New Year: What does 2013 have in store?

Ganesh 2013

There are some folks who believe that January 1st is “just another day”. What’s the big deal? It’s the day after December 31st.

I don’t. I think New Year’s Day is kind of a day for reflection. Looking back on 2012, it’s not a year I can especially rave about. For every high point there’s been a disappointment or something underwhelming.

Case in point: I ran my first half-marathon in Ealing this September. And promptly injured myself so badly that I’m only starting to properly recover now.

In a professional capacity, I decided to start working smarter on the US version of Unreality TV: bringing on a team of talented bloggers to supplement my writing and bring something extra to the site. And it worked. Over the finales of the American series of The Voice and The X Factor, the site started bringing in more than 20,000 pageviews per day. A modest goal, but proving that we can start to match our UK mothership!

Not only that, I feel like I’m finally starting to get a grasp of social media strategy. I’m adoring Google+ at the moment. Seriously. I know it’s not cool to love the Big G’s social network, but it’s everything I loved about Web 2.0: a place to meet new people, sometimes with similar, sometimes with polar opposite opinions and discuss the issues of the day. Will it be huge? I don’t know. But it’s a more authentic platform than the cesspools that Facebook and Twitter have become.

And in a bizarre twist, Lisa and I bought a house completely on a whim. Yeah, we decided to buy a little holiday home that we could also use as an investment property. So we’ve got a nice little place by the beach to hangout in from time to time, stay with friends and go for walks and runs. One of those rare risks that you take that works out beautifully.

So what’s coming up in 2013?

Fitness: I want to say “marathon”, but I know better than to commit. Every time I’ve pushed the distances on my running, I’ve ended up with injuries that’ve knocked me out of the game for too long. What I want to do now, is to focus on recovery in the first instance, then to work on improving my distances and then my speed. Depending on how things go, I may sign up for another half-marathon again (hello Ealing 2013?) or I may attempt a coast road run from Cushendall to Ballycastle.

Toning: If I can’t run major distances (for now), I want to focus on circuit work to both drop another few kilos and tone up what’s left over. I wouldn’t mind having a bit of toning ready for the summer. Maybe *gulp* Insanity?

More outdoor pursuits: I got bitten by the bug for mountain walks in 2011, but due to a severe shortage of willing accomplices, I didn’t spend much time in the Mournes in 2012. I want to lace up those hiking boots again and hit the heights. I may be on the lookout for walking groups, but I want to start bringing the kids as well, to give them a much-needed break from their square-eyed activities and also to hopefully show them some amazing sights!

Meeting new people: We’ve spent the last couple of years weeding out people in our lives who were draining us or were just not that much fun to be around. While the tail end of 2012 was about me knuckling down and moving the US site forward, I want to connect with some vibrant, ceative people in 2013. And that just isn’t happening in suburbia, where the people are so busy driving themselves into debt to impress neighbours who don’t give a damn about them that they just don’t have time for fun.

Basically, I’m looking for people who are interesting, engaging, creative, funny and friendly. People with ideas. Vibrant people. People who want to swim upstream and do brilliant things and not just be slaves to their damn mortgages.

I hope I don’t regret that last sentence.

Professionally? Well, it’s sgnificantly more of the same. My goal in the last half of 2012 was to start building Unreality TV’s US Edition to better levels of traffic. In September, we put out a call for new bloggers, which was met by some talented people. As we enter 2013, we’ll be looking for more authors to work alongside the existing team as we move into movie and music news (saturated markets, so we’ll have to be outstanding to make an impact here) as well as moving into original content and multimedia.

Working smarter: Hiring bloggers to write for us was the first step in working smarter. Basically, our biggest bottleneck on the site was that Lisa and I were trying to do everything and frequently burning out because we couldn’t handle the workload. But with increased revenues, we’ve been able to spread the load and build teams. It means shifting from a “working at the coal face” attitude to being more managerial and planning what happens on the sites on a daily basis. But if that helps to build the brand, then I’m happy with that.

So there it is. Not the most exciting list of New Year’s Resolutions, but I like to think it’s building on a strong foundation of work. I want to continue working on the notion that life’s too short to invest in people who make you unhappy (or the latest cardinal sin: bore you).

Ideally, 2013 will be the year where I shift the fabric of my life to surround myself with people who are interesting, engaging, who I can bring something to and who can bring out the best in me. It’ll be a mix of family, old friends, new friends, digital friends and distant colleagues, and if everything goes according to plan IT WILL BE FUN!

Check back in 12 months to see how it went. I’ll try to blog the highlights as I go along…

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