2017 was an eventful year, a hell of a lot happened and it was a year of huge highs and sadly some pretty tough lows.

Rather than write a reflection piece I decided to look forward. More specifically to a few of the things I plan to achieve or do better in 2018. Kind of my resolutions for 2018.

I will add that I’ve tried not to go over the top with “resolutions” this year. I believe resolutions tend to fall away quickly because they are unrealistic, vague or there are too many things to do all at once. So I’ve tried to mitigate that this year with a particularly focus on keeping them realistic.

That has led to, perhaps, a duller set than in previous years but it is a set that is a lot more achievable. And, importantly, if I get close to achieving them. Something I rarely have in the past. Then I’ll finish 2018 in a better place than I started the year and you can’t really ask for much more than that.

There is no point having resolutions if you can’t track your progress against them. With that in mind I’ve tried to be a bit more specific with them and set measurable targets. I’ve not done this with all of them yet but I think if I’m committed to achieving them that will come at some point.

Resolutions

Here they are:

Read minimum of 5 books

One I put in every year. Sounds easy but, embarrassingly, one I regularly fail to do.

Last year I only finished reading 1 book (Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson) hence this being top of the pile. I will do better.

Learn to read 500 Chinese characters

Last year I penciled in learning 250 and probably managed to learn between 150-200. A good start and solid platform to step up from this year; so 500 it is.

Write at least 26 blog posts

I was going to say 1 post a week but that felt more unrealistic. I don’t want to set goals that initially feel so unattainable that it puts me off from the outset.

Ideally writing on average 1 a week should be doable but you never know what could come up and impact that. At this point I’ll say it is a low estimate that I’ll review throughout the year. Given the last post on this site is from 2014 I think it is fair to add in a little wiggle room.

Make some revenue from websites I run/host

Workwise this is a big goal of mine for 2018.

Specifically, target 1 has to be to cover the costs of running the sites then I’ll set more targets based on what I learn getting to that point.

Explore more of what China has to offer

I felt we (Vanessa and I) did ok with this last year. I’d give us a C+. Now that we are more settled and can speak (a tiny bit) more of the language we should be able to do more.

This is an exciting one, there is so much we can do and so much we want to do. I’ve not yet thought about specifics but I think a good place to start will be with some lists. A list of places in China we’d like to visit, a list of places in Beijing we’ve still not seen, a list of tours/activities I’d like to do and a list of food/drinks I’d like to try.

I’d like to be healthier this year

When I say healthier I’m referring to both my fitness levels and what I eat/drink.

Another near ever present goal but after last year it takes on a little more significance. I got back out on a football pitch and it turns out I’m no spring chicken anymore. Running round a pitch has become harder hence focusing on my fitness levels to make it easier again.

I’m not yet sure how to make this vast and generic goal more specific but one aspect I might work on is my 5k speed with a target of < 23mins and a stretch target of < 21 mins.

Keep a better record of what I do/achieve in 2018

Generally I’m not great at documenting what I do or the things I’ve achieved. This makes updating things (CV, website, Linkedin profile) or reviewing things more of a chore than it should be.

I’m a big believer in continuous, iterative improvement in everything in life. Comparing and reviewing then and now is a big part of that. To be able to do that well (and better than I’ve done in the past) it’d be useful to have a record of what I’ve done. Relying solely on my memory isn’t the best approach.

I’m not 100% sure how I’ll go about this but a good place to start is with week notes, similar to how other people publish theirs (my week notes won’t count towards my blog post quota :)).

Waste less time on social media

The amount of time I can spent on social media can be silly. It can be too easy to dive in and lose endless amounts of time. It is definitely an area worth me improving so no time like now.

I’m not going to put an arbitrary time constraint on my social media activity but I would like it to be a more focussed and productive, rather than aimlessly spending 10 mins scrolling through a feed just because I have 10 mins.

Again not yet sure how I can keep track of this but hopefully I’ll be able to think of something.

That’s it

There they are; my resolutions for 2018.

I’ve still to consider the best way to track and review progress and at what frequency but I’m committed to doing so. There will be a time and a place for that. Step 1 was getting them written down. If I don’t report back on progress please feel free to give me a nudge until I do so!

I’m always interested to hear what resolutions other people make and generally, how they go about putting these improvements in to place so if you have any you are particularly excited about or any tips you’d like to share then please do leave a comment.

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