My 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

We’re one week in to the new year already! It’s felt like a funny time to try to make any changes. First, starting the year with a three day weekend is definitely not the time to do a juice fast or anything. Jack and I enjoyed the time off together and with our families, and there was absolutely no cleansing going on 😉 In fact, there was one night that we had pizza and linguine for dinner (along with giant martinis) and then went to a bar, where we had tequila shots and soft pretzels and Oreo cheesecake. I am still a little bit in shock at our gluttony.

So then we headed back to work, but we had Christmas #6 with my stepdaughter, which consisted of more linguine and wine and exciting news that she is moving to California. Now, we’re trying to settle in and behave ourselves, but we’re going to Mexico in a week so I’m kind of like, what’s the point???

The good news is that I’m sticking with my diet (in spite of the previously mentioned carb-a-thon) and am now officially down 10 pounds from my summer chubster-ism. Woo hoo! In my dreams I will lose another 8, but no pressure right now.

In terms of my goals for the year, I’m going to start off by focusing on the first half of 2016. And I’m not going to have as many lofty goals as I did last year; this time, they are more specific.

Fitness/Health

  1. Continue my diet for as long as I can stand it.
  2. Eat primarily vegan meals, but not freak out when I have a cheeseburger or some ice cream.
  3. Learn to use the kickass Garmin I got for Christmas.
  4. Run a sub-25 minute 5k by July.

Organization

  1. Clean out the linen closet.
  2. Clean up, organize, and decorate our home office.
  3. Follow a schedule with my volunteering.
  4. Focus our donations on one nonprofit, rather than giving small amounts to a lot of groups.
  5. Make new passwords for all our accounts (and keep track of them!).
  6. Replant all my sad houseplants that have outgrown their pots.
  7. Unsubscribe to a LOT of email lists.

Reading

  1. Stop buying Kindle books. Reserve books at the library.
  2. Read: On the Move, H is for Hawk, M Train.

Finances

  1. Start using Personal Capital (or something like that) to track our expenses.
  2. Pay off my $8700 private student loan.
  3. Limit our weekly going-out budget to $100. Related: learn the weekly specials at restaurants in our area 🙂
  4. Cancel our credit cards that we never use.

I feel like none of these are overwhelming. I’ll probably do something like take on one of these each Saturday, so that I stay on top of everything over the first half of the year. The second half of the year will see me examining my job and what I want my future career to look like, but for now, I want to keep learning and see how I feel after a full year in this role.

Did you make any resolutions? Do you think it’s more important to make lofty, dreamy goals, or (kind of boring) check-off-the-list goals that are more easily attainable?

 

Advertisements

November in Review

I have been away from this space for awhile. Partly due to my workload, partly due to a bit of a social media break, partly due to volunteering, partly due to the holidays, etc etc. I’ve been dealing with some crazy back pain for the past 3+ weeks as well, and all the meds make me need a LOT more sleep. I haven’t been getting up before 6:30, much less at 4:45, lol.

I’m a little bummed that I haven’t had as much desire to write here. When I first started to think about blogging, I wanted to it be funnier and more essay-like. But then I quickly fell into making it all about my New Year’s resolutions. I made some good progress during the first half of the year, but the second half, life has been much more overwhelming than I prefer. I haven’t made much progress at all lately, even after editing and re-prioritizing my goals. I haven’t done any of my new house goals, though I am doing a bit better with my goals for fall.

As has been my refrain for the past several months, I’m mostly just trying to keep my head above water. With one exception: I’m finally making the time to volunteer! After reviewing my progress in October, I felt really crappy that I had done almost zero volunteering this year. I started looking for opportunities in my area and ended up finding a couple of nonprofits that were looking for virtual help. I’m now doing social media for two groups that are near and dear to my heart: an organization that helps spay and neuter pets for lower-income families, and a farm that rescues and rehabilitates unwanted horses. It’s been a lot of work so far and I haven’t figured out the best way for us to work together, but I’m really happy I can help out in some manner 🙂

The rest of the month was a blur. Work keeps on being intense; I can’t tell you how many days I’ve almost cried from the stress. Because of my mysterious back injury, I’ve had to take time off from running. I have gone on short walks the past few days, and not only are they not hurting, they seem to be helping. I’m hopeful that continues so I can get back into an exercise routine. As for our new house, we’re still working on decorating projects – although I will say we have outdone ourselves in terms of Christmas decor outside.

