I know I know, it is February, and here I am posting resolutions. I have never been one to post resolutions on the blog or, frankly, make them. If I want to make a change, I start working on it whatever time of year, and yes, have been known to abandon it anytime of year either. I also have routinely not felt up to starting the New Year when everyone else is which does not help in the resolution/goals/hopes/intentions department. This year, on New Year’s Eve, as I was typing up my 2010 recap (which, I should note, I only decided to write sometime that evening) I especially did not want to focus on the new year since I was having surgery 4 days later. Initially, I thought I would ease into the New Year when my planner arrived a couple of weeks ago.
Ever since I saw this planner as a giveaway prize on the Shu Box, I have been debating it. I was pretty wedded to my large Planner Pad, even though it is actually way too heavy for my liking (the Personal size is too small). I measured and debated, but eventually did go for the Space 24 Exacompta (the debating over the cover color is a whole other post, but I ende d up going for the Club in Bamboo, though I almost got the Club in Teal, or the Vinyl Fuschia or Saphire Blue or Apple Green). As you can see here, the Space 24 is not that much smaller than the Planner Pad:
So yes, easing into the New Year. The planner arrived and it is shiny and delightful but somehow it did not make me start the new year in mid-January as anticipated. So I set February 1 as my new year. As for resolutions, here is the thing – there have been many goals/aspirations have worked towards over the years – better health, professional goals, a consistent yoga practice – that took longer than a year to happen, but eventually did. Somehow that motivated me to actually make some resolutions this year. And since I started my new year just a few days ago, 11 resolutions for the remaining 11 months made sense:
Adopt a meditation practice.
When I realized early in January I had somehow maintained a consistent yoga practice for the previous year, I decided I had to apply how I had approached yoga to meditation. More importantly, the yoga studio I go to started offering a later evening meditation class once a week this year, which was just at too perfect a time not to take advantage of. I am hoping a commitment to a weekly Thursday night meditation class has the same positive effect my Tuesday night yoga commitment has had.
- Increase aspects of self-care.
As some parts of my self-care have increased (especially with regards to the food prep and cooking to maintain my gluten-free allergenic-friendly diet), other parts have slipped. I don’t spend as much time applying lotion or makeup, and I still neglect flossing far too much. I am also supposed to rub pure shea butter into my surgery scar for the next months, and I am trying out a regimen of applying lotions with magnesium and vitamin D in hopes that I absorb them better because several months of supplements of both has only brought lackluster results. All of these things require carving out more time to happen.
- Be more disciplined about my time
I know this one must seem weird, especially to people who know me – after all, I work long hour, spend lots of time cooking, exercise semi-regularly (I would say regularly except there are weeks where two of my scheduled yoga classes morph into going to restorative yoga and/or yin yoga instead which, while very good things to do, are not exactly exercise), and sleep 7 hours a night on average. While having more energy means I no longer require the 9 to 10 hours of sleep I used to require, the last few months I have been getting less sleep that I really want. Yet, somehow, despite clearly having discipline in my life, I am always craving more time to just be. Also, there are many times where I sit down to do one thing on the computer, and am still on the computer 45 minutes later. Blog posts, which always seemed to take a while to write, now seem to take even longer, mainly because I let that happen. And everything always takes longer than I expect it to when I am cooking. So I am going to be more disciplined about having cut-off times for certain things I do.
- Have more stare-at-the-wall or stare-at-the-sky or stare-at-pretty-flowers time
My biggest hope in terms of reclaiming my time through more discipline in some areas is to have more time to do less. Paradoxical, I know, but worth trying.
- Be out and about more and take greater advantage of city living
As a result of a number of factors, I spent a lot of last year feeling like I was never out and about and like I only ever was at work, at home, or out exercising or at yoga. It was the worst feeling, as I was treading wear on the sidewalk of only a handful of blocks. I felt like my world had become ridiculously small. And a lot of it was my doing – for example, there were definitely times I could have been out and about that I felt like I needed to blog. So this year, partially thanks to the adorable netbook my husband got me for Christmas, I am hoping to just be out more and take advantage of living in a big city rather than just be aware of all the things I am missing living in Washington, DC.
Somehow, blogging at a Teaism makes me feel more connected to the world, even though I am doing an activity I could be doing at home. I also hope to see friends more.
