I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions this year. I didn’t choose a Word, either. Frankly, I was just too tired and busy at year’s end to figure out where I wanted to go next. So anything with a year-long arc was destined to fail.
I decided this year to make my plans month by month. Every month, I’m going to choose one (or maybe two) new things to see through to the end of the month. At month’s end, I’ll re-evaluate. I’ll either keep going with my new habit if it’s working for me, or I’ll drop it without regret if it’s not. Thirty days seems a bit more manageable than 365, after all. And since I tell my clients in the gym to take things week by week or month by month when they are setting goals for themselves, I figured I should do it, too.
You probably guessed by now that one of my first goals for the year wasn’t writing. I can’t even remember the last time I sat down to write for a solid chunk of time, but I’m pretty sure it was well before my computer died last December. (The computer, by the way, is still trying to recover from that particular trauma. For the most part, I am computer-free right now, alas.)
I spent the month purposefully not writing. I thought about it, sure. And I mapped a few vague ideas for future articles or stories or blog posts. But I wrote exactly none of them. I just wasn’t feeling it.
No, January was my month to focus on family and personal health - which in retrospect is kind of ironic, considering how many nasty health issues we’ve run into this month. It’s been a long month. And H1N1 hit the community with a vengeance this week, so I’m not convinced we’re through our January string of illnesses yet.
Health. For my family, my goal was to make dinner at home every night. I gave myself one pass per week to go out if needed, but that’s it. I love cooking, but lately I’d been spending less time on cooking and more money on going out. Partly this was because the holidays were so busy - I didn’t always have time to make a good meal at the end of the day. And partly, well, vegetables can be harder to source in the dead of winter, which led me to some less-than-delicious meal choices. It’s sometimes easier to order a salad from the diner than to go out in search of fresh lettuce and make your own.
It’s January 29th as I type this, and I’ve more or less reached my goal of cooking every night. So I think I’ll roll this goal over into February and try to do it again. It’s cheaper, it’s healthier, and really, I enjoy hanging out in my warm kitchen chopping vegetables and stirring pots. It’s therapeutic for me.
My personal health goal was to return to a focus on weightlifting in the gym. I’ve been slowly moving over to HIIT and bodyweight programming over the past 6 months, and my numbers in the gym were falling. So I wanted to get back into heavier weights on the bench press, the squat and the deadlift. I wanted to try to increase my pull-up numbers, too. I failed on the pull-ups. For some reason I can’t seem to get past 7 or 8 consecutive pull-ups, which isn’t bad, but I’d like to get back up to 10+. My other numbers went up, though. I’m still not lifting as much weight as I was in Amman, but I’m getting back there, slowly. I added 15 pounds to my bench press just by hitting that lift hard this month. It’s still embarrassingly light, but I don’t think I can add more without a spotter, and I’m usually alone in our rinky-dink little weight room.
I think I’ll keep the weight lifting goal in February, too, just to see where it takes me. I don’t have specific numbers to hit; I just want to get a little bit stronger every week. And I’m adding in another health-related goal next month, but it’s a bit too personal to talk about. So no, that one’s going to be a secret.
And then Lent is starting soon! Do I want to make some Lenten changes this spring? Some years I do; some years I don’t. This year I’m thinking Lent might be a good time to change my social media habits. I’m kind of done with the drama that seems to surround Facebook, anyway. I’ve been unimpressed by the way a few of my colleagues and friends handle their Facebook accounts, gossiping and unfriending and generally behaving badly. Then, too, the people whom I most want to keep track of are often the very ones who don’t post frequently enough to make it worth my while to be on there looking for them. And of course, it’s an election year, which seems to bring out the worst in people. I find it all tiresome. So, while I don’t think I’ll disconnect from my social media accounts, I do think I’ll more or less disappear over Lent.