Happy 2018!

What? It’s the 25th already? Okay, so I’m a bit later than usual this year, but at least it’s still January. And anyway, everybody knows the Hammerian new year falls on 25 January, so there!

Not buying it, huh? Well you’re welcome to leave.

No, wait! Come back! You know I don’t really mean that. Get a sense of humour, geez!

So, I’ve been thinking about resolutions again lately, and why they’re so damn hard to stick with.

Previously I’d determined that New Year’s Resolutions would be more appropriately be named New Year’s Intentions, as that’s really what they are – a list of stuff we intend to do, rather than a firm, definite decision to do something.

Regardless which word we use for them, they ultimately express a goal, but fail to include a plan how to reach that goal. And we all know that saying: If you fail to plan…

Related to a plan, resolutions also tend to lack any type of timeline for completion. No wonder people give up on them a few weeks (days? hours?) in – how demotivating is it to have no idea how close you are to finishing? A colleague mentioned when discussion resolutions that three-month/90 day projects seem like a very reasonable, measurable guideline, and I’m embracing that idea as well.

So, here’s an initial list of what I plan to do this year:

To become a better writer and (hopefully) (finally) get a first draft of a novel written, I’ll be doing Tim Clare’s Couch to 80k Writing Boot Camp – a 8-week writing course in podcast format with daily writing exercises to help you get that novel off the ground. I’ve already started with this and should be done shortly after Easter.

In 2015, in an attempt to escape my studies I’d all but given up on by then, I signed up to FreeCodeCamp and started learning to code. That lead to me applying to become a Happiness Engineer on WordPress.com, which subsequently resulted in me not doing any more coding for the past two years, and that needs to change. At the moment I’m quite happy doing customer support, but who knows how I’ll feel five, eight, ten years down the line, and besides, coding is fun and I think I can be really good at it. So once I’m done with the writing boot camp, I’ll be doing a #100DaysOfCode. I’ll probably try and pick up where I left off in learning JavaScript, though I do want to learn at least basic PHP and level up my CSS3 as well. This should take me into the third quarter of the year.

I’m going to learn isiZulu. It’s the indigenous language of the region I now live, and the language spoken by the most people in South Africa. And before you say that sounds more like a resolution than a plan, the plan is to buy a language course (currently comparing the options on offer) and finish it. I want to start on this ASAP. Timeline for completion would depend on the course I end up buying.

And that’s it for now. These three things will take me into the second half of the year and help me acquire skills I very much want to have. I’m sure as I finish them I’ll come up with more stuff to take on, but I reckon on top of work, parenting and taking care of my house and garden these are plenty to start with.

How about you? How’s 2018 been treating you thus far? What are your resolutions for the year? (Bonus points if you’re still sticking to them!)

12 thoughts on “Happy 2018!

  1. I wish I’d learnt some coding some years back, when my brain was up to it (it isn’t anymore, alas) I’d have enjoyed that.. Good luck with your various new year’s intentions (and I had a good laugh at the ones in your 2013 post).

    I don’t do New Year’s resolutins, but having just lost 4 months worth of work from forgetting to back up my pc, that’s one resolution/intention I must undertake and stick to.

    I doubt if Zulu is on the list of courses, but if it is, the Michel Thomas language courses are very good.

    1. Don’t sell yourself short! Learning new things can actually help prevent aging of the grey matter. I read that somewhere so it must be true 😉

      Start with HTML and CSS. That’s just plain code without having to worry about algorithms and stuff. I can strongly recommend Codecademy‘s courses for that. Before you know it you’ll be hooked and trying to figure out JavaScript.

      Best way to make backups: get an external hard drive, plug it in, and enable Windows’s automatic backup utility. Strictly speaking you should have cloud backups as well, in case your house burns down or someone steals your external drive with your pc, but those cost money, so…

      I’ll give those courses a look, thanks!

      1. It’s tempting to try and learn HTML and CSS properly but I have a health issue that affects my short term memory so I’m always loathe to start something new these days. I did a bit of them several years ago but even then kept forgetting what I’d learnt. That aside, I had a quick look at the Codeacademy site,and it is appealing!

        Mmm… several people have suggested the Windows auto back up thing but what I don’t understand is – surely if an external hard drive is constantly connected to the pc and if the pc gets a virus or something dire taht affects its various parts (such as what seems to have happened to my currently sick and away for repair pc) – won’t the external drive get it too? Maybe I’m just being dense…

  2. Resolutions? I’m just trying to keep to a schedule that doesn’t let the day get away from me. What?! 4pm already? 🙂 Learning a new language (including code) is exciting when it is immersive and you can really put it to use. Enjoy and have a good year!

  3. Great resolutions – all the best for them. Learning isiZulu sounds intriguing – am I right that is includes glottal stops? My own aim for this year is to keep on working up what I’ve been aiming towards for some time, including getting back into music. I spent years learning it, way back when – more than I’ve studied anything else – but I let it drop. Time to pick it up again, to do which I’m also going to have to buy more instruments, as my synthesiser collection is now (a) vintage and (b) broken, despite my care in storage. But it’ll happen.

    1. Hmm, not sure about the glottal stops. I guess I’ll discover that as I learn the language. It does have click consonants, though not nearly as much as it’s sister-language, isiXhosa.

      I considered putting music on my list as well, though this is about plans and I don’t yet have a plan to get back on track with music. At this stage the plan is to fix my piano, which is in need of extensive (and likely expensive) repair to make it playable again (the bridge on the bass side split apart 😦 ). I don’t have any excuses when it comes to guitar, though…

    1. I’ve always had a knack for languages, so I’m confident I’ll manage. Here working from home has a disadvantage – I would much have preferred to learn from someone who speaks the language, but don’t have much contact with Zulu speakers in the regular course of things. So a course it will be.

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