For the last several years, I've made treasure maps in March or April, when it's astrologically advised to do so. Though the timing is different, the project is the same as the vision board project Karen Walrond writes about at this time of year. This year, I decided to forgo astrology and make my board on January 1. I did this, in part, because I identify with this as the time where the year changes, more than in the spring. I also did it because I felt there should be a connection between my vision board and the goals I set for myself this year. So, this post is both my vision board post and my 2011 goals post. Are you ready?
My process for creating the board is pretty similar to what Karen describes, except that I don't do any embellishment. I simply cut images and words from magazines that strike me as representing something I want in my life this year, then layer them up on a canvas. I don't like white space, so I start with a layer of full page articles, most of which get mostly covered as I add the next layers. Supplies are simple: old magazines (if you aren't a magazine saver, check to see if your library has a free bin, or pick them up for $.10-$.50 each at your thrift store--they don't need to be current), Mod Podge, scissors, and some sort of backing (I used cardboard the first few times I did this, but recently have graduated to the cheap canvases from Michael's, so these will hold up better and be easier to hang).
I actually took a couple of days to go through magazines and pull pages out, but I didn't put the thing together until this morning. It was important, for whatever symbolic reason, to do it on the first day of the new year.
This is the finished product:
I'm not going to go into what each element means to me, I'll leave that to your imagination. What I will say is that looking at this board, I feel pretty clear on what I want out of 2011. And that's the whole idea.
So on to the more quantitative side of things--the goals. I realized when summarizing last years goal progress that I am the sort who really needs concrete markers. Goals like "create something" and "join something" are never going to work for me. So, this year, as I thought about what I wanted to accomplish, I did my best to attach numbers to everything. I know this isn't how some people prefer to do this, but I think it's really a to each her own kinda thing. I need to be able to decide whether I've accomplished something by counting it all up.
1. Read 30 books.
I'd love for this to be a book a week, but honestly, I know I won't get there. I didn't even get to 30 last year. But this year, I want to read 30 books--on paper. No more counting audio books.
2. Get at least one new stamp on my passport.
This one, I think, is going to be an every year goal.
3. Blog 5 times a week.
Yep, 5 days/week blogging. Not necessarily all here--I have another blog idea cooking, and I have to do a better job with Heroine Content in 2011--but 5 times a week somewhere.
4. Journal every day.
Even more than her vision board description, I was really taken with Karen Walrond's recent post on journaling. Once upon a time, I was an avid journaler, but I haven't put literal pen to paper in years. I love the idea, though, of a journal as not just a place to write, but as a record of your life--your to-do lists, phone messages, and collected ephemera. So I bought a new notebook and some new pens and started this morning.
5. Cook dinner at least once a week.
This goal was on my list in 2009, but fell away after a few months. I'm re-instituting it this year, as part of my "be a grown up, for reals" campaign. Mark bought me this slow cooker cookbook for Christmas, so I'm going to start with that.
6. Fully fund my 401k.
My new job offers 6% matching, so I'll be starting with that as soon as I am eligible.
7. Save $15,000.
This goal is subject to change once I get rolling with my new job. But it's the minimum I need to save this year.
8. Excel at my new job.
This one is hard to quantify, but it's really important to me this year, so I'm including it anyway. Ideally, I'd like to do well enough to merit the highest bonus possible at my year-end review, but I want to be able to measure my progress more regularly than just at year end. If I think of a way to quantify this, I'll amend it. If you have any ideas, please comment!
9. Make one positive health change per month.
This goal is the hardest one for me to figure out--both in terms of quantifiables and in terms of what I can realistically stick to. But I've heard a million times that the best advice for diet and exercise plans is to create new habits. So, I'm going to attempt to make one new healthy habit per month. Examples could be anything from cutting back on coffee in a measurable way to adding a vitamin to my routine to taking the stairs. When you're where I'm at with health and wellness goals, every little bit helps, and a goal like "lose 30 lbs," or last year's more vague "get to a healthy weight" is clearly not going to work.
10. Re-institute monthly date night.
For a while, Mark and I had a monthly date night. I don't know when exactly we stopped, but we shouldn't have. This year, I want to get back into to the routine of a night a month where Mark and I do something together, whether it's a movie or dinner or something more interesting (we really ought to be going into DC more and seeing what the city has to offer).
I think that's a pretty good set of goals with which to begin this new year. I may add one or two along the way, but these are the places I'm going to focus my energy right now. I know some people don't like resolutions, and really I guess that's what these are, so no pressure for you to make your own, but if you do, good luck!