New Year Resolutions


New year resolutions are not usually something in which I invest too much time. Of course, there are the annual lose weight and do more exercise promises that we all make, but other than that, I don't often make it a ritual.

This year, for a few reasons, I am documenting some things I'd like to achieve, and using this site to mark (hopeful) progress.

So, without further ado, here we go.

Bruidhinn barrachd Gàidhlig

Or, speak more Gaelic.

Living in Glasgow, I'm fortunate enough to be able to send my daughter to a bilingual school. Like many others in Scotland, she's being taught in Scots Gaelic, and learning English as a foreign language (although English is our first language in the home). Neither my wife Claire nor I are native Gaelic speakers, so the more I learn, the more integrated within the school community I can be, and the more I can understand my daughter's homework.

Right now, I'm on a 90-day 94-day learning streak on Gaelic Duolingo. Previously, I'd attended some local classes, but Covid put an end to that, so it's Duolingo for now.

My aim is to achieve a 200-day streak this year, and to reevaluate if I do so. The 200-day mark is 29 April 3 May 2022, so let's check-in then and see how I'm doing. If I fail, there are enough days in the year to re-attempt, at the very least.

Build more web-sites (and learn more technologies)

As previously mentioned, my web development skills are a wee bit rusty. And, although an enforced absence from work enabled me to sharpen up some areas of note, the technology team of which I am a part subsequently moved towards Hilton's corporate stack, and away from the more YOLO flexible solutions we were previously able to provide.

In short, we no longer build Wordpress themes for clients, but instead, we have a solution that is tightly integrated with, and is built on a JavaScript-centred stack (think: React, Next, Typescript, Tailwind etc.)

This year, then, I need to engage in a focused period of learning that will get me up-to-speed in that area. Of course, there are work-related items that I will be involved in but, outside of work, I'd like to do some personal learning and my aim is to build one or two sites that use some or all of the items listed above.

Do more art

Logo and illustration work

While on furlough, I bought myself Serif Affinity Designer. I find it much easier to use than Adobe Illustrator (plus it's much less expensive) and I picked up the basics in no time.

One of the first projects I worked on was to create the logo and branding for Hay Facilities. Note to self: create a projects area to showcase work like this.

Hay Facilities logo

At the very least, I'd like to do this for my own site. My aim, therefore, is to work on at least one more set of logo/brand identities this year, and publish the workings on here.

Figures and faces

Just before Covid hit, I was "commissioned" (more like "cajoled") into creating a piece of art for one of the meeting rooms in what was to become Hilton's new Glasgow office. I finished it, the piece was sent to the printers, and then I was furloughed for 6 months. On my return, I saw for the first time the illustrations I'd created, and I was very pleased with myself.

A photograph of the wall of a meeting room in the Hilton offices, Glasgow. On the wall, there are lots of small, illustrated robots, and one large robot. On the large robot, it says, 'The Art of the Possible'

If you follow me on Instagram, you might've noticed that I post the odd wee doodle. Nothing much, just wee figures and faces. Well, I'd like to do more like this. More and better.

I've signed up to a digital illustration course, treated myself to some art supplies over Christmas and we'll see how it goes. I have pretty low expectations, but my aim is to produce two or three pieces of something that I'm happy with.

Drink less

Alcohol, that is. Water's fine. I'm sure you've heard.

Hogmanay 2020, peak-Covid (at the time). People gather around laptops to drink alcohol and implant their faces into the homes of their friends.

At one point during the evening (it was very close to midnight, I remember that much) a friend announced to us all that he was stopping drinking alcohol for the whole of 2021.

"Aye, right. So you are", was the unanimous response from his so-called pals. But, to be fair to him, he made it through an entire, pandemic-filled year, without any booze passing his lips.

Never one to shirk a challenge, even if it is only in my head, I began to think about this a couple of months ago, and I was reminded of Adrian Chiles' BBC documentary "Drinkers Like Me" (available on YouTube, below) in which he described his (and Britain's) attitude to alcohol. In it, he describes himself, not as an alcoholic, but as someone who has an alcohol dependence. This dependence manifested itself in a regular couple of pints after work and then a few cans of beer once he got home, that kind of thing.

Through furlough - and beyond, to be honest - I've found it far too easy to reach for a beer or two at the end of the day. My fridge is right next to the dining table that has become a makeshift desk for the past couple of years, which doesn't help. I feel like it's time for that to stop.

My aim is the same as my friend's: go through a calendar year without drinking any alcohol. So far so good. As I write this, it's Sunday 9 January 2022, and I've been aff it since 31 December 2021.

Coming soon: my favourite non-alcoholic beers!

DIY stuff

There's not much to go into here, but over the course of 2022, I plan to

Why am I doing this?

Everything I've written above is for me. It's to keep me focused and to remind me that at the start of the year, there were things that I hoped to achieve. I might check in on them periodically, and I might document progress, challenges etc., but that's all for another time.

Also, lose weight and do more exercise.