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I’ve never been a big New Year’s Resolution maker/keeper. It felt cliché. Besides, I knew I wouldn’t keep them. However, in the fall of 2013, I started reading Crystal Paine’s blog. She is big on goal setting and I as the end of the year drew near I felt challenged to do so myself. After all, if you never set goals you reach them every time! So as 2014 began, I felt compelled to make several life goals or resolutions. Here is a look at how well I did or did not accomplish these goals.
One of the biggest ways I was inspired was to read more. In 2013 she had challenged herself to read 50 books!! I was in awe. I used to read … before I had kids. Then life got crazy and I was either too busy or too tired. I couldn’t tell you the last time I read a book from cover to cover. I had started several, but that’s it. I could count on one hand how many non-picture books I had read in the last decade.
But my kids are getting older; the youngest is almost 5. I’m entering a new season in life. Besides, if I want to be a writer I need to be a reader. So I talked to my husband and we challenged ourselves, not to read 50, but to read 24 books in the course of a year — two a month. It seemed do-able. An even mix of fiction, nonfiction, and biographies to keep us balanced. (I tend to gravitate toward nonfiction and my husband gravitates toward fiction, though we want to read both).
Well … I didn’t read 24. I read five. But I still feel successful! I read five more books than I had in many years — I’ve stretched myself, I’ve opened my horizons, I’ve learned new things.
Here’s what I read:
- Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
- Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
- George Mueller by Faith Coxe Bailey (I tried reading GM’s autobiography first, but it was difficult to get through because of the language so I opted for an easier read rather than drop it altogether.)
- Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Payne
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
Yes … the ever-present weight loss resolution. I really wanted/needed to. I had dieted off and on the last few years to no avail and I figured that what I was missing was exercise. I was eating right, but lacking the cardio needed to burn calories. So … I bought an exercise bike right after the new year. I lowered my carb intake; cutting out grains (mostly) and limiting sugar. I ate a moderate amount of potatoes and rice. It was the most successful diet I had ever done. I felt good, and I wasn’t depriving myself of anything but bread — and when I ate bread I felt bloated so I really didn’t want it. By summer I had lost 2 sizes. I was down to a size I hadn’t been since before my second child. It was great.
However, this fall I have not been so good. I stopped exercising. I added a grain here and there. Since Thanksgiving, I’ve had a severe lack of discipline, eating everything in sight! I feel pathetic and the jeans I bought in my new size are tight!! Ugg! So, come January 2 (because who wants to start on the first when all the good food from last night is still there) I’ll be starting all over again.
I wanted to take a hold of my spending by starting to use a sort of cash budgeting system. Yes, I had a budget, had one for many years. But I don’t keep it very well; it’s more like a suggestion. It’s too easy to swipe that card when we need milk and I know there’s money in the bank, even though I know I’ve gone over my grocery budget.
I did do that a couple times, but not very successfully, and I didn’t keep at it. I’m looking at some new ways to budget for the coming year. On the other hand, I did do one new thing this year that helped us tremendously. We receive a few small payments in cash on a monthly basis. In the past, I would just use them to cover whatever was needed at the time. This year, however, I decided to be proactive. I took the cash and set it back, calling it my “christmas account.” I had never had a christmas account, and I always barely scraped by each year. This year it was so comforting to know that I already had the money for all the gifts I wanted to buy and none of it had to come out of my regular budget. I never want to go back to the old way of doing it.
So there are my triumphs and failures for 2014 in a nutshell. I am currently working on a list of goals for 2015 which I will publish soon. I really like being able to look back at how I well I did or didn’t do and how I can challenge myself in the future. Did you have any triumphs this year?