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?

 

It’s Moving Week!

Well, it seems to be official: we are closing on our new home on Thursday and moving out of this hotel on Friday. Finally! It will be a full six weeks since we left the townhouse, and six MONTHS since we started the whole buying/selling/moving process. Along the way, we’ve changed our minds a few times and learned a lot about what we really want. Or at least what we think we want right now 🙂

Since we’ve been under contract and I don’t have any chores (one good thing about hotel living!), I’ve had a lot of time to think about life in our new home. The house is 40 years old and mostly renovated, but there are many projects we’re considering for further updates. We’ll have about half an acre, so that means we can add yard projects too.

I have my goals for 2015, my goals for the second half of the year, my goals for the fall, but I want to add some goals for life in our new home:

  1. Grow stuff. The yard needs a lot of clearing and planning, but I really want to try to get some fall/winter crops planted before it’s too late. It might just be some container gardening a la The Barefoot Budget, but I’m hoping we can grow some lettuces at the very least.
  2. Bake bread. Yes, I’ve been mostly low-carb, and I want to continue that, but I also want to try some new bread recipes and really understand the nuances of bread. I’m excited to try this low carb recipe, as well as this hearty, seedy braided bread on a rainy Sunday morning 🙂
  3. Prep meals. I loooove seeing other people’s posts about meal prep/planning. I’ve dabbled in it a bit in the past, but I want to really commit to it now. It’s just so appealing to think about spending a few hours on the weekend getting myself ready to eat healthfully during the week. Also I really want an excuse to buy these.
  4. Stick to a budget. We’re going to try something different this time. We are quite committed to earning travel rewards via our credit cards (which, yes, we pay off in full each month, like the grown-ups we are try to be), and I don’t want to give up the free flights and hotel stays. Instead, we’re going to use those credit cards to buy gift cards each month. We’ll get them for our usual grocery stores, gas stations, Starbucks, etc, as well as our favorite clothing stores (anyone else obsessed with TJ Maxx/Marshall’s?). Once the gift cards are used up, that’s the end of our ability to spend in that category for the month. I’ll keep y’all updated on our success/failure here 🙂
  5. DIY. Jack and I are the worst about doing-it-ourselves. We will pay anyone for anything. (The one thing I refuse to pay for is house cleaning; it just makes me feel super lazy to not clean up after myself.) But this time around, we’re going to force ourselves to in-source. There’s no reason we can’t learn to tile our own backsplash and fix up our own yard. We’ve done much harder things together and love the sense of accomplishment.

Here’s hoping my motivation and excitement will continue once we’ve actually moved it 🙂

Project Downsize: Closet Cleanout

In my last post, I was feeling very upbeat about tackling some closets. I took care of the hall closet at the bottom of the stairs, and the closet in the office. I moved a ton of stuff out to the garage sale pile. And I even remembered to take pictures! Success all around 🙂

These are my befores:

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They both were pretty much just catch-alls for junk. Lots of decor I no longer care for, wrapping paper, old computers, office supplies. I threw out a fair amount of stuff, but most of it went into the garage sale pile.

This was The Pile before:

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And this is The Pile after:

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It’s so much bigger it had to be a landscape-view!

And here are my closets after:

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I love having these pictures to remind myself of the progress. I should probably start doing this for weight loss/getting toned!

This weekend, we’re planning on tackling The Pile, trying to get it organized and deciding what we’ll put on Craigslist. Is it sad that I’m actually looking forward to it?

Happy Friday!

On Productivity

I wonder how much my mood, my optimism, my health, and my productivity are affected by my hormones. I hate to be a slave to hormones, but I think I might just be. I wonder how much of my current positivity and enthusiasm has to do with where I am in my cycle. I probably should have a better understanding of this at this point in my life 🙂

ANYWAY.

Today I am feeling great. I am working from home, which is likely contributing to my good mood. I also had a very strong run this morning, so the endorphins + finally not feeling sick are adding to my optimistic mindset. I am up to tackle some Project Downsize-related projects today! In between work projects, of course.

I will remember to take before-and-after photos this time. I may do a bit more work in the kitchen, but I think I’ll focus my time in our office. I have been cramming anything and everything in that closet; I don’t even remember what’s in there anymore.

Jack has been doing an amazing job lately, selling stuff online. He got rid of all his radio-controlled airplanes and all of his old musical equipment. I think he’s going to take all of that money and use on a very nice vintage acoustic guitar. It’s really motivating me to go through our closets and garage sale piles to see what I could sell on Craigslist for more money than I would get for it at a yard sale. Of course I’m super paranoid about Craigslist. I won’t let anyone come to our house, and I will definitely be careful about meeting them someplace safe.

Do you have bad/good stories about your Craigslist experiences? Do you think it’s worth it to try to squeeze a few extra bucks out of our stuff?