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New Year’s Revolutions

Ah, what better time to re-evaluate one’s life than when the year is brand spanking new and full of possibilities? Well, if you ask me, a few days later, as it’s probably counter-productive to attempt difficult lifestyle changes in the middle of a long weekend.

So now that the new year has properly started and normal service has been resumed, here are some of the things I intend to accomplish over the next twelve months:

(And yes, I mean revolutions. I’m not just resolving, I’m revolving. Or revolting.)

1. Learn to drive

I am a 33-year-old man who cannot drive. It’s annoying, inconvenient and downright embarrassing. It’s probably the largest single source of tension between my girlfriend and me, and needs to change.

Definition of success:

By the end of the year, I will have passed my driving test and be able to confidently and comfortably drive a car.

Acceptable level of fail:

By the end of the year, I will not have passed my test but will be able to drive in most circumstances (with a qualified passenger, of course).

Epic win:

By the end of the year, I will have passed my driving test and the Category D test, enabling me to drive a minibus or an ambulance.

2. Read 100 books

This is one I should enjoy. I used to read around one book a week but didn’t keep track. I started keeping track a few years ago and read 50 books in 2007 and 46 in 2008. In 2009 I read 20 – it’s no coincidence that this is the year my son was born. I rather bravely attempted to read 100 last year, and was on target or close for several months. Things tailed off towards the end of the year (when I got my new smartphone) and I finished with a mediocre 65. I failed, but I failed up. I expect to do a lot better this year.

Definition of success:

By the end of the year, I will have read 100 books, no more than 10 of which will be graphic novels and no more than 10 of which will have under 100 pages.

Acceptable level of fail:

By the end of the year I will have read at least 80 books, and not have stretched the graphic novels / short books rule too much.

Epic win:

By the end of the year, I will have read 121 books (11 squared, I have my reasons), at least 100 of which are not graphic novels and have over 100 pages.

3. Get fit

I’m not in terrible shape. I can walk long distances without any difficulty and I’m not overweight, but I’m not very strong, any sort of exertion soon leaves me out of breath and my body is a little more wobbly in places than I would like. I have some experience running and enjoyed it so that’s where I’ll be focusing my efforts.

Definition of success:

By the end of the year, I will without notice be able to run a half-marathon in under two hours, or perform 100 press-ups or 100 sit-ups.

Acceptable level of fail:

By the end of the year, I will without notice be able to run 10km in under an hour, or perform 50 press-ups or 50 sit-ups.

Epic win:

By the end of the year I will without notice be able to run a marathon in under four hours, or perform 200 press-ups or 200 sit-ups.

With this goal, I expect that my targets will change somewhat; I may find there are more productive forms of exercise or I may set my sights higher if things go well. Of course, success in my first goal may make this one more difficult: driving everywhere isn’t exactly the best way to keep fit.

4. Write – a lot

I want to write – and I want to be read. Apart from arguing on various forums, I haven’t written a lot since I left school. I need practice and I need to find my voice.

Definition of success:

By the end of the year, I will have written and published 50,000 words (on this blog and/or elsewhere).

Acceptable level of fail:

By the end of the year I will have written and published 30,000 words.

Epic win:

By the end of the year I will have written and published 100,000 words. Also, I will be somehow making money through writing.

There are many – depressingly many – more changes I want and need to make in my life but the above are the ones where it’s easiest to set definite objectives. I am considering how to define and achieve some more nebulous goals and will write about these in the next few days.

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