A history of new year's resolutions

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

Successful years so far: 2 out of 3 (2014-2016)

This (previously unpublished) blog post came about after I'd spent four years flatly failing at new year's resolutions because they'd be much too demanding or too specific.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...

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


Theme: Life outside of work Verdict: TBD
Help myself Help my career Help the world
I'm already throwing myself into online dating, and I also need to start thinking about new outside interests to cultivate. However, a big risk is the fact I've been assigned a work contract in London so I will need to think carefully about how I can strike a good work-life balance with such a long commute. I have some very cool things planned for this blog in the coming year. Also looking to join professional organisations and earn accreditations to prove my knowledge. Currently examining volunteering opportunities for the coming year. Although, I have just invested in a Brompton foldable bike in a bid to reduce the carbon footprint of my daily commute.


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. 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.


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 IBC and FOSDEM on my own initiative I learned very little because it was very similar to the previous year. 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.


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.


Theme: What comes after University? Verdict: SUCCESS
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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