It's an American tradition to set a "New Year's Resolution". It's a time of self-reflection on what we should do heading into the new year. Many common 'resolutions' include losing weight, eating better, and making nice with people that you've burned a bridge with. But have you thought about making a list about what your weaknesses are?
It's hard for us to admit that we have any problems in our lives. Or at least, it's hard for us to acknowledge them. We know which problems exist, but do we do anything about these problems?
Try writing down four weaknesses or areas in need of improvement that you have as a person. I have four that I've pinpointed to work on in the upcoming year as an example:
The Chicago Blackhawks have had a tremendous run this decade. Three Stanley Cups in a span of six seasons is something to behold, especially with the leadership of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. However, it seems that their time is drawing near.
Currently, the Blackhawks sit two points behind the Minnesota Wild for the last wild card spot in the Western Conference. To make matters worse, they lost their star goaltender Corey Crawford (16-9-2, 2.27 GAA, .929 save percentage) to an upper body injury, placing him on injured reserve.
However, losing Crawford isn't the only problem the Blackhawks have; there seems to be a lack of "Chelsea Dagger" at the United Center. Chicago has been lackluster on the power play, ranking 29th in the league in that category (14.1%). Chicago hasn't been getting any production from the likes of Toews (nine goals, 13 assists) and Brandon Saad (11 goals, six assists), either.
But aside from the Crawford injury, those are the only major problem that the Blackhawks have right now. The team is third in the NHL in shots per game at 34.6. Don't forget about the Blackhawks being only two points out.
So will the Blackhawks be fine? The Central Division looks extremely tough this season, on par with the Metropolitan Division as the toughest in the NHL. However, if the Blackhawks can make it without Crawford and get more scoring, they should be back in the postseason. Hopefully, Blackhawk fans won't be deprived of the "Dagger" during the month of May.
Manchester City has been on a roll. When I say roll, I mean an unstoppable force. They've won 18 straight Premier League victories after beating Newcastle today by a score of 1-0, leaving them one short of the European record held by Bayern Munich. The streak is so impressive that this information tidbit is being brought up:
The Blues have taken over the European football scene in recent memory, having won the Premier League title in the 2011-12 season and the 2013-2014 season. But their recent dominance has catapulted them to a new high. The Blues are 15 points ahead of the second best team in the EPL (Manchester United with 43 points). In fact, Manchester City hasn't even lost a match in Premier League play, sitting pretty at 19-0-1. On top of that, they haven't lost to any of the 19 other Premier League teams this season. They've scored 61 goals this season, more than the bottom three teams in the EPL combined. On the defensive end, they've only yielded 12 goals all season in the EPL. Goalkeeper Ederson has been a major boon for the Blues, recording nine clean sheets this season.
The funny thing is there's speculation on whether superstar Sergio Aguero (12 goals this season) will transfer over to Real Madrid due to Aguero being behind Gabriel Jesus (eight goals this season) in coach Pep Guardiola's lineup. Manchester City will give Real the green light... Only if Keylor Navas is permitted to go the other way come the end of the season.
Even with all the Aguero drama, the Blues have managed to make a total team effort to dominate. Players like Raheem Sterling (13 goals this season), David Silva (five goals, eight assists this season), Leroy Sane (six goals this season) and Kevin de Bruyne (six goals, nine assists, 1,498 passes this season) have helped Manchester City blow the competition away. The scary thing is many of these players are young, setting them up for a sustained period of dominance.
Manchester City looks poised to cruise their way to another Premier League title and Pep Guardiola wants to take this team there. At this rate, it looks like no one can stop them.
Photo courtesy of Manchester Evening News
Let's face it. We all lead chaotic lives. This is especially true when the holidays roll around. We have the daunting tasks of trying to prepare dishes/meals for our families, getting our living spaces ready for company, and trying to get our loved ones gifts. This is on top of the current duties we have in our daily lives. When you get in your bed, you feel exhausted and drained.
Hopefully you don't mind me going into a diatribe about my current stresses in life. But I hope you aren't bored, either. It's not easy trying to make things just right for those you love during the holidays. However, there is something you should consider doing in order to make the holidays less stressful. At least, this is something I've tried that has helped me immensely: Taking the small victories into account.
Every time I've gotten one of the gifts I've needed or I've prepared my space for company, I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that I've gotten a little inconvenience out of the way. Usually, if you try to tackle every task at once, it will end up in a messy result. The idea of taking baby steps towards a goal is essential in life and is especially applicable here. Once you've completed all the small tasks put in front of you, you can relax and enjoy your time with the ones you love.
This doesn't just have to apply to the holidays; this can be geared towards general life. If you're a student and you have a big project to do, you'd want to tackle a portion of it instead of trying to take the project on full bore. If you have a presentation for work, you'd plot out what you'd do first before starting to construct your presentation.
Speaking of plotting out, this goes back to one central idea: Planning. I'm close to graduating college and I have an idea of what I want to do once I graduate. I'd like to take myself to a warmer climate and start my life anew, but I need a plan! I can't just do everything at one time, though. I need to take baby steps and celebrate the small victories in making that plan happen. All of these small victories will eventually accumulate to a grander victory.