- Follow professional goals
(ok, the redacted bit is kind of a lawyer joke). All kidding aside, I still do not plan to discuss my job as an attorney at all on my blog, but this year will be 6 years since I finished law school, so it is definitely time to focus on professional goals beyond getting the job I really wanted a couple of years ago.
- Be more personal in my blogging
In April I will have been blogging for four years. Over the years my blogging focus has changed a lot, and I have also become less anonymous, which was partially a desire to feel more connected to all of you, dear readers, and also because I think I may want to go to a blogging conference later this year.
Also, I often write about food as a default when I am too busy to be doing anything else other than work, or when I have nothing to write about. As much as I enjoy writing about food, I feel like there sometimes a food post can be the easy way to blog on a particular day rather than dig into something more personal. While sometimes that might make sense (see, be more disciplined about my time) I do want to be more aware of that pattern. That said, I still plan to continue my lunchbox series.
- Declutter and/or fold clothes 10 minutes a day, outside of the existing kitchen declutter/maintenance
I think this is going to be the hardest goal to meet, except perhaps flossing. Actually, no, the hardest goal is by far meditation, and then the declutter goal ties with flossing. While I am very Type A about keeping the kitchen under control on a near-daily basis, including monitoring the fridge (to be fair, my husband helps a lot with that), those skills do not extend to other areas of the apartment. I fold my freshly laundered clothes maybe once a month and am mostly content fishing clean clothes out of the laundry basket until it is time to do laundry again. This, incidentally, is so to my husband’s chagrin, who folds his clothes every week.
So yes, on the clutter front, I often just give up until the weekend. We live in a tiny apartment where keeping clutter at bay requires a lot of focus, and I often give up and leave it to the weekend, but then decide I need to enjoy at least parts of my weekend, and then it is Monday and the clutter piles just grow and grow.
- Streamline Trying Out New Recipes
I have touched on this a bit already – reading as many food blogs as I do, I get over-ambitious trying new recipes and Sunday evenings can turn into tiring marathons. My general approach now is to pick a couple of books and blogs a month and try to cluster cooking out of one or two of each at a time.
In 2010 I decided to make vibrance my word of the year, but I did not actually tell anyone that, especially because I felt anything but vibrant when I decided on it. I was in the middle of a long elimination diet, the gluten reintroductions were inconclusive at first, and I just generally felt tired. Eventually though, it became clear gluten was a real problem for me and I should be 100% gluten-free. That change seemed to have allowed me to reap the benefits of many of the other changes I had already made, as well as improving certain symptoms that in hindsight were mainly caused by gluten (joint pain has disappeared, and I am losing much less hair, if any).
There were many contenders for my word for 2011, but I ended up deciding on mind/body because I wanted the word for the year to reflect my meditation goal, which, ultimately, is the goal I am most focused on meeting this year. As I mentioned above, it will also be the hardest.
On a practical level, when I would plan out workouts for the week, I used to focus on plams like “go to the gym 2x a week and yoga 3x a week” which worked to some extent, but not always. Now my new approach is that if I do not make it to the gym or an intense yoga class, I still need to do something that contributes to my health – whether it is to meditate for 20 minutes or go to a yin yoga class or a restorative yoga class. I figure, at worse, that means I will meditate every day for a week which, while not the calorie burner of some other activities, should still have some great physical and spiritual benefits. So now, every week I have a list called mind/body in my planner which reflects this plan.
- Bake on average once a week & learn to make my own chocolate
I wanted a fun goal as part of this list, and baking is something I want to continue rediscovering. I used to stay away from baking because it invariably would make me sluggish and give me cravings, even when I made things like muffins with whole wheat flour and very little sugar ( ie something healthy). Cutting out gluten and refined sugars has made me redefine baking and now it is much more fun and has fewer negative associations. I focus on savory baking such as crackers or flatbreads, often grain-free. I do make some sweet items, usually grain-free and with very little natural sweetener and no refined sweetener. I do eat some of the sweeter baking, but my husband enjoys the sweet baked products more frequently than I do. It works out well in that I find baking relaxing, do not necessarily eat that much of it, and he gets healthier breakfasts and snacks.
As for chocolate, I want to make my own for a variety of reasons, outlined here.
And so, there are my 11 resolutions for this year. I have been refining the list since early January, and even worked on several of these items. There are a few other things, like reading more real books, travelling more and spending more quality time with my husband – the above are things that I think many people will relate to, which is why I included them in my 11 for 2011 list.
Do you make resolutions? Did you make resolutions this year? Do any of the above resolutions resonate with you?