2011 Resolutions Assessment

One month ago, I posted about some changes for the new year that I wanted to make.

I am working on making progress in these areas. I’ve been moderately successful with some of them, and less so with others. But changing habits and behaviors takes time and discipline, so I feel some level of grace toward myself. After one month, I also have become aware of some of my pitfalls and challenges with the various goals. Here’s my assessment:

1. DIY. I haven’t come across many projects that warrant DIY action, but I do have some house tasks that I intend to work on in the near future. One in particular is changing the window treatments in our dining room and living room. Currently, those rooms’ windows have extremely ugly, used-to-be-white-but-now-dingy-gray plastic blinds that are reminiscent of my first post-college office job. I am going to change those out for something nicer…maybe curtains or Roman blinds (any ideas, people?). I have also been spreading the DIY lifestyle to others, namely by selling friends on the endless benefits of  homemade bread and yogurt.

2. Exercise three times a week. For the last fours weeks, I have consistently accomplished my exercise goal, and actually increased my exercising to about 3-4 (and sometimes 5) times a week. My successful formula: whenever possible, exercise right after my son goes to bed. Since Aaron goes to sleep at precisely 8pm every night, I have a regular time of exercising. The key is exercising before tending to anything else. I work out on the stationary bicycle in our living room and do strength training. I also get in some smaller workouts here and there, like when I walk a few miles with Aaron in the stroller.

3. De-accumulate. In order to de-accumulate, I have been making my way through various clutter zones in our home. I re-organized several area, such as my desk and closet. But more of these areas remain packed with things to throw out or give away. My next project area: the kitchen pantry, which needs some serious cleaning and re-organizing. I’ve also been finding other ways to simplify my life in general. For example, I unsubscribed to multitudes of email lists, thereby ridding myself of junk mail that floods my inbox every day. Ahh…I already feel like I have more room to breathe.

4. Write a book. Um, I haven’t made any progress with my book. Truthfully, this goal has barely crossed my mind. This goal is particularly difficult, since it requires me to exert creative energy (which I don’t always have much of). I also have no regular time to tend to writing. So that’s probably the obvious next step for me: block out some weekly time to write, brainstorm and get those creative thoughts a-brewing. I am still set on this goal, particularly because I have other friends who are working on similar projects. One friend is working toward finishing a book manuscript by the end of March. That is inspiring me to keep at it.

5. Watch less TV. I have been watching less television these days, but certainly not none. I am working toward having one single television show to follow, but this has proven to be a challenge. When the new year began, I was already hooked onto several shows, and feel the need to see them through to the end. So maybe the smaller step with television is to not start any new shows. I also watch TV while exercising on my stationary bike (see #2 above), which I figure is okay, since it helps me keep another resolution. I am definitely more aware of how much time I spend watching TV, and have had many moments of choosing to do other things with my time.

6. When in need of help, ask for it. I have been better at asking others for help in the last month. I have also been clearer with people about my limitations. There have been several times when I have said, “no” to people’s requests, when my natural reaction would be to say yes even when I knew the situation was beyond my capacity to handle. Getting better, but still working at it.

7. Be present to my loved ones. There have been many opportunities to be present to my loved ones, and I think in general, I’ve taken advantage of them. In particular conversations, I have intentionally listened to Steve, and engaged with him about his thoughts and feelings. There are moments in the day when Aaron needs my undivided attention, and I purposefully put aside the things I am doing to interact with him. I am trying to scale back the multitasking, because that makes it difficult to be present to people. I am also prioritizing people over tasks and efficiency. But there are times when I totally fail at this, and forget to engage with others. I truly hope that as I grow in this, my life will be measured by how much I loved rather than how much I did.

How are you doing with your new year resolutions? Do you have any tips on how to keep them?

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