Category Archives: New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions 2023: Mid April Update #NewYearsResolutions


On the 4th of January, I posted my New Year’s Resolutions for 2023. Here is my fourth short update, three months later (check out update one here, update two here and update three here).

I need to lose 50lbs. Simple as that. During Covid, I became the fattest I’ve ever been. Not acceptable. Current weight: 17st 12lb (250lb). Goal weight by Summer: 14st 5lb (201lb).

Me (04/01/2023)

Well, a consistent regimes of (1) jogging every day, and (2) junk comida portion control, mean my current weight is now 15st 9lb (219lb). That is solid progress. Let’s keep it up!

Holiday break

I’ve always had a problem with routines. I’m all or nothing. If I take a break from a project for a few days, for whatever reason, I find it very hard to get back into the rhythm. I don’t know why. It’s a real weakness.

I went on holiday on the 1st of April and got back this week. So I was really scared that I was go off the rails. As it happens, though, I only put on 1-2 lbs and have got right back into the swing of exercise.

Half way there

I am about half way on my weight-loss journey. At least, until I meet my target goal weight. But I am only at the beginning of my life-long health journey.

© 2023 Bryan A. J. Parry

New Year’s Resolutions 2023: Mid March Update #NewYearsResolutions


On the 4th of January, I posted my New Year’s Resolutions for 2023. Here is my third short update, two months later (check out update one here and update two here).

I need to lose 50lbs. Simple as that. During Covid, I became the fattest I’ve ever been. Not acceptable. Current weight: 17st 12lb (250lb). Goal weight by Summer: 14st 5lb (201lb).

Me (04/01/2023)

Well, a consistent regimes of (1) jogging every day, and (2) junk food portion control, mean my current weight is now 16st 1lb (225lb). That is solid progress. Let’s keep it up!

Wake up calls

I have now reached and gone beyond a highly significant milestone for me, namely, 16st 2lb. Here’s the story of why that weight is so psychologically important for me.

When I was about 27 years old, I had let myself slip into a weight-based funk; too many beers, too many pies, and I’d stopped running. I remember it clearly: I was in Malta on holiday, and I went past a chemist’s; it was closed, but it had a coin-operated height-weight machine outside it. Being a former colony, Malta uses/used our British system of weights and measures. So I stepped on the machine. It rang up 16st 2lb. I had never weighed so much in my life. I turned to see my face in the reflection in the window; I looked truly bloated and grotesque. And memories of being a small boy and asking my then rather overweight Dad how much he weighed rang around my head. “Just over sixteen stone”, he said. I had never seen my Dad so fat, now nor me. It was a wake up call, and when I got back from holiday I got real. I got back into exercise and got back into shape.

Years of good habits followed, but eventually I would sink into a funk again, partly due to mental health problems caused or exacerbated by rather trying life circumstances. And here we are today. But I’m back on track, and I mean it.

© 2023 Bryan A. J. Parry

New Year’s Resolutions 2023: Late February Update #NewYearsResolutions

On the 4th of January, I posted my New Year’s Resolutions for 2023. Here is my second short update, two months later (check out update one here).

I need to lose 50lbs. Simple as that. During Covid, I became the fattest I’ve ever been. Not acceptable. Current weight: 17st 12lb (250lb). Goal weight by Summer: 14st 5lb (201lb).

Me (04/01/2023)

Well, a consistent regimes of (1) jogging every day, and (2) junk food portion control, mean my current weight is now 16st 6lb (230lb). That is solid progress. Let’s keep it up!

It also counts as another milestone achieved. To those who don’t know the British system of weights, we measure things in stone and pounds. There are fourteen pounds to a stone. Therefore, each seven-pound interval represents a milestone, namely, half a stone. Having now dipped below 16st 7lb, I have arrived at and gone beyond that milestone. Next stop? 16st 2lb. Why is this odd weight highly significant for me? Well, let’s find out in the next post — where I will have reached that target.

© 2023 Bryan A. J. Parry

New Year’s Resolutions 2023: February Update #NewYearsResolutions

On the 4th of January, I posted my New Year’s Resolutions for 2023. Here is a short update, a month-and-a-half later.

I need to lose 50lbs. Simple as that. During Covid, I became the fattest I’ve ever been. Not acceptable. Current weight: 17st 12lb (250lb). Goal weight by Summer: 14st 5lb (201lb).

