Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 Goals (part 1)

My New Year's Resolutions are going to be a bit funny in 2015.

In 2014, I made no New Year's Resolutions, but did a much better job of keeping the ones I would have made or had made in the past. This year I did more of what I wanted; I have had jobs, I broke free from a toxic system, I read more, I belly danced more, I did more art, I cooked and cleaned more, I was happier. I can't say I've ever had an unhappy year, but 2014 was a particularly happy one. I even get along better with my parents than I did before this year.

Towards the end of 2014, though, I tried a sort of resolutions project almost on accident... and it worked really well--at least, it worked far better than any New Year's resolutions I've ever made. What I did was for November and December, I gave myself monthly projects. They both happened spontaneously, but I like this pattern so much I'm going to keep it going less spontaneously. For November 2014, I kept a Gratitude Journal. The goal was to write at least one thing in it every day. I definitely missed days, but I also definitely ended up with way more than 30 things written out, an enhanced awareness of all the things I had to be grateful fore, and a habit that has carried through to at least late December. For December 2014, Boyfriend and I played the Minimalist Game, which you can read about by going back a few posts. I left town in the middle of the Minimalist Game, which made it difficult to finish throwing things away at my house, but Boyfriend and I fully intend to finish with a total of at least 496 things donated, recycled, trashed, used up, given away, or otherwise gotten rid of upon my return to the Lone Star State. That sounds like a lot, but when you take into account that we're two scatterbrained people who both hoard potential project materials and just condensed two households into one, it's really not. Even though we're pretty behind in the Minimalist Game right now, we still achieved a LOT towards our more relevant goal of having a neater, cleaner, more efficient, better organized, and more streamlined apartment, and our related goal of not being such materialistic hoarders. As proof, I helped my mom get rid of a shit-ton of Christmas decorations she probably hasn't used in the last decade (that's not to say there aren't still at least 6 big boxes worth of Christmas decorations in her house not including front-yard-reindeer, but every ornament counts). Even if we haven't yet gotten rid of 496 things this December, our attitudes towards "stuff" have changed. We're far less attached to it, and far more honest about what things we genuinely want to hang on to.

What I'm trying to say is that these monthly projects seem to work for me, and so I want to continue them: a different monthly project for every month of the year, with the goal of building habits that outlast the month. For example, I have decided that for January of 2015, I will have no sweets at all. No cookies, cake, candy, ice cream. No maple syrup, no sugar in my tea. Honey only for coughing or a sore throat, no soda, no juice with added sugar. Fruit is fine, and dried fruit as long as there's no added sugar. The worst will be no chocolate. I have a HUGE sweet tooth, and I pretty much always have at least one or two options around the house for sweet snacking. Usually it's a bar of dark chocolate to snack on and a box of non-dairy ice cream sandwiches for the evenings. If I don't pay attention, I can go an entire day eating nothing but sweets--every child's dream, and the quickest way to diabetes.

Diabetes runs in my family and, speaking of gratitude, I am seriously lucky that I don't have it by now given how much sugar I can consume if I don't watch myself, especially in combination with my tendency to enjoy stationary activities (piano, handicrafts, and the worst: cooking).

I've tried a couple times to set a strict, all-encompassing regimen for myself: only one small portion of a sweet thing once a day, eat all different colors of vegetables, and do a half hour of exercise every day. You'd think that would be easy enough (so did I), but I've found that when I add in so many new factors at once, it's just too much to keep track of and I lose motivation within two weeks or less. So, I want to build up these healthy habits one at a time, and I'm starting by cutting down on the sugar. I know I am not strong enough to refrain from sugary things completely for an indefinite period of time, so the month-long time limit gives me something to look forward to. I think it will be a hell of a lot easier to stay away from sweets altogether knowing I only have to do it for a month than it would be to limit myself to one serving of sweets per day for eternity. I guarantee eternity would not last very long. However, while a month is short enough to give me something to look forward to, it's also long enough to give me time to break my sugar addiction, flush it out of my system, and hopefully build a habit of not even wanting sugary things that often. I'll admit I picked January because I really didn't want to miss out on my mom's Christmas cookies, but I think that's totally within my rights. I'm actually looking forward to this no-sugar project.

I'm not sure yet what all my other monthly projects for 2015 will be, although I know a lot of them will focus on building habits of healthy eating and exercise, and you can bet you'll hear all about them right here on this blog.

This post was actually supposed to be mostly about the books I want to read and the crafts I want to do this coming year, but I think this post is too long and I am too tired to even include that now. That's the other half of my New Year's Resolutions this year, and I'll probably go into those tomorrow.


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