Thought Leadership

Ongoing review

By Colin Walls

I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Even though I think of the New Year as being a time to look forward, I am not sure about it being a time to instigate any radical changes [in the middle of winter]. However, late last year I read about the idea of drafting a list of “18 things for 2018”. The concept is to write down a list of 18 things that you would like to do/achieve. They can be specific or vague; they may be serious or light hearted; they may be a specific activity/achievement or a change of behavior over the whole year. This list should be kept to hand for easy reference through the year and may be updated if that feels right. I thought that I would give it a go …

Now that 9 months of the year have elapsed, I feel that it is a good time to take stock and see how I am doing. Here is my list:

Try a new recipe every month

I am the primary chef in our household and I do like to ring the changes, so I am always on the lookout for new ideas. This seems to be on track. So the status is: WORK IN PROGRESS – LIKELY SUCCESS.

Electric vehicle research

We have a plan [which I wrote about here] to purchase an all-electric car before too long. Recent news about global warming issues make me feel that it is none too soon to act. The plan was to, at least, do the research this year. Maybe not make a purchase until next. The status of this is: WORK IN PROGRESS – LIKELY SUCCESS.

Start writing my memoirs

I decided to write my memoirs, as I wrote about here. It is not a plan to publish a book – who would want to read it? It is just to capture things that I know about so that my children and future generations may have that information. As I have mapped out the structure and written over 5000 words, I can say that I have really made a start. Status is: DONE.

Do more wild swimming

Over the past few years, we have increasingly enjoyed swimming in nearby rivers etc., as I wrote about here. I decided that I would do more this year. It is hard to measure “more”, but, as we had quite a few weeks of glorious weather this summer and this involved I/we frequently heading off for a dip and that summer is now over, I can claim success. So the status is: DONE.

Make more photo books

In some past years, I have made photo books to critique my photography over the year that has finished. I enjoyed these and visualized having a set that would enable be to look back over my progress. However, I am now a few years behind and set a goal to catch up. I think it unlikely that I will succeed this year. Status is: NOT STARTED – SUCCESS UNLIKELY.

Get the kitchen that I want

This was a big, expensive goal that I wrote about here. Except for some decorating, which will be done in a couple of weeks, it is completed and we are very happy with the result. Status: DONE.

10,000 steps once each week

I like walking and, as most of the essentials of life [shops, train station, theater] are within walking distance, I do try to avoid over-using the car. I am reasonably successful. Some weeks I have a day where I walk a lot more than 10,000 steps; other weeks are less successful. I think that, on average, I am getting there. So I feel OK with the status: WORK IN PROGRESS – LIKELY SUCCESS.

Do more writing

I enjoy writing and do a lot for my work. As noted above, I have also been writing my memoirs. But I planned to do some more non-professional writing and this has not yet really received my attention. So the honest status is: NOT STARTED – SUCCESS UNLIKELY.

Better photos website

For some time, I have been thinking about offering a Web-based service aimed at helping photographers take/make better pictures. This year I have made some progress and will probably make some more. I am not 100% certain that I will have it complete and ready to launch by the year end. So, the status is: WORK IN PROGRESS – SUCCESS POSSIBLE.

View more TED talks

From time to time I have watched TED talks online and I have attended a couple of TEDx events locally. I always find them interesting and take away something worthwhile. I wanted to watch more during 2018, but have yet to make any significant effort. So the honest status is: NOT STARTED – SUCCESS UNLIKELY.

Make some scotch eggs

I have always liked scotch eggs [a hard boiled egg, wrapped in a meat-based “jacket” and covered in breadcrumbs]. The ones from the supermarket are OK. Various companies sell “home made” scotch eggs [at farmers’ markets etc.] and these are much nicer – particularly ones sold freshly cooked with a softer egg in the center. I have yet to have a go making them, but with new-found cooking enthusiasm [new kitchen!], I may well do so. So, the status is: NOT STARTED – SUCCESS POSSIBLE.

Learn a new swimming stroke

For some time, I have been taking swimming lessons. I now have much greater confidence in the water and can very competently swim breast stroke and I enjoy diving under the water, doing snorkeling etc. I decided that I wanted to learn front crawl. This stroke, when done properly, is very smooth and graceful and propels the swimmer through the water very efficiently. My current lessons are focused on this objective and I am getting there. So I feel OK with the status: WORK IN PROGRESS – LIKELY SUCCESS.

Progress towards my ARPS qualification

Some time ago, I made an attempt to obtain a photographic qualification: Associate of the Royal Photography Society – ARPS. That failed, but I resolved to try again. Unfortunately, the RPS are moving their facility this year and have not offered any assessment sessions for some time, so it looks increasingly unlikely that I will succeed this year. Status is: WORK IN PROGRESS – SUCCESS UNLIKELY.

Make some cookies

I do quite like cookies [biscuits on this side of the pond]. In the past, I have often been guilty of over indulgence. My strategy to avoid this is to limit myself to a single, good quality, American-style cookie with my mid-morning coffee. Having sampled various products, I found a local supermarket does consistently good ones. However, I thought that it would be fun to make my own. So far, I have tried baking some pre-mixed dough and that was good. The next step is to make some from scratch. So the status is: WORK IN PROGRESS – LIKELY SUCCESS.

Have 2 weeks of non-dairy diet

As I had heard about possible health benefits, I decided to give up dairy for two weeks. I am unsure that the benefits were very profound, but maybe two weeks was not long enough. In any case, the status is: DONE.

Have 1 non-meat day each week

We had this in mind to make our diet healthier, but, in the light of some global warming info recently, this is also good for the planet – well a start anyway. I think we have managed at least one day most weeks. So the status is: WORK IN PROGRESS – LIKELY SUCCESS.

Make a “house book”

We had the plan to construct a “living document” [i.e. a document with a clear update/review schedule associated with it] that catalogs the details of our house, lives, finances etc. The idea was that either of us or those that we leave behind will have access to all the critical information. The initial preparation and a couple of review sessions has been done. In a way, it will always be work in progress, but the goal was to start it, so the status is: DONE.

Go 4 weeks alcohol free

Another health-related goal was to double check on alcohol’s status in my life. So, as I wrote about here, a four-week “dry” period was instigated and successfully completed. Status is, therefore: DONE.

At the end of the year, I will report back on the things which are not currently set to DONE. I am optimistic of a fair overall success rate.

What will I do in 2019? Not 19 things! That could get out of hand. I am pondering the idea of a round dozen each year.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at