Me (04/01/2023)

Well, a consistent regimes of (1) jogging every day, and (2) junk food portion control, mean my current weight is now 16st 10lb (234lb). That is a great start. Let’s keep it up!

My other four goals on the list are in progress, but the achievements so far aren’t as solid as my weight loss. Therefore, I’ll update on those later.

© 2023 Bryan A. J. Parry

New Year’s Resolutions 2023 #NewYearsResolutions

Let’s get right to the point.

  1. I need to lose 50lbs. Simple as that. During Covid, I became the fattest I’ve ever been. Not acceptable. Current weight: 17st 12lb (250lb). Goal weight by the Summer: 14st 5lb (201lb).
  2. Finish editing my first poetry collection and get it ready for self-publication.
  3. Enter some poetry competitions.
  4. Carry on with my language learning programme (Basque) and meet my goals in it (not specified here to avoid a long post).
  5. Get back on the horse with regards my Spanish. Specifically, get back to practising my speaking using Glossika every day and watching Spanish TV every day. Sit a B2 practice test around the Summer to see how I’m getting on.

That’s it.

These things are important to me. I want to achieve them. These are SMART goals (some details left out to keep the post short) but with in-built flexibility.

Let’s see how I get on.

New Year’s Resolutions 2020 #NewYearsResolutions2020

As a world-weary late adolescent, I gave up on making new year’s resolutions, mainly because you/I never follow through on them properly. Therefore, it felt like lying to myself to even bother making them at all. Then, in my late twenties, I started making them again because, ya know, fear of impending middle age and failure and all that. But, yeah, once again, my resolutions were somewhat incomplete. So I gave up again for a year or two (2018 and 2019).

But now I’ve got my resolution mojo back! What I’ve learnt from the mountain of failures in my life is this: I think the key to making successful resolutions is (1) to make them achievable (i.e. “SMART“) goals, (2) make very few goals, but make them important ones, as quality is better than quantity.

With that in mind.

  • GOAL ONE*: get down to my wedding weight (2013), which was pretty healthy, by the 31st of December 2020. That is, 14st 5lb (201lb, c. 91kg).
  • GOAL TWO: achieve B2 level in Spanish; if timetables allow it, I’ll also successfully take a B2 DELE (official Spanish exam).

I have other things I want to achieve, as well, but I think I need to keep things SMART and achievable.

Both goals are very achievable. GOAL ONE, the weight goal, is roughly a pound of weight loss a week for the whole year, or 4-5 pounds a month. Extremely achievable. A healthy weight loss is 2-3 lbs, no problem. GOAL TWO, the language goal, is also highly achievable as I am already B2 for some skills in Spanish and B1 or B1+ for others. I just need to set aside certain hours a week as part of a routine and then stick to it; I’m not starting from nought here!

Both goals are immensely achievable, especially if I start right away and take the tortoise slow-but-steady approach. But there’s another component to achieving goals; they need to be things that you really, really want. A lot. And I do.

See you this time next year for Groundhog Day! ;-D

*all caps is the electronic equivalent of carving it in stone, doncha know.

© 2020 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Project Polyglot Parry VI: Swedish Duolingo Accomplished! @duolingo #duolingo


I’m a real language-lover. Therefore, I’ve always wanted to be fluent in several languages. Unfortunately, aged thirty and after many, many false starts, I’m still only fluent in English! But hitting thirty made me determined that I will achieve my life goals — including fluency in several languages.

To keep my language learning on track, I’ve been doing regular updates. Read all my Project Polyglot Parry posts here.

I’m very proud to say that I completed the English>Swedish tree in Duolingo on 29/10/16! 😀 They even gave me this handsome (virtual) trophy!


My next goal is to complete the Duolingo English for Spanish speakers course. At my current rate of two-three sessions a day, I reckon I can finish the new tree by the end of March. And after that, I want to get to the maximum level possible on Duolingo in Spanish and Swedish: level 25 (that’ll take a while, though).

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry



As you can see in my posts (for example: 1, 2, 3, 4), I have mixed success in achieving my goals. Pretty much like everyone else. And over the course of 2016, I came to two insights. Two things that I have actually always known but which I have come to appreciate with a greater clarity and keenness.

