Thursday, 25 December 2008

Why I hate the term 'New Year resolution'

It's that time of year again. New Year's Resolution time. I absolutely hate the term 'resolution'. It sounds like a death sentence. I like terms like 'possibility' or 'potential happening' - much less frightening. But, they wouldn't be so important if resolutions were so wishy-washy.

The point of a resolution is to kick your butt into gear, get you to stick to a plan and make a change to your life. So how do you make a resolution and actually keep it?

Set a deadline - otherwise you're making a list of procrastination
If you really want to achieve something, set a deadline. Mark a date in your calendar, set milestones to check progress against and stick to them. The minute you slip, you have to pull yourself up again or you've already failed. I'm terrible at this. I'll admit that I hate deadlines, because they are tangible things. They don't need to be so scary. They may be something simple like 'by the end of the year I will have attempted to do something'. It's actually about incentive.

Make the tasks reasonable - or the don't shoot for planet 47xb489 in the Orion Nebula
Don't be silly and say you will become an Olympic champion if you are a couch potato. Last year I made a list of things I'd 'like' to achieve, and ones that I 'wanted' to achieve. Some of the tasks were almost pipe dreams, while the majority were achievable with dedication and time. Make the tasks small so you can tick them off and feel like you've achieved something. Tasks may be buying a personal domain, painting at least one painting using oils, joining a forum you've been too intimidated to join. The grand plan may be to improve your painting to a level where you can enter a competition, but to get there, it will help if you have small tasks to achieve your large, long term goal.

Be willing to adjust your resolutions - they should be bendy, breakable and useful
Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me my life changed after I made my resolutions for the last year, and this in turn had a large impact on my ability to meet those artistic resolutions I'd set for myself. Life is very fluid, and you have to be prepared to change your resolutions if your circumstances change. I could not have prepared for the change in work conditions, nor could I have truly prepared for buying a house (when that was in the 'pipe dream' list). Basically you have to be flexible about some of your resolutions. If you break your leg, that resolution about being able to run a 20km marathon may have to change.

So what happens if you get to the end of the year and you fail?
Don't worry! Seriously. Failure is all part of the life experience. If you fail, you need to look at why you failed. Was it too complex? Did you try to achieve too much? Did you *really* want to achieve the task (i.e. not eating as much chocolate, hmmm???).

And anyway, if you fail, there's always the next year!

Or the next...

or the....

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Website design - what you should consider

When you're building a website, there are a number of design elements that you should consider and plan for. It's all well and good to have a beautiful website, but if visitors can't find their way around or the pages take forever to load your website may not be successful.

Check out this post which covers a broad range of design issues and what you should be looking at when developing a website. : 15 top website elements