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My New Year Resolutions for 2014

/ Thoughts & Opinion

The temptation to say something incredibly unoriginal at this time of year, such as “Oh, my resolution this year is 72dpi” has well and truly subsided, and should I find anybody making such well-worn “jokes”, one of my actual resolutions is to hunt down and eradicate those “hilarious” offenders.

That small, but sadly unavoidable mention of awful jokes aside, like most people, I’ve got an actual new year’s resolution or two, which I plan on seeing through. Or at least triumphantly starting and pursuing for about a month, only to lose enthusiasm rapidly, while half-heartedly trying to hang on to any semblance of effort over the remaining 11 months of 2014.

My main resolution this year is to do more learning. It’s quite a broad topic, so there are a few parts to it.

The first part – I’d like to make substantial progress with my Latvian language skills (or current lack thereof). Living here is wonderful, but without more than a very basic grasp of the language, I’m stifling myself and my abilities here in such an opportunistic city, so a large chunk of this resolution is Latvian lessons. If any of my ex-pat friends are reading this – let’s get it sorted folks. Too much discussion not enough action!

The subsequent parts of this resolution are really more about learning in other areas. I’d like to improve some skills across the board. I’d like to get better at some basic PHP and web development in order to be able to handle a few more small web projects on my own. Even simple database integration is something I can’t do. I understand it, but don’t have the chops to execute it yet, so that’s somewhere I’d like to work on improving my ability.

I’d also like to continue to educate myself on entrepreneurial and creative thinking. Effective marketing techniques, project management, idea generation, brand and user experience. Basically all of the knowledge that I can take and plough into my every-day endeavours, whether it’s consultancy or working on my own products.

Having already finished a book this year, (yep. 2 days in and it’s complete!) I’ve signed up for Seth Godin’s simple 7-step course on Skillshare (sign up here for $10 off) – “The New Business Toolbox: Help Your New Business Do It Right The First Time” and I intend to keep a close eye on sites like Skillshare and Codeacademy for courses that may be of benefit.

Incidentally, if anybody has any other websites like these with well considered, nicely designed course type content that will help me learn stuff, then please don’t hesitate to comment with relevant links.

Musically, one resolution for this year is to figure out some form of live setup, so that I can perform my own music in a venue. Up until now, I have only been DJing as DFRNT but I feel I’ve got to the point, where if I get booked to perform as DFRNT, then people may turn up expecting to hear more of my own work – and in my opinion, I can provide promoters and punters alike with more value for money if I give them a live set, over just turning up and playing music that many others could do in my place.

Sure – a DJ set from me, may give people new music to listen to, and hopefully bring something unique to the table, but ultimately for me, it feels very much like just playing other people’s tunes to people who aren’t always necessarily interested in listening. If I can create something a bit more live, and a bit more challenging for me, then everyone gets a better deal from it – and I get to push my abilities in a new direction.

Last year’s main resolution was to stop drinking so much fizz. Irn Bru, Coke, Red Bull, Relentless – I was hooked on anything carbonated, so my main mission was to cut that out completely. I lasted 6 months before I broke and had a can of Irn Bru – and the remaining six months of the year were a solid effort. I do drink soft drinks occasionally now, but we’re talking once a week at the most, compared with what used to be once every few hours. Not only am I healthier, I went down a waist size, and a t-shirt size. Sure, I had to buy a new wardrobe, but it’s sort of a nice problem to have.

I’m aiming to put at least as much energy in as last year, and maybe a few months down the line I can check in with myself and see how it’s all progressing.

What are your resolutions? What are you looking to achieve this year, and how do you intend to do it?

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Alex Cowles

About The Author: Alex Cowles

A largely cynical and often sarcastic designer and front-end developer by day. Unknown international DJ & music producer extraordinaire by night (and at weekends). You probably won't like him.