Think of this as making a rough draft, only for your life instead of a paper or a book. You want to plot the best course of action in tackling the daily tasks in your life. As the old saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day."
Close to the halfway point of the NHL season, there are a few hockey teams who've struggled to start off the season right. There's still plenty of time to turn things around. However, a good indicator of a playoff team is how well a hockey team does by the end of November. Can these teams rebound?
Photo courtesy of NHL.com
The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is always a spectacle. From bracket-busting upsets to dominant blue bloods, March Madness never disappoints. Which teams could be on their way to a surprise invitation to "The Dance" in March?
Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Rams was one of the worst in recent memory for the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks were down 34-0 at the half--its largest halftime deficit since 2010--and ended with a 42-7 thumping at the hands of the Rams. Granted, Seattle was missing corner Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor for the season. However, this does raise concerns about Seattle's future as the NFC West leader going forward.
Defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson is a free agent after the season and Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Cliff Avril will hit the market come 2019. Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson will be free agents a year after. They've invested good money into players like Wagner, Sherman, and Thomas in hopes of establishing a tough defense. However, the "Legion of Boom" won't be getting younger anytime soon.
As for the division itself, the Seahawks should be wary of the competition. They probably won't have to worry about the Arizona Cardinals anytime soon. However, their biggest rival in the division is those same Rams. Armed with a three-headed offensive attack in Jared Goff, Robert Woods (or Cooper Kupp), and Todd Gurley II, the Rams are headed in the right direction after head coach Jeff Fisher looked clueless on the sidelines for Los Angeles. The Rams aren't the only problem Seattle has to worry about; the San Francisco 49ers have won three straight under their new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and seem to have found their quarterback of the future. This means that they'll probably pass up on Kirk Cousins in the future if he hits the market in the offseason and will spend their money on their various needs, like addressing the offensive line and adding skill players.
All of the given circumstances raise one question: Is the Seattle Seahawks' run as a legitimate NFC/Super Bowl contender done? Not necessarily. But there are some things that need to be addressed. One of them is the offensive line, which has been a pain for Seattle to work with for a while. Russell Wilson has been sacked 30 times this season and that's not including Sunday's game (Wilson was sacked seven times in the loss). Speaking of Russell Wilson, that should be another thing the Seahawks should consider in the future, which is locking him up for a few more years. Wilson has proven himself to be an MVP candidate in spite of adverse conditions. Seeing how Garoppolo has suddenly helped the 49ers turn their fortunes around, Wilson does the same thing already for the Seahawks. Without him, the Seahawks are already eliminated from playoff contention by Week Ten.
The Seahawks have plenty of questions that'll need to be addressed in the near future. In the meantime, they'll have to win out and hope for some luck to even make the postseason as a wild card.
There's growing speculation about LeBron James's next destination. Will he actually go to Hollywood? Will he stay with the Cavs even after owner Dan Gilbert inadvertently low-balled James? It's a great mystery that will escalate into a crescendo come the summer of 2018.
There's no doubt that James has had a fruitful career. He's averaged 27.2 PPG, 7.1 APG, 7.3 RPG, and has a field goal percentage of .503 in his 14-year career. He makes his teammates better and has freakish size at his position. LeBron's got a leg up on his career averages as well, averaging 28.1 PPG, 9.1 APG, 8.3 RPG, and has a field goal percentage of .578 in 29 games this season.
So where will he end up next year? The Lakers seem like the logical option; he just bought a $23 million mansion in Los Angeles after all. He'll help expedite the Lakers' rebuilding process to legitimate contender. But what if he goes somewhere else, like say the Houston Rockets? Imagine a starting line-up with James Harden, LeBron, and a revitalized Chris Paul. That would be an offensive juggernaut that would have Mike D'Antoni drooling.
But what if he decided he wanted to stay in the Eastern Conference and continue to dominate there? One team that would come to mind are the 76ers. They'll have cap space to work with if they move a couple players and "The Process" will be in full blossom. Imagine the size that this Sixers team will have with a young Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to go with LeBron. That's a scary thought.
But what if he wants to return to Cleveland? Yes, Gilbert did LeBron dirty by getting rid of general manager David Griffin this past summer. But LeBron is from Akron and he does have his buddy, Dwayne Wade, with him this year. Maybe Wade stays longer on the Cavs as a co-leader with LeBron? Besides, not many people saw LeBron returning to Cleveland coming. However, there is a good feeling that Cavalier fans will vent their frustrations on Gilbert instead of LeBron due to Gilbert's summer actions.
Whatever the case, LeBron will make whichever team he signs with better. He's a great asset, a great teammate to have around, and perhaps the best all-around NBA player of all-time. You know you can't wait for LeBron-Mania in the summer of 2018!
Welcome to another edition of "Blending Buddy", where I share blending recipes with you to live a better lifestyle! This week's edition will help aid your stomach. I call it, "Ginger-Vital!"
Now with Shohei Ohtani selecting sunny Orange County as his destination, let's take a look at some of the potential talent that could come from the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
My life! Food, sports, school. It's what it is!