Friday, January 04, 2013

Plans, Goals, Resolutions

I know some people think new year's resolutions are for suckers. I've heard the argument that January 1st is an arbitrary date, that resolutions are just setting ourselves up for failure, that if you want to change your lifestyle you should do it and not wait for the new year, yadda yadda yadda. When I was younger, I never had resolutions. I don't know that it was for any of these reasons, or because I was already so perfect I didn't need to make any changes (ha!), or more probably, because resolutions weren't a thing we did in my family. But somewhere in my 20s I started making them, and I think it's a good opportunity. Sure, in absolute terms, the start of the year could be any day. But in our social context, January 1st marks a new beginning, and I am happy to take advantage of that opportunity!
Just to keep things interesting, some photos. This is cashew cheese, enjoyed at a Vegan picnic and again at our house. Yum yum. 

So this year, I have some resolutions, some plans and some goals for the year ahead. I have found, over the years of resolutions and non-new year life changes, that I commit to new habits much better when I have a concrete goal. If I say "keep doing X" I'm more likely to let it slide than if I say "do X 3 times a week". I also do better, as many of us do, when my plans are recorded so I can be held accountable. So the list below reflects that, and also gives me an opportunity to keep track of what I've done, which gratifies my Type-A, list-loving personality.

Run 500k this year. I started running in October 2012, and in an attempt to keep me running regularly, I'm setting this as my target. My normal running routes are between 4 and 5 kilometers, so this means I will need to run an average of twice a week across the year. Do-able.

Cycle 1600k this year. My commute to work is 4k each way, so this is 40 weeks of riding 5 days a week. That gives me some wiggle room for the weeks I am on holidays, the weeks I travel outside of Townsville for work, and any days that are rainy.

Do push-ups at least once a week. I started doing some push-ups every now and then in the second half of this year, and I think that strength-training in general is a very good thing.
Breakfast on the patio on New Year's Day

Clear out my inbox every day at work, most likely at lunch, but at least before going home for the day. This way, I will be less likely to forget to respond to emails (especially from students, who get a bit stroppy when you don't reply to them!), and I will have less clutter in my inbox for when I need to find important things. Despite cleaning out my inbox in the first half of 2012, I still ended up in December with 1300 messages - just in my inbox. I spent about 2 days deleting most and moving some to folders. I'd like to do that more regularly this year so I don't have a big task in December 2013!

And a related one: Unsubscribe from email lists that I don't read regularly, and stop subscribing to new ones. I put my email address down for a lot of things, and as a result I get a ridiculous amount of messages that I delete without reading. Instead of telling myself I might read it next week, I'm just signing off.

My biggest work goal for this year is to turn my PhD into a book and get it published. The second part of that might take more than 2013, but I have already started on the first part. I have a well-published mentor to keep me on track, I've made my plan public to colleagues, to friends, and to the people I researched with, so the plan is set in stone and it will happen this year.

Set up one of our spare rooms as a craft room. At the moment I have a table, a few boxes of yarn, fabric, paints and glitter(!!), and a new sewing machine. But there is no real order, nothing is organised and the room isn't really pretty, so I don't use it much. (There is also space in the room for a futon or some kind of guest bed, and it's also the room that houses my clothes and some random bits like suitcases, so it's more a craft-corner than a craft room, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it.)

Finish crocheting the blanket I started in early 2012. Preferably in time for winter, so we can use it to keep warm. It's about halfway finished.

Sew curtains for the bedroom and the hallway, and possible for other rooms.

Plant more flowers, bee-attracting ones, in amongst the veggies. We actually looked at buying a hive of Australian native bees, which are sting-less, and which would really help our pollination efforts! But at about $500 to get the hive and the bees up to Townsville, we decided against it. Instead, I will put more sunflowers and other bee-friendly flowers in our garden beds to get some to visit our garden of their own accord. (Note that Australian native bees produce almost no honey, just enough for themselves, so our plans to get bees were of course unrelated to honey.)

Home and Life
Keep track of everything we spend for at least two months of the year. This is something we have done every now and then for the last few years, mainly when we were saving up to buy a house. We keep a scrap of paper on the fridge and every day write down what we've spent, and on what. Then I transfer that to a spreadsheet and we can see, over the course of a month or two or three, what our money goes to. We're pretty good at saving rather than spending anyways, but this is just a good check of what is up with our budget.

Do more food-prep and meal-planning on the weekends. In the last few months of 2012 Andy and I were both super busy, and I don't think 2013 will change very much. As a result, we'd often say to each other, "What do you want for dinner?" - "I don't know, what do you want?" - "I don't know". And then we would just decide to throw some veggies on the BBQ and that was that. BBQ veggies are good, but not particularly inspiring, and they don't really make good leftovers for lunch the next day. So I'd like to have a better idea each week of what we can have, especially quick meals, and also maybe keep some food in the freezer that I can have for lunch on BBQ days when there are no leftovers.

Help out with at least 3 vegan outreach stalls. I hope it is more, but I'll be realistic. For at least one of these, I'd like to head over to Magnetic Island to hang out with Stevie and Luc at their weekly vegan outreach table.

So there you have it - 13 things I'd like to see happen in 2013.


Nadine said...

Oh my god I'm so impressed. I have only three resolutions:
1) save more
2) empty the flat of crap, and don't buy crap to replace it
3) stop worrying so much about stuff

Dee said...

gosh, you have me pondering the running goal... I am resolving to get my kms on the bike back up to 10,000 to halt my slow decline, and to go camping more.

Laura said...

Oh I despise the 'what do you want for tea', 'I don't know, what do you want for tea' conversation. My husband and I have it just about every night.

Joey said...

Those all sound like solid resolutions - not easy, but not impossible either. I love the idea of a craft room - that's one resolution I can get behind. The exercise ones I'll just applaud you for from my sofa!

Will you be doing weekly or monthly updates on how you're doing?

Sandy said...

Sounds like you have an awesome list of things for the year that are actually achievable!
Loving the craft room idea :-) I can't begin to explain how awesome it feels to have things set up properly - I did it just a few months ago!
And I need to take lessons from you about the email subscriptions i think :-/

Kari said...

I share your view on resolutions (although I did them as a child too, but was a bit unrealistic then!) and some of your goals for this year. I love your list in general and will look forward to seeing / hearing how you get on with them!

Theresa said...

Good idea Joey - maybe quarterly updates, so I don't get too boring :)

Mel said...

What an impressive list of goals! Good luck with getting your book published.

Lady Base Camp said...

This is so inspiring. My resolutions are always so vague and non-commital. I too have have a room to set up-- but with boxes of miscellany to deal with first. I have my Opus Magnus play to finish and a new exercise strength recovery commitment and financial goals to manage, also elimination of THINGS I DONT NEED! I really like how you look at the task and say "do-able"