Tuesday, February 1, 2011

personal resolutions 2011

Now that's it's February 1st, and I've already shared my Business Goals, Photography Goals, and Culinary Resolutions for the next year eleven months, I thought it was about time to finally share my personal resolutions. Some people pooh-pooh the idea of resolutions, but I am definitely a resolution maker. Notice I did not say I am a resolution keeper. My so-called resolutions typically consist of a laundry list of things I'd like to do in the following year - usually about 35 things such as Paint the entire house! or Travel to 10 new states! or Climb Mt. Everest and then ski down it while towing a tractor trailer with my teeth! You catch my drift - there's no possible way to accomplish all of these things and by the end of the year I just feel like a complete failure. Not to mention, my previous resolution lists were simply To Do Lists and not actually resolutions - which is why those things are included in my Life List.

In December, I did start jotting down some ideas of what I'd envisioned for 2011...

Focus on the two of us | Go swimming | Call my parents | Learn to love winter | Read a lot | Spend as much time outside as possible | Take baths | Meet new friends | Visit old friends | Volunteer | Get up early | Go to bed early | Focus on Funnelcloud Studio | Write letters to a pen pal | Eat outside | Celebrate Larry's 40th birthday | Light candles | Photograph zoo animals | Set up a reading chair | Send happy mail | Throw a party | Dress up more | Wear hats | Simplify | Focus on the present | Listen to music | Draw a lot | Clean up as we go | Wear dresses | Go the the library | Listen to podcasts | Be active | Exercise | Focus on the present

...and then I realized there were some common themes and I used those to define my goals for the year.

So this year I have a new approach to resolution making: I've limited myself to six goals - things that I either have to work/focus on consistently throughout the year or will take me the entire year to complete, rather than simply checking an item off the list.  They say that the key to setting successful goals is that they must be specific and measurable. My first two are - and the last four are more vague - and I'm ok with that. I have some ideas in my head as to what they mean to me - and how I achieve them is flexible. They aren't necessarily things that I'll be able to cross off at the end of the year, but if I'm successful, I'll be able to look back at 2011 and feel good about it.

1. Read all of the Pulitzer prize winning novels from the last decade.

   2000  Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
   2001  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
   2002  Empire Falls by Richard Russo
   2003  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
   2004  The Known World by Edward P. Jones
   2005  Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
   2006  March by Geraldine Brooks
   2007  The Road by Cormac McCarthy
   2008  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
   2009  Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
   2010  Tinkers by Paul Harding 

I was shocked to discover that I had only read one book (The Road) from this list, despite the fact that we have several of them on our bookshelf (and I'd even started reading some of them). To make up for already reading The Road, I am also going to include the 2010 winner on my list (Tinkers) - which I actually finished reading in January.

2. Read from a book every day.
I like to consider myself an avid reader, but it's a total lie. Confession: I read seven books in 2010. That's an occasional reader. I do love to read, I just never seem to make time for it and am easily distracted. And so far I've done great with this goal - I've read every day in 2011, even if it's just a few pages, and I started reading my third book of the year in January. The trick for me is reading a few pages throughout the day - while I'm waiting for my lunch to heat up, etc, instead of trying to read before bed when I'm too tired (or tempted to stay up all night finishing the book).

3. Volunteer.

When I was a student, I used to tutor children with intellectual disabilities - and I was also involved in the Special Olympics. I'd love to do something like this again and am researching what group I'd like to get involved with. Of course there are other issues near and dear to me, too - animal rescue, for one, so we'll see what I end up choosing.

4. Be active.
This includes everyone's goal of getting more exercise, but also just getting off my butt and doing stuff. Taking the dogs out more, getting outside, etc.

5. Focus on people.

I've done a terrible job of this so far - I've been buried under Funnelcloud Studio for the past month and as a result feel like I've been living the life of a hermit. But I need to remember that friends and family (and of course, Larry) are far more important than work. (And yes, it's sad that I actually have to write this down to remind myself, but it's so easy to get distracted by all the responsibilities of daily life.) I want to make the effort to see my out-of-town friends and chat with them on the phone. I want to meet new people, too - through volunteering, Etsy, blogging, etc.

6. Focus on myself.
This may sound selfish after wanting to volunteer and focus on other people, but I also need to remember to make time for myself.


Victoria said...

your to-do lists and resolutions have been totally inspiring me!!! One thing I need to add to mine? Take/submit my messy hair picture ;)

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Yes, Victoria! Definitely send in a pic!