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Looking Back, Looking Forward

In case you somehow missed it, we're at the start of a brand new year so it's time to look back over the last twelve months and think about what we're going to do in the next batch of lunar cycles.

I've never really been one to go overboard on new year's resolutions - I prefer to keep them general rather than overly specific. I know, goals should be SMART - but I don't think of them as goals as much as reminders of already-held personal values. So here goes.

Looking back

Looking Back

Overall I feel 2011 was a great year both professionally and personally, though there is a fair amount of overlap between the two.

I attended my first conferences, met lots of great people, visited some new places and learned a lot of new stuff, plus I managed to fulfil my ambition to do some public speaking - only for ten minutes but it's a start.

I released my first piece of public code and wrote my first article as a guest author, both of which have been great experiences and ones I hope to repeat.

I broke out of an exercise rut and took up running, managing to complete the Pine Ridge 10K and the Grim Challenge towards the end of the year.

One thing I started that is still ongoing (forever, most likely) is a commitment to be more "authentic" in all areas of my life. This is probably the most important thing I did in 2011, as it has the potential to affect everything else that happens for the rest of my days - perhaps I'm just being dramatic but I quite like that thought.

Looking forward

Inspired by Ant's "2012 Challenge List", here are my aforementioned vague resolutions for 2012, these in addition to keeping up the positives from last year:

Consume less

It's easy to consume content online. Blogs, Twitter, news sites and the like have practically infinite amounts of interesting content. However, most of it isn't necessary for personal or professional development.

So, I will aim for quality over quantity in my content consumption, which will give me time to...

Share more


I've been blogging for about 18 months now but haven't managed to keep up any consistent level of output. Towards the end of last year I started to remedy that and in 2012 I aim to share more often - be it my own original work or things I find that interest me.

To this end, I'll be reworking my blog slightly into a more tumblelog-style affair to make it as easy as possible for me to share stuff. I'll also aim to share more away from my own site and Twitter account, be it speaking in real life or writing elsewhere.

Read more

I'm talking about books here - the tangible variety preferably but eBooks will do just fine too. I have a slight addiction to web design and development books - if I see a new book out and it's related to what I do, I've gotta have it.

When I commuted daily this wasn't a problem as I had about two hours a day to read on the train but since I started working from home that part of my day has vanished. I'll aim to reintroduce reading time into my day and work through the stack of books that has been steadily growing.

Experiment more


In 2012 I want to get out of my comfort zone as much as possible. I managed it quite well in 2011 but there is always room for new experiences. Taking up running was an experiment that really paid off for me - being able to complete my first races was a great feeling.

This year I will aim to take as many opportunities as I can to try new stuff in all areas of my life. For professional development I will be taking part in the 12412 initiative and encourage you to do the same. For personal development I'll formalise my bucket list so that I can use it to help me seek out opportunities.

Let's go!

There we have it. If you've taken the time to read this far and notice me failing to live by the above manifesto then you have my full permission to berate me loudly and publicly.

Happy new year!

Photo credits: main image - Fireworks by Daniela Sanchez. Looking Back - Pico Island by Guglielmo Losio. Sharing - For Us 2 by Spiz. Experiment - Lab Work by Nina Briski.

Tags: Life Personal Work


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