When I Started Writing This Post, It Was Still 2012

But now 2012 is over, unbelievably.  Back when I started writing this, a few morsels of 2012 remained with which people could quit smoking, get skinny, top off the 401k, be better neighbors, or whatever it was they started working on last January.  And then it was over.  

I've missed writing my blog, and feel bad about my no-warning disappearance.  I have reasons for my lapse, but who cares about that.  I'm back and what's important is that this is my favorite time of year.  I love making the lists, cleaning out the cobwebs, and just generally trying to do a better job doing life.  So it seems like the right time to get back on the blog horse.

Before launching into this year's list of goals and plans, it seems wise to review my performance from last year:

  1. make a business or organization plan: The last time I updated the goals, I had begun looking into this.  I haven't strayed far from that spot, but I have made some progress.  I've learned more about the process, but as a result, I have also learned how far I have to go before I could operate my own business.  I'm in no rush for this one, but it remains on my list of (longer-term) goals.
  2. make a patio herb garden: I grew two herbs this year: basil for a wee short time until the blazing Texas sun killed it, and mint, which struggled at first but rallied when we moved.  Then it suddenly died.  I can't lie, I could only describe my commitment to this goal as half-assed.  As soon as the basil died, I fizzled too.  However, settling into a house of our own has made it seem more of a real ongoing possibility, so I recently picked up a couple of books for guidance on this foreign Houston climate.  Now the trick will be to actually use them and execute in 2013.  I can report that many mojitos were made with mint that we grew, so it's a start.
  3. exercise at least 30 mins 3x a week: I am proud to say I nailed this one.  The only weeks that did not get the 3x treatment were due to travel or illness.  And it worked! I was mostly able to able to fit comfortably into all of my clothes for most of the year.
  4. get a tattoo: I still want one of these, but it doesn't seem like the sort of thing that should be rushed, and I have not yet settled on the correct expression of what I want.  As with the first goal, stay tuned.
  5. put down roots: We did it!  The execution of this goal morphed a few times, and the result was different than we expected, but I am content with the results.  We have settled into our little house in Houston, and are the proud possessors of both a yard and a mortgage.

So... on to 2013.  I know that some people make fun of goals and resolutions, and I think that it is partly because we are humans, and as such, we make goals and resolutions in moments of enthusiasm, and then they fall by the wayside as our day-to-day habits take over.  But I do not accept that the fact that we do not complete all of the goals renders worthless the exercise of putting them down on a list.  Even if you only cross off five or three or one, isn't that still more than you may have completed if you had never made the list?  This point becomes more clear if you make these lists every year.  I have had goals living on lists for years before they get done.  So what?  If it keeps making the list, there must be something compelling about it, or it wouldn't continue to occupy space in my mind.  And if they lead a surprising direction, that's cool too.  Don't skip trying just because you might not get to cross it off.

My husband and I reflect a lot on how to continue to grow and be successful in our lives, and in the course of this discussion, we recently read an article maintaining that it is a relatively simple formula: we are successful at the things that we spend the most time doing.  It makes a lot of sense.  Of course aptitude and talent help, but when it comes down to it, straight-up hours spent on task and continued effort on an activity will get a person pretty far.  My goals for 2013 reflect the spirit of this philosophy:

  • Continue reflection on goals 1 and 4 from 2012
  • Repeat goal number 3 from 2012
  • make bread: I have always had romantic notions about the art of making bread, and I have only actually tried doing it a few times.  As a result, it has not yet gone all that well.  So in 2013, I will complete one bread-baking or bread-learning activity per week
  • cook one new recipe a week: I have mentioned on earlier posts my obsession with and enjoyment of cookbooks, especially those that are place-related.  I love to look through them and wonder at the amazing dishes.  However, it also always strikes me how many I haven't tried cooking yet.  I consider myself a high-beginner or a very low-intermediate on the cooking scale.  I'm getting the hang of the basics, but sometimes shy away from unfamiliar products (especially animal ones) or new procedures.  However, I want to be a better cook, so the way forward seems to be to get into those books and push myself to expand.  Julie and Julia-style is too much, but once a week, barring travel or illness, I can handle.
  • sketch more (weekly, ideally): Last year I took an amazing course on fashion illustration that I loved.  However, months have gone by and when I recently picked up my pencil, it felt foreign, like when you stop speaking a language you once knew.  So this year I will make one fashion illustration sketch a week, with a different garment each time, in order to expand my repertoire.
  • make some maternity and nursery items: Now that I've come clean about the baby, I can add this on.

And finally, I have some home-improvement related activities, but they are contingent on a few other factors so they are not fitting neatly yet into my New Year New Goals framework.  Ideally we will add on to the house, or morph the yard into more garden, but it is too soon to tell at this point which direction that will go.

Anyway, Happy New Year, and happy goal making!