And so, Happy New Year. Another orbit round the sun, and as is the tradition, some thoughts about what’s coming.
As usual, I don’t really do resolutions – particularly not New Year’s ones. I do a list around my birthday, which can be found here, but I’m thinking about some changes this year as part of that as well.
One of the things that will change a bit is that I’m going to put more into sorting out routines for things, rather than necessarily just looking at the goals themselves. There are a couple of bits on my list where it’s about “I want to have done [x]”, and that’s fine. But more of them are about “I want to achieve [y]”, and while I’ve always had the intention, the actuality has evaded me.
Last year I got pointed at this article about creating systems rather than setting goals, and it rang a major bell with me.
All told, I’m in a good place to get started on this stuff.
I’ve just completed version one of a project for another contact, and I’ve done pretty much all I can on it until they get back to me with final information. It’s a working version, although I’ve had to replace some of the functionality/information I’m waiting for with automated processes for the minute. But I’m happy with where it is, and it’s now out of my brain, which is A Good Thing.
Of course, it’s immediately been replaced with another project – this one something that’s important to me as well – which I want to work on sooner rather than later.
So, Happy New Year. Onwards and upwards, etc. etc.
And as one of the Doctors would say, “Allons-y!”
On Friday, the UK introduced a “Sugar Tax” on sweet drinks, purportedly to help reduce childhood obesity. Will it work? Personally, I doubt it.
There’s a few reasons – first and foremost, that a lot of manufacturers have already chosen to reduce the sugar levels in their drinks to put them into lower rates for the sugar tax.
Connected to that, diet and zero-calorie versions of most of those drinks have been available for years. If people haven’t chosen to swap by now, will paying 10p extra make them change? Probably not. There’s not even a really visible price difference – at least two of the shop chains I use regularly have upped the price on all the drinks, not just the sugary ones, which also defeats the object. If there were a visible difference ( “I can buy 500ml of the sugary one for £1.50, or the diet one for £1.35, so I’ll save money”) then it might work, but without that, I don’t see that there’s a real driver to force the change.
Alongside that, I *personally* have a problem with government telling me how to be healthy, and attempting to enforce that. I have the same issue when it comes to smoking, the way government encourages people to stop smoking, while also getting massive amounts of income from the tax and duty on cigarettes. (This also applies for alcohol, telling people to drink less while getting the income from the tax and duty, and so on and so on)
I also suspect that there’s a lot more damage done by the ‘invisibly’ sweet drinks – the bizarre creamy milky super-sweet concoctions from Starbucks, Caffe Nero, Costa et al – which now seem to be far more prevalent than sweet fizzy drinks. I suspect there’s a lot more of the obesity blame that can be laid on the coffee culture now than can be laid at the soft-drinks industry. I’m not even sure that the coffee chains are being hit by the sugar tax – I haven’t seen any mention of it being on anything except the soft-drinks industry.
It’ll be interesting to see the results – although of course the government will always claim it to have been a massive success, even when it’s a clusterfuck of monumental proportions – but I really don’t expect to see it have any positive effects on reducing obesity, whether in children or adults.
Yesterday was the Winter Solstice – the Shortest Day (and, of course, the Longest Night) of 2017.
From here on, for the next six months, the days get longer again. Only by a few seconds per day, but it all adds up.
Honestly, the Winter Solstice is more important to me than the whole of the Festering Season.
So every year I’m happy to see it happen. The dark days are finite, even if they come round again next year.
Yesterday, I got an email from Runkeeper, the app I use for tracking most of my walks.
According to them, in the last year I’ve tracked 803 miles – which isn’t bad, but does still “only” total an average of 2.2 miles per day for the year.
So I did OK (and I’m aware that there’s a lot that Runkeeper doesn’t track, for a number of reasons) but still, I know I can do much better than that…
Come this time next year, it’ll be interesting to see whether I have done more or less than this year’s 803…
Challenge, as they say, accepted.
Over the weekend, I spent some time changing the plants and pots I’ve got in the yard of my house.
Some of the things from last year had died off, most having only been expected to live a year, a couple of others just needed to be changed and a one needed to be replaced as the poxy cat had decided that pot was a spare litter tray. Additionally, I’d changed a bit on what I wanted to try out this year.
For example, last year I had a couple of small apple trees in patio pots. One had done OK, but ended the year overtaken by wooly aphid things that made it look like it was covered in frost/snow/cotton-wool, while the other hadn’t taken at all. So they were candidates for going as well.
This time, I went to a proper garden centre, and got a bundle of new things – two types of raspberry, a blueberry bush, and a couple of flowering currants. Once I’d got home, I emptied out the old pots, putting all the residue into garden sacks. Then all the new things got planted, and so far it’s all worked out pretty well.
The final stage was taking all the garden sacks to the local tip, and getting rid of them all in the garden waste.
So all told, quite the successful day – a near-complete change of the plants, and all the rubbish dealt with, leaving the place looking pretty much how it did before, just with new plants. I class that as a success.
For a number of reasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about time past, so I had a look back at what was going on here ten years ago.
Man, there’s been a lot of change in that time.
Back then, I was newly in Norfolk, living with Herself (and Hound and Psycho Cat, of course), still in the rented place and in the process of buying the Norfolk place. Working in Cambridge, and generally settled for the time.
How time flies, and all that piss. Food for thought, etc etc