Resolutions and planning – an update

In December, the luminous Bloglily  challenged many bloggers to share what kind of plans they make in order to balance the things that make up their lives. At the time I decided to revisit my endless to-do lists, my food journals, my exercise logs because I found them very overwhelming. I did some streamlining and decided (a.) to track my food intake solely on the weight watchers website, (b.) to track my exercise at the gym and (c.) to never have more than ten items on my ‘to do’ list for any given month. My life definitely feels more organized, what with the things I like to track being kept in their proper place instead of in my beloved five-subject notebooks.  This is how January has turned out:

To Do:

1. Fact check questionable facts in novel to date  (they were really bothering me!)

2. Organize other writing projects and put away

3. Organize calendar of writing contests for year

4. Eye check up, new contacts, new glasses (2/3 the way done, just need to get glasses but with moving I’m pushing this expense back 1 pay check)

5. Teeth cleaning

6. Pictures into photo albums, frames, etc

7. Buy a new non-stick frying pan

8. Finish first part of novel (but, hey, I did get a new job, so I think this is a wash, really. And I did write another chapter)

9. Replace oven mitts and towels (okay, so I didn’t so much accomplish this as decide to simply have S. throw away the old ones when he joins me in Pittsburgh, and treat myself to new upon my move, buy hey, the issue is resolved which is really the point of these lists!)

10. Scrub kitchen

I also had a goal weight in mind to reach this month, and I achieved that as well. So all in all I must say I am much happier with this system of planning and am thrilled Bloglily challenged us to it.  Moreover, this system still allows me to compulsively plan my days in my brand-new day planner, which I do love to do every night.

Now, onto New Year’s Resolutions. I decided this year to rid myself of all the extraneous crap tearing my attention away from the things I truly find pleasure in. As I wrote about earlier, I gave away my knitting and tossed my running shoes, and I must say I don’t intend to golf again for quite some time. Don’t get me wrong…I at least moderately enjoyed all of these things, and more than moderately enjoyed golf, but if I take time to consider things I really, truly love, these things include yoga, cooking, writing, reading, movies and spending all sorts of time with of friends and family. Assuming (1.) I will for the most part always work a full-time job, and assuming (2.) I have at least five novels I want to write, not to mention essays, short stories and movies, and assuming (3.) I would like to have children someday, well, it just seems ridiculous to spend time on anything else that doesn’t give me such direct pleasure. With these thoughts in mind, I made my New Year’s resolutions to coincide with some of them. Since New Year’s resolutions only really work if one checks in with them regularly AFTER making them, now seemed like a good time.  Now, I have way too many resolutions, I always do, but here are a few, and how I’m doing so far:

Make one positive change for the environment each month in 2008

Success! This month I challenged myself to give up purchasing coffee and bottled water, one of which I purchased every day. I had minimal trouble with this, not once purchasing a bottle of water and purchasing coffee three times, each time having it poured into my travel mug. I accidently bought a tea that came in a cardboard cup. So, assuming I would normally buy coffee, say, six times a week, and water five times a week, I threw away 44 fewer things away. I feel comfortable in my ability to keep this up next month. In looking at next month I’ve decided to count my move as my kind nod to the environment. Currently, I drive 35 miles each way to work. Often, I meet up with friends after work that do not live in Detroit or near my suburb. It’s conceivable in any given day I drive at least 80 miles.  We did find an apartment (more on that soon) and it is five blocks from one of my offices, four blocks from the bus stop, within walking distance of grocery stores, book stores, movie theaters and bars. It’s less than 3 miles from  my brother’s restaurant. if on any given day I do decide to drive, it’s unlikely I’ll have more than five miles to go. I will work on measuring the results in March, but I will need you all to remind me of my high horse when I start bitching about going to the laundry mat or finding parking spaces.

To never again do any sort of exercise I dislike

Easiest resolution in the world!

