Happy New Year, one and all, may 2011 be filled with many and varied experiences, both good and bad (but the good very good and the bad not so bad) that will help to shape and evolve us all as human beings and citizens of Earth.
The new year is, of course, nothing special in any real terms. It's simply an arbitrary point in the path of the planet that we live on around its star that we have decided to label as the end of one orbit and the beginning of the next. With that in mind, it's worth considering that a new year marks not just the end of some things and beginning of others, but it is also a continuation: life is still being lived, plans are still being set in motion, things are happening just as much as they were yesterday. Change, should you want such a thing (and which of us truly does not, in some form or another?), is an ongoing, gradual thing, not a thing that happens overnight.
Arbitraryness doesn't mean we can't use the opportunity to sit down and take stock, though? What do you want to change? What's not quite right? Decide on a few things - not too many, maybe even just one or two - that you want to change and write them down. Then jot down some ideas of how to achieve this. These ideas needn't be to in depth; you can work on them and refine them as the year progresses. The important thing is to get them down in some physical form which represents your mind being made up to actually do them. I'll list mine in a sec, but firstly I want to suggest that you write a post about your resolutions: If they're displayed for the world to see, you've got to do them, haven't you? If you don't have anywhere to post them, I'll gladly host it for you here.
My resolutions, 2011
If you feel like it, you can compare these to last year's.
1. Lose 2 stone in weight
This was one of last year's that I failed to achieve. I managed most of it, but put a bit back on. I've finished this year with my weight the right side of what it was 12 months ago, but there's still a bit more to go. A 2 stone drop will just about put me in the 'ideal' weight range for my height according to BMI calculations.
I'll do this with commitment- my methods worked well last year, but my commitment to maintaining them tailed off. I'm armed with new gadgets and DVDs for distracting me while I'm exercising, so I can do this!
2. Sort out my working life
I'm not happy in my job, and something needs to be done about that. I need to either cut my hours, find a new direction within my 'chosen' career, find something else to do altogether or some kind of mixture of any or all of the above. In order to do any of these I need to expand my experience and find other things I can do to make money (life's not all about money, but unfortunately I need it to pay my half of the mortgage and maintain a quality of life that I'm comfortable with). I've already set some things in motion which seem to be working to various degrees. I don't imagine that I will have solved the problem completely within the next 12 months, but I hope to have improved my situation to some degree.
3. Keep up/ re-start my hobbies
Fairly closely linked with #2, an unhappy time at work takes over your whole life. I feel I could quite easily spend my entire waking life (and most of the sleeping bits as well) doing my day job (or worrying about it) and still not get it all done. This eats into time I should be using to do things for myself, but I'm so tired and fed up I end up just going to bed or staring at my laptop screen instead. This is the wrong way round. I am going to make myself spend more time on the things that I enjoy doing, and hopefully this will make the things I do not enjoy doing (but have to) feel more worthwhile. The things I enjoy doing include reading, astronomy (including updating Blogstronomy), photography, playing guitar and spending quality time with good friends, old and new.
4. Re-educate myself
I'm a maths graduate with a significant interest in many areas of science, yet I have let my knowledge and understanding of much of it slip for similar reasons as outlined in #3. My current employer is loathe to provide me with any training beyond how to use basic ICT applications that I've been using since shortly before I was born, so I've got to sort this out for myself. Luckily I'm a good self-teacher/learner, and I know most of it's in there already; I've just got to find out where. I won't be taking any courses because I don't feel that they'd be a good use of my time or money. Instead, I have already embarked upon some initiatives designed to give me the incentive to get off my lazy arse and re-learn all I have forgotten: I have started teaching it to other people. I have taken on two A-level mathematics students and a GCSE science student and these are forcing me to get to grips with it all again so that I don't risk letting them down. This has the happy effect of working towards #2 and, to a lesser extent #4 as well. 3 for the price of 1!