2008 resolutions

This is the traditional time of year to be brave and bold and write in detail about why one doesn’t make New Years resolutions. Every year thousands of the brave and bold sally forth into fluffy summer supplements of the newspapers and onto blogs and tell us that they don’t make New Years resolutions because no one ever keeps them and also do you know how much money gyms make in January from people buying twelve month memberships that they then don’t use? A lot of money, that’s what. So therefore the writer rejects the HIVE MIND and has chosen to become the first person in the world to not make resolutions.

Sometime sooner or later people will get off that bandwagon and all simultaneously decide to buy shares in companies that own gyms instead. Get it while it’s hot.

Anyway, I sort of do make New Years resolutions. I won’t go into how I don’t regard these as binding if, say, I lose interest or something. Or if I lose a leg, for that matter. I will add my personal bold and daring disclaimer, which is that this is not an entry in search of advice, thanks. Discussion yes, but the mere fact that I am resolving to make relatively small changes in my life in 2008 shouldn’t mean that you can assume that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

These are mostly process-based, rather than outcome-based. That is, rather than wanting to finish X or achieve Y, they’re more along the lines of lifestyle changes.



I’ve been doing yoga weekly for over three years now. Skills-wise, I am more or less where I was a year and a half ago. In particular, I’m in no danger of being able to lower to Chaturanga from plank pose, even if I drop my knees to the ground first. (I can’t do full length push-ups either. And here is where I would like to (a) remind you that I’m not looking for advice and (b) inform you that I’m familiar with the — excellent — Mistressing the Pushup article.) I can no longer do upward bow, although due to a chronic shoulder weakness I don’t push myself there: if it happens it happens.

So, this year I am planning to do fifteen minutes of yoga as many mornings as I can, probably alternating flowing work, static strength work and static flexibility work. I am not sure how much extra skill this will gain me, but judging from the immense difference that taking two classes a week (something I can’t afford to do regularly for reasons of both time and money) makes, I suspect it will be greatly helpful.

Household hacks

Andrew and I are infamously untidy, although I did hear yesterday that we’re less infamous than some other of our friends. However, infamously untidy nonetheless.

I don’t really have aspirations to be an enormously tidy person: I know very well the amount of work it takes to have a house be really clean every single day and there’s a reason that some people do it instead of having a salaried job. Plus I’m not interested in doing the lion(ess)’s share of the housework, and you betcha we just have different standards! would start that one rolling. But I would like to make it easier to achieve a higher level of tidiness. Andrew and I already made a small change last year, which is that we’re trying to stop thinking of cleaning and tidying as all-or-nothing: that is, once you start wiping down bathroom tiles you’re not allowed to stop until you’re smiling at your reflection at the rear of your oven. Instead we’ve tried to do a small and incomplete tidy every night.

Above that though, I want to make sure I have a potentially tidy house: that is, I have enough room to put away everything I own. That means stuff like having a filing cabinet, because we have too much important paperwork for a single file folder now. Having enough bookcases for all our books. Researching how to recycle our now large collection of old computer hardware. Getting rid of our giant desks that take up too much room.

We experimented for a while about a year back with food shopping about once a week rather than every single day. (Note: we don’t have a car.) I am thinking about at least shopping a few days at a time for meat and such, and picking up vegetables and fruits daily from the greengrocer that is about 100m away (unfortunately they aren’t actually very good, but at least they aren’t full of fruit flies and the smell of rotting fruit anymore).

More clothes is more better

I feel a little bad about this one, because many of my friends are joining the anti-consumer boycotts of buying new clothes and such, and I broadly agree with these.

However. Historically, I haven’t bought a lot of clothes. I own many many more than people in most parts of the world, and many more than I need, yes. But my clothes consist of about ten year’s accumulated clothing, a substantial amount of which was either cheaply made or just not really designed to carry its wearer from teenagehood into early twenties or early twenties into late.

In addition, I’ve rarely spent the kind of money and time buying clothes that I should spend to get decent, long-lived, well-fitting clothes. At university I was buying myself food. I’d only been out of university a year and a half when I got a mortgage (and now I’m back, doing a PhD). I’ve never found myself drowning in money, and when I’m not drowning in money I spend my limited free money on travel, unreasonably expensive food and the occasional gadget. (In my circles I’m rather under-gadgeted. Only one games console, for example, and a Canon 400D rather than the 30D or 40D. This isn’t the poor house we’re talking about.)

So this year I will do some considered clothes shopping, which, given my long standing dislike of doing so in shopping centres (like everyone else on the planet, I do not fit in most clothing sold for women in stores) will mean going white-knuckle and trying out things like Vertically Blessed.

Read more and watch more movies

This will consist entirely of consistently implementing something I only do occasionally: not using my computer in the evenings. As in, deliberately switching it off, unless I have work or a project to do (this is rarely what I’m doing with it, I’m usually surfing).