I’m continuing to mostly stay off Facebook. I do have to go on to post for my nonprofits, but I really haven’t been looking at anything personal. I find myself playing stupid word games on my phone with the time I used to spend on Facebook. Not the best use of my time, but a step in the right direction I think!

I read something yesterday about making December the beginning of your plans for the new year. So you don’t have to start your diet, but maybe you find some fun recipes and put together some plans for January. Maybe you don’t start running, but you take a couple of leisurely walks and think about what your route is going to be once you’re up to a 5k. I’m going to take this month to think about what I want 2016 to look like. Will I be job hunting? Will I be vegan? Will I train for another half-marathon or will I start swimming instead? Thinking about this now, planning for it now, I think will help me be more realistic and have a better chance to succeed.

What are your plans for December? Are you focused on the holidays or are you looking ahead to 2016?

 

 

 

Getting Into the Details: Resolution #13

13. Do a volunteer activity once a month.

This is something that matters a lot to me. I used to do a lot of volunteering and was involved with several causes. These days, that volunteerism has pretty much consisted only of automatic monthly donations to a couple of charities. At one point, I really wanted to spend my career with a nonprofit, until I decided my MBA was too expensive for me to also be nonprofit 🙂

In December, I volunteered twice, and it reminded me how good it feels to be giving back. It renewed my interest in volunteering and was the push I needed to make this a resolution and a change in my life for 2015. Unfortunately, I have big issues with obligations, even when it’s to something I really enjoy – even social things! So my challenge is to find activities that don’t require a huge time commitment and are also flexible.

This month, I wanted to participate in a coat drive and a blood drive, both of which took place on MLK day. My husband and and I went to the Red Cross to donate blood, but we both were 0.1 below the 12.5 hemoglobin requirement to donate. Both of us? Too weird. Maybe we were overhydrated or something? It was really disappointing for us. As for the coat drive, I was a failure. I didn’t go through our closets in time to make it to the donation site. But, we’re gathering a huge pile for Goodwill, so hopefully that counts for this month.

We’re also working on a better plan for our monthly donations. Rather than $20 here and there, I’d like to find a local charity and focus our giving with them. My husband had a good idea to try to find fundraising events, so that way, we’re having a good time with our donation money. We’re also interested in volunteering at some of the local parks and hiking trails we enjoy.

Finally, I have volunteer orientation early in February for a pet rescue group just down the street. They only require two hours a month and it sounds like I can drop by whenever. Who doesn’t want to play with puppies???

Oops, I almost forgot!

Throughout the day yesterday, I thought about the resolutions I had made, and realized I left a couple of things out.

12. Practice empathy, be more compassionate and stop being so judgy. I am very open and accepting about the idea of people making choices that are different from mine, but the truth is, that I have a hard time dealing with most of the people I’m around on an almost-daily basis (primarily my co-workers). I also do this with my husband. I don’t know how to describe the feelings I get: sort of angry, definitely disapproving, a little bit annoyed. It’s ultimately none of my business, even if their choices are making them sad and/or unhealthy, and even if I think I have it ALL FIGURED OUT. Because obviously, I don’t, or I wouldn’t be making all these dang resolutions.

13. Do a volunteer activity once a month. I used to be very involved with nonprofits in my area, but after business school and finally getting a “real” job a few years ago, my volunteering really fell off. I still donate money, but it’s rare that I ever donate my time any more. I have issues with obligation and resentment (more on that in the future), but I know I can carve out a few hours here and there and just enjoy it. We also are going to better focus our giving this year. Rather than shelling out $20 to a random assortment of causes and other people’s pet projects, we’ll be looking for fun events to attend, supporting local organizations that matter to us.

14. Travel less often, but more memorably. I think most people are resolving to travel more, but we took a lot of trips in 2014, I was looking at pictures on Facebook yesterday, and realized we traveled so much I had completely forgotten some of the trips we took! I know, I know – first world problems. I work for a hotel company and get discounted rates, and all but one of our trips were to states bordering our own. This year, it’s our fifth wedding anniversary and my 40th birthday, so I’d like those trips to be kind of special. We’re also planning a December trip to the West coast for my best friend’s 40th birthday. If we include my husband’s birthday, that’s four trips to make special. Most of the last-minute, long-weekend road trips were pretty stressful anyway.

15. Find a new job. This could be a new role at my current company (my preferred option), or a new role at a new company. Either way, it’s past time I admit I’m burned out and bored in my current role.

There it is: 15 Resolutions for 2015. Overwhelming? Maybe. But most of these are things I’ve been thinking about for a long time, or even already doing a little. I’m excited to use this blog to explore them all and keep track of my progress.