Your New Year's ResolutionsJanuary 04, 2016

I promise to make better decisions. Hold your tongue. You said it last summer, while on a holiday in Ao Nang with your family. Your mother gave you an annoyed look after you asked her if you could stay for another month. (You could've stayed in Ko Phi Phi Lee, but it might be the sun.) Young people are inclined to make brash decisions without thinking it over. And you have done it over and over. (You mastered the art of procrastination in less than a year.) Just do your best. And make sure you don't lose your sense of urgency.

I promise to lose several pounds. But you won't. In fact, this would be your red badge of courage. You've earned your love handles after munching on pizza while studying for an upcoming examination. And a week would be incomplete without beer with your housemates. You're too young to handle stress, and you can lose those extra calories. Make sure you'll have more time for walking. And you might want to check out the treadmill in the gym.

I promise to have more time for reading. And you wish it won't be a title from Modernist literature. Not that you weren't interested in Joseph Conrad, but you have a dream novel in mind. It would be fantasy, possibly a prequel to "His Dark Materials". You were certain that Philip Pullman won't mind, as he had been working on the sequel. And you were obsessed about Mrs. Coulter. (What made her wanted power?) You could see yourself as the young Lord Asriel, which drew snickers from your coursemates. They don't have any imagination at all.

I promise to sleep more. You are young and invincible. Or so you thought. A few hours of sleep nearly cost you last week. (It was a good thing that you recalled the lecture, after thinking too hard during the examination.) And you couldn't turn down the invitation of your housemates. After all, they were the only ones you have when you have too much beer. And their nonsense advice could be gold dust. But it would be one long term. Better not think too much about the next assignments. You almost forgot the examinations.

I promise to trust in my abilities. Everyone has doubts. In your case, you couldn't believe in your own good luck. But think long and hard about the last two years. You were a heavy reader not long ago. Your tutor was impressed at your unusual dedication to literature. And she always reminded you of your incentive. (You must write your first novel sooner or later.) But you still wonder if you could be as good as Pullman (and the other writers in the Fantasy genre). This might not be the best time to ponder on that matter, as you have a deadline to beat.

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