Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Yeah, I'm one of THOSE people. I make resolutions most years. I fail at them most years, too, but at least I mean well. If I'm not bettering myself, or if I don't have a "project", I start to feel stagnant, restless, and generally unhappy. 

My problem is, I get a little too ambitious. I take on too much, and then things start to slide. I'll work on something for awhile, then get bored or overwhelmed, and then I drop that and work on something else, and so on. 

Focus is not my strong suit. 

(Maybe learning to focus should be a resolution.)

I have a plan this year, though. I'm buying a planner--one of those old-fashioned *gasp* paper ones. And I'm laying out my days. If I'm going to make goals, I need to set aside time to accomplish them, every week. I tend to expect myself to succeed without actually putting buttresses in place to help me. I'm beginning to realize that I will either set myself up to succeed, or set myself up to fail; there's not really much of anything in-between. 

Here's a list of the things I'll be working on in 2013:

1) Saving money
I wouldn't say I have money problems, but I definitely don't save as well as I should. It's become more obvious to me this year as there have been more big-ticket type items that I want--like a DSLR. I'll probably be needing a new car relatively soon (I'm still driving my first car!), and I'd like to be able to take that on without being stressed. Tyler and I have also been saving for England, and really want to make more deposits into that, since it's been such a long-term dream of mine.

Plan: Budget, Dave Ramsey style. A lot of the money I spend could be saved if I would just plan better, and stick to it--like making lunches in advance so I'm not tempted to eat out. It's easy to justify Jimmy John's if all I have to eat at work is a cup of ramen in my desk drawer. I also get in "moods" to shop (especially for clothes--I blame all you fashion bloggers!), and I just flat-out need to avoid stores/Etsy when I feel that way.

2) Eating better.
This is such a typical, boring New Year's Resolution, but I need to do it. I never thought I would have a doctor intervene in my diet, and it scared me a little bit when it happened last month. I'm not having any serious health problems yet (thankfully), but I don't want it to get to that point. It was a bit of a wake-up call. I'm going gluten-free, and I'm doing it the healthy way. I'm surprised at how many things are gluten-free but completely unhealthy (hello, Cheetos!) or how many recipes for gluten-free sweets there are. Crazy!

Plan: I know that a sure-fire way to kill a diet is by depriving yourself, so I still plan on cutting myself some breaks, particularly at the beginning (hello again, Cheetos!). I really want to focus on raw, healthy foods, though. I'm going to roast a metric crap-ton of vegetables, which I love, and cook from scratch on my days off. I've been really inspired by a lot of the gluten-free and healthy-eating blogs I've read, and I think it's completely do-able for me.  Meal-planning is going to be my saving grace. (Is it possible to be both a free-spirit and an anal-retentive, obsessive organizer?)

3) Exercise.
Here I go again with the boring resolutions. Like eating better, though, I really need to do it. I was a competitive gymnast for years, and I was in awesome shape. I'm talking you-could-count-my-abs shape. Now I get winded walking up two flights of stairs (which I do every day at work, mind you). I don't struggle with my weight, so that's not my motivation--I actually lost two pounds over Thanksgiving; my metabolism is a huge mystery to me.  I would like to be able to survive an entire Jillian Michaels workout DVD without having to sit down after 15 minutes because I'm dizzy, can't breathe, and starting to black out. How embarrassing. Also embarrassing? We've lived in our apartment since May, and I've never set foot in the on-site workout center.

Plan: Start slow. I'm not going to burn myself out the first month. I went to the Y downtown several times a week in grad school, and actually loved going, but I had to work up to that point. (I also went with friends, which helped a ton; that part could be harder now, because I can't convince my husband to wake up at 4:00 and workout with me, and most of my friends don't want to drive so far out of town.) My plan right now is to heavily focus on types of exercise that I really enjoy (like the elliptical and yoga), even if it doesn't make for a very well-balanced regimen. Once I get used to that, I'll start incorporating other types of exercise too. I'll start at 2-3 days per week and work my way up.

3) Blog consistently.
So far I'm doing really well with this, but blogging again is something I've just started doing in the last month, so the newness is still there. It's more exciting than a chore right now, but that will probably wear off. I want to keep to a minimum of three times a week.

Plan: Plan blogs by the month, and write as much in advance as I can. I work 10 hour days, so I don't have the time to write every day. I have a notebook dedicated to this already (anal-retentive, obsessive organizer, remember?) and I love looking foward to what's coming up.

4) Get out once a week.
I know there are some weeks that this won't happen, but I have a tendency to work super hard Monday-Thursday, and then crash in the apartment the whole weekend. I'm actually really introverted, and I have to have alone time to recharge--otherwise, I'm exhausted and cranky. I live in a great town, though, with tons of things to do! It's a shame that I don't experience it more often. I think I've become even more introverted since getting married, and though most of my friends live in different places all over the country, I need to spend more time doing things with the ones who live nearby.

Plan: Make a list of things to do, and do them! It's not terribly complicated. I need to schedule outings as much as exercise and work.

5) Pick up learning French.
I took two years of French in high school, and I completely didn't appreciate it at the time. I didn't really have to work very hard at it, and instead of taking advantage of that and pushing myself, I did the minimum needed to get an A, and that was it. I still have some French books, and I'm amazed at how much comprehension I've retained, and how well I can still construct sentences and conjugate verbs. (My oral expression is an entirely different thing altogether. Yikes.)

Plan: Use the resources I still have to pick up where I left off. Eventually I'd like to invest in Rosetta Stone. I'm going to start by dedicating just a couple hours a week, and I probably won't start until February or March, just because there are a lot of changes I have to adjust to, and this one is a little further down the list.

Those are my resolutions for 2013. Believe me, I have a lot more to work on, but these will be my focus for the new year. Do you make resolutions? What are you working on in the upcoming months?

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