Wednesday, December 31, 2014

January resolutions

Happy last day of 2014! Here’s my Official Plan for January:
  • Goal: Finish editing M.H.’s book.
  • Rule: Swim, bike, and run at least once each per week.
  • Errand: Clean out the box of junk that we pulled out of the minivan before selling it.
  • Appreciation: My health.
  • Theme: Work when I need to be working, and rest when I need to be resting.
If it seems weird that I don’t have a diet-related GREAT, it’s because I didn’t think I actually needed any motivation to get back on the Carb Nite wagon. Plus we have not one, not two, but three swim meets in January, and I am learning to be realistic about setting expectations for those weekends.

And if it seems weird that I don’t have a writing-related GREAT, it’s because I’m very very busy and also a BIG CHICKEN.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

This GREAT thing

Want to know what my yesterday was like? I ate a bunch of junk food I didn’t need to eat, got real distracted from work, and went to bed way too late because I collapsed on the couch at the end of the day and watched THREE episodes of The Gilmore Girls. I wish I could somehow convince myself that it’s just as exciting to be healthy on December 30 as it is on January 1. Myself and every and just about everyone else in this country. (Now that's a secret that could be the basis for a best-selling self-help book.)

Oh, well. We all know the first day of the year is the magic day when we can change anything we want to change, and now maybe the first day of the month can be that for me, too!

In fact, way too much of my work distraction yesterday was brainstorming different ways to spell GREAT. I quickly figured out two things:
  • If I was adding anything to this plan, it had to be comically easy, or it would never happen.
  • I wanted to be deliberate about what I added, rather than just figuring out the best-sounding combination of buzzwords that spelled something.
So I thought about what would make me look back on January and be happy I had done it. My first thought would be that it would be kind of perfect to find a way to force myself to tackle the dozens of teensy-to-medium chores that have been on my to-do list for a million years. These are things that would take literally just 15 minutes or less, but I still never get around to doing them, and they pile up into one giant heap of annoyances. The obvious words for that are Task or To-Do or Chore, but to make the cutesy acronym work, I’m going with Errand.

The next thing that came to mind was gratitude—somehow taking a moment to be deliberately, pointedly thankful for my life. I’m not sure what form this would take—maybe for me just blogging about it would suffice. So, fine. But I can’t call it Gratitude because G is already taken. And I can’t call it Thankfulness because T is already taken. So A is for…Appreciation!

I think this GREAT thing could work for me, though the awkward acronym somewhat dims the prospects for turning it into a best-selling self-help book.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The best idea ever, which may have also just become a 99-cent ebook

Either I am on my way to getting better or just having one of those “only sickish” days. I felt so good that I went for an easy swim—which immediately made me feel worse, but it’s been so long since I’ve been in the water that I’m sure it would have exhausted me regardless of my health status. Anyway, it’s all part of gearing up for my master plan for January, which I will get to in a minute.

So I was thinking about my theme for 2014, “Use it (or lose it),” and how I did either start using or get rid of a lot of stuff. But I’m just not sure having a theme for the year did me any good after about mid-February, because I don’t feel like it prompted me to do anything I wouldn’t have done anyway. So this year I thought I’d try something different: monthly goals, rules, and themes. That way I can be easy on myself when I need to be, occasionally set challenging goals that are still achievable (since they last only 30 days), and keep up the enthusiasm to do more positive stuff (since I get to start fresh every month). Plus, I’ll get to do a ton of my favorite thing, which is New Life Planning!

So here’s my current plan for January:
  • Goal: Finish editing M.H.’s book (this is the big one, and it’s on top of the other large editorial task I mentioned).
  • Rule: Swim, bike, and run once each per week (no minimum distance).
  • Theme: Work when I need to be working, and rest when I need to be resting.
That last one is kind of hard to explain. But I’m frustrated by my tendency to sit down to work and then have my mind wander to other things. Like (*cough cough*) a blog post I want to write. Or “taking a Facebook break.” But I don’t want to give up blogging and Facebooking, so I just need to put them in their proper places somehow. Or another example is at the end of the day, if I’m too tired to do anything productive, I need to go to bed rather than talk my spouse into watching an episode of The Gilmore Girls on Netflix. But I don’t actually want to give up The Gilmore Girls either, so I just need to be deliberate about it. It’s a bit hard to pin down exactly what needs to change here, which is why it makes for a good “theme” to be aware of, rather than a hard-and-fast rule.

I just realized that I’m only an E and an A away from a cheesy self-help book (Make It a G.R.E.A.T. Year! 5 Steps You Can Take Every Month to Achieve Your Dreams) and the appeal of this whole plan just increased, like, tenfold.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Falling-to-pieces week

I caught a dread disease that’s been taking down my family one by one—it’s insidious because sometimes you just feel really tired rather than sick, sometimes you feel sickish but functional, and then there are moments when you just want to curl up on the couch and die. And you don’t get off the roller coaster for three weeks. (I know this because two of us have already come out alive on the other side.)

Since it’s the holidays, I could have more or less just ridden the whole thing out on the couch, but before I was struck down I took on a large, exciting editorial project and set the deadline for January 5. I love this large, exciting editorial project and want to do a fantastic job, and I set that accursed deadline myself, so I have no choice but to suck it up and get it done. In fact, I am going back to work on it the moment my Tylenol kicks in.

I’m counting on the fact that I’ve at least timed the plague so that I will be healthy again by January 1, because I would love to hit the ground running on about six different New Year’s resolutions. (It’s traditional: The last week of the year I fall off all the wagons—and completely to pieces—while simultaneously making plans for all the new wagons I’m going to climb on. Yay!)