I’m one of those people who makes resolutions for the new year. I’m also one of those people who rarely makes it past the end of January. And yet, I’m giving it another shot in 2015. I’m even going for a double this year: one ‘professional’, one personal.

Let’s talk about the ‘professional’ resolution first. I have a couple of active pet projects at any given time. Unfortunately, that’s all they ever are, pet projects. And as software is never “done”, I never feel confident enough to put them online or spread the word about them. As time goes by and I fail to release anything, my interest in the projects fades and they die a silent death.

To prevent an untimely death, here is my first resolution for 2015: treat the development of the pet projects as if it were my daily profession. This implies, but is not limited to, fixed hours of work, frequent releases, some marketing and a way to monetize the projects. All four of these points can serve as a way to maintain the focus on my pet projects.

  1. Fixed hours of work forces me to focus on the projects. It must not feel like an obligation, but it should become a habit. Same day, same time, week after week, undisturbed focus on the pet project to keep things moving.
  2. The frequent releases make me feel like I accomplished something. I wrote something, it is finished and it is out there for the world to see. People can actually use it and I can be proud that they are using something that I build.
  3. By doing a little marketing, I get other people to notice my work and get them excited about it. If they’re excited, I should be able to keep my excitement burning for a good long while as well. A single flame will fizzle out, a lot of flames make an unstoppable fire.
  4. Developing and maintaining pet projects costs money. A micro account on github, some domain names and a google apps account will set you back a dozen of bucks a month. Having a project pay for its expenses would be a real benefit. If they generate a surplus that allows me to build a nice financial buffer, why would I ever lose interest?

I currently have three pet projects that I’m semi-actively working on. I’ll introduce you to them as soon as possible, so stay tuned 😉

On the personal front, the resolution will probably be a little more difficult. It’ll take a lot more perseverance to keep it up through a whole year. And it’s where the sugar coating comes in. Or the lack thereof. I will live a whole year without eating any additive sugars. There are the obvious no-go’s, like softdrinks, cookies, sweets and a whole other bunch of snacks. But there’s also a huge class of products you would never expect to contain additive sugar or never realized: yoghurt, bread, ham,… Obviously ham does not contain regular sugar, but a lot of manufacturers add glucose syrup for better conservation. Because sugar has a lot of different names, here are some rules for what to look for on the label:

  • mentions of sugar
  • mentions of anything ending in “-ose”, like glucose, fructose and dextrose
  • mentions of syrup

So this is gonna be difficult. To make it a little easier, I’m not going cold turkey. I just can’t stop from one day to the other. But here is a promise: I’ll gradually decrease obvious sugar intake, like cookies and soda, to none by sunday evening (January 4th, if you keep track). I give myself another week to build the habit of checking labels and reducing the amount of hidden sugars.

There will be one exception to reduce the social friction: when I go out eating to friends and family, and if they’re cooking, I won’t be picky and just eat. It’s my resolution and I don’t want to bother other people with it.

So these are my new year’s resolutions. I’ll blog about them from time to time, but now it’s time to start acting on them.