I just want to begin this post by saying that I have three adorable and charming children. Ahem. On to the blogging!
So, I am not usually one for making New Years resolutions. In general I feel like they are a way to start off the year with failure.
However, Ontario's family has a meeting every year to set their resolutions together. They have 6 categories, and they are supposed to set a goal in each one. The categories are:
So, this year I did it with them. I set goals in each of those areas. I was actually excited about it, because all of these were goals/areas of improvement that I had already been thinking about. I liked having time to sit down and write out specific goals and ways to accomplish them. Also, I am approaching it differently this year. These are my resolutions for 2011. I know that I will not do them all starting now, but I do want to have these accomplished by the end of the year. So instead of getting depressed and feeling like I am failing, i am just excited about having a plan for improvement that I can implement slowly over the course of the year. I am posting my resolutions on my blog for a few reasons. First of all, I want to remember them. Writing them down reminds me what they are. I am also going to print them out so I can hang them up somewhere visible that I will see them often. Secondly, I will feel more accountable if I know I have TOLD people what changes I am planning to make, instead of just telling myself it's okay that I haven't. Third, this makes a blog post, which have been sadly lacking in these parts. So, withour further ado, here are my New Years Resolutions for 2011, including comments on each section:
1. Lose 10 lbs, get more toned
2. Improve personal and family diet
3. Exercise 3x a week
I am not really as concerned about my weight as a number, this is just one way of measuring my goal of becoming healthier. I am actually much more concerned about changing and improving our diet as a family. Here are specific things I want to do to help accomplish these goals. Menu planning and careful shopping, increasing my knowledge of health and nutrition, calendaring in my exercises, looking for small ways to be more active , drinking more water. I think I want to start exercising during naptime, so I don't have quite as much help!
1. Pay off all debt
2. Create new budget and stick to it
3. Save $10,000
4. Plan long term financial goals
5. Create babysitting fund
These ones are a little fun. Ontario's new job will definitely help, and so will the wondeful blessing of our house, which my in-laws are letting us stay in for a very reasonable rent (It's not actually reasonable, it's an insane rate. They are not getting anything out of this deal, except the knowledge that they are helping their children). My specific goal is to have our emergency fund ($1000) and debt all taken care of by the end of March. Then I am going to start really putting money into savings. I think I am going to plan a special "financial date" when Ontario and I can sit down and map out some of our longterm financial goals. Right now our biggest goal is buying a house. I want to be in a position to buy a house within the next year or two. Writing out a specific budget will help all of those goals.
1. Get enough sleep
2. Schedule sewing time
For me, getting enough sleep means getting to bed by 10:00. The biggest help for me is having the goal of turning off all electronics at 8:30 (computer, iPad, iPhone, tv). That usually means I need to have all my computer stuff done by 7:30, since that is when I want to start the boys bedtime routine. If I turn everything off and put it away in the cupboard (so it's out of temptations way), then it is really easy to get my bedtime routine done, and even have some relaxing time before lights out.
Scheduling sewing time is one I am still working on. Sewing is something that I find very relaxing, but I haven't had very much time for it in a long time. I also don't know exactly what I want to sew...quilts? Clothing? Curtains? This is a goal I will be thinking about and working on later in the year probably. One thing is finding a good sewing area...that is another thing I am still figuring out.
1. Study both the Relief Society and the Sunday School lessons ahead of time.
2. Schedule in specific time for gospel study every day
3. Read the Book of Mormom
4. Write in my journal a minimum of 1 sentence daily
5. 100% visiting teaching
6. Schedule in monthly temple visits
7. Improve Family Home Evening
For my gospel study I went through and wrote a study plan on my calendar. I chose a different thing for each day: M-RS lesson, T-"Teaching No Greater Call", W-SS lesson, Th-"Preach My Gospel", F-Personal Progress, Sa-Ensign, Su-Topical. I gave myself 10 minutes for each study time, plus 5 minutes for reading the Book of Mormon. That might not sound like a lot, but in my world 15 min. of sitting and quietly doing anything is a luxury. I was going to do it in the morning, but I am thinking now that my evenings might be a better time.
The journal writing is a goal I have had before and one that helps me stay much more faithful. Obviously my earlier goal of turning off electronics at 8:30 will help with that.
