Saturday, December 31, 2011

Twelve for Twenty-Twelve

I’ve said it before but it bears some repeating: I suck at blogging. I’m not disciplined enough. Not dedicated enough. Too easily distracted by shiny objects. Or dull objects. Or things that make noise. Or smell nice. Or…well, I’m sure you get the picture.

I’m not good at it, but I’d like to get better. I’d like to blog more without feeling obligated to do so and without feeling guilty when I don’t. Hmmm… That sounds an awful lot like a resolution. Of course, it’s that time of year again, when people under the glamour of one too many champagne shots holler out a New Year’s Resolution when the clock strikes midnight. Statistically most resolutions are thrown on the backburner after the haze of alcohol dissipates or by the end of the month. Me? I think about my resolutions well in advance. There’s certainly no alcohol influencing these much needed improvements.

Right before Christmas I read an article in Parents Magazine that gave suggestions on making and sticking to New Year’s Resolutions. Instead of making large lofty goals, setting smaller monthly goals makes it easier to accomplish each goal. So while I have listed twelve (dare I say lofty?) goals, aside from the first one, they are listed in no particular order nor am I planning on cramming every single one of them into January. I can spread them out and take my time with them. I have, after all a whole year to fill!

1. Write every day. No excuses. With me out of a job right now, there isn’t any reason why I shouldn’t be writing daily, but I always seem to put other activities ahead of writing, especially chores. That needs to stop. I have always wanted to be a writer and it is time for me to start acting like one!

2. Post to my blog at least once per week. And as much as I lurk on other people’s blogs, I am going to start commenting too. I don’t expect to gather a following, but it would be nice and maybe, if more people came to my blog, the more I might blog.

3. Resume my daily exercise routine. Once upon a time, I walked four to five miles a day. It was the justification for getting a dog! I also did free weights. Once upon a time I lost a good bit of weight and then gained it all back because I fell out of my good habits. I started daily walking again this past August when the girls went back to school, but then holidays and company put me into a lazy frame of mind and I put off what I should have stuck to.

4. Get back to better eating habits. It don’t have bad eating habits per se. I eat lots of fruits and veggies (especially oranges as I have no desire to get scurvy). BUT, I could do a lot better with portion control. Maybe cut back on cooking and baking with so much butter. And maybe…just maybe take a step back from my love of dairy – do I really need four pounds of cheese in the house at all times?? Now as far as sweets go? I’ll eat them if they are in the house, but I don’t often have them because I know I’ll eat them. Same thing with soda. I don’t have it in the house, because if it is here, I’ll drink it. I maybe should cut back on my caffeine intake as well…but that’s debatable.

5. If I stick with Numbers 3 and 4, then number 5 should happen as a by-product: lose at least 50 pounds. I should lose much more than that, but 50 seems like a reasonable goal that I can meet without getting discourage. At just a little more than 4 pounds a month 50 pounds is reasonable and attainable. Along with that, I will go back to weighing myself daily. Now, I know that all the weight-loss gurus say you shouldn’t do a daily weigh in, but I find that I am more honest with my eating habits if I know that every morning I step on the scale. It makes me rethink that second cup of coffee or an extra helping.

6. Organize my photographs chronologically. I have a giant plastic tub of pictures, plus a number of smaller photo boxes AND a gazillion empty photo albums. This is the year that I get them organized. And if I enlist the girls (which I plan on doing) then hopefully the task won’t seem so daunting.

7. Along with Number 6, I want to scrapbook more. It’s a hobby I really enjoy and have tons of supplies for. While I organize the photos, I will also plan different scrapbooks. I got interested in scrapbooking with my best friend and one thing I’ve discovered is that it is more fun to scrapbook with someone. Both the girls are interested in scrapbooking as well and it is time for them to create their own books too!

8. Write actual letters to friends and family. I keep meaning to and then never follow through with it. Getting mail is so…nice. It makes you feel loved and remembered. In this age of instant messaging and Facebook and Google+ we think we are so connected, but really…I don’t think we are. I don’t post anything important to my Facebook, not really. A little blurb of information on a social network is not sharing your life with someone. It’s not making a connection. Letters and cards are a lost art that need to be revitalized! With that in mind I am also going to make a concentrated effort on sending birthday cards to family and friends.

9. Reinstitute Family Game Night. For awhile we had a game night every Tuesday. I’m not sure when or why we fell out of doing this, but I miss it. We are a family of gamers: RPG, board games, Wii, and cards… we love games! And conveniently we have a virtual treasure trove of available games to play.

10. Living in a house with a big yard, I would like to commit to getting a backyard homestead going. A nice big vegetable garden, a smaller but equally important herb garden. I have a garden layout in mind based on the French intensive method and I’ve already started a compost pile. Add to that a small flock of chickens, and I think I’ll be well set. We have the space, I think, to add some other small farm animals, maybe a goat or a sheep…or better yet a llama!! But that will need to wait until I am comfortable with raising chickens and veggies.

11. Another thing I’d like to accomplish this year is getting my favorite recipes organized. For Christmas I received a Moleskin Recipe Journal from the girls. Not only is it a perfect way to organize the multitude of recipes that I have printed or ripped out of magazines over the years, but it will be something for the girls to have as well. A collection of all our family favorites in one place. Maybe (and this is ambitious) I’ll pick up two more and make on for each of the girls! With me not working, I have more time to think about, plan and execute nice dinners. Often while I was working I resorted to box dinners: Mac and Cheese, chicken nuggets, easy and quick fixes that would only take a few minutes to prepare. We got stuck in a routine of old standbys and never strayed too far from the familiar. As I am organizing my recipes, I will try to add one brand new recipe or food once per week.

12. Finally, I want to get back to traveling. The last part of 2011 was financially tight and the few trips I had planned I had to cancel. I imagine that 2012, unless I find a job, will be equally tight. However, I want to get back out there in the world and show the girls how amazing our country is. Camping trips will be the least expensive way to go again, but I want to go other places too. North Dakota, Arizona, DC. I know I can’t afford oversea travel in 2012, but someday, I’d also like to go back to England, explore Germany and Sweden, and visit Egypt.