Thursday, December 29, 2016

This I can get behind

I’m still struggling a bit with my plans for 2017—I have the eight priorities, but it’s hard to translate every single one into a resolution that inspires me (I’ve been trying). In some of those categories, I’m satisfied and don’t really need resolutions. And I have another goal in my head for 2017 that does inspire me but doesn’t really fit with any of my alleged priorities.

There’s also the backfront-of-my-mind worry that things are about to get super ugly in the world, and that maybe I need to be thinking about holding on hard to my nearest and dearest and just forget everything else.

I also realized something JUST THIS VERY SECOND. It’s probably that aforementioned ugliness in the world and its repulsively stupid “Make America Great Again” that has me rebelling against the word “GREAT.”

That settles it. New framework:
  • Service
  • Heart
  • Imagination
  • Toughness

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A manifesto for 2017, part 2

OK, exciting new thought on monthly resolutions!

Since I have a set of eight priorities for 2017, I’m going to have a goal, rule, exercise, affirmation, or task related to each one of them every month. This way I can make some resolutions big and some small, some challenging and some not, but at least I’ll keep everything in mind for the whole year.

It may turn out that eight priorities is too many (and it’s certainly too many to blog about in the way I’ve been doing), but here’s the full list right now:
  • Exercise my creative muscle.
  • Give more to the world.
  • Stick to a healthy diet.
  • Exercise in a way that makes me happy and strong.
  • Minimize digital distractions/optimize human interactions.
  • Keep my house cleaner and cozier.
  • Memorize scripture.
It spells nothing, and I don’t know how I feel about that.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A manifesto for 2017

Just wanted to jot down some thoughts for 2017, since my 2016 manifesto was pretty useful to me. (I did everything on the list to some degree, and I am happier for it!) Anyway, these are my priorities for the new year:
  • Everything on last year’s list is still important to me.
  • I want to exercise my creative muscle more. I have some projects in mind, and I’m thinking that it would be an interesting discipline to blog more, maybe even every day.
  • I want to give more to the world. I’ve already set up a monthly donation to Speak Up for the Poor that begins Jan. 1, and I am thinking hard about a volunteer opportunity I heard about recently.
I also want to keep doing monthly resolutions, but once again I don’t know if the GREAT (goal, rule, exercise, affirmation, task) framework is working for me any more. I could change what the letters stand for again, but maybe I need to change the letters altogether to make it something less cheesy. Or maybe—gasp—I could just write some monthly resolutions without a framework.

Anyway, something for that creative muscle to get started on.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The rest of the resolutions (sorry, no further miracles)

Just to wrap up this blogging miniseries about my December resolutions:

My goal of “Never be busy,” of course, is just a state of mind. But the book deadline I was worried about has been pushed back twice, so that has certainly helped. Or at least it has postponed any big temptation to get “busy.”

The no social-media-before-4 rule I have not been sticking to so well—but my awesome new morning routine does keep me away from it very effectively until lunch, at least. More importantly, I feel like I have broken the grip it had on me, and the habit of checking the first thing in the morning. If the news (and the people) in the world were not so infuriating, I would be all good on this front. But it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

The affirmation (“What you really want is the good tired”) I am just pondering. Might be the basis of big plans for 2017.

Monday, December 19, 2016

A yoga Christmas miracle

Today I want to tell you about my exercise resolution, which was “Daily yoga.” It gets miracle status, first, because I’m starting to feel great from it. But also! The practice of doing morning yoga has made an entire morning routine fall into place around it accidentally—something I had been trying for years to achieve with no success.

Here’s the schedule:
  • Get out of bed when I hear Mik returning from morning swim practice (around 6:15). 
  • Put on yoga clothes. 
  • Kiss my men, make tea, and do whatever needs doing in the kitchen until Mik leaves for school.
  • Write out a to-do list or a schedule of what I want to accomplish that day. 
  • Go downstairs, light the candles, and do a yoga video. End with a handstand. 
  • Do a tennis-ball massage (which has all but fixed my shoulder). 
  • Have some breakfast. 
  • Take a shower, get dressed, make the bed, hang up any clothes that aren’t. 
  • Work until lunch (or do whatever other task is on the schedule).
Of course, my best-laid plans sometimes fall apart a bit after lunch (and sometimes not!). But when you’ve gotten that much accomplished before noon it’s hard to go too wrong with your day.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A drywall Christmas miracle

I thought it was about time to do an update on some of my resolutions for December, especially since I said they were valid only through Dec. 21. (It is probably not a good sign that I had to go back and look up what they all were. Ahem.)

So first the task, which was “Fix the walls.”

Short story: Apparently the thought of my messing with drywall on my own alarmed my dad to the point that the next day he was over at my house with a bucket of supplies to help. The “help” was that he fixed most of the holes, scratches, and dents himself while I handed him things. But I did pay close attention to the process, and he tells me that I’ve now attained apprentice status and am qualified to touch walls on my own. I find it to be a fun job and am glad to have had his expertise at my disposal. The end.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

GREAT resolutions for December

I am learning that my attention span for monthly resolutions is really more like three weeks, and that the presence of a major holiday tends to derail me anyway. So these thoughts apply to Dec. 1 through 21, and all bets are off after that:
  • Goal: Never be busy. It is December, and I have a book deadline, but if I stay diligent I should never have to feel rushed, and I should never be too busy to schedule something fun.
  • Rule: Use social media only after 4 p.m.: I know it seems ridiculous that my social-media limits keep getting more and more lenient, but this is a tough realm for me (and maybe the secret to everything), and I’m hoping that 4 p.m. is a compromise I can actually stick to. More importantly, it allows me to reserve my after-dinner time for more pleasant, less rage-inducing pursuits…which might be a good idea.
  • Exercise: Daily yoga. This was November’s resolution, but it was so good that I’m going back for more. (Plus my mom found a stash of like 20 candles she doesn’t want and gave them to me, so I’m all set for the foreseeable future on the candlelight front.)
  • Affirmation: “What you really want is the good tired.” This is a quote from a podcast episode I enjoyed recently, and what it means is that satisfaction in life comes from finding some good work to do and doing it hard. Not sure what that specifically means for me right now, but I am inspired to figure it out.
  • Task: Fix the walls. I keep noticing spots in our house where something has dented the drywall or chipped the paint. I think I’ll go around with plaster and paint (and whatever other tools Google tells me I’ll need) and try to repair some stuff. It’s called expanding my skill set, skeptics.
At some point I should go back and look at the 2016 manifesto I wrote to see how I measured up, but I suspect that it’s been a pretty good year overall.