Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 goals and a small clarification

In my last post, I made some comments about my dislike for "New Year's Resolutions," but I'd like to clarify my thoughts a little bit.

I'm not entirely opposed to the concept. I think it's a great idea to have goals and to work toward making yourself a better person in some way. I personally enjoy having goals, and I'll go into mine a little bit more later. My problem with resolutions is that people expect a miraculous change, in the form of reaching their goals, but also in their own motivation to work toward them.

Nothing changes between December 31st and January 1st that couldn't change between March 18th and March 19th. So while the new year provides a fresh start and a great place to begin new goals, it's unlikely that huge life changes will take place, simply because it's time to buy a new calendar.

That being said, I do have some goals for the new year. A lot of them have to do with our finances, which makes the new year a good place to start because it's the start of the fiscal calendar too. And some of them are personal, too, and a lot of them have come about because of recent changes in my health. So the new year really has quite a small role in my goal planning.

As I was browsing some of my favorite blogs yesterday, I came across this post by Tina at Best Body Fitness. She bases her new year's goals on a theme, rather than a list of desired results.

The concept fascinated me, and I instantly remembered a conversation with my good friend, Christie, last week. We were talking about how I don't have the energy to go to the gym even though it's the option for my evening that I should choose. Christie responded by saying she always tries to make the right decision, even if it feels too hard. And, as a result, she ends up feeling better than she had when she'd made the decision to do the harder thing.

[caption id="attachment_389" align="aligncenter" width="572" caption="How lucky am I that my close friend is also an ordained wedding officiant?!"][/caption]

So my blanket goal for 2012 is to always make the decision that seems right for the situation, even if it's the harder of my possible options. That's not to say that the right thing will always be clear. There's still an element of judgement in there, but usually I know what I should do versus what I want to do.

And yes, I've already started. Last night, as my eyes drooped to the floor and my muscles gave me hell the entire time I was changing into my tennis shoes and stretchy capris, I went to the gym. And no, I didn't spend an hour doing a wonderfully intense workout, but I did my best. I gave it all I had (which happened to be 30 mins of cardio, but hey, it was something!), and I felt good about it when I got home, took a shower and allowed myself to flop ont he couch with my book until my husband came home and I had to make dinner.

Along with my blanket goal of trying to always make the right decision, I have a few small goals.

1. I'd like to get my finances in order. And when I say that, you probably imagine a gigantic mess, but really, I don't think it's as bad as I make it out to be. We have our wedding to pay off, most of which is on my credit card and we would like to get our savings built back up so we can have a down payment for a house in the near future. I think mostly I feel uncomfortable carrying a balance on my credit card. I'm one of those pay-it-off-every-month people, and seeing multiple thousand dollars on it just freaks me out!

2. I've already started this one, but I'd like to feel like I'm comfortable being me. And I'm not even sure what that means or who I actually am, but I figure there are a few pieces of this puzzle.

a. I need to learn to let go of the things. A good example is my sister-in-law. She drives me nuts because she moves before she thinks and a lot of times she comes off as being very selfish and controlling. And I don't surround myself with those kinds of people. But she's family now. So I need to learn to just let it go. Another good example is my messy house. I'm messy, and as much as I'd like to be a neat freak, I'm not, and I need to learn to accept it.

b. I need to listen to myself. I think I ignore myself when I feel things I don't want to feel. I think I have this image in my head of the person I want to be and I ignore all feelings, thoughts, etc that don't fit into that image.

Awful, right? But part of my journey to this goal has been trying to figure out why I do it. And I've come up with this: It's never been okay to just be me. For example, my grandmother used to take my spoon/fork/crayon/ball out of my left hand and put it in my right because she didn't want me to be left-handed. My other grandmother's favorite phrase was "that's not ladylike." So I've gone my whole life watching my every move to make sure it's going to be acceptable to everyone around me. Let me tell you, it's exhausting!

Check it out. In both photos I'm using my left hand...

But it's time to care about what I  think, what I  want and what works best for me (...and my husband of course).

I don't, however, know exactly how I plan to do that. The process has been etched into my brain. It's how I think, it's my natural instinct to consider these things before I speak, before I act. And my goal is to retrain myself to think about me first.

So those are my goals. The past year has been pretty crappy, but I have hopes that 2012 will be a year of growth and change and hopefully lots of joy.

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