Q1 Review of my plans for 2014

It’s easy to write New Year’s Resolutions at the start of the year, then write about them at the end of the year, and wonder why you didn’t lose weight, save money, or do that thing you wanted to. Basically, taking one step after another into mediocrity and suppressed ambition.

It doesn’t have to be like that, and the first step was to write some things to do.

I published a extensive list of things I wanted to get done in 2014 towards the end of January this year, this is a review of how I’m doing.


Pass my driving test and take lots of post-test tuition.

  • I took a practical test. Failed it. (Justifiably – I don’t mind)
  • I’m comfortable driving and have another test booked in.
  • I’m still planning to continue lessons after I pass.

Learn a new sport (or several)

  •  I took one (day long) beginners, introduction to snowboarding class.
    • I need to book another one, and build my confidence and control.
  • I haven’t gone any further with any others, but windsurfing and kayaking currently appeal more than the others at the moment.

Skills I’m trying to develop:

Photography

  • I’m not sure I’ve made any super-progress yet in developing my style. I’ve taken photos, sure, but I don’t feel I’ve pushed myself and I don’t feel I’ve come up with anything “amazing” yet this year.
  • I need to get outside on grit and take more photos of climbing.

Climbing

  • I feel like I’m making progress here, slowly but surely. I recently set a personal best by seconding the main, overhanging, wall at MCC – a big personal milestone.
  • I’ve done some outside (in the dark!), but not enough – clearly the summer evenings will make that easier.
  • I’ve got my eye on a couple of books about climbing (which I’ll probably buy in the next few months when I feel I’ve time to read them) which should help me develop various bits of theory surrounding advanced ropework and multipitch climbing.

Mountaineering/Hiking/Walking

  • I’ve not done as much as this as I’d wanted to do, primarily because the weather has not been compliant.
    Chrome Hill (from Parkhouse Hill), Peak District
    Chrome Hill (from Parkhouse Hill), Peak District
    • A wet, windy and miserable weekend in Wales
    • A very windy, cold weekend in Patterdale
    • A gentle day hike near Ambleside in the Lake District.
    • A sunny day in the Peak District gave access to  Chrome & Parkhouse hill – the Peak’s best “mountains”.
    • A very wet and windy week in the Cuillns of Skye, I did get up some mountains in Skye, but not as many as I’d have liked.
  • I’d have liked to go winter camping in Jan or Feb, but the lack of snow kind of ruled it out.
  • I realise I really quite liked the idea of winter camping, and am considering the viability of snowshowing, igloo building, and reducing pack weight using a pulk to help carry supplies into a basecamp somewhere.
  • I have a new book on winter mountaineering that is thorough but not patronising which I’ve been absorbing piece by piece, but a lack of winter conditions has been slowing my reading of it.
  • I need to set some plans and challenges for the summer – maybe a set of backpacking weekends? For some reason, I don’t have maps of Snowdonia, so I should probably rectify that…

Public speaking

  • I did put myself forward for several public speaking opportunities, but I didn’t follow them through well, and I’ve not put my heart into it.
  • I really want to speak about my time in Kyrgyzstan, and I’m thinking of weaving a 15 minute narrative and then trying to put it into a Youtube video, but it’s tough.

Systems Engineering

  • Apart from some really boring system maintenance…
    • setting up better backups for this website,
    • setting up a FreeNAS box with ZFS so I can backup other stuff properly
    • upgrading my network, slowly, to gigabit, so it is not so slow
      • next step is a GPL-hating MicroTik modem-router thing.
  • …I’ve not done any(?) engineering that I’m particularly excited by.
  • Oh, I changed my WordPress theme too, but I’m still not really happy with it.
  • This is something I’m not going to push – when something I want to do arises, I’ll do it.
    • To start with, finding a WordPress theme that doesn’t suck would be good.

Marketing

  • I read some good books about advertising, and thought a great deal about advertising. I still can’t think creatively about concepts or come up with visual puns as easily as I’d like to be able to. I’ll come back to that soon.
  • I’ve got some interesting books about design, and interaction and user interfaces which… (I guess?) counts as fits into marketing. I’m planning to read those soon.
  • I’ve got some fun projects to think about, but I should probably not talk about them here.

Programming

  • I think I’m going to try and learn Ruby/Rails. I’d like to be able to build a very simple web app, and since I know (basic-level) HTML, I don’t think that’s unrealistic.
  • I pushed myself almost all the way through http://tryruby.org the other day – remembering lots from the last time I tried.
  • I’m going to try it again soon – and then see if I can push myself through the codecademy ruby courses whilst building something simple in Rails.

Lose weight

  • I’m doing… ok… on the weight loss front. I’m currently somewhere between 12 and 12 & 1/2 stone, probably a good stone heavier than I’d prefer to be.
  • It’s not directly related to weight loss, but I recently started following the NHS couch-to-5k jogging plan, partly to provide moral support for my jogging partner aka girlfriend, and partly to get fitter.
    • weirdly, I actually found myself slightly enjoying it.
    • that remind me, I need to go running!
  • I’m not doing so good at being super-sensible with my diet, if I’m to drop that extra stone, I’m going to need to step up there.

Blog More

  • This WordPress design doesn’t make it easy to see, but I’ve been doing pretty good at pushing out blog posts – things I’ve actually taken time to write about something interesting.
  • I’ve been trying to publish things I think could be interesting.

Read more.

  • I’ve been doing well here. I’ve read a number of books, and what’s more, I’ve even published a number of sets of notes of some of the books I’ve read.
  • I’ve got a massive stack of books to read, and a lot of enthusiasm to read them, so hopefully I’ll continue along these lines just the same as I started.

Socialise more.

  • I did hold a social gathering, it didn’t really work as well as I’d hoped, but that’s fine.
  • Some of the reading I’ve been doing, is probably likely to influence precisely how I do this, but I’ve not thought it through properly yet.
  • I’d like to organise some more gatherings in the near future, so I guess I need to just go and do that.
  • I’ve not done so well about finding more new social groups to meet every week – more like once a month – I think I need to make sure I get out there and make contact with different various groups I have disparate contact with.

Travel as much as is appropriate

  • I spent Easter in Edale, but I feel it’d be a stretch to count that as travel, and then ignore the number of times I’ve travelled around the country for work.
  • I considered a last minute camping trip to Svalbard, but after considering the pros, and particularly the big white furry cons called “hungry polar bears”, I decided that perhaps Northern Scandanavia might appeal more later on in the year, or maybe Scotland.
  • I think I’m going to upgrade my ‘large’ tent to a Terra Nova Quasar – a four season tent that should be able to take strong winds and rain without making me nervous…

And there you have it – that’s where I’m up to..

See you in July for the next review!

2 thoughts on “Q1 Review of my plans for 2014

  1. I think, it’s really cool that you’ve tracked back to your original ambitions and are evaluating how you’ve done. Didn’t know that you’d failed your practical – that sucks but all the best drivers fail at least once ;-)

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