I'm a fan of personal growth. There's always something about yourself you can improve on, whether it's giving your cat better belly-rubs or finally kicking your nasty meth habit. That being said, setting yourself arbitrary, immutable and measurable goals for the start of a new calendar year has never quite been my cup of tea. If you solemnly swear to lose two stone in a year and you "only" end up losing 1 stone and 11 pounds, by most measures you have been tremendously successful, but according to your resolutions, well, you've ultimately failed.
That doesn't quite sit right with me.
However, I'm not about to round up my vague and constantly permuting desires for improvement in various areas and transform them into a set of measurable goals that can be deemed a failure or a success. Success isn't boolean.
However, because this is the traditional time for change and spurring one another on, here are some of the things I aim to continue to do, or further improve for 2013. None of these are resolutions. I'm not attempting to drastically changing anything about myself. I like to call them alignments: Making sure I keep doing the things in life that I would actually like to do.
Less dicking around on my phone
Ever since I got my first smartphone in May 2010, I've spent an extraordinary amount of time absorbed in it. At times that's been a fantastic asset to have, but generally, I use the sodding thing way too much. I've likely missed out on experiences as a result. Keep an eye out for a blog post expanding on this subject in the new year.
In 2010 and 2011, I stopped eating as much crap as I used to. This made me lose a ton of weight and feel healthier and invigorated. In 2012, I finally started adding some muscle to my frame by picking up a bike in February (and saving hundreds of pounds on public transport as a result), and doing the formerly unthinkable: signing up to a gym during the summer. It's shown great results, and I would like to continue doing so, as well as finally getting over my fear of free-weights and cardio.
Getting a decent amount of sleep with a somewhat coherent sleeping pattern is really good for your health, according to Science ™ (and who am I to question science?). This is something I keep neglecting. Going to bed past midnight when I'm getting up at 6am is really not a thing that should be done.
Experience things, other people be damned
My friends are all very lovely, but my interests and hobbies don't always align with theirs. I've always enjoyed experiencing things on my own, and I need to get better at ignoring the perceived social stigma that comes with it. I'm comfortable with my own company. Other people likely don't care, and even if they did, they don't matter. I watched Brave by myself when it was still in the cinema (even though it turned out Sophie was attending the same screening, what are the odds?) because nothing was going to get in the way of me seeing a Pixar film on the big screen. I also ventured to Edinburgh for a weekend by myself, because I bloody love Edinburgh. Do you really need a better reason than that?
Pick up a pen (or keyboard) more
Whenever I actually write one of my very sporadic blog posts, I rediscover that I actually quite like writing. I'm not quite sure why. More of it needs to be done.
Reduce my fear of Better People On The Internet ™
To absolutely nobody's surprise (except maybe my mum), there are people on the internet who are better at everything I do. At times when I contemplate contributing to the community – by means of a blog post, tutorial, posted code snippet, or plugin, a Better Person On The Internet ™ will find this, mercilessly skin me alive me in public, and my career as a web /de(velop|sign)er/ will be swiftly laid in ashes by the Better Person On The Internet™ with a million Twitter followers and strong opinions.
This isn't entirely unfounded, and I see very public criticism going on frequently. This honestly really scares me, and from what I see on Twitter when this happens, I'm far from the only one. However, I want to do my best to not be crippled by this fear, because it's not too likely to happen, and if it does, eh, I could probably use some thicker skin anyhow.
Contribute to an open source project
While I'm still a rookie, there are tons of open source projects, big and small, that could do with some help. I'd like to make at least one of them better. If you know of any that could do with some design or front-end love and that I could contribute something meaningful to, I'd love to know of them.
Now that this is all on public display for you to gawp at, I have even more incentive to make myself a better person in 2013. I deserve it, and so do my friends, family and colleagues. Happy new year, you beautiful people! Do you have any resolutions or alignments?