baseline changes

After posting my self-judged report card for 2015, I remembered that I’d actually written a post at the start of the year that was meant to be my baseline for this assessment.

I already addressed things like reading, fitness and CPD, but there were a few other items that I didn’t assess in that other post.

First things first: my only kind of “official” resolution for 2015 was to bake more. I don’t even need to think about this to know that I completed it successfully. Alongside cakes and cookies, I also made scones and brownies and truffles – so many truffles! (To be fair, truffles aren’t baked, but I still brought them in to work, so I’m gonna let them count toward the total – not that I need them to, and not that I’m actually counting)

I also had paragraphs about drinks: both the caffeinated and alcoholic varieties. I feel like I’ve been drinking coffee more often in 2015. Still not a daily or even a weekly habit, but more often the thought occurs to me, and I think “why not”. I still only drink flat whites. Still full cream milk, no sugar. I don’t think this will ever change, but I can be fickle sometimes, so who knows…

As to the other drink, I feel like 2015 has been a year for beer. I know a few friends who brew their own beers, and I’ve been to a few “tasting” events to try craft beer, and the variety is sometimes quite impressive. I think I’ve moved on from pale ales to IPAs and amber ales, and I do like the occasional chocolate or coffee stout.

In my baseline post, I also mentioned cycling. In all of 2015, I think I went cycling maybe twice, so that certainly hasn’t improved from 2014. I don’t have high hopes of it changing for 2016 either, especially now that I’m more inspired to run (particularly after reading Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running). But I’ve decided that this doesn’t matter. As long as I don’t let my fitness slide, it doesn’t matter.

hi there, 2014

Ok, ok, I couldn’t resist – I’m going to do a New Year-related post.

I’m still not sure, however, if I want to do a reflective 2013 post. It sort of feels like too much happened in 2013 but not anything drastically life-changing. Well, there were events of significance and memorable moments but no one particular thing that stands out (or I might have already written about them somewhere)

Anyway, I actually wanted to write about new year resolutions because I know many people don’t make any new year resolutions because (1) they know they won’t keep them, (2) they think resolutions shouldn’t be limited to New Years, and/or (3) they’re happy with how their life is already. I, personally, can relate to these, but presently I am of the opinion that new year resolutions are a good thing (at least in principle).

A friend recently shared (via Facebook) an article about achieving goals. I found it quite interesting. It was written by a guy called James Clear and was about how it’s better to focus on systems/processes rather than actual goals. I reckon new year resolutions made with this in mind would be easier to keep, and so, reason #1 wouldn’t be a problem.

I do agree with reason #2, but I do, of course, have a counter-argument. If you think about it, how often, during the course of a year, do you really stop and reflect on your life and think about what you can do to improve it? And I don’t mean the occasional (or regular…?) case of over-indulging that prompts a bit of guilt exercise, fasting, detoxing or other similar activities.

Well, I, for one, don’t think that I do this seriously or often enough. Although blogging is a pretty good avenue for reflection… Ok, forget the counter-argument. If you’re going to stick with reason #2 for not making a new year resolution, then at least have a blog or something.

Seriously though, I reckon the lead up to New Year is a good prompt for people to take a moment to reflect and grow, especially since everyone else will inevitably be talking about resolutions.

As for reason #3, if you’re truly happy with your life being exactly how it is, then that’s great. But the only thing better than being happy is sharing happiness, and surely the capacity for sharing happiness is limitless, so #3 is still a poor excuse.

And now, the big question: what are my resolutions? My primary resolution is to drink more water. I actually started this a few weeks ago but I suppose it’s official or something now. Basically, whenever I go to drink some water, I drink a bit more than I usually would. It might seem overly simple, but I know I don’t usually drink a lot of water (and, no, I don’t tend to drink any other beverages, except milk with breakfast). Plus, I’m hoping that this resolution will have flow-on benefits.

calling all book-lovers

The sort of books that I read cover a lot of different genres. I’ve always asserted that I have read and will read just about any genre (as long as it’s still fiction). But then I realised this morning that there are a few genres that I always seem to avoid, including romance (of the particularly soppy/cliched kind), horror (of the particularly gruesome sort) and country/western (no explanation needed, right?).

So, because I seem to have my most brilliant ideas early in the morning (or late at night, or any time I happen to be brushing my teeth), I thought it would be a good idea for me to purposely seek books of these genres that I happen to avoid, and to read at least one book from each of these genres in the coming year.

Would you call this a new year’s resolution? Yeah, I guess you could. Never too late in the year to make one.

The main problem is, in order for this to work (i.e. in order for me to get through an entire book of an avoided genre without feeling like it’s some sort of torture, and without causing me to swear off that genre forever), I have to select books that are actually at the top of their categories. And this is where you, fellow book-lover, come in. I need recommendations.

It can be for a romance, horror or country novel, or just any random genre that you’re particularly passionate about. I used to read a lot of fantasy books, but have sort of drifted away from them in these last few years, so would appreciate a good fantasy novel recommendation, too.

And, you know what, I want to challenge you to read outside your comfort zone, too – even if it is just one book. It could be unexpectedly rewarding.