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2011 is rolling in and this seems like as good a time as any to think ahead to the future. Success in any field is dependent on setting yourself goals and, without going into the whole ‘SMART’ mantra too much, having something realistic to steadily work towards gives you a much greater chance of making progress and achieving what you want. Sitting down over this Christmas holiday  and looking at the situation around me, it seems I have been guilty of letting this habit slip in recent times, happy rather than moving forward to simply maintain the status quo. No time like the present to mend my ways, so today I’m setting out the major aims for the year ahead, with part of the plan being that this blog will form a vital part of monitoring progress towards achieving them

So let’s start with the blog- even the less observant among you won’t have failed to notice that the second half of 2010 has a fairly sparse time for posting, for which I have several good but not unanswerable explanations. Had I really tried I could have squeezed in some more contributions, and the first target for the next 12 months is to do precisely that, combining periodic reports on the other areas I’ll touch on in this post with the traditional voicing of opinions on the subjects that matter. In more specific terms, I hope to get back to the pattern I had early this year of posting at least once a week. They won’t always be hundreds and hundreds of words long, but there’s always time to add something during any given week.

A few traumatic events over the last couple of years have helped drive home to me that human being are fragile creatures and, with this in mind, the time of taking my family for granted must come to an end. Living and working in Poland does have many postives and life is generally good for me there  but it does leave me rather isolated from my parents and brother, and as a result unable to help them when needed, or to seek assistance or advice from them when I find myself struggling. Time to come home.

Then there’s my lovely lady. In the last few months, she also hasn’t had as much of my time and attention as she deserves and I hereby publicly commit to the pledge I’ve already given her personally to change this by rearranging my commitments to get home earlier. On top of this, I’m going to take her out every week, one week for a mystery date, the next for something that we will choose together.

On the career front, the past year has seen the beginnings of some developments which this year I must follow through on and see to a strong and successful conclusion. Events lately inspired me to change career and apply for medical school. So far, so good- entrance exams went very well and January sees the last major hurdle between me now and me as a student on a graduate medical course in a year’s time, namely the interviews. The first and most important target to reach in the new year is to finish my preparations for these interviews and to them exactly why I should be a part of their course. This is priority number one in the short term.

Lastly, I’ve been reading a lot recently on sites such as Art of Manliness and Primer about the skills and qualities that used to be commonplace amongst men but have been slowly eroded by technological and societal changes. This has helped me identify aspects of my character and my life that I can be proud of as well as areas I should be working to develop and improve, starting with this statement of intent for the year ahead. Part of my plan for January and February is to follow AoM’s ’30 days to a better man’ process. The values and principles embodied by Brett and Kate in their excellent site are ones which I share completely, and I can unreservedly recommend all of you, women included, spend a few hours browsing their fine work. The rest, particularly developing a fitter, healthier lifestyle and more serious attitude to life, will follow on from that programme- keep an eye out for more specific details at the beginning of March.

As I said earlier, AKE!, and you the readers, will be part of these changes- progress towards these aims will be reported here from time to time and I invite you to serve as supervisors and assessors. All messages of support, ideas, challenges, advice, praise, criticism, or reprimands for lack of progress/information are not only welcome but actively requested and encouraged.

Happy New Year


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