Kinda, Sorta New Year’s Resolutions 2020

Starting two years ago, in 2018, I set specific goals for myself for the year. 2018 and 2019 went very well and I decided to keep at it this year. I’ve heard that few people keep their resolutions. I suspect it’s because, in part, many goals are general: lose weight, exercise more, drink less and so on or they are just plain daunting: run a marathon, get a graduate degree, backpack across Europe, and so on. My little resolutions are just that. Little. I look at areas of my life that need work and commit to very specific goals. I write them down and keep track on simple, loose-leaf paper. I guess if you had a proper computer (I don’t) you could make fancy files. For me, seeing the accomplishments written down – and adding entries – is part of the pleasure. People who like to make lists will probably understand this!

I have a lot of down-time in winter so it’s a perfect time to get started. Having specific plans in mind helps a lot – it keeps me from being aimless or frittering away my time. Also, this winter the local public library was closed for two months for renovations, and as I am very dependent on the library and its various resources, it meant I needed to occupy myself elsewhere.

I have re-booted my reading habit (which I’d let slip) with a goal of 20 books in both 2018 and 2019. I exceeded those so for 2020 the goal is 30 books. This month (January) I’ve read 7 books and started on an eighth. Knowing that the library would be closed, I planned in advance and trotted around to the little free libraries in my community to make sure I had reading material. There are five(!) “mini libraries” within walking distance of where I live which is terrific. (If you know me and would like to know where they are all are, feel free to ask.) Because I was using the little libraries, I re-read two excellent books, Elie Wiesel’s Night and Jeannette Wall’s The Glass Castle.

I watched a lot of dvds and series in 2019. A lot. I decided that I needed to cut back. I’ve watched just four DVDs and no series this month. I am effectively taking what has become a habit and turning it back into a treat. (When I was a kid, movies were a rare treat and that added to how special they were.) Also, as is the case with books, a lot of movies just aren’t all that; maybe they’re average or even mediocre. I’d rather watch less and enjoy them more, if that makes sense. The other week I happened to catch most of What Lies Beneath, a 2000 Harrison Ford/Michelle Pfeiffer film on TV and was so engaged that after I found it in the library system and watched the whole thing from the start (and without any scenes missing to add commercials). I don’t know how I missed this film when it first came out; it’s just my kind of movie. A psychological thriller that’s just scary enough (in the the Alfred Hitchcock vein). I see that RottenTomatoes.com doesn’t care for this film; oh well.

It’s been important to me this winter to make sure that I occupy myself by myself, without all the outside distractions and plays for my attention. I have kept my own counsel. It feels really good. I like being online but I want to be sure I can entertain myself without being online and without relying on “entertainment.” It is so easy to spend time online or to watch movies; it takes more effort on my part to do other activities.

Starting last year, yoga has become a more regular part of my life. My goal this year is to do the “sun salutation” (a series of poses that take all of five minutes) fifty times. I plan to do 20 longer sessions with the help of instructional DVDs. I found a new favorite, Mia Togo. I also like Tara Stiles. (I haven’t found a man with a yoga DVD that I like – so far). This month I’ve done the sun salutation four times and longer yoga sessions also four times. I never feel like yoga is time wasted.

I am always getting rid of things (trash, recycle, giveaway) but now I keep track and set goals. I got rid of a ton of stuff in 2019 and set a goal of getting rid of 50 things for 2020. I’ve already got 23 things on the list so I am sure I’ll exceed the goal. De-cluttering, culling, letting go of excess and things that no longer suit, feels fabulous. I like the idea that it “frees up space” in every sense of the phrase.

Last year I wanted to strengthen mind and body and I think I did that. I still want that goal. On New Year’s Day I went to a playground (no one else was there) and made sure I could still do a few “tricks” on the bars. My able assistant Gumby demonstrated as a stand-in for me in a post last year. I also made sure I could climb the pole at another playground. I don’t like climbing the pole but I think it’s good for me to know I can.