To have something planned in each day that I enjoy, and keep track of it

This I was much less successful with doing. I stopped doing this around the time of my final job interview, and before that I had a pretty crappy start to the month. Must revisit this in February. Here is an anemic example of this goal:

January 1st – I enjoyed the movie Atonement with A., and beer and nachos

January 2cnd – I treated myself to sugar in my coffee this morning

January 3rd – hideous cold. home sick. did enjoy Nigella Lawson’s hot toddy recipe.

January 4th – see above.

January 5th – really really really sick

January 6th – M. spent the night, drank wine, good talk

January 7th – Rear-ended on way to yoga class! Dude took off! SUCK.

January 8th – S. delayed at airport. And delayed and delayed and delayed.

January 9th – dinner I was to enjoy was canceled

January 10th – experiment with tapenade (result, terrible)

January 15th – MSU basketball game

So, I will continue to work on the above resolutions and plans. And, since I don’t think I often pose questions to all of you, I’m going to today. How are your resolutions and plans coming? Update here or on your own blogs, but let us know. After all, the novels aren’t going to write themselves, nor are the new recipes going to create themselves, and the pounds aren’t going to disappear through wishful thinking, and no day should be remembered for the argument with your boss or the dismal dinner party you attended out of obligation – there should be beauty and light and each day should be remembered in it’s own unique way, for sugar in the morning coffee, or time with friends and family. How are you, in this month of January, 2008?

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6 Responses to Resolutions and planning – an update

  1. Dorothy W. says:

    Most of my goals were about relaxing in my attitude toward books and reading, and I think I’ve done that — so far so good! (It helps that I didn’t make that many resolutions …)

  2. Make Tea Not War says:

    My one specific resolution was to get a minimum of 30 minutes exercise a day- no excuses, no exceptions. And so far so good.

    My more general one was to focus more on my job and to waste less time on the internet. That’s sort of working but I’m finding it relatively thankless and unfun at the moment and am definitely backsliding a bit. I have many other vague lower priority ones like be more houseproud and no alcohol during the week but everytime I think of the latter it just really makes me want a glass of wine or a gin so I’m not succeeding with that.

    Maybe if I sustain the the 30 minutes of exercise a day one that will be enough as my relentless quest for self improvement and the subsequent berating of myself when I don’t manage everything gets quite exhausting at times.

  3. Emily Barton says:

    I think you’ve done fabulously in January, especially considering the fact you were also busy getting a new job. So, I made two resolutions this year: write five new ghost stories instead of playing around with old ones and get back into my old blogging rhythm. Then, I made that third one about reading at least three books I own before buying one new one. Have done horribly with the first resolution (although driving back from Connecticut on Saturday, a novel — something I was NOT planning on writing — started writing itself in my head, and I came home to write both the prologue and the epilogue. Now if I end up spending ’08 writing all the stuff that goes between those two pieces instead of ghost stories, I’d say that’s fine). I think I’m back into a pretty good, steady blogging rhythm. We won’t even talk about the ridiculous book-buying resolution, especially since I already addressed it in one of those “more rhythmic” blog posts.

  4. Well done, Courtney, you’re doing brilliantly with your goals.

    Mine was self-discipline and I’ve joined – and am attending – a gym, completed my tax, done one of the two outstanding invoices from 2007 and have written 22,000 words of a novel (8,000 fresh and 14,000 repurposed from my last attempt). So thanks for asking, because it makes me realise I’m doing rather well.

    Off to finish that last invoice, then. Byeee.

  5. Stefanie says:

    I am impressed with how organized you are and how well you are doing on your goals! I hope you are giving yourself a big pat on the back for all the good work you’re doing!

  6. Dorothy, LOL – that’s a GREAT goal, though…the blogosphere can make one psychotic about reading!
    Ms. Tea…ooh, that would be a hard one, but one I hope to carry with me as well (the internet resolution) into my new position! And I think if I told myself I wasn’t drinking during the week, that is ALL I would want to do…
    Emily – WRITE THE NOVEL. If it came to you then do it. Inspiration for novel writing is fleeting if not nailed down, but can be sustainable!
    Charlotte – I love how the term self discipline is guiding your year. I think you are doing remarkably well.
    Stefanie- thank you! Of course, I didn’t mention the goals I’m doing truly poorly with…

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