Resolutions for the new year

Last week I reflected on my achievement (or otherwise) of last year’s resolutions. So, this week it is really time to set myself some new New Years resolutions.

So, let’s just take it for read that I’ll commit to all of the usual ones. I will eat better, exercise more, drink less, see friends more, work less, say no more, play more guitar, listen to more records, look at my phone less etc etc etc. But, beyond all of those relatively forlorn hopes I will also try and do the following.

  • Undertake the REF hygiene necessary to satisfy my employer. For those of you who are unfamiliar with university research in the UK, we have a system which judges our research on the basis of the production of a relatively small number of ‘high impact/quality’ publications. What constitutes a high impact or high quality publication is relatively opaque, but essentially boils down to producing papers which are similar to the kinds of papers that the people in charge of the system produce. In essence this is about publishing certain types of research, written in certain ways, in certain journals. As you can probably detect this isn’t an aim that I have a particularly strong belief in, but it seems achievable for me and makes good career sense so I think that I should do it. Once I’ve done that I hope to have more freedom to do other things that make more immediate sense to me.
  • Be more creative in my communication of research and ideas. In contract to the resolution above I want to write more for this blog and develop my YouTube channel further, but I also want to explore other ways to reach out and get my ideas across. I had an experiment with TikTok this year, but found it too much work to keep up. I should perhaps try again, but there are lots of other things that I’d also be keen to try including animations, memes, Twitter threads and so on. I’ve dabbled with a lot of these but not really nailed any of them. I’m basically keen to try and actually view what I do as a form of communication with the profession and the wider public, rather than as a narrow technical activity for the purpose of satisfying university metrics. This is what I’ve always tried to do, but it is important to keep focus on it.
  • Finish our book about online research methods. I’ve been writing a second edition of my 2012 book about online research methods. This has been a complete rewrite as so much has changed online over a ten year period. I’ve been making good progress, but there is still a lot more to do. So this needs to be a major focus for me for the next three to six months.
  • Influence the manifestos for the next election. A new election is approaching fast in the UK. My guess is that there will be very little substantive new policy developed over the next two years, but after the election there will be an opportunity to rethink how the whole career guidance system works. There are a lot of reviews, reports and recommendations floating around that will feed into that process, but ultimately the decisions will be political ones. This means that I need to get stuck in and do what I can, alongside everyone else, to try and shape how career guidance is organised. The recent Blunkett Review suggests that the door may be open on this, at least on the labour side, so we will see how it goes.
  • Be braver in my use of Norwegian. I’ve now been trying to learn Norwegian for a couple of years. I’ve learnt a bit, but I’m still terrified to use it in public. As soon as someone speaks Norwegian to me I have a panic attack and try and shift back into English. I need to spend more time on Norwegian, watch more Norwegian TV and read more, but most of all I need to try and take more risks, talk to people more and put myself out there. This is completely terrifying, but there you go!

So that is five resolutions from me. Any tips or advice on actually achieving them would be appreciated. Otherwise, I’ll report back next year on whether I actually manage to carry any of this stuff through!


  1. Hi Tristram
    Good to start my year reading your posts

    Loved todays

    One thing I learnt reluctantly in my short corporate career was regardless of the stupidity of some of the expectations of my manager or Head Office, was to stop ranting and give them exactly what they wanted so I was free to do what I considered to be of greater importance to me – making a difference to clients/employees who needed help

    Applaud the creativity and political influencing as they will have great impact – they are potential legacy actions

    Regarding finishing the book – I have found that those tasks that I need to be very motivated to start are easier if I set aside a day a month to do them – short spurts don’t work as well as it is easier to ignore or feel less guilt than dodging a full day set aside.

    I have no suggestions regarding learning Norwegian although here in New Zealand our indigenous language in Te reo Māori and is increasingly being used everywhere – small actions seem to work for me – having a couple of new words each week that I am conscious of seeing in print or he3aring orally and trying them out interspersed with English – saying good mahi (work) said a few times has replaced my goto phrase in everyday life and so on. Maybe that is how some of us learn to build confidence in giving it a go regardless of the fear of making a fool of ourselves – I suspect that older migrants often learn their new host language like way.


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