Tag Archives: Goals

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!

About them 2019 resolutions…

Okay, so I did all right. I won’t be crossing quite everything off the lists but I’m basically satisfied. In both 2018 and 2019 I made highly specific “kinda, sorta resolutions” tailored to me. It’s worked out well.
I read 33 books. The goal was 20. I did most of my reading in the early part of the year. I put check marks by 13 of them, indicating which ones I really appreciated.  I can’t read the way I used to; it takes more to hold my attention, more to get me to sit in a spot for hours with a book. Because of that, six of my 33 were books I’d read in years past and wanted to read again. Sometimes I just need a sure thing. I have little patience these days for trying to get into a book, trying to relate to characters, or trying to care about the subject matter. I get restless. And I KNOW there are books – like all things – which can hold me; it’s a matter of finding them.

A year ago I bought a yoga mat and a DVD player for the TV in the living room, the only place (other than outside!) where I have space for doing yoga. As with the reading, most of my yoga was done earlier in the year. I am very active outdoors most of the year and didn’t need more exercise of any stripe. Because I hadn’t totally factored that in I fell somewhat short of my intentions. I’ve done the five-minute “sun salutation” 38 of 50 planned times and the 30-minutes of yoga just half of 25 planned times. That said, when I DID do yoga it was usually in 40-45 minute increments per the instructional DVDs.

I like yoga. I don’t worry much about fussy breathing or learning all the poses’ names, or anything that might daunt, bore, or intimidate me. To me, yoga is exercise. Exercise focused on strength, balance, and stretch. It’ll make your body move in ways it wouldn’t in the normal course of a day which is an especially good idea for anyone who is aging. Otherwise you end up like the tin man!😯 I want to be strong, agile, and spry as long as possible. The way I live is dependent on it at many levels. I will not go down easily. I know I’ll be doing yoga over the winter.

I did ZIPPO with learning Italian from cds. That fell off the map in short order because I wasn’t enjoying it and I wasn’t learning Italian. All I can say is I recently heard “piazza” somewhere or other and knew it meant plaza.😐 I think I ‘d like to learn – or try to learn – key phrases and words at least as a starting-off point rather than attempt the language itself. That, or I need different cds. I felt inept very quickly with the set I was using. Other than English, I have never felt I had an aptitude for languages and my opinion after this year hasn’t changed a whit.

Thai cooking wasn’t a success either. Thai cooking, it seems, requires a lot of ingredients I don’t typically have and more trouble than I wanted to invest. I did attempt spring rolls because I love them when I have them out but mine, which I decided to bake since I cook NOTHING in pots of oil, were okay, not great.  Instead, I continued to make this Thai-inspired cole slaw. If I can find more recipes like it, I’d definitely try them. Lime, peanuts, cilantro, be still my heart!

I watched a lot of DVDs, both movies and series. I had wanted an idea of the number since I’d never kept track. The thing I realized is that as with books, I need the right movies or series to hold me. I ADORE movies, as I adore books and music. But a lot of each is just average, nothing special, not to me. I want the gems, the ones I get excited about, the ones that thrill me, and make me sit back in awe of someone else’s brilliance and accomplishment. How did they do that?! That’s the feeling I want. That’s why I read, watch movies/series, and listen to music.  I want to have that O-MI-GOD feeling. Am I demanding? Do I expect too much? Yeah, well maybe. But once you’ve had that feeling, it’s Continue reading

Update on my New Year’s “kinda, sorta resolutions”

At the start of the year I set a few kinda, sorta New Year’s resolutions. Basically I had simple goals for 2018: to make 10 new recipes, to read 20 books, and to visit my local lake/park 10 times. I have already revisited my progress in March. I’m back to say I’VE READ 20 BOOKS!! Go Colette, go Colette! Fifteen were nonfiction; five fiction. I like memoirs and read several. My favorite book of the twenty was a very funny memoir, You’ll Grow Out of It by Jesse Klein. I also was very impressed with Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan. My page-turner novel was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (I subsequently watched the movie; it lacked something as compared with the book).

What reading twenty books in seven months has made very clear to me is how little I’ve been reading – in any kind of depth or quantity – for years. The internet, and life to some lesser extent, totally screwed up my ability to read (a book) and I had to get it back. Reading requires a different gear, one that had become somewhat unfamiliar. It’s like meeting up with an old friend and falling back into step together, ultimately wondering why you ever drifted in the first place.

I’ve exceeded my recipes goal, doing most of my cooking in winter. I haven’t made any new recipes lately.

After knocking out several in winter, I have slacked on lake visits. I got busy in the spring and it slid off my priorities. Which is kinda odd, considering lake visits are actually the easiest of the trio, requiring nothing, per my goals, other than merely going there. I have a few more to make my goal of ten.  I went this past Saturday and took a few photos for the blog. I can only take credit for framing these shots; my tablet has a bunch of “filters” and I opted to use the litho one on these for an interesting effect.

