31 December 2019 Middlesbrough, UK

Inspired by my northern blogging companion, I've set my sights on the five things I want to achieve during 2020

I must start with a confession - setting New Year's resolutions always seemed pretty pointless to me!

When I look back at past attempts to set goals for the year ahead, they rarely amounted to anything concrete.

True that may have been because they often took the form of fleeting fancies, discovered in a moments reflection in the 10 minutes towards midnight on the 31st December, only to be forgotten shortly afterwards, or worse still wilfully abandoned.

However, as an avid reader of The Northernist and having seen how effective she has been in achieving her goals through the simple solution of publicly sharing them, it seemed a change of heart and approach was in order.

So here, for posterity, is five things I aim to achieve during 2020, to help direct and motivate myself.

1.) To publish more personal content on this blog

The inspiration for this first goal also owes a great deal of credit to The Northernist, given she has been trying to persuade me to produce more personal content for a long time now.

Initially resistant to the idea due to my future career aims of becoming a journalist, for which I had been using this blog as a showpiece for that style of content, the idea of writing about me, myself and I also felt bizarre?

"Why would anyone want to read about me", was the often thought of self-depreciation?

Yet, in those small, brief, moments where I allow myself a modicum of self-adulation, I realise I do have a range of viewpoints and life experiences that could be of value to others.

And even if that proves not to be the case; people are nosy and like reading about other people's lives, so there's no reason not to talk about oneself!

So as much as it pains as me to say it - The Northernist was spot on - therefore expect to see a lot more posts about me, like this one over the ensuing decade.

Myself and the always right 'The Northernist' - who has inspired this new years resolution list

2.) To get my first paid published article

Having moved to Middlesbrough two and half years ago to study a Journalism degree at Teesside University, I'm now hurtling towards the end of the course and that crunch point of figuring out how to convert my now finely honed literary skills into cold hard cash.

How exactly I will do that come May still feels like it will owe a little to fortune and fate.

Plus it is a given that I will need to continue using my talents for nothing more than the love of the craft in order to build a reputation if I ever hope to secure a full-time job in the industry.

But whilst earning a full crust for my passion of informing and telling other peoples's stories may yet be a few years ahead of me, for the next year I've set myself a simple, yet challenging goal - secure the first of what I hope will be many paid, published articles.

3.) To quit the fags

Lets be real - smoking is a disgusting habit.

The things it does to your body, the smell, the exorbitant cost, the fact you're now considered a social pariah and have to go to the darkest dingiest corners just to puff away your life.

And to highlight the very real danger smoking is to your health, 77,800 deaths in England were attributed to smoking in 2017.

So quite why anyone would smoke is a mystery?

And yet, I am part of that mystery and have been for over 20 years.

Smoking has become second nature, a comfort in difficult times and in some ways a friend to call upon when in need, despite its disastrous side effects.

However, that romantic positioning doesn't cloud my vision from seeing the ever more worrying effects smoking is having on my own health, the people closest to me and my wallet - over £10 for a pack, that's insane!

So it is time.

Time to kick this disgusting habit for good.

I know it won't be easy, for I won't have the services of Sister Assumpta to call upon for one.

But I'm determined to do it and bring you along on my journey.

4.) To do more DIY 

Coming to my fourth goal of the year, this objective has been somewhat forced on me due to our living situation and the additional prompting of Christmas gifts received.

If you've caught any of Olivia's series on 'Our Second Hand Home', you will be aware that midway through 2019 we moved into what was essentially a bare, empty, shell of a house.

Stripped bare and left looking depressingly unloved, the house was in need of some urgent tender loving care to make it anywhere close to liveable.

At the time, this felt a daunting challenge, with my relationship with DIY largely non-existent.

True, it was something my Dad used to excel at, but it seemed very little in the way of craft, know-how or intuition had been passed down to me.

At least, that was what I thought until I started putting paint onto the walls.

I suddenly became all too aware that some of my late fathers peculiar intricacies when it comes to 'doing it yourself' were living on through me.

If we has watching from above I'm sure he was looking down in both astonishment and amusement at his number one son.

But the work I did over those days must have impressed members of the living too, because for Christmas, not one, but two people deemed that what I needed was some tools.

Secretly pleased to have received the very manly gifts of a tool kit and cordless drill, I've already gone about putting these to practical use, through the putting up of a poster and the fitting of a blind -

So the task ahead for 2020 is to build on that, with perhaps the erection of a shelf the next project on on my list of DIY-to-do's.

Looks about level!

5.) To rediscover a neglected passion

Sometimes the throws of life get in the way of us doing the things we enjoy. 

A busy work schedules, alongside friend and family commitments can often make it feel there is very little time for our own passions to the extent they can become forgotten and deemed unimportant. 

But when that passion also partially serves as a daily functional need, in a moment of breathing space the past pondered excuse of "not having enough time" seems regrettably silly. 

In this case the personal passion I talk of is the art of cooking, something that I had been progressing over the last 5 years ago with some reasonable results. 

My Instagram feed; CookBecomesChef is a testament to that progress, but shamefully also stark evidence that I've been regrettably lax in updating of late, with the last posts dating all the way back to August 2018!

This doesn't necessarily mean I haven't been donning the chef's apron at all during this time.

I have cooked many a meal since then, but they clearly haven't been of the creative showpiece nature that would encourage me to take a snap and sharing. 

To be perhaps overly self-critical, my cooking over the period has remained too much inside a comfort zone and lacked imagination. 

Therefore my final goal for 2020 is to source some exciting recipes, get back in the kitchen and rediscover my creative juices.  

I hope reading has helped inspire you to set some goal of your own? Why not put them to the World, tagging myself - @TSouthernist - using the #2020Vision

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