The skinny red pole I climb

In 2019 my blogging friend at Pistachios Conspiracy #63 mentioned trying to do a pull-up. We had a brief exchange about attempting that in 2019. She accomplished it but I didn’t really try but once (and I hadn’t made it a real goal). She mentioned jumping up to do it so on New Year’s Day I tried that. Three times in a row I jumped up and tried to reach the bar but it just wasn’t happening. In the middle of the night I woke up and several body parts were hurting that hadn’t been before! I think a) when I try I should try only once per “session” and b) I’ll call it a success if I can touch my chin to the bar. (In my New Year’s attempts I realized, as I was straining mightily, that I didn’t have a clear idea of what I could call a successful pull-up.) My goal is eight attempts. Admittedly, I haven’t tried again since the New Year’s day attempt but perhaps this weekend….

Blogger Don’t Curse the Nurse recently mentioned (in lieu of doing a pull-up) that she’d accomplished a “three-minute plank.” I knew what planks were but hadn’t heard of a three-minute one. This sounded like a good challenge so I immediately tried it. I did do a three minute plank but I did stick my butt up in the air briefly three times to alter the position. It is hard! The fronts of my shoulder sockets were feeling it immediately; this isn’t a body part I even think about but I did during the three minute plank. Yowee.

I went back and forth about mentioning this next goal because I wondered if I should just do it and keep quiet about it. Anyway, it’s a goal of doing “good deeds.” I routinely try to do good things in my life but I thought that if I made a specific goal (of 20) I’d be more conscious of the idea in general. (I have heard of goals where people do good deeds that sound kind of forced/disingenuous to me and I don’t want to do that; I want it to be genuine and freely done.) The idea is that I’ll do something good for someone else – or something beneficial to multiple people – without any expectation of a reward of any kind. It doesn’t have to be huge but it has to be more than holding a door for someone or picking up a piece of trash. It can’t be routine things I do all the time. I want to make a little effort. Maybe I already do 20 such things (or more) a year but I absolutely have no idea so far as a number. And I’ve said this several times on the blog but I strongly maintain that if you are too taxed yourself (from work, or a problem, or stress, or depression or grief or any of the kinds of things that sap strength and motivation) you typically don’t have a lot of extra to give. I am feeling less taxed in my life and feel I have a bit more to offer. That’s the impetus behind this goal.

I am fairly new to Scrabble but I love it. I was playing with some people but not enjoying it that much (too much arguing) so I practice by playing against myself. It’s definitely good for me. It makes me think. Last summer I got a great deal from Amazon and bought a board. I have a goal of playing (against myself) ten times this year. I’ve already done a few sessions so that’s an easy goal. In an effort to find someone to play against, I put a notice on a local bulletin board earlier in the month. However, because I don’t entirely trust such things, I asked for someone who was “reasonably normal” and “reasonably good-natured” for fun, competitive games. Nobody responded. I thought I’d shake at least somebody out of the trees but no! I may try another ad but frankly, I am wary of who it might attract (hence the requests for normalcy and good nature).

My year is off to a really good start with this month. I want to mention one other thing that happened (this month) that is not goal-related but deserves a mention. Somehow I won a $5 Amazon gift card from blogger Becky. I didn’t know I was in the running so that was a lovely surprise!

21 thoughts on “Kinda, Sorta New Year’s Resolutions 2020

  1. Ally Bean

    I remember back when I thought I’d try to get to a one-minute plank. I never did but it was an admirable goal that got me at least moving in the right direction. I have to admit that in the last few years I’ve become less interested in accomplishing things, a fact that hadn’t occurred to me until I read your post. I might need to get myself more focused on doing specific things again, like on purpose. You inspire.

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    1. Colette Post author

      Aw thanks Ally. Time went by and I got complacent, sort of coasting. I think I was losing my edge. I didn’t like it and that’s what got me started on this two years ago. I don’t know about you but I tend to just assume I can still do things I used to do (mental or physical things) without really testing it. I feel better when I push myself a bit.

