Changes for the New Year

In my Reflections on 2010 post, I briefly mentioned several resolution-type commitments I am making this year. Lest they remain vague and therefore incomplete, I figured some goals are in order.

In my experience, goals don’t just get accomplished by chance. Goals take work. They require small and big decisions, with large doses of proactivity and intentionality along the way. Simply writing down my goals here for all to see is a motivation for me to stick to them and take them seriously.

If you are up for sharing, I’d love to hear what you are working towards in the new year. Let’s work together and keep each other accountable!

1. DIY. Whenever possible, I want to learn practical skills this year through do-it-yourself projects. I’m a huge fan of do-it-yourself cooking. I make my own crackers, jam, bread, yogurt, and other food typically purchased in stores. Owning a 100-year-old house gives me the perfect opportunity to expand to all sorts of projects. There is so much knowledge and resources at my fingertips, so why should I always outsource and hire others to do the job? With some effort, sites like DIY Network & Instructables, and “(fill in the blank) for Dummies,” I’m going to do things myself as much as possible.

2. Exercise three times a week. I try to stay physically active, but exercise is almost always the first thing to go when those countless, unforeseen life things occur (such as when we go on vacation, I get sick, my son gets sick, the weather changes, I’m tired, or any other excuse my brain concocts). I want a healthy life with all the benefits, and want to be disciplined with this.

3. De-accumulate. I try to live simply, and don’t like to own too much stuff. Somehow, our home seems to hold more and more each year. I am going to purge my closet, bookshelves, storage areas (and other notorious black holes in our home) on a regular basis. I will also stick to a “gain something, lose something” rule – when I buy or receive a new item such as a book or article of clothing, I’ll give or donate another item away. Goodbye clutter and unnecessary belongings!

4. Write a book. I have a book project in the works, and other half-baked book ideas. Writing is something I want to make time for this year. Writing one book (even if it’s just a first draft) would be a serious accomplishment for me.

5. Watch less TV. Counting the number of hours I spent last year watching television would be an embarrassing exercise. I have several favorite TV shows that I kept up with, but I also spent way too much time parked on the couch watching useless crap. How much of that time and brain energy could have been invested in more important things, like relationships, creativity, and productive tasks? So less TV for me. More specifically, I’m going to allow myself one show to follow at any given time. Any TV watching beyond that will have to be watched with other people, and initiated by other people.

6. When in need of help, ask for it. I am terrible at this. When I get sick or overwhelmed, I become my own taskmaster, and attempt to do everything on my own in the name of self-sufficiency. It is often bad for my health and soul. This year I want to be someone who has appropriate humility and interdependence with other people. I am going to ask friends and family for help more often.

7. Be present to my loved ones. It is disturbingly easy for me to be swept up by distractions, and forget to be loving and attentive to my husband and son. In the area of relationships, I really believe that multitasking and efficiency are harmful. This year, I want to grow in being present and engaged with the people I care about. I am going to take time each day to truly see and hear my family, and communicate my love for them.

There you are. Let’s check back with each other in a few months, and see how these resolutions are coming along. Happy resolution-keeping!

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