For visiting teaching I went through and wrote on the calendar to schedule it the first Sunday of each month. I am also going to program in email reminders to make sure I am remembering it throughout the month. I am still trying to figure out how VT works here, since it's a very different dynamic, but I really do have a testimony of the importance of taking time to serve our sisters.
Ontario and I have already started calendaring in our temple visits. We are going to be switching off with Ontario's brother and his wife for babysitting once a month, and then hopefully we can find a couple in the ward to swap babysitting with in the offmonths. I am hoping that Asher getting old enough for solid foods will help this goal happen. We also figured out that with Ontarios new job we could each take turns going to the temple by ourselves once a month, while the other one stays home with the kids. So I will hopefully be going bi-monthly.
Our family home evening goal is one I am very excited about. We went through the calendar and broke up each month so that every Monday would have a different category. First monday is Preparedness, the second Missionary Work, the third Family History, the fourth Gratitude/Service, and if there is a fifth one, that is a bonus where we get to do something special. We even went through and brainstormed a list of topics for our preparedness lessons: Budgeting, Gardening, Fire Safety, Food storage, Stranger danger, etc. I think we came up with at least 14 things we could do for that general topic. Having a plan and knowing what area we need to focus our lessons on is really helping us be more prepared. I am sure we will think of other ways to improve as the year goes on, but so far I am happy at the steps we have already taken. We already did our gratitude lesson this month and wrote thank you notes for Tommy's birthday. It's great to see a plan actually working!
1. Take a photography or a cooking class
2. Read one educational book a month (this can just be any book that teaches me about something)
3. Do 1 cultural activity every month
4. Complete the Financial Peace University
I really want to take some kind of class where I am learning a new skil. Photography and cooking are both things I would love to study. I know that eventually I need to figure out going back to school, but at this point in my life I am happy with just doing one or two classes.
I love reading informative books. I have so many things that I want to learn more about, and I know that the NYPL system will be a great resource for that. I am so happy to be back in the land of Interlibrary loans! Some of the topics I currently am interested in are gardening, home school, Montessori education, home birth, potty training, cooking, personal finance, home decoration, DIY, nutrition, herbology and politics. I am sure there are lots more I can't think of right now, but that should be enough to get me started. Some of those are things I have already started studying and just want to continue learning about, and others are areas that I feel very shaky on and want to have a basic understanding of.
I live in NYC, so doing one cultural activity a month shouldn't be hard. I just want to make sure we are taking advantage of the amazing opportunity we have to live in such a diverse place.
Taking the financial peace university is a goal I have had for a long time but I really want to make it happen this year.
1. Follow my flylady routines
2. Make weekly menu plans
3. Redo my filing system
4. Completely unpack my house
Since being a mom is the career that I have chosen, all of these goals are to help me be better at that. Really, the overarching goal is to be more organized, have a smoothly running home, and not feel like I am running around like a crazy person all day or freaking out at my kids. I have other goals that fall into these categories (be on top of birthdays and anniversaries, send thank you notes promptly, stay in touch with friends and family, have all regular maintenance items scheduled and taken care of) but I will start with babysteps and move up from there.
Obviously all of my goals tie into and effect my other goals, so as I improve in one area it will positively affect the others. I am sure that I will have times that I fall down and feel like a failure, but knowing I have a plan and being able to reference it will help tremendously. Also, I have a lot of resources at my disposal. Here are some of my favorites:
Flylady! One of my all time favorite home organization websites. I love the flylady!
Cozi, a calendar and organization website, I am loving it so far. It has an online calendar, weekly routine schedule, to do list, shopping list, and more.
Dave Ramsey, a financial educator
Jonathan Roche, personal trainer and founder of the No Excuse Workout
LoseIt!, a website for tracking diet and exercise
Meals Matter, a healthy menu planning resource
LDS.org. The new church website has tons of resources, including an online study journal that lets you save notes and reference back to talks and scriptures you have been studying.
ZionsBank EZ budget, an online budgeting tool
The New York Public Library
Most of these are free or have free resources available on them, so you should definitely check them out. I am so grateful for the internet and the wondeful resources it offers!
Well, to stick with my goals I am going to post this and then go put away my electronic devices for the night. I certainly seem to swing between never posting and then posting way too much! Good night all!