New Year’s Resolutions

A New year’s Resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life.

My New Year’s Resolution in recent years has been to learn Georgian. I have made maddeningly slow progress on that front, it is a difficult language and I haven’t devoted sufficient time and effort to this task. I have a whole blog about my travails entitled The Reluctant Georgian Learner

I need some SMART goals. When I studied education and was obliged to write a Professional Development Journal, we were told to set SMART goals to develop and overcome obstacles in our way. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Specific…what do I want to achieve?

Measurable…how can I measure progress?

Attainable…is it within my ability?

Relevant…is reaching your goal relevant to you?

Timely… Time is money, they say! Deadlines are what makes most people switch to action, I too often procrastinate until the last minute.  But keep the timeline realistic and flexible.

Googling “New Year’s Resolutions” comes up with many useful ideas. Everyone’s Google search will be different depending on how their algorithms work for you. One result I got was from Lifehack: Lifehack Resolutions

These include : 1. Get into shape: we are all some shape or other, I guess they mean a shape we find pleasing to look at. I’ve been 70 kg for a while, I could ideally lose 5 kg. I could eat less junk food and walk 10 000 steps a day. Going home to my flat on Ikalto Hill means climbing 172 steps…I’m not sure if this will wear me out or make me stronger…lately it actually seems a little easier so maybe, just maybe, I am getting fitter. I’ll never be an Adonis.

2. Start eating healthier food, and less food overall. It is very tempting between lessons (I’m a travelling English teacher) to pop into Wendy’s or KFC for their budget meal. I know this is mostly junk. I’d be better carrying a healthy snack around with me. I also need to eat more fruit, now mandarins are plentiful.

3. Stop procrastinating: The biggest barrier that keeps most people from reaching their goals is the desire to relax and do something fun instead of working hard. Once you get used to procrastinating it’s difficult to snap yourself out of it. I am particularly good at procrastinating: Checking Facebook needlessly or binging on TV series like House, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad or Mad Men.

4. Meet new people: Meeting new people can be beneficial to your mental well-being. Most of the new people I meet, I meet digitally. I have around 1000 friends on Facebook, most of whom I have never met in real life. My socialising away from the computer mainly revolves around the Language Exchange Club Tbilisi (link) meeting locals and visitors who want to improve their language skills.

5. Give up cigarettes: This is one I don’t need to do, I never started smoking, I didn’t see the attraction. It must be tremendously hard to give up.

6. Read more: Books are an excellent way to gain a lot of knowledge on a huge variety of topics, and are also a great exercise for your brain. I love reading but this year has been a bit lax, I only read 20 books.

My Reading Stats
My Reading Stats

For 2019 I will aim for 40 books.

7. Become tidier: There are a lot of slobs out there, I’m one of them,  who can’t really get their stuff organized, and a cluttered desk or chaotic home will negatively affect your productivity and even your mood. My diecast car collection numbers around 1400 models, this is crazy, I only have space to display maybe 500, year on year its getting bigger, I need to look at ways to reduce the size. I also need to sort out the papers I have all over the place.

8. Start saving money: It’s time to start putting some money aside. I am not very savvy when it comes to saving and investing.

9. Learn a new language. I know English and French, I want to become fluent in Georgian, this won’t happen overnight and won’t happen without me putting in some serious effort. I have been in Georgia NINE years… it is embarrassing that I can’t hold a conversation in Georgian. Other languages: Turkish, Russian and German would all be interesting and useful but the priority is to learn Georgian.

10. Pick up useful skills or fun hobbies. My hobbies are photography, blogging and collecting model cars. I would like to explore some other aspects of these hobbies. Maybe making some stop motion videos or learning photoshop, maybe restoring or customising the model cars. I’d also like to do windsurfing (I’ve done it in the past) and explore nature more.

11. Travel more. This year (2018) I only ventured out of Georgia once (to Cyprus), I used to travel more and would like to again.  In Georgia I’d like to see Svaneti, Tusheti and Lagodekhi. Outside Georgia there are many places I’d like to see, the neighbouring countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan are tantalisingly close, yet I have not visited them yet.

12. Go see your doctor more often: I really should have a regular health check up. I don’t have a doctor here in Tbilisi. I don’t feel ill but its worth getting checked out.

13. Learn to cook: I can cook but tend to use the same recipes, I need to try cooking new dishes. Laura in the Kitchen and Gordon Ramsay on YouTube are inspiring.

14. Start being more creative: I like art, I want to draw and paint far more. I  have had a blank canvas sitting in my closet over a year.

and finally Stick to the good healthy habits you’ve developed: The last, and most important point to mention is that all the positive changes you make have to be permanent. You will need to work on sticking with the good habits you have adopted.

Okay, let’s be positive as we enter a New Year.



St George’s Day: Patriotism Yes, Nationalism No

23 April…St George’s day in England

jim holroyd 365

St George’s Day celebrated in England on 23rd April and Georgia on 23rd November and 6th May. A link between my old country and my new.

Pirosmani's Painting of a St George Feast in Bolnisi oil on cardboard Pirosmani’s Painting of a St George Feast in Bolnisi oil on cardboard

St George is usually portrayed as this bloke on a horse with a big lance killing a fire breathing dragon.

St George killing a dragon on top of his column in Liberty Square, formerly Lenin Square in Tbilisi. St George killing a dragon on top of his column in Liberty Square, formerly Lenin Square in Tbilisi.

How relevant is he to either 21st Century England or 21st Century Post Soviet Georgia?

The “Real” St George

The “real” George may have been born in Palestine in about 270 AD, to a Roman father and a mother from Cappadocia, in what is now eastern Turkey. He served the army of the pagan Emperor Diocletian until the order came to persecute fellow Christians. George would not deny his faith, so he was…

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Merry Christmas

  Today (25 December) is a normal working day here in Tbilisi, Georgia. Christmas is celebrated on  7 January. The big celebration is on 31 December…a legacy from Soviet times…the communists wanted to distract people from the church-based Christmas festivities, so moved the present giving and feasting to New Year’s Eve….

Merry Christmas

We don’t know when Jesus was born. Scholars debate the month of Jesus’ birth. In 2008, astronomer Dave Reneke argued that Jesus was born in the summer. The Star of Bethlehem, Reneke told New Scientist, may have been Venus and Jupiter coming together to form a bright light in the sky. Using computer models, Reneke determined that this rare event occurred on June 17, in the year 2 B.C.

Other researchers have claimed that a similar conjunction, one between Saturn and Jupiter, occurred in October of 7 B.C., making Jesus an autumn baby.

Theologians have also suggested that Jesus was born in the spring, based on the biblical narrative that shepherds were watching over their flocks in the fields on the night of Jesus’ birth — something they would have done in the spring, not the winter.

We celebrate in mid Winter because of earlier Pagan celebrations of the Solstice and Saturnalia. By choosing this day to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, the church could put their spin on the popular pagan festival, as well as the winter celebrations of other pagan religions.


Whether you are working or celebrating today, I wish you all a Merry Christmas.