Four principles to live 2011 by: Simply my ABC… and D

Fireworks (Ross Elliot via flickr)

The end of 2010 has come. During this time of the year we are often much more introspective than during the rest of the year. And, of course, we all make new year’s resolutions. Things we want to do/achieve in the  new year. I never was particularly interested in new year resolutions; history after all shows that many do not pay much attention to the resolutions after the 2nd of January…

For me 2010 was an average year; I’ve been busy doing the normal lecturing load, starting this blog, completing all the modules of a “Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher Education” (PGCHE) [the jury is still out on whether its good enough, publishing some papers, doing some conference presentations and supervised a bunch of post-grads (OK, full disclosure, they do a lot of the papers and conferences). In the process I took some stress…

So readers of my blog would have seen I decided to take a bit of a break from blogging in December. This allowed me to proverbially clear my mind; so new ramblings are on its way. I did a lot of thinking, and I’m sure to share some of my mind here in days to come. I was reminded in Nancy Duarte’s book Resonate of George Bernard Shaw saying:

“Progress is impossible without change; and those that cannot change their minds cannot change anything”

I therefore decided to change my mind and have some new year’s resolutions after all. After reading Jon Thomas from Presentation Advisors post, as well as Lisa Braithwaite’s post, I decided that going for WORDS to guide your thinking and behavior; and, by accident the words I played with came from the first four letters of the alphabet – now even I can remember them…

If I string them together in a sentence I can say

In 2011 I want to be more active, balanced and creative, and concentrate on delivering value.

So here is my take on the four words.


I want to physically active; leading a healthier life… 2010 saw me shedding a whopping 30 kilograms. In fact it is less whopping than what it sounds; there is another 30 kilos to go… Eating healthier and working out at the gym got me there, and I believe it will get me even further. Looking for me weekdays between 05:30 – 06:30 (GMT+2)? Forget it, but why not join me in the gym?


Mitch Joel wrote an excellent post on life being a three-legged stool: work, home, and community. I need to get my balance right. I take work too serious, spend too little time with the family, and for community… what’s that? Earlier this year I said that I want to expect less and give more, I intend to intensify my efforts. To do so I would have to become the next word.

Creative defines creative as “resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative: creative writing.” For me this is a variation of being active, i.e. being mentally active. I will make it priority this year to be more creative in what I do, to find different ways of doing “the same old stuff”, looking for different ways to add some value to other people’s lives. To do so, the creativity must be shared, which is at the core of the next word.


Seth Godin regularly writes about “shipping”, or getting something “out there”, making a difference. I am one of those people who are way too concerned with perfection, I know it, and I need to do something about it. (This blog, for example, is a deliberate attempt at just doing it…) A good idea is only good if others know about it… What will I deliver? I have a couple of projects ideas, will keep you posted…

Join me on my journey in 2011 – together we can make it an awesome year!

Have any words that you define your 2011 by? Why not share them with me (and the rest of the world)  in the comments…

Interested in knowing how I am doing? Keep reading my blog and make sure you subscribe via e-mail, RSS, or the Facebook page…


8 Responses to Four principles to live 2011 by: Simply my ABC… and D

  1. Jon Thomas says:

    Great post. I especially like Active and Deliver. Even though I stay fairly healthy, I consider it a blessing that I get to see another year, and another decade. Life is not a right, it is a privilege and I’m so happy to still be looking down at the grass. I try to go to the gym at least 3-4 times per week. Your 30 kilos lost is nothing to be humble about – it’s great! Just keep it up.

    As far as Deliver, I also think about Seth Godin a lot when I’m trying to create. Perfect is often the enemy of good, and things remain unpublished because I’m not 100% happy with it. I will also try to start shipping things and I think it’s a great goal for you as well.

    Jon Thomas

  2. rabotha says:

    Thanks Jon,

    Seth Godin certainly has a way with stating things. While I’ve been following his blog for some time, I’ve only recently read some of his books. Just last night in “Tribes” I’ve again read the words “We choose not to be remarkable because we’re worried about criticism” So true, so sad.

    Good luck with being creator, connector and elevator in 2011; it will certainly make you even more remarkable, which looking at your blog I think you already are!

  3. Laurie says:

    So why stop at D? How about


    In fact, I think I’ll make a full alphabetic list of proposed characteristics for next year.

    • rabotha says:

      Laurie, interestingly enough the ABCD was accidental… and makes it very convenient for me to recall 🙂

      Yes, naming a principle/characteristic whatever after each letter of the alphabet is an interesting idea. It certainly will be “fun” from a writing perspective: I look forward seeing your list. Of course the question is how “useful” it is in the long run is debatable as it may be a bit difficult to continuously use, which is one of the intentions of my four letters.

  4. […] material and, of course, this blog. So I will take up a challenge and post more regularly. Given my ABCD for 2011, I would have loved to believe that I can do a post-a-day, very creative, but since it is not my […]

  5. […] on 2011 This year I was not particularly active as a blogger. I listed four words that would guide me through 2011. How did it go? How did I do? Hmmm, in true professorial style […]

  6. […] for 2012: my 3 P’s I used four words to guide my behaviour in 2011.  Although it did not work perfectly I think it’s much better […]

  7. […] 2011: Active, Balanced, Creative, Deliver […]

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