 

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Check out the Litho Squirrel!

 

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Dragonfly dead center on top of the blade of grass

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So here’s how my “Kinda, Sorta New Year’s Resolutions” are going

I didn’t expect to weigh in on my “Kinda, Sorta New Year’s Resolutions” this soon but I’ve made progress and I feel like writing about it. These ” resolutions ” tie in with a renewed effort on focusing where I put my attention. I became more conscious about how much of my attention and mental energy I was permitting to go to less-than-worthy sources. I said it felt like my life was this huge ship whose direction needed slight correcting. I felt the creaking and heaving of the effort. Here’s what I’m thinking. The older you are and/or the longer you’ve been doing things certain ways, the more it takes to change course. So even if the changes you might wish to undertake aren’t HUGE or even a PARTICULARLY BIG DEAL – as is the case with me – it still takes more effort to get things going (as with even a slight turn on a big, ole ship).

Let me jump in on my specific goals. In 2018 I want to read 20 books, make 10 visits to our local lake, and make 10 new recipes. None of these are monumental but they were all things I considered worthwhile that I was not doing or not doing much. (Yet I seemed to have time for less worthy endeavors or things that just weren’t terribly satisfying.) There is something motivating about getting to make a new entry of my goals list.

I’ve made 13 new recipes! Standouts include Jessica Seinfeld’s Potato, Cauliflower, and Carrot cream soup and Easy, healthy Walnut, Date, Coconut Treats. Not-so-successful recipes were an oatmeal whole wheat bread and gumbo (I never realized gumbo was okra and tomatoes – I love both okra and tomatoes, how could it miss? It missed.) I feel more excited about cooking again, putting in the time and effort to make new things, not just “sure things.”

This year I’ve cut back on cheese – there are actual days when I eat no cheese – and kicked up my vegetable eating. I had to rethink vegetables, to prioritize them, because although I eat HUGE salads and like certain vegetables A LOT, normally they aren’t the first thing I think of and they definitely haven’t been my emphasis.

I’ve visited the local lake six times already. To be honest, my community has added a clothing dropoff box adjacent to the lake area so I’ve used the opportunity to drop off clothes I no longer want as an incentive to head to the lake. Once there, I walk around and such. Accomplishing a small task in the deal makes it easier for me to plan to go there.

Books. I have read six books. My pace here isn’t stellar though because two of the books were short. Also, I have started but not finished three books – I made myself a deal that I wouldn’t force myself to read anything. I got halfway through both Chris Kyle’s American Sniper and Stephen King’s The Dead Zone before quitting. I just didn’t want to devote more time to either. I also started Alice Sebold’s Almost Moon (having really liked The Lovely Bones and Lucky) but realized I’d either started it or read it before and wasn’t so wild about it.

I feel almost ashamed by how far “behind” I let myself get reading-wise. I have much catching up to do but the real point is I am making reading more of a priority again, recouping my ability to sit down and stay put with a book. They aren’t all going to be great but I know by keeping at it, I’ll find ones that are.

So not only have I made a point to do these good things, I’ve cut back on things I felt wasted my time or made me feel not right. There are a couple TV shows I have not watched at all this year, shows that weren’t really adding much to my life. I also stopped reading a community Facebook page, one that often aggravated me with the content and regular vitriol by some of its partipants. I checked back in this week and among the more normal posts – lost cats, community events, etc – was a lengthy “conversation” on hot-button topics that got ugly. I felt myself getting upset. I guess maybe I needed confirmation that staying away is best for me. See, my fear is I’ll miss out (FOMO) on something important. What that “something” is I don’t really know. The reality is my life has gone on, been better even, since staying away. I remind myself I had a life before social media.

I started doing crossword puzzles again this winter, another thing I used to do. As my attention became scattery from time spent online, I found I lacked the stick-to-it-ness required to do a puzzle. It would get hard and I’d quit. I began making myself stick with it and get more done. The more I did the sharper I felt. I found this little book of 88 puzzles at Dollar Tree. I love it! They are all written by different puzzle makers. They challenge me but don’t make me feel like I’m way out of my depth.
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When I get a clue answer I feel a little endorphin surge, especially those I struggled with or took awhile to guess. I find that I have a broader body of knowledge than I (consciously) realize and at the same time the puzzles force me to accesss different ways of thinking. My initial thoughts aren’t always right and I need to approach the clue from a different angle. For examples: the answer to the clue House calls? was “votes”, Back biter? was ” molar”, Singer who’s an actress was “Lori”, my mind went a number of places before it went the right way. I need this kind of intellectual challenge; my life doesn’t automatically provide it.