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  2. Pistachios

    I can’t believe your library is closed for two months! I hope the renovations are worth it!
    Having said that, I’m still trying to work through my own collection of books before seeking new material, so maybe it would be good for me if my regular library was closed for a few months…

    I think I hadn’t explained my pull-up very well, but I’d meant that I’m able to reach the bar with my feet still on the ground (my park has bars of different heights), so I don’t start with my arms completely straight. But I’ve still been working on this, and I don’t use the assistance of my legs much anymore!
    Planking was easier to achieve for me than the pull-ups. I find it helps to time myself by playing a song instead of just setting a timer. It distracts from the pain and struggle, I guess 😁

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    1. Colette Post author

      Haha! Pain and struggle indeed. I should have guessed you’d already been doing timed planks. I was reading something yesterday (I may eventually put the link in a post) that pointed out that pull ups are working against gravity so that’s part of why they’re so hard. I hadn’t thought of it that way The earth is conspiring against me!

      I think I understand what you are saying about your pull-ups; the bar is low? You’re taller than it? The bar I am using is not only high; it’s a bit out of reach. I tried again yesterday; close but not there. I find that I can climb-a-pole because I am using my feet/legs so there are more workers on the team!

      Fortunately my library has reopened. No, the improvements didn’t justify a two-month closure but I shall get past my bitterness! It actually forced me to read what I had and inspired new appreciation for this fabulous resource (that is the public library).

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      1. Pistachios

        Haha very true! In that sense, I suppose underwater pull-ups would be a good cheat method 😉

        Yep, the bar is low enough that I can reach it while still standing (I’m not that tall). Strangely enough, I’ve never been good at climbing poles. Maybe it’s time I tried again…

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  3. battlewagon13

    I think it’s fantastic that you set these goals for yourself – making them more specific than “losing weight” and then tracking them through the year. My goal is to read all of your posts this year and make sure you MEET the goals you’ve set 😊. If you ever go online hit me up and we can do an online scrabble game very easily.

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    1. Colette Post author

      Thanks Tim. You are quite right; the specificity of the goals makes all the difference and keeps me engaged. I have heard of on-line Scrabble but am a little fuzzy about it…is it an App? I don’t understand how these things work (like Words with friends). I like your offer!

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  4. Camie

    What lovely goals. I’m a list maker too. I’ve only set one meaningful resolution so far this year, but considering that my year started out rough (my dad has terminal cancer), I’m pacing myself with my goals. I think I’ll add one new goal each month. Congrats on all your achievements!

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    1. Colette Post author

      I’m sorry. When you have a lot on your plate self-improvement/goals just aren’t a big priority. (Just doing enough to function can seem like a lot.) Monthly goals sounds like a great idea if you can swing it!

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  5. Pingback: About my winter (and 2020 resolutions) | WriterInSoul

  6. Pingback: A bit about me and update on 2020 “resolutions” | WriterInSoul

  7. nrhatch

    LOL @ “I asked for someone who was “reasonably normal” and “reasonably good-natured” for fun, competitive games.” . . . and 2nd LOL @ “Nobody responded.”

    If I lived nearby, I would offer up my reasonably normal and reasonably good-natured services for a rousing game of Scrabble with you.

    We love “What Lies Beneath” ~ we saw it twice about 10 years apart and thought it was terrific both times.

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    1. Colette Post author

      Yeaaaah, I thought it was funny too that nobody responded to my little ad.😕 Somehow I feel obligated to qualify requests like that!

      You revisit movies infrequently too? I like to let a chunk of time pass between viewings of favorites so I can appreciate them “freshly” – and see if they hold up. I’m only sorry I missed “What Lies Beneath” when it was released. It’s a beautiful looking film among other things. I shall applaud your taste!😊

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      1. nrhatch

        With most movies, we’re “one and done.” During the pandemic, we’ve rewatched a few movies (ones I rated highly on Netflix 13 or so years ago).

        We watch them again . . . but it feels like the “first” time (since we’ve forgotten so much).

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