Showing posts with label goals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label goals. Show all posts

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

If you're anything like me, you may still have a bunch of Christmas cookies laying around. A pile of cookies laying around on January 1st does not often bode well with the whole diet and exercise mantra that New Year's usually brings about. 

I gave up on the 'lose a certain number of pounds in 12 months' and 'stick to a diet' resolutions a long time ago. Frankly, by January 2nd, the cookies are still being eaten, it's too cold to go for a run, and the whole point becomes moot.

I mentioned before that I wasn't a huge fan of New Year's Resolutions -- mainly because I often create lofty goals, then I feel like I put too much pressure on myself to keep them. Inevitably I fail. 

That doesn't mean I don't have goals. I have lots of ongoing things I am working towards. 

I like to create stuff everyday, so naturally I have a few new crafty things I want to try this year, like shuttle tatting. I also want to make better use of Pinterest. (Don't laugh... I signed up for Pinterest soon after it started and I loved it. Then I took issue with some of their copyright policies and I took down ALL of my pins. I'm pretty sure they have sorted out their issues; now it's my turn to start pinning again.) I also have a book project that is ongoing that I would love to make more headway on, and my Nook is full of other people's books that I can't wait to read. I have stacks of new recipes to try out and a closet that needs to be cleaned. Overall, I try to eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, and be healthy most days. 

But in general, I am not going to pressure myself to be superwoman in order to fulfill everything over the span of the next 12 months, starting on January 1st. I'm also not going to beat myself up if I eat a few extra cookies in between.

Last year I decided that 2013 was supposed to be the Chilled Out Year. Quite frankly it wasn't... but because I started the year wanting to be more chilled out about things, I gave myself more room to breathe when life did get stressful (or when I ate a few extra cookies...)

For 2014, I expect a few surprises. Life is certainly never dull in my world, and with the lifestyle that the Sailor and I have together, surprises are often around every corner. I hope I can still maintain a chilled-out attitude throughout. The Sailor joked that we really don't have 'themes' for the year... instead we just roll with whatever happens. That's his own way of saying, 'Let's just chill out no matter what comes our way...'

He's a clever guy, that Sailor. 

Who knows what 2014 will bring for any of us. Like the fresh pages of a new journal though, there is something wonderful about having a blank slate -- a New Year if you will, to let go of the past and to anticipate the future. Most of all, I want to live in the present and to be myself.

How about you? What do you want out of 2014? 
Happy New Year! 

PS: If you simply must have something to put on your New Year's Resolution checklist,
may I suggest the following simple things that can all be done in one day:

  • Clean out your spice cabinet and food cupboard and throw out stuff that is out of date.
  • Sort out your medicine cabinet and toss the pills that are expired or ones that aren't in their original packaging.
  • Buy new makeup. Most cosmetics aren't made to last for years. If you can't remember when you purchased that lipstick, chances are, it was pre-2013. Chuck that old mascara and buy some new stuff for 2014! Start the New Year with a fresh face.

January 1, 2013

Happy Chilled Out 2013

Wow. Welcome to 2013. By now, every time zone in the world will have rung in the New Year. You may have awoken to this new day and year, ready to tackle the list created in your mind or journal -- your resolutions to accomplish this year.

Me? I stayed up far too late trying to solve the world's problems with a fellow creative friend and then I slept away the morning. 

Perhaps it's simply the lack of sleep or the yucky weather outside at the moment, but I'm not super motivated to do anything today, let alone try to get everything done on my own list. 

And for now, that's ok. You see, I want 2013 to be a pretty chilled year. I have goals of course, but they are more specific to the pursuit of my overall lifestyle and not just goals I only want to establish for the year. (Intrigued? Read more here.)  

I took these photos of this cardinal a few years ago, at a park near where I live. I have always liked how chilled out he seemed. Even after I walked under the tree, taking several photos of him, he just looked at me -- very chilled, and not only from the cold. Nothing seemed to ruffle his feathers.

He simply sat perched there, looking at the world, assessing his place in it -- and not at all bothered by distractions. 

I have a lot of distractions some days in my life. Especially in today's society, where everything is connected and news of anything arrives at your screen(s) in an instant. Today's distractions have already included emails and updates of other friends' resolutions. 
Awhile back, I came across this journal (the one where I felt like I hadn't accomplished much by the end of the year.) 

I think I got so distracted by the actual goals inside the journal (lose weight, read a book a week), as well as how I was faring in my resolutions compared to others, that I missed out on the irony of the first and last item on this back page: 'Be Real' and 'Be Brenda'.