I have not yet checked out The New York Times puzzles which I understand are considered the best. I watched a DVD of Wordplay, the 2006 documentary on the Times puzzle and its followers, who have an annual competition, and it did make me curious. I always figured I’d find their puzzles kind of dry and boring but maybe I’m wrong.

From 2015-2017 I lost a lot of my energy to an ongoing problem in my life. I spent a lot of energy fighting it and, for a time, trying to get the people who SHOULD help, to actually help. I had a sea change in attitude starting last summer. In a way, I gave up, which doesn’t necessarily seem like the ideal or right course, but it has helped me. Instead I am focusing on those actions and responses within my control. I stopped focusing so much on the problem and as I’ve been saying, started putting my energy back into me. It is too easy for me at to get overly caught up in problems, be they mine or someone else’s. I totally get that there is a choice in this and I can choose otherwise. The ship is turning.

NOTE: Please forgive a delay in responding to comments; I do want to hear them!

Kinda Sorta New Year’s Resolutions?

I almost never share my goals before they’ve begun. I wait till things are well underway to tell anyone (and then share sparingly). I have little patience for people who talk big and go on & on about the Personal Improvement Projects or New Goals they are starting, which often subsequently fall by the wayside quickly.  I don’t want to be like that. Sure, telling others about your plan or goal helps with accountability. However that probably works best if you only tell ONE person and that person has a very specific role to play. I’ve decided to do something different (for me) and share at the outset.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, never have, probably not since I was a teenager. I do set goals, not at any particular time, almost all modest, to improve my life. I continue to reap the benefits of ones I’ve made in the past and woven into my habits, like exercise and healthy eating. That said I have particular areas of my life that I’d like to improve. These aren’t big things but little ones that nag at me. In recent years too much of my energy was getting sucked up by problems (mostly visited upon me not of my own making or not within my influence). I lacked motivation to do anything extra. I’ve been determined to pull my energy back and re-focus on those things I can control. Seeing that a new year is upon us I figure why not use it as a platform for specific goals. I don’t want to go crazy or set unrealistic plans so these will be simple.

In 2018 I want:

-To read 20 books.
-To visit the local lake 10 times.
-To make 10 new recipes.

My attention span for reading books has gone to sh*t in no small part because of the internet. This past year I read Unfriending My Ex and Other Things I’ll Never Do by Kim Stoltz. Stolz was addicted to her online life and her comments about what it had done to her ability to read books resonated with me. In fact there is evidence that being online and interacting online rewires our brains in a way that’s not conducive to merely reading a book.

I also always feel I should be “doing” something physically active. When I start a book my mind begins to go off on tangents from what I’m reading. I need books that will hold me as much as the internet and DVDs do so I may have to start a lot of books before I want to finish 20. That will be key; this isn’t about work – forcing myself to read all the classics or something – but enjoyment or learning something I WANT to learn. I DO read; I’m currently reading 4 books begun before the New Year, but I don’t know how many books I read in a given year.

There is a small, non-swimming lake a mile from my home. It has a slightly over one mile trail around it. It is home to lots of bird and other mostly small wildlife. It gets crowded – walkers, runners, bikers, picnickers, out-of-control dogs – especially when the weather is nice and that deters me. Still, I am rarely sorry when I visit there, but some time can pass between those visits. Maybe this is because it’s in my own “back yard” and I know it’s always there. I guess I do take it for granted sometimes. I really don’t know, as with the case of how many books I read, how often I go there. A 10-time commitment is minimal. I don’t have to do anything special, I just need to go there.

I cook almost all my meals but tend to rely on the tried-and-true, especially when I’m tired or otherwise not feeling jolly. I hate food disappointment – my meals are so important to me! – and have settled into routines, albeit healthy ones. I need to shake things up a bit even if it means I don’t like some of the new things I cook or worse, they are inedible.

If I do MORE than the specific numbers I set that will be great. I think the point is to get these tasks/goals/plans in mind. Setting numbers and keeping track accomplishes that. Because right now I don’t know how many books I read or how many times I visit the lake or how often I try a new recipe. I just know these things are good for me and I should do them more.

Spending less time online won’t kill me either and if that’s a consequence of reading more books or cooking more new recipes, say, that would be fine. I like simple ways of keeping track of my life. A page of loose-leaf notebook paper works.

 

Sharp-eyed readers might note that I already have one entry. Last night I made soft breadsticks from a Betty Crocker cookbook. Oh My Lord. So Good. You must see them! I wish I could give you one to try. (I rolled by hand – which was actually fun – hence their shapes.)

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I figure maybe 6 months into the year I’ll revisit my goals on the blog to update how the plan is going. You folks will be my accountability!

 

NOTE: Please forgive any delay in responding to comments. I AM curious to hear what you’ll say.