New Year’s Revolution?

Sometimes I stumble across people completely accidentally. I have no idea where I stumbled across the lovely Rosianna but it was several years ago. I’ve sort-of-kept tabs on her videoblogs – mainly because the confidence and on-screen persona is something I’d love to have in bundles but as yet have none of.

Her New Year’s Day 2012 blog was something that got me thinking about what I’ve got lined up for this year. I sort of touched on it in my review of 2011.

Rather than setting ‘resolutions’ – such as “I will eat fewer nik naks, count fewer beans, spend less money”, I normally go for a “here is where I’d like to be in 12 months time” – something that has become a bit of an annual ritual for me.

Rosianna’s right – traditional New Year’s resolutions tend to be inflexible and, for the most part unimaginative. There’s also the issue of planning and thinking things through before committing to them. There’s also the problem of constraints and boundaries – for example work and life commitments may mean that some things are just not possible. Until this time last year for example I was of the view that I was going to tread water for a few years until getting to a point where I could clear my debts. This meant being tied to a commute that killed off any prospect of a life outside of work.  Taking the redundancy package slayed/slew both beasts.

The past few months have bought me a bit of time to try things out – in particular types of learning styles and providers too. The teacher training course I did under the auspices of Anna Miller at Cambridge Regional College was inspiring, imaginative, engaging and comprehensive given the aims of the course. The course materials were bespoke and clearly designed to be integrated into the course we were doing. The designing your own websites course at another college from the summer of 2011 was the opposite – boring, predictable, monotonous and dull. The materials looked like they were taken off of a US website, which led to all the examples being written for a stereotypical US audience. You know you’re in trouble when your teacher says “We’re going to make a homepage about [domesticated canines].” (Gotta avoid the spambots somehow). Sorry mate, I cannot take you seriously!

This month I’m toying with a three things.

The first is to turn my paper sketches and written plans of a personal website into something real. There are at least ten different disparate features that need to be brought together under a single umbrella. The content (which I’ve pretty much spent the past few months working on) is already there.

The second is linked to the Open University Engineering the Future course I’m doing. The problem at the moment is that it’s all paper and computers. It’s not building stuff – that’s for an associated residential course that (unless I take it within the next few months), with the new fees structure I won’t be able to afford. £5,000 per year for students from England, £1,610 for students from Scotland. I’m in the former, not the latter. My thoughts on the cowardice of politicians from all parties on the issues of fees can be found in my post: Fees, universities and philanthropy. Back to the point, essentially I’m looking to get my hands dirty & messy. Less of the Middle Class is Magical (paying someone else to do stuff) – part of the deal last year was to get my own tool box (done), drill set (done) and to put up some shelves. (Does putting up a rail for clothes to hang off count?)

The final one is general exercise – one that in the medium-to-longer term will be dependent on where I end up working. If I end up working close to where I live, with reasonably flexible hours and half-decent facilities nearby the only thing that will stop me is procrastination. (I can be a champion at that when I want to be). In the late summer through to the autumn I was managing swimming three times per week but impact seemed limited. For the first month of this year at least, my challenge on this front is to step things up.

Beyond all of that…well…let’s see which way the wind blows. I’ll adjust my sails accordingly.



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