resolutions

2016 Out, 2017 In!

Yes, I’m aware that the new year is already 36 days old.  Cut me some slack. I just unearthed a box of unopened mail from December 2014. My “to do” list isn’t exactly up to date.

Last year I wrote about New Year’s resolutions and detailed what I hoped to accomplish in 2016. That post is here. In the interest of accountability, I give you my results:

1- Exercise 3 times a week.

VICTORY!  There were months where I took an average. Forgive me.

2- Read 2 books a month:

FAIL. To be clear, I won’t let myself “count” any audio books I listen to, which would push me well into the VICTORY category. I only “count” books I read with my own two eyes. I only accomplished ½ my goal.

3- Write 1 new blog post a month:

FAIL.  Dismal, pathetic failure. 2016 was tough. I didn’t write here because…well…I didn’t feel there was worth in the practice. I didn’t feel valued. I didn’t feel that anyone read or cared. I didn’t think writing for mental clarity or the actual writing exercise had merit. 2016 did a number on me.

4- Save some money.

FAIL. No discussion.

5- Send 1 handwritten note- unsolicited- to a real person every month.

VICTORY! This was the best practice I implemented in my life in 2016. It was fantastic. I sent all 12 notes, excluding “Thank You” notes and notes to cast members or interns during the summer theatre season. Some notes included a small gift, all notes were sincere and had a specific point. Fully half of the notes were acknowledged by the recipient.

6- Meal plan for our house every week. EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

VICTORY!  This was the second best practice I implemented in my life in 2016. In the past I have been a fan of spontaneity and “What do you feel like?” dinner plans. My meal planning in 2016 left room for that flexibility, but significantly reduced my grocery spending and overall food waste.

7- Keep up those other successful bits of awesome I attempt.

VICTORY!  I concede, however, that this is subjective.  Some days just showering and leaving the house fulfilled my “bits of awesome.”

I have plans for 2017.  

1- Exercise 3 times a week.

I thought about eliminating this from “resolutions” because I enjoy a generally fit lifestyle. Seeing the workouts logged, knowing I made a promise, and keeping the promise motivates me.

2- Read 2 books a month.

This should be easy for me. I used to read three books a week. I can easily read a 300 page novel in a sitting. I must do this.

3- Write 1 new blog post a month.

I cannot doubt what I know works for me. Even my shallow, emotional rants serve a purpose in my consciousness. I also have been listening to a storytelling podcast (The Moth- go listen!) that reminds me:  I have stories to tell.  2017 is the year I tell my stories.

4- Focus on financial health.

A slight modification from past years’ “Save some money” resolutions, financial health is different. I’m returning to a period in my life where I sat every Monday morning and balanced checkbooks, transferred money to savings, evaluated money in/out, and saved for vacations and extravagances- all without relying on lines of credit. 2017 and 2018 bring some milestones to my and Joe’s life and I’d much rather enjoy them than not.

5- Send 1 handwritten note- unsolicited- to a real person every month.

I’m telling you: try this. Real mail, real letters, real appreciation for a human in your life. This not only brightens someone else’s day, you will marvel at how many people you have to choose from. Sitting and thinking of who is (or was) a light in your life keeps marvelous perspective.

6- Date Joe more- 2 times a month, I hope.

Like any couple, we used to have a set “Date Night.” During hectic weeks or months (and honestly, the years 2010-2013), we’d laugh and vow to make it up. We spend lots of quality time together, but we’re going to try to spend concerted “Dates” together. We even made lists of places to check out for a few hours, restaurants to visit. We’ve been RedBox – ing movies together. It’s really, REALLY nice. #year13

7- Organize these digital photos.

UGH. My goal is 50 per day, all year long. If I get 1,000 per month I’ll be happy, though. That *might* get my iPhone cleared up.

8- An overall de-cluttering initiative.

To be fair, this started in Fall 2016. I spent several hundred dollars and about nine days working my costume collection. I’ve attacked my personal wardrobe and started utilizing ThredUp and Poshmark to thin out my collections. I’ve dropped three full Jeep loads at Salvation Army. I’ve even been throwing out “souvenirs.” 2017 will bring success with this resolution, I know it.

9- Decrease digital messes.

