Alan Shortis

Looking ahead to 2020

In contrast to all of the 2019 reviews I have seen today, I've decided I'd prefer to look forwards.


The past year was a real mixed bag for me. Contrasts of high highs and low lows, the latter seriously affecting my outlook and holding me back much more than I would have liked. I don't particularly want to look back over the last 12 or 120 months to take stock; my general dissatisfaction tells me all I need to know.


I've never made new years resolutions. Packed gyms and shopping baskets full of fruit and veg are all gone before February and I know that's exactly how I'd be. That quick failure is just going to lead you back to the same bad habits. This list of five is more about finishing what I've started and doing what anyone really should be doing every day.

  1. Read at least one book per month. This is a very low number, but based on my reading pace over the last few years it's both an increase and realistic. Side effect: less time scrolling through social media while commuting.
  2. Focus on nutrition. I've been attempting to out-train a bad diet for years, and this simply does not work. Consider food as fuel and aim for a plant-first diet. If I nail this, it'll be huge for my cycling. Side effect: reducing my body fat, which has been too high for a long time.
  3. Practice my craft. As a front end developer it's imperative to keep learning to stay relevant and employable. In 2019, the code I write changed vastly; lots of templating, CSS and PHP gave way to to an almost 100% JavaScript stack. It's been tough, and I need to do better. I have this website and the long neglected to work on. Side effect: more confidence in my skill will make me want to use it more. It's cyclical.
  4. Buy less stuff, get rid of what I don't need. This covers expensive or pointless purchases - things that are going to detract from the above points - to the small and every day, like bottled water, disposable coffee cups, packaged groceries that could be loose, etc. Side effect: less wasted money, less environmental impact.
  5. Revise these resolutions. I don't think resolutions should ever be static or immutable. This list feels right at this moment (alone on new years eve with a cold) but if they don't work or don't make me happy they have to change.