11 January 2013

'Tis 2013 indeed...

 Well, in case you hadn't realized it, the "New Year" (2013) has started. Actually, we are almost two weeks into it. That is about how long it takes me to accept the fact the New Year is here. For me, sometimes it doesn't feel like Dec 31 is any different than Jan 1.
This year especially, I felt the holidays seemed longer and harder than usual. Might have been the annual end-of-the year layoffs at work. Might have been the 8 inches of snow that kept us house-bound for a few days. It might have been the flu/illness the kids kept sharing. It might have been the dip our finances take during the holidays for purchases and for unpaid holidays. Or might have simply been the fact that, unless I make an effort, sometimes one day feels just like the next.

So, after a moment of "woe is me," I decided to write down goals, thoughts, plans, and desires for this upcoming year. Towards the end of the process, I realized that planning and then acting might just help me live each day in the moment, and really live it so much that come the end of 2013, I can look back and really see how each of my days were unique and enjoyed.

One new thing each month (AKA 28-Day challenge)

I really believe focusing on one thing specifically for a set period of time can help make that "thing" a habit in your day-to-day activities. The key to this is to focus on one thing (only one thing), set a "trigger" (something it follows or proceeds, or a set time of day), and set it for a short yet long enough amount of time. These three things make it easier to be successful. I have set up 12 Challenges, one for each month in 2013. I hope to incorporate each of these challenges into my daily life in such a way that they become a part of my lifestyle.

For January, I am putting into place a simple evening routine. When I am ready to head to bed, I am going to take a few minutes to meditate, drink an 8 oz. glass of water, and then brush my teeth. I am hoping to create a scenario that allows my body to register it is time to settle down and prepare for sleeping.

Send one piece of snail mail to someone each month

In this day and age of electronic communication, about the only thing I might still get in my snail mailbox is an occasional bill or a random flyer. It was a small thrill over the holidays to receive a holiday card and/or picture from family and friends. For this year, I am going to send one (or more than one) piece of snail mail to a close friend or family member. It might be a "thank you" card, or a blank card with picture of the kids, or maybe just a "thinking of you" card. Nothing elaborate-just a little bit of mail that won't be delivered to someone's email inbox.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (and Rethink!)

I want to become more conscious about my choices. When I stop at my local coffee shop, I'm going to take in my own coffee mug. When I'm shopping, I'm going to take in my own bags or reuse bags from previous shopping trips. If I can shop online instead of traveling around town, I'm going to do it. If that isn't possible, I'm going to combine trips or even shop with others. I'm going to look at things like "ghost" electric, lights being left on, water waste, excessive heating because of drafts, and the like. When I pack my lunch, which I plan to do most every weekday, I want to avoid items with wasteful packaging. I'm also going to eliminate the use of plastic bags in my lunch. I'm sure there will be more things that come to mind as I go through the year. I'm wanting to become aware of my choices and then act upon those choices in ways that will benefit me, those around me, and my community both today and tomorrow.

Shop locally

I do believe I live in an amazing part of the country. Columbus, OH is a city surrounded by country. We have many opportunities for local food, local crafts, local co-ops, local restaurants (who use local suppliers), and local community. We even have local coffee! (Check out Crimson Cup.) I want to retrain myself to think locally when I eat, shop, dine, play, and entertain. I am pretty sure there are exponentially more local places I have yet to visit than the number of places I have already visited. That makes me excited! [UPDATE: I am holding one of my classes now at Global Gallery and am spending some of my telecommute days at The Salt Mines. Both are local and that feels great!]

Create personalized birthday cards for family

I'm as thrifty as the next person. I love $0.99 cards! However, like cooking, I wonder if putting good intentions into making a card will bring the receiver extra birthday wishes? I think it is possible, which is why I have decided this year to create birthday cards for family members. I am not greatly creative, so they won't be anything to "write home about," but making them will cause me to stop and think about that person and his or her special day o' birth! I can create a card with my energies for their special year.

Go Paleo/Primal

I have spent a year researching and now I am ready to put my research into motion. I love the simplicity of Paleo/Primal- primarily two ingredients: Meat and veggies. I love almost all kinds of meats and I am learning to like more veggies. Or, at least, I am learning to make both of them in ways that are more appealing to my taste buds. Like many of the goals I have for this year, I am going to retrain my thinking. When I am hungry, I am going to first think about why I am hungry instead of going to for the first thing within reach. Am I hungry because I am bored? Am I hungry because I have gone too long without protein? I want to then make an intentional effort into making my food. I am also learning to prepare food for situations where I need a quick snack or need to pack both lunch and supper. I have a feeling it will be something that will benefit the family as well. I just need to make sure I don't take the dairy out of their meals! Not sure what they would do without cheese.

Drop it in the jar

This isn't my original idea, but I'm not sure where it started, so I'm unable to give due credit. The idea is simple: every time something positive happens in your life (small, big, work, personal, and so on) write it down on a slip of paper and drop it in a clear jar or container. Be sure to put the date on it. At the end of the year (or any time you need a pick-me-up) pour out all the notes and look at how amazing your year and your life has been. I have pondered dropping a quarter in the jar each time I drop a note in. I could use the money at the end of the year to take myself out to eat!

In conclusion...

Well, there you have it. The start of my 2013 Goals. There is a good chance I may add to these. Each time I look at my list and/or work on my list, I get excited. I start to look forward to all of the possibilities that lie around the corner with the New Year. I hope to share any revelations or discoveries I have along the way!

What is one exciting goal you have for yourself this New Year?