7, 8, and 9 could probably be combined.  Each day I have nine email addresses I check. That’s nine inboxes of subscriptions, spam, and news. I’m hoping to streamline this to three, each serving a purpose. I strive to unsubscribe from unwanted shopping sites and merge duplicate accounts.

10- Random acts of connection.

If you’ve read anything at all here, you realize that I not only hoard STUFF, I hoard relationships. Or their baggage. Or their remnants. So instead of dwelling on these past connections, I’m trying something fun and fleeting.  I bought Sneaky Cards. Check ‘em out. Random, fun, bold connections with strangers who get to pay it forward into the world is my goal.

SO…..I took most of my 2016 list and put it on the docket for 2017.  I eliminated the meal planning from my list. It is completely ingrained in our household. We waste less, we spend less, we eat better, and our pantry is never harboring random canned goods from early 2006. Keeping the “bits of awesome” should go without saying at this point in my life. If it’s good, keep it. If it’s bad, toss it.

Ten is a lot- a WHOLE lot. One month in, nothing’s been abandoned yet. One month in, all ten feel pretty good.  

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Empty Promises?

My favorite New Year’s Eve activity is new: it is scrolling through various social media platforms and reading all the [hugely ambitious] goals my virtual pals are committing to.  They are generally funny, sometimes sad, and rarely kept.  Highlights for me:

 

*The already in a healthy weight gal-pal vowing to drop 30 pounds by June 1st.

*The toxic “friend” swearing off all negativity, avoiding people who bring him/her “down.”

*The alcoholic becoming drinking less.  And only on weekends.

*The shopaholic saving for a world trip.

*The pot-sirrer swearing off gossip.

 

The list goes on…you’re familiar.

 

For several years I’ve privately established priorities for myself and evaluated them after a year. Some of these priorities aligned with a new year, some of them popped up in response to a life event. This year, I evaluated year-long goals (superficial ones, I grant you) and was surprised. My more intimate goals, the true character development stuff is fodder for a different post.

 

As 2015 started:

*I was frustrated with sporadic fitness.  I hoped to exercise regularly.

*I wanted to read more. Once a voracious reader, the last several years have put my zeal for literature on the proverbial back burner. There’s always a show to memorize, a show to plan for, laundry to do, kids to watch, etc. In October 2014, a friend of mine told me about his new girlfriend, detailing how much she reads. There was a flash of anger as I felt that he was implying I didn’t read (couldn’t he remember me reading every day of our years as friends?!) or that she was better than me.  I swear to you, I was that irrational. Instead of clinging to those irrational thoughts, I channeled them. I wanted to prioritize my intellectual stimulation.

*I wanted to post to my blog more.  I’m not particularly good at blogging, but I enjoy the escape writing provides. I enjoy exercising a skill that I honed for some time in my past. I enjoy improving my word economy. I enjoy the catharsis each blog post brings. The entries are therapeutic and I find myself obsessing about that topic less once it is “LIVE”.

*I wanted to save more money.

*I wanted to continue previous efforts (“loves” lists, participating in things I enjoy- even if that means attending solo, prioritizing my relationship with Joe- keeping him as my partner and best friend, owning by bad behavior with acknowledgment and remorse, avoiding repeated bad choices…those things….)

 

My results:

*Although not stellar, I did exercise regularly. Even in falling off my routine for several weeks at a time (usually when I was doing a show), I moved enough to be happy and the quantified average is 1.4 times a week. Not great, but at least I moved.

*Books: I read an average of 2 books a month!  Wow! I was happy with this because I really felt like I was reading MAYBE four a year. That could be a lie. The actual number for 2015 is 23….I rounded up considering I have four half read books that are my priority this year.  

*Blogging: Dismal.  Four for the year.  😦  How could you have survived without my sad little musings?

*Savings: Let’s not talk about it.

*Previous efforts:  SPOT ON.  Freaking nailed it, in fact.

So.  My 2016 hopes- the ones I’ll make public:

1- Exercise 3 times a week.  

2- Read 2 books a month.

3- Write 1 new blog post a month.

4- Save some money.  Yeah.  Let’s not quantify that.

5- Send 1 handwritten note- unsolicited- to a real person every month.

6- Meal plan for our house every week.  EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

7- Keep up those other successful bits of awesome I attempt.

I got this.  

What are you up to this year?