everyday. Whatever is going on in your life, make time to work everyday towards your goal. Even 10 minutes is better than nothing, since everyday you don’t work on your project you’ll make zero progress. It’ll be a zero day. Eliminate 0 days from your life.
- You must solve problems. When progress stagnates and plateaus plague your endeavors, rethink your strategy. Actively search for information about your trade and jump the hurdles you come across. Complaining about how hard German grammar is or about how you don’t have time to exercise is useless.
Imprint this in your mindset and you’re all set to become a Master in anything you try to do. Which can be anything at all!
Here are some examples of Super Student goals to pursue in 2015:
Health & Fitness Challenges
The term fitness is really broad. Therefore, it applies to everyone, especially to Super Students. Whether you’re in decent shape or need to gain/lose a few pounds, start improving your body now (don’t even wait for 2015, gyms will be really really full).
For beginners, there are a lot of programs which are both effective and easy to follow. For people who don’t compete in sports, you should do both resistance training and any form of cardio (jogging, swimming and so on). Start here:
- Couch to 5k: an excellent program for people who want to get in shape by jogging. It alternates between walking periods and jogging periods until you can jog for 5 km uninterruptedly (after 7-9 weeks).
- Starting Strength: I’m a strong believer in strength training. We’re designed to spend our days out there hunting saber-toothed cats, but instead we spend them sitting on a desk. Our modern lives demand it. Don’t let your muscles atrophy, though! With just three 45 minute sessions a week you can increase your strength and lean mass considerably.
- Starting Calisthenics: calisthenics means working out without any machines or equipment. I think that a proper gym is a better alternative, but for those who don’t want it or can’t afford it, calisthenics are a great alternative. The basic philosophy is to build your strength using the weight of your own body.
On the other hand, if you have some experience under your belt, your goals will vary according to your strength, endurance and skill. It’s always fun to try something new: run a half-marathon, run a tough mudder, get to 100 kg (225 lb) bench press or run a 5 minute mile.
Learn a Language
Learning a foreign language improves your life at both a professional and personal level. If you decide to start learning languages, be ready to improve your verbal skills, communication skills and memory. Above all that, there’s the gratification of speaking to other people in their native language.
My method is pretty straightforward (more detail here):
- Learn phonetics for about 1 month (be sure to learn the IPA alphabet as well)
- Use spaced repetition to learn thousands of words during the first months (Anki is my favorite app)
- Listen and read texts in your target language as much as you can (new words can be added to Anki)
- After 5-6 months, start writing and speaking in your target language
Start Working on Something Big (a side project)
Working on a side project means conducting productive activities outside of the formal constraints of school or college. Too see it through, you’ll need ideas, resourcefulness and diligence, which all stem from a strong desire to create new things. – The Ultimate Guide to Starting and Completing a Side Project
Improve Your Reading Speed
Students like us do a lot of reading, from simply studying to reading books, papers and so on. The faster you can read and comprehend what you’re reading, the more productive and efficient you’ll be.
If you read at an average speed of 250 words/min, that’s roughly a textbook every half hour, depending on the complexity of the subject. Imagine reading at 400 or even 500 words/min. It’s half the time!
Improving reading speed is not easy and requires daily practice. Luckily, we can do it comfortably in our smartphones, since there are lots of apps both for Android and iOS. Check here for iOS, Android and Web.
Read 52 Books in 2015
Books are just amazing. Some of them condense decades of experience in a couple thousand words. Nowadays, information is so readily available that you can get the advice of experts on virtually any field.
Do you want to be an investor? Warren Buffet wrote books about the tricks of his trade (pun intended). Want to be more productive and successful? Tim Ferriss has some advice for you. Need to increase your GPA? Check out the pro-tips of Cal Newport.
52 books in one year equals a book a week. It’s easier said than done, but a smartphone helps a lot (mine is filled with dozens of eBooks). Give priority to non-fiction, since these are the books with real world advice. I read a lot about startups, productivity, medicine, self-development and finance. There are always new and interesting books added to my list.
Give it a try!