As 2014 came to a close, I’m likely one of many people that reflected on the promised improvements they made this time last year.
For me, New Year’s resolutions have always been kind of useless. I’m not sure that I’ve ever really achieved any of the goals I set for myself. I do like considering the New Year as a blank slate, though. I think dwelling on the mistakes of your past can be destructive, but setting broad goals without any sort of infrastructure to help achieve them defeats the purpose.
What good is “lose 60 pounds” if I don’t also include the steps I’ll need to actually lose that much weight? Case in point, losing 60 pounds has been my New Year’s resolution for a good two years, but not only did I not achieve that goal each year, I put on more weight.
Finally shedding 18 pounds wasn’t due to multiple resolutions; my weight loss was due to accomplishing small goals and changes throughout the year (and yes, weight loss medication my doctor prescribed).
It was setting a goal to work out four times a week and including two vegetables with dinner (something we still struggle with). It was trying desperately to avoid eating carbs for lunch and dinner. It was signing up for three 5Ks with a goal to do them without walking. It was striving to go to yoga once a week. Those little goals had more of an impact on my success than the bold statement of “lose 60 pounds.”
So, this year I’m taking a different approach to New Year’s resolutions.
In that vein, here are some small goals to get 2015 started:
Our paltry savings were wiped out when we moved to Raleigh more than four years ago. Consistent financial insecurity has caused us to put any potential savings toward chipping away at debt (medical, credit card and student loan).
While that hasn’t changed, I decided to build up our savings again by automatically drafting $20 from each paycheck. It’s not much, but it’s a start. I’m sure I’ll be tempted to transfer those accrued savings, but in my savings account is where they should stay.
The past year, I’ve focused mainly on cardio because I only have time to do one workout each day and the dog can’t lift weights. This year, I want to do at least two days of strength training per week.
I’m not giving up running (or “running”), though. As I’ve written about before, now that I’ve reached my distance goal, I’ll be working on speed to bring down my mile time. Like last year, I’ll sign up for a few races to keep me focused and motivated.
I want to continue going to yoga at least once a week, kicking it up to two when it works with my weekend schedule. At the very least, I plan on incorporating yoga into my strength training routine. Sun salutations are like yoga burpees, I assure you.
(They look easy, but do 10 rounds and tell me how your arms feel the next day)
We’ve been half-assing an attempt to include more produce into our diet for a while now. Most of it goes in the compost pile unused and rotten. This year, on top of wasting less, I want to start thinking about our meals a little differently.
We generally focus on protein and build dinner around that.
Example: We have chicken. What can we make with chicken? Chicken cutlets. OK. What else are we having with it?
Instead, I’d like to focus on a particular vegetable and build the dinner around it, even if it’s still the side dish.
Example: We have spinach. What can we make with spinach? Sautéed spinach. OK. What else are we having with it?
I have no idea if this mental change will work, but it’s worth a shot.
My dog is freaking awesome, but she’s far from perfect. Her recall only works in my yard and she gets so excited when she sees people or dogs that are obviously her new best friend, she lunges and barks until her harness gets twisted and people stare at me with their judgey eyes. This is Bailey’s terrifying way of saying, “I love you and I’m so happy to see you.”
We’ve already started learning a new cue, “touch,” to help bring her focus back on me. We’re also working on “focus” to keep her attention there. This year we’ll continue working on these cues, along with practicing recall in the front yard, outside the boundaries of our fence.
And that’s it. I’m leaving it at that.
I’d like to get more organized, learn how to sew, learn a new crochet stitch, read more books, go hiking more regularly, go kayaking, and paint the hallways in my house. And if I do all that, awesome. But if I don’t, it’ll be OK.
Here’s to 2015, a blank slate.