  1. You have to START AT THE END. Determine what your ultimate goal really is, and then work backwards from it to work out what steps will get you there.
  2. You have to MAKE YOUR GOAL “SMART”. This means goals which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

So don’t just say, “I wanna get into shape and be fit”. Rather, figure out exactly what “into shape and fit” means. Be specific and measureable, e.g., run X miles in Y time, get down to a BMI of 22. The goal has to be attainable: so running 100 metres in 10 seconds or less might not happen. It has to be relevant to what you want generally. And it has to be time-bound: so work out how long those goals realistically will take, and work to that timeline, with various short, middle, and long-term deadlines.

Here’s a great bit of an article from Tim Ferriss and Benny Lewis about using SMART Goals to learn a foreign language. Enjoy!

© 2016-2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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#9 – Create SMART goals.

Another failing of most learning approaches is a poorly defined end-goal.

We tend to have New Year’s Resolutions along the lines of “Learn Spanish,” but how do you know when you’ve succeeded? If this is your goal, how can you know when you’ve reached it?

Vague end goals like this are endless pits (e.g. “I’m not ready yet, because I haven’t learned the entire language”).

S.M.A.R.T. goals on the other hand are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

To start developing your SMART goal in a language, I highly recommend you become somewhat familiar with the European Common Framework that defines language levels. This framework provides you with a way of setting specific language goals and measuring your own progress.

In brief, A means beginner, B means intermediate, and C means advanced, and each level is broken up into lower (1) and upper (2) categories. So an upper beginner speaker is A2, and a lower advanced speaker is C1. As well as being Specific, these levels are absolutely Measurable because officially recognized institutions can test you on them and provide diplomas (no course enrollment necessary) in German, French, Spanish, Irish, and each other official European language. While the same scale is not used, you can also get tested in a similar way in Chinese and Japanese.

So what do you aim for? And what do words like “fluency” and “mastery” mean on a practical level?

I’ve talked to many people to try to pinpoint the never-agreed-upon understanding of “fluency,” and I’ve found that it tends to average out around the B2 level (upper intermediate). This effectively means that you have “social equivalency” with your native language, which means that you can live in your target language in social situations in much the same way that you would in your native language, such as casual chats with friends in a bar, asking what people did over the weekend, sharing your aspirations and relating to people.

Since we are being specific, it’s also important to point out that this does not require that you can work professionally in a language (in my case, as an engineer or public speaker, for instance). That would be mastery level (generally C2).

Though I’ve reached the C2 stage myself in French, Spanish and am close to it in other languages, realistically I only really need to be socially equivalent in a language I want to communicate in. I don’t need to work in other languages. It’s essential that you keep your priorities clear to avoid frustration. Most of the time, just target B2.

To make your specific goal Attainable, you can break it down further. For example, I’ve found that the fluency (B2) level can be achieved in a matter of months, as long as you are focused on the spoken aspect.

In phonetic languages (like most European ones), you can actually learn to read along with speaking, so you get this effectively for free. But realistically, we tend to write emails and text messages—not essays—on a day-to-day basis (unless you are a writer by trade, and you may not have those goals with your L2). Focusing on speaking and listening (and maybe reading) makes fluency in a few months much more realistic.

Finally, to make your project Time-bound, I highly recommend a short end-point of a few months.

Keeping it a year or more away is far too distant, and your plans may as well be unbound at that point. Three months has worked great for me, but 6 weeks or 4 months could be your ideal point. Pick a definite point in the not too distant future (summer vacation, your birthday, when a family member will visit), aim to reach your target by this time, and work your ass off to make it happen.

To help you be smarter with your goals, make sure to track your progress and use an app like Lift to track completing daily essential tasks.

You can join the Lift plan for language learning that I wrote for their users here.


Next Step in Blogging? #newyearsresolution @resolutions #SMART


Me: I’ve got a blog
Other Person: Ooh! What do you blog about?
Me: Err, y’know, I’unno: stuff I’m interested in. Language, politics, atheism and religion, healthy living, films, err, sport…
Other Person: Err, okay?
Other Person’s eyes glaze over and they look bored and disappointed

I’ve had the above exchange loads of times.* Apparently blogs need one overriding, dominant theme. Yet I’ve always thought of this blog as being like a (admittedly crappy) newspaper or magazine: of course plenty of different topics will be dealt with.

But apparently I’ve misunderstood how blogs are supposed to work. Therefore, I’m guessing this blog needs to focus on one topic. It can bring other random stuff in it, but it’s got to be 90% one thing. After all, my YouTube channel — which I kind of view this blog as the written version thereof — is probably 75% atheism/religion, 25% everything else, and my subscriber base bears that out.