If I don't have the confidence to live my life in the direction I know I'm supposed to go (even if it looks different from the path others are on), I cannot and will not 'Be Real' or 'Be Brenda'. I will simply be someone distracted by all that is going on around me, comparing myself to a standard set by others, when in fact that's not at all what's meant for me. 

Today, I applaud your resolutions and goals -- I'd love to hear more of them. I stand behind you and support you in what you want to accomplish this year. 

However, I refuse to take on your goals and resolutions on as my own personal goals -- because I'm not you. I'm Brenda. And in order for me to 'Be Brenda', I have to 'Be Real' about how I get there -- which may indeed look quite different from how you will get to be you

Today, I'm simply going to start 2013 as me -- the 2013 chilled out version.

December 19, 2012

Head Start on New Year's Resolutions

In less than two weeks, it's likely most of us will be declaring our New Year's Resolutions to family, friends and collegues. 

Or, if you're more like me, you may scribble the resolutions down perhaps in a private journal -- a kind of insurance to make sure nobody knows whether or not you have succeeded by the end of the year.

Admit it -- most of us have high expectations. We want to lose (insert pounds/kilos/stones), we want to do more, be better, pass the exam and get the promotion. We want to look like and actually be one of the 'successful' people. 

A few years ago, I made myself a goal book. I had some lofty goals in mind. I wanted to read one book a week, lose weight, do various photography projects, and get rid of other 'baggage' in my life -- all in one go! 

I definitely had some high ambitions. Throughout the year I referred to the book and kept a tally of how far behind I was on various projects. At the end of 2010, I looked back on my goal book and felt like a failure. I read half as many books as I wanted to, lost only a few pounds (and then gained them all back) cooked less than I planned to, and still had some baggage lurking, both proverbially and physically. 

My procrastination skills got the better of me in 2011 and instead of creating a new goal book, I revisited the 2010 book and focused on what I DID actually accomplish. I realized that although I didn't read 56 books that year, I still read 25 -- and that was better than not reading anything. I noticed that while I didn't get to all of the recipes I wanted to try out, I still cooked and baked a slew of new ones. I was so focused on what I didn't get done that I totally missed the things I actually accomplished. 

For 2012, I casually kept track of the new recipes I tried on a piece of paper on the fridge, wrote down the books I read in the back of my journal, and took photos of every crafty project I completed -- more out of being a pedantic record-keeper than anything else. After a while, without the 'pressure' of checking to see that I was fulfilling my quota of goals, the resolutions actually became a habit

While I came up with generic mottos for the year: read more, write more, walk more, eat healthier, love others -- along the way I discovered that by letting go of measuring myself, I had actually completed more -- and the 'more' was in fact better quality. 

I'm a firm believe in writing down your goals -- I don't remember who proved the theory or when, but apparently you have a much higher chance of reaching your target if you physically WRITE down your goals -- even if you never look at that piece of paper ever again. 

(This own theory has been proven in my life. During my third year at University, I wrote down a page worth of what seemed to be impossible and absurd things I wanted to do in life. Ten years later, I found that piece of paper and nearly passed out. Nearly everything except 'learn the guitar' had actually happened...)

However, I do think New Year's Resolutions are often in a special pressure-cooker category. I think sometimes we compare ourselves to others, or even our own image (past, present and what we think should be the future), so much that we forget that a resolution or goal is a process and doesn't often happen overnight. 

So we make a resolution, and by January 31st, we feel like a failure because we didn't go to the gym three times that week, or because we devoured two helpings of chocolate cake, or because we got angry with a family member. And then we throw in the towel.

The truth is, resolutions are not easy. They take time. Bear in mind that you may fall off the resolution horse. But then you get back on.

As a child, I had a pony. She wasn't the most obedient thing -- she ran away once and she used to do numerous things at horse shows to purposely embarrass me, I think. She also bucked me off several times. Each time, my mother made me climb back up on her. 

I used to believe it was so I wouldn't be scared of riding after the fall. In reality, I had to get back on my stubborn pony to show her that I was still in charge -- and that she wasn't the boss of me. 

So as you plan your New Year's Resolutions, keep that in mind. No matter what pitfalls January brings, you still have 11 months after that to climb back onto the horse. (Then again, who made the rule that you have to get it all done in 12 months?) Just because your goal book is only half full at the end of this year or even next, it doesn't mean you've failed. It simply means that some things may take a little longer -- and that's okay.

Above all else, stop comparing yourself to others. I did that for a long time -- and once I actually stopped, I saw far more potential in myself than I realized. Read that story here.  

(Of course, this is my own method for accomplishing my personal New Year's Resolutions. Maybe you have a different story -- how do you stay on track?)