Last year, I wrote a 2012 todo list instead of setting myself specific resolutions I thought setting more a more general list of targets would be less restrictive. I was a mix of success and missed ambitions partly because a year is actually a long time and interests and focus changes a surprising amount.

As a quick recap, my 2012 list was:

To become a “better” writer

Successes: My output has certainly dropped and I’ve tried to react to less and consider my topics more carefully. I’ve been lucky enough to write for Smashing Magazine and Net Magazine a couple of times and had several mails from other leading design industry sites asking if I’d like to write for them so I guess this counts as a step in the right direction.

To make and share more

Failed dismally: I’m sorry to say that beyond blogging, I didn’t really contribute much code to the community. It’s not my strength and many out there are pushing on releasing much better tools than I ever could so I’m not sure this target is something I’m too sad about missing in the end. Docpool has moved to a new home and our Jargon free web design contract has been used hundreds of times so that’s the extent of my sharing this year.

To be a mentor

Failed dismally: Another area I didn’t push hard enough on although as a company Offroadcode, and in particular @peteduncanson have started working with the University of Huddersfield doing talks and discussions with groups of design students and I will be getting more involved with this next year.

Do more design work

Failed: Despite writing an article for Smashing Magazine about replacing portfolio screenshots with designed case studies, I’ve started adding case studies to the new Offroadcode site┬ábut I’ve not got around to adding any art directed posts to this site although I’m considering making use of my new running blog to create pieces next year.

Improve my physical wellbeing

Success: Those who follow me on Twitter will no doubt be bored by my transformation from casual cycle commuter to enthusiastic runner but to say discovering the pleasure of running has transformed my life would be an understatement. What started as a promise to help support my wife train for a marathon has led to her running 2 marathons this year and me running 1 and a 40 mile ultra marathon along with entering a number of local races from 5k to half marathon.

I’ve now run a 5k in 19:35, 10k in 42:12 and a half marathon in 1:38. I’m encouraged by the improvement thanks to putting in a great deal of effort – running from 30-40 miles a week – that I could potentially improve significantly in the next year and I’m going to be aiming for some aggressive times and aims. More of that in my 2013 list.

In addition to finding a hobby I truly enjoy and miss when I can’t do it, I’ve also lost more than 30lbs this year through running. Although overweight (205lb) on Jan 1st, I didn’t actually start running with the aim of losing weight but it’s a most welcome result of the hard work.


My focus from having no hobbies or real interests beyond work and family to discovering running and a group of great new friends through Parkrun has taken me away from a computer a lot more and given me a structure beyond a screen so while I’ve not managed some of my design based objectives I’ve found much more beyond.

I’m going to mark 2012 down as a transition year on the way to regaining a bit more work/life balance and therefore a success overall.

James Young

Written by James Young

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