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Hello 2017! Year of Doing

Written by Bunkers on January 8, 2017

I’m against new year resolutions. I feel like I often commit to change something in my life for the wrong reasons. To quote this Guardian article on forming habits:

"If you eat badly, you might resolve to start eating well, but if you're eating burgers and ice-cream to feel comforted, relaxed and happy, trying to replace them with broccoli and carrot juice is like dealing with a leaky bathroom tap by repainting the kitchen. What's required isn't a better diet, but an alternative way to feel comforted and relaxed.”

I would like to eat better, exercise more etc. I also do a number of things for relaxation, drinking beer or watching shit TV, that I know I could find better alternatives for. It’s not obvious to me what those alternatives are. For some time I have thought about doing a number of new things (like writing a blog), but I’ve just never got started. I’ve spent far too long thinking and not enough time doing! Changing this balance in people's lives is core to the company I work for, so my behaviour feels quite hypocritical.

Since buying a copy of his book, “Marketing for Developers”, I’ve become a bit of a Justin Jackson fan recently. Last year Justin set himself a challenge to make 100 things. The list of things is impressive and pretty eclectic. It seemed a great idea to me, and as all good fans do, I’ve decided to copy it.

There’s lots of advice online about starting small. David Kadavy has written a great post on just getting started and working on something for five minutes a day. This first blog post you’re reading is evidence that's a strategy which works. On David’s podcast “Love Your Work” his interview with James Altucher focuses a lot on doing more stuff and not spending your time thinking about it. In the spirit of starting small and setting myself achievable goals, I’ve decided to only make 50 things this year. This is still a sizeable challenge when you realise that I’ve successfully procrastinated on some of these ideas for a number of years already. There’s also my two daughters to consider, who are adorable black holes for any spare time.

Reading Justin’s end of year review, he says that one of the things that didn’t go well was “100 things Justin could make in 2016”. The reason he gave is that it wasn’t targeted enough. Making anything from burritos to WordPress themes wasn’t moving him towards his ultimate goal of making enough money from these projects to be independent. I’ve thought about this problem and read over my starter list. I think the solution for me is to focus on some things that I feel could become either sources of income, or the hobby activities that will be my “alternative way to feel comforted and relaxed” or both. There are a few main themes of web development, game development, digital art, and baking (primarily bread). Baking is the left field one, but I’ve often said I’d like to bake more bread. There’s a science to it, and the process is quite meditative. You also don’t know what will happen until you stop thinking and start doing! How long is it really going to take me? A few hours now and again. I may end up with some useless organic doorstops, or I could end up opening a bakery and everything in between.

My list is public and I only have 25 so far in order to see where this takes me. I might change my mind on something, but that’s ok as long as I’m still making things. It averages out at roughly one thing a week, which I can post updates about here. So this isn’t a new year’s resolution to make 50 things. It’s a new system I’m putting in place to form a habit out of trying new things as well as to stop thinking about what I want to do, and getting started.