Kevin’s New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve been thinking all week about what my real New Year’s Resolutions would be. The initial list was long, a good baker’s dozen of things I want to accomplish this year. But, the more I thought about it, the more I decided that this year is about one word and one word only: control. So, I’m down to two resolutions:

  1. Get my health under control. If you’ve ever seen me in person, or even just a picture, there’s no hiding the fact that I’m a large man. I make jokes about it, because, well, it’s funny. But, it’s also extremely unhealthy, and I’m not getting any younger. I’ve lost weight before (over sixty pounds a couple years ago), but because of injuries or just not being able to form good habits, it’s almost all come back. This year, that changes. I’m not going to do anything radical, just try to finally follow my doctor’s advice and get my health under control. The easiest goal to track is to try to lose one pound a week. That means I’m shooting to lose fifty-two pounds this year. That feels reasonable and not too hard to accomplish (I’ve already lost three since coming back from Mississippi). I also want to get back to monthly doctor visits and following his advice more closely. If I get to the six month mark and am rocking this one, I’ll up the ante.
  2. Get my time under control. I have a really hard time saying “no” when people ask me to do something, especially when it’s something I think would be cool or worthwhile. I tried to be better last year about agreeing to do things when I know I don’t have the time for them and then either killing myself to get them done or having to bail, which feels awful. I need to go through my commitments and start simplifying things. I spend a lot of time dealing with work stuff, traveling, speaking at conferences (almost a dozen last year, plus a dozen internal presentations), keeping up with W3C stuff and then squeezing in writing a chapter for the book, ficlets. and then spending time with my family, which I don’t do enough of, and when I do, I’m either tired or distracted. I don’t necessarily want to do less, I just want to make sure that anything I commit to will actually get done and that I won’t be shortchanging my family to get it done. I’ll probably start cutting back on some stuff (I’m already trying to keep it to one trip a month, and I’m not planning on writing any more books). Hopefully, if I succeed with my first resolution, I’ll have more energy for the other stuff (and maybe finish reading Getting Things Done – ironic, I know). As an addendum to this one, I’m going to try to set some “data intake” rules:
    1. I will follow no more than 200 people on twitter, and have fifty or less sent to my phone. I just pruned my list to 195, but this one’s going to be struggle, especially as I attend conferences.
    2. I will subscribe to no more than 500 feeds. This one’s going to be really hard. I’m giving myself two weeks to get down to 500. I started this morning with over 630 feeds, and have whittled it down to 531, mostly through dead feeds or feeds I added on a whim. I think the next thirty-one are going to hurt a bit.\
      That’s it. It’s all about control – not some Pinky and the Brain scheme for world domination, just getting myself and my little sphere in order. Feels pretty reasonable and something I can actually get done.
Categorized as Kevin

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Software Engineer @ Gusto, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.


  1. Nice simple aspirations. It would have been more fun to read your plan for world domination, though.
    I’ve found that my healthiest years, physically and mentally, have been the ones where your two goals, health and priorities, combine into a single resolution that YOU come first. Certainly not in a selfish way… But there’s no single thing more important to those you love and the work you care for than your own physical well being. Dedicate one hour a day to yourself and you’ll have enough extra energy and inspiration to make your other 15 waking hours as valuable as 30.
    When you sneak off for your “selfish” hour on the tread mill, remember that you’re not stealing time away from anyone, you’re giving years of your life back to them. Think of the long term benefits. You’ll be around to see HTML-spec 10.0 released, and more importantly, you’ll be around to see your kids graduate, get married, and have their own kids. Can you name a single “cool” thing that’s come up in the office more important than that?
    Take it from someone who’s been struggling with weight for years. 52 pounds is a very lofty goal. Certainly OK to aim for it, but the easiest, simplest baby steps you can focus on is that 60 minutes a day, consistently, for the rest of your life.
    Well, actually, _don’t_ take fitness advice from another fat guy. I’ve been bouncing between 200 and 280 for years, and I have the same problem with work constantly getting in the way of a healthy life. But I figured you’d appreciate a goal that is the simplest thing that could possibly work. Try it. And stick with the Zazz. And good luck. And when you finish *Getting Things Done* give me the CliffsNotes summary of it. I don’t have the time for time management books.

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one that can’t get the time to read GTD, I’ve been trawling through it for about 9 months now. I just need a weekend and it will be finished.
    David is right, the time you take to exercise is adding to your life. Even if its just 30 minutes intensive (high cardio) a day its going to be worth while. Can’t give any weight loss advice as I have problems retaining weight. Trust me it is not a blessing.
    Twitter and feeds, three months and you will have broken those barriers. 🙂

  3. Funny, I’ve been reading through GTD the past couple of months, too. 🙂 I’m almost done, but I think I’ll need to reread it at least once. I’ve started dealing with my email differently as a result (e.g. using To Do and Waiting For lables in Thunderbird), and I think it’s helping. ^^

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