The problem: I’m interested in too many things. I don’t want to limit this blog’s content!

So maybe I need to keep this blog as my kind of “core” or “hub” blog, but spin off various other blogs which solely focus on my topics of choice.

But this approach has a problem, too.

I simply do not have enough time to post, say, four blog entries a week, one for each of my prospective blogs (e.g. the Health and Lifestyle Blog, the Religion & Philosophy blog, the Languages Blog, the Film Review Blog). I’m barely finding time to do one blog entry a week. But that’s the sad and frustrating thing:

I have so much waffle to say and not enough time to say it. Gah!

So one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 has to be to massively increase my time spent blogging. It would help if I could get some residual income from my articles! That would give justification (to my wife!) for me to devote such extravagant amounts of time to the endeavour.

Let’s see if I can crack on with this in the new year.

*I was going to say “cottrels of times”, but apparently “cottrels” is a dialectal word that nobody’s ever heard of. Who woulda thought that an insular and undiscovered dialects existed in West London, eh!

© 2016-2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

SMART GOALS: New Year’s Resolutions 2017 part 1 #newyearsresolution @resolutions #SMART



I have a bunch of stuff I want to do in life. I believe in “To Do” lists as a way of getting things done. I note my daily errands as “A”, “B”, and “C” — in order of declining importance. But what about goals that last more than a day? Like most people, I make New Year’s Resolutions. And like most people, I declare these goals in front of people in the hope that social pressure and the fear of looking a fool will drive me on. Sometimes I even write them down and stick ’em on the fridge. Yet like most people, I find my enthusiasm and direction peters out as the year gradually grinds to a halt, ready to start again with the next set of New Year’s Resolutions.


The main issue is that, like most people, my goals tend to be general, not SMART. An example:

In 2017 I will learn Spanish well enough to speak with people.

A noble goal. But very vague. Firstly, I don’t define my success very well. After all, “speak with people” is vague, and can cover anything from basic beginner level A1 up to advanced C2, and anything in between. Indeed, I find that body language, gurning, and smiling tend to do a lot of work when trying to talk to people who speak a different language.

Not only is success therefore hard to gauge, and therefore by definition hard to achieve and feel like you have achieved it — so you never get the satisfaction you are looking for. Worse luck: if you have no clearly defined end goal, you have no clearly defined path of getting there — wherever “there” is. After all, say you are taking a road trip to St. Ives. But you don’t look at a map, or SatNav, or ask anyone, or anything, and you just get into your car and hope the wind will somehow take you there. Guess what? You ain’t getting to St. Ives in time. It’s so obvious, yet often overlooked: (DISCLAIMER: SNIDEY POLITICAL ASIDE COMING) just look at those politicians who took us into Iraq(!) So you need to define your END GOAL, and then WORK BACKWARDS to figure out the steps needed to get you there.


SMART stands for:


So we could break down my earlier vague goal into a SMART one like this:

  • I want to achieve the C1 (“Advanced”/university entry level) level of Spanish (=SPECIFIC) and get the DELE qualification to prove it (=MEASURABLE);
  • the study guides recommend around 200-300 hours to go up a level, and I am currently B1;
  • therefore, I need around 500 hours to get to C1; this is around 16 months if I do one hour a day, around 11-12 months if I do 1.5 hours a day;
  • I can realistically only fit 1.5 hours a day into my schedule (=REALISTIC/RELEVANT);
  • so I’ll give myself 12 months to do it (=TIME-BOUND);
  • and this is ATTAINABLE if I have a fully rounded program of study covering all bases, including reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, vocabulary, real world use of the language, and use of various media including books, TV, radio, and music. ((I’ll save you the specifics on this point!!))

Therefore, you can see that I have done my homework, as it were, and know exactly what will get me where and how long it’ll take. I will even break this goal down into step one: move from level B1 to B2, and step two: move from B2 to C1. I’ll give myself six months for each. So I therefore have a mid-to-long-term goal (12 months: get to C1 in Spanish and do a DELE qualification) and two mid-term goals (move up one level, then move up another level). I can, do, and have given myself short term goals, too, such as X number of words a day and Y each month.


In my next post, I will share some of my main goals for 2017. I’ll make a SMART plan for them. You can use the further examples in my plan to help you get a grip of SMART planning. And you can also see how I get on!

© 2016-2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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