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.

 

 

I Dreamt I was sitting around a Kitchen Table with Presidents Trump, Obama and the Clintons

Last night, I dreamt I was sitting around a kitchen table with Presidents Trump, Obama and the Clintons. I don’t remember ever dreaming about American Presidents before, Trump has been in the news constantly in recent weeks, I also recently caught on YouTube Graham Norton’s interview of Hilary Clinton  Graham Norton Show . The problem with dreams is that they are so quickly forgotten on waking. Dreams are created in a part of the brain away from the part that creates memories. I tried writing what I could remember of the dream, when I woke up.

P1670338

What I recalled:  After an 11 mile walk for charity with Khato (my wife), I decide to hitchhike back. We are in the countryside somewhere near Birmingham (UK). A car pulls over driven by President Trump. We are taken to some house (I don’t recognise the house, it doesn’t seem unusual in any way) and sit around a kitchen table. Then another car pulls in, from which come President Obama with Bill and Hilary Clinton. We are all sitting around the table. Everyone seems calm, it is like we are waiting for someone else (George Bush, maybe?). I’m trying to work out what is happening, why am I with so many presidents?

That is all I can recall, I wonder if it means anything? In the bitter bipartisan politics of the moment it seemed strange all these people seemed so calm and quiet. I don’t remember anyone saying anything. I wish I could remember more. I sometimes try to write my dreams down but realise most of the dream has floated away into the ether before I can write it down.

Another dream I wrote down: Model Car Dream

Review 2017

2017 was better than 2016 (for last year see 2016 review).

Teaching

I continue to teach English to private students ranging in age from 6 to over 50 years old. It is an interesting job but not something I planned to do, but I guess that is where my career path has ended. I also began teaching a little at the German International School in Tbilisi.

Blogging

At the end of August, I found I could no longer access for editing purposes my earlier blogs using my computer. So I started three new blogs: Diecast Car Collector Blog, this blog (Blog #2) and The Reluctant Georgian Learner (about my travails with the Georgian Language).
My previous blogs were :

  1. Jim Holroyd 365: A foreigner in Tbilisi trying to make sense of my world.
  2. Jim Holroyd Diecast Collector
  3. my book review blog

The first two blogs were quite similar to the new blogs, the book review blog I have not replaced, instead I created a blog focusing on the Georgian language and my struggles with it. The most viewed post on this blog was Eight years in Georgia: The Good, the Bad and the მახინჯი

Georgian language

After 8 years living in Georgia, I finally got serious about trying to learn the language. Since August I have been following a Memrise course and attending weekly meetings of the Georgian club, where we talk exclusively in Georgian for an hour and a half. I am still by no means fluent but have made some progress. (More information in The Reluctant Georgian Learner)

Travel

We didn’t do a lot of travelling this year, we only went out of Georgia to visit Ankara and Cappadocia in Turkey, back in April. Cappadocia

cP1580473
Cappadocia

Cappadocia was amazing.

Photography

I take a lot of photos each day. It is something of a passion. I post some to this blog, on Wednesdays there is a weekly photo challenge and I usually submit one or more photos to interpret the chosen theme.

banana kids
my grandchilden

A New Flat

I suppose one of the highlights of the year was buying and moving to a new flat. We bought the flat in April and moved in, in September. We now live in Iyalto Hill in the Saburtalo area of Tbilisi. This is the first property I have ever owned. It is nice not having to pay rent each month. The flat is near my wife’s sister, which is handy.

Diecast Cars

I recently counted my collection of model cars, I have nearly 1100. Most are stored away in boxes, less than a hundred are on display. Most are Hot Wheels or Matchbox.

P1630727
Some Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars

I often reflect on why I collect these small toys: reflections on why I collect diecast cars

Reading

I read 28 books in 2017, highlights would be “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Quality of Mercy” by Barry Unsworth, “The Collectors” by David Baldacci and “The Discreet Hero” by Mario Vargas Llosa.

And finally…

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers, I hope 2018 brings you happiness and fulfillment.