I have 3 seasons of resolutions – or goals really. New Years because everybody’s doing it . New school year – my life drastically changes in August and then again in June, I have to be prepared. Lent – I’m not Catholic but it seems most Christian denominations promote a symbolic sacrifice (although I’m not really sure how no dessert for a month equates to Jesus’ torture and death on the cross) – my pastor always recommended adding something to improve yourself and the lives of others instead of deprivation – I’ve gone with that a few times.
Whether you do it at the New Year or not, religious holidays or not, everyone needs new goals to better themselves and it doesn’t really matter when you start. Because let’s face it – YOU can ALWAYS be BETTER. Seriously, everyone around you wishes you were… kidding!
I have had years full of goals I promise to meet. I have had years where I thought resolutions were for idiots because nobody ever kept them and what was the point. But the past few years I have been a fan of resolutions for myself. And I’ve done pretty well with them.
Yes, I have made several resolutions that I have NEVER held up, some that I have held up for a while, and others I have been very successful with. One year I gave up fast food if another means of eating was available (a.k.a. keep my butt at home and scrounge up something from the fridge and pantry). And I was quite successful. I think I ate at a fast food restaurant about 3 times that year – all due to traveling (that was enormously less than normal as my hubby and I ate there at least twice every weekend – ick, I know). I have given up other things and have never looked back. I have also resolved to take on new things or more things and have done OK. And there is certainly a long list of failed resolutions.
I’m not a do-it-for-just-this-year sort of person. When I give up something for Lent, I don’t immediately gorge on Easter Sunday – I try to give it up for as long or as much as I possibly can. I try to be realistic, I try to take my personality and habits into consideration, and I try to make them based on something that will make me healthier, or happier. Most important rule of thumb with a resolution, goal, etc. is to make it attainable. If you eat 5 pounds of chocolate everyday – saying you’ll never eat it again is just ridiculous. If you want to lose 40 pounds but aren’t much of a healthy person to begin with – say you’ll lose weight instead of giving it a number. Of course, if you are quitting smoking, a drug, or abusive behavior – set the bar very high and don’t ever look back. DO IT! And there are lots of places to help you along the way.
Here’s what I’m thinking for 2011.
1. Church – I just need to go period. I have dropped off the church radar except for a few Sundays a year and I don’t like that. I need to go more. I’ve let “the baby’s schedule” become my excuse, and while church really doesn’t mesh well with an infant’s sleeping and nursing schedule, my one-nap-a-day-in-the-afternoon-totally-cool-with-going-somewhere-in-the-mornings-toddler will now mesh. While I’d like to say I’ll go every Sunday, I know that’s not realistic. So I’m shooting for once per month and hoping I’ll go more. I’m hoping my Hubby will come along too…
2. Lunch – I eat elementary school cafeteria food way too much. With a child, a full-time job that is kicking my butt, and trying to get 8 hours of sleep at night, I don’t have time to pack my lunch – or choose not to out of sheer laziness. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’re betting it’s laziness. So I end up eating in the cafeteria, or stopping by the Hardees in town (yes, I work in a rural county – they call it town – and I like that). Not a good use of my money, or my arteries. Back to lunch packing I go. I am a pro at it – my mom made me do it for 13 years of schooling – while I hate sandwiches because of that, I can pack my lunch successfully. I need to pack all days but maybe 2 per month. I’m setting my realistic limit because being a working mom is hard and tater tots are SO good!
3. Exercise – I spent this summer changing my eating habits. Most days/weeks I stick to the self control I taught myself. I lost weight and I feel/look better. I need to continue. While I’m not going to be rushing to the gym with the stupid masses that will pay for a gym membership they won’t use for the last 11 months of the year, I will be using the dusty treadmill I have used twice. I’m setting a reasonable goal – I want to walk a few miles either 2 or 3 times a week. If I happen to lose the last 5 baby pounds before this summer I will be extra smitten with myself – and my Hubby might be too. I think I can do it.
4. Money – Without spilling the guts of our family finances, I am striving to take more control over my spending. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m the reason we spend more than we want to. We are far from having troubles and we aren’t in debt, but we have some big goals in the next few years and it is going to require a tighter belt and a larger pot of gold. We’ve set a budget on almost every little thing we could spend money on – my goal is to not only follow it, but cut it back. Paying closer attention to how I spend money is my most ambitious resolution, but the most important one in my eyes.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Or feel free to hound me about it. I find that accountability really helps with resolutions. Last year I had to put a note on the door in the office that held the work snack box. The note forbade me from entering and purchasing a candy bar. Every person in the school commented on it or asked how it was going. It worked – because I didn’t eat another candy bar at work for the rest of that school year. And I saved myself $2.50 a week! (Yes people, I bought a candy bar EVERY day for about 3 months – you can see why I had to go to desperate measures.) If you want me to help you stay accountable, I gladly will. I won’t judge, except if you fail, then I will point and laugh. No really, I’d love to help. Just say the word.
Good luck with your own and Happy New Year!!!