A history of new year's resolutions

January 03, 2017 in #resolutions #new year #productivity

Successful years so far: 2 out of 4 (2014-2017)

This (previously unpublished) blog post came about after I'd spent four years flatly failing at new year's resolutions because they'd be much too demanding or too specific. Then approaching the end of 2013 I came across this article.

On the whole choosing a "theme" seems to have worked much better. After a little trial and error I decided there were three questions that could help me define if a year had been successful or unsuccessful from my point of view:

  • How did I improve my quality of life?
  • What did I do to boost my career prospects?
  • Did I give anything back to the wider community?

I used the year I was approaching the end of (2013) as a test sample and was pleased with the result. At the start of the year I usually try to think about some of the opportunities & challenges I can already see coming, but if experience is a guide they usually turn out to be garbage because you never can quite predict what will happen...

The rule is that all three columns have to go green for me to call the year a success. This is quite ambitious so I definitely don't expect to get a perfect record!

This blog post is an evolving document I update each year, and it was last edited in December 2017.

2018

Theme: Enjoyment Verdict: TBD
Help myself Help my career Help the world
Will be working with my employer to achieve a more sustainable work pattern. I intend to indulge some hobbies & interests that allow me to meet new people where I live. I will also do some traveling this year for fun instead of work! I'm planning to focus my training on cloud-based technologies so I have the flexibility to either stick with software development or switch to DevOps/support work. I'll also be attending FOSDEM and (possibly) Devoxx UK this year. I intend to go vegan full time (or failing that, vegetarian). I also want to run FSF-approved GNU/Linux distros on as many of my devices as possible. I will also be keeping an eye out for additional opportunities to contribute to charities.

2017

Theme: Life outside of work Verdict: FAILED
Help myself Help my career Help the world
I failed to cultivate a life outside of work because of a demanding client engagement that needed me to be in London 5 days a week. I had to seek medical attention towards the end of the year for the stress & anxiety this caused.
I did however ditch Facebook & Twitter, which seems to have been a very healthy move for me.
I gained a lot of good experience from my year working with the Met Police for Capgemini. I was also accredited as an MIET and started writing for Linux Format magazine again. Used a folding Brompton bicycle for a number of my commutes. Was also a delegate at a Bisexuality awareness event. Raised £137.35 for The Prince's Trust, even though I wasn't able to cycle in the Palace to Palace event. Donated cash to the FSF, various charities and Mastodon's developers. Backed the kickstarter for the Purism Librem 5. Went vegan for a month.

2016

Theme: Career progression Verdict: SUCCESS
Help myself Help my career Help the world
Moved closer to friends and family so I was able to catch up with everyone face-to-face. Was a component owner for an important project within BT TV. Accepted a new role as a senior software engineer with Capgemini. Attended Devoxx UK for the first time. Supported the NSPCC runners at the London marathon. Also donated to LGBT-related kickstarters and numerous colleagues seeking charity sponsorships. Voted remain in the EU referendum despite my long-standing Eurosceptic views.

2015

Theme: Work-life balance Verdict: FAILED
Help myself Help my career Help the world
Moved out of the awful flat I'd been stuck in for two years and into a much nicer one, which made my life a lot more tolerable. But unfortunately I didn't make any new non-work friends in Ipswich so work and related activities continued to dominate most of my time. While I did attend FOSDEM on my own initiative I learned very little because it was very similar to the previous year. Also skipped IBC trip I'd planned. Barely contributed to my blog and only completed work-sanctioned training. Donated 2% of my salary to various good causes & was a centre lead again for Young Rewired State's Festival of Code 2015.

2014

Theme: Establish myself at work Verdict: SUCCESS
Help myself Help my career Help the world
Bought a car, started using Facebook again to keep up with friends & family. Also caught up with former work colleagues in Belgium & university friends. RTS Young Technologist of the Year 2014, BT TSO T10 Challenge Cup & started attending trade conferences like IBC and FOSDEM. Registered as a STEMNET IT Ambassador and helped schools with various IT literacy initiatives, helped as centre lead for Young Rewired State's Festival of Code 2014 & raised £62.50 for Alcohol Education Trust by abstaining from alcohol for a month as part of their Dryvember event.

2013

Theme: What comes after University? Verdict: FAILED
Help myself Help my career Help the world
My plans to travel abroad again, see more of my family and learn another language never materialised! Graduated from Plymouth University, joined BT as a software engineer & revived Bob's Tech Site after a long slump. Registered as an organ donor & observed Earth Hour.
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