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2014: A Year of Dreams

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JANUARY 21, 2014

I think it would be a fair to assume most people reading this have heard of, or made, a new year’s resolution. In honor of 2014 and the new semester, I find it appropriate to extrapolate and expand upon this idea.

I grew up with the idea that I should have a new year’s resolution, whether it’s going to the gym more or eating healthier. I rarely put much thought into resolutions after January. I fall back into my former routine and trudge along for the remainder of the year until, yet again, I make a new resolution only to find it followed stringently for a few weeks.

Over time, however, my view of the new year’s resolution has changed. With the help of the mere accumulation of wisdom from growing up and a more philosophical and practical approach to goal-setting and achieving provided through Seibukan Jujutsu, a martial art I have practiced for the last 12 years, I began to look at the start of the new year not as a time for a singular resolution to be made but rather as a time to set a series of achievable goals.

In line with the philosophy of Seibukan Jujutsu: there are three main categories the goals can lie within: relationships, health and abundance. Within each of these categories, you may write out seven goals you want to achieve, for a total of 21.

But setting goals is easier than achieving them, and through my experience with martial arts, I have been exposed to five steps you can look to follow in achieving your goals.

Step one is to have a dream. This is akin to saying you have a goal or a resolution in mind. Think of something personal and concrete you can visualize because this visualization, and the recognition of how you will feel at the end of your journey, is part of the process as well.

The next step, step two, is to make a plan. Olympic athletes don’t just show up on race day ready to win. They have a training regimen, a plan that allows them to move closer to achieving their goals each day. So make your own regiment — one that can allow to see your own progress as you move closer to achieving your dream.

The third step is to believe in yourself. One way I interpret it is to look around at other people. If other people can achieve it, there is usually little, if any, reason you cannot do the same. No matter what it takes, if it has been done before, you can do it as well. It’s up to you.

The penultimate step, step four, is to face your fears. Most things worth achieving aren’t easy to obtain. If you’re reading this, there is a high chance you are a student at or an affiliate of UC Berkeley. It wasn’t easy to get here. There were barriers you faced along the way, but you overcame them. But what, really, is fear? The dictionary app on my computer tells me fear is an “unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous.” Look at the word “belief.” Fear of something doesn’t mean the subject of your fear is actually dangerous. We can also take fear as an acronym to make F.E.A.R., or False Evidence Appearing Real. Acknowledge this, face your fears and forge onward toward your dream.

The final step is to take massive action. This column didn’t miraculously appear — I wrote it. I concede that this is not a fantastic example, but the matter of fact is that it is true. To get anything done, one must take action. Whether it’s waking up in the morning or getting into the graduate program of your dreams, you have to actively take command of your life. Sure, some people may tout these achievements up to luck, but unless you’re winning the lottery, luck is a combination of hard work and opportunity. Your actions are meeting those of others.

So what’s my big dream of the year? My dream is that by the end of this year, I will be prepared to audition for and get into the Yale School of Drama. Why am I sharing this? I am sharing this because the best way to hold yourself accountable for the dreams and goals you have is to share them and put them out there so the universe can hear it, and you should do the same.

So share your goals with those around you. Have a dream, make a plan, believe in yourself, face your fears, take massive action and make 2014 a year to be remembered.

Contact Aaron Kitchin at 


JANUARY 21, 2014