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Resolution 2013 Check-In: Year End Edition

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So my blogging is obviously...off course. I'm not going to say anything about that right now. Same excuses as always. But I've started thinking about my goals for 2014, and thought I should wrap up 2013 before I move on. Here's where I am with only a bit more than two weeks left in the year:

1. Read 40 books.
Met and exceeded! As of today, I have read 53 books and have 3 in progress that should all be finished by year end. Those 56 books were:
-31 fiction/25 non-fiction
-28 audiobooks/8 ebooks/20 paper books
-9 books about the Tudors
-12 biographies/autobiographies/memoirs
-4 books of short stories
-6 dystopian novels

The best things I read this year were:
-Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy
-Alexis M. Smith's short novel, Glaciers
-Jess Walters' novel Beautiful Ruins and short story book We Live in Water
-Rodney Crowell's memoir, Chinaberry Sidewalks

2. Send birthday cards to my friends/family.
I failed more often than I succeed on this one. It's going back on the list for 2014.

3. Use the 52 Week Savings Plan.
I switched mid-year to a more rigorous savings plan, but my savings goals were met. Which tells me that they need to be more vigorous next year.

4. Prioritize visits with friends (at least 4).
I did pretty well with this--made two visits to my BFF in Pittsburgh, had friends to our house a couple of times, most recently at Thanksgiving. This goal is probably also going to be repeated next year.

5. Complete the Couch to 5K, then reassess.
Done! I finished the Couch to 5K a couple of weeks ago, and am repeating the last two weeks of it right now. My tentative plan after the new year is to run a regular 5K schedule for a bit, then decide whether I want to try to get to 10K capability or not.

6. Blog at least three times a week.
Massive failure. It's just not a priority right now.

7. Do something to improve my space every month.
I don't know if this has happened every month, but it has happened most months.

8. Volunteer.
Sad lack of progress here.

9. Institute a gratitude practice.
No formal practice, but I feel pretty generally grateful and am OK checking this one off.

10. Re-engage in social media.
Again, just not a priority. And I mostly am OK with that at this point.

11. Get a new job.
Still going great! I'm definitely looking to put some goals around professional development for 2014, too.

12. Play with the baby.
Every day. :)

I'm very happy, overall, with my success in meeting my goals in 2013. I'd call 7/12 completely met, which is great! Hopefully I'll do as well in 2014!

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Resolution 2013 Check-In: October Edition

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So I accidentally forgot to check in on my goals for...five months. Oops. Better late than never, though, right?

Here's where I'm at:

1. Read 40 books.
Check! I've completed 39 books and have 2 more in progress! Still mostly audiobooks, but I'll take what I can get. Currently in progress are Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (audiobook) and The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter (ebook).

2. Send birthday cards to my friends/family.
I've completely fallen down on this one. Haven't sent a card in months. :(

3. Use the 52 Week Savings Plan.
I discontinued this, because the varying amounts were messing with my budgeting, but I'm saving far more than I would have been using this plan, on an automatic withdrawal, so the spirit of the goal is met, if not the letter of it.

4. Prioritize visits with friends (at least 4).
Done! I made another weekend visit to my BFF over Labor Day weekend and am going again next weekend. This is a doubly good once, since Emil is coming with me and getting the road trip experience and the visiting friends experience, too! Plus it leaves Mark some time to work without interruption, which is a nice bonus. We're also having at least one (and hopefully more) friend for Thanksgiving.

5. Complete the Couch to 5K, then reassess.
Another fail. Still haven't been to the gym. I found and joined a new one, but I haven't made the time to go once yet.

6. Blog at least three times a week.
You can see how well that one is not going...

7. Do something to improve my space every month.
Quite a bit of progress here lately, including some time spend re-doing our front porch flower pots this weekend and buying a new media cabinet and re-arranging our living room a few weeks back.

8. Volunteer.
No progress. I keep thinking I am going to get going on this, but I'm just not.

9. Institute a gratitude practice.
My formal gratitude practice has completely fallen by the wayside, unfortunately. That said, I feel like I'm doing reasonably well being grateful in general.

10. Re-engage in social media.
Some days are better than others. I'm completely lost without Google Reader and have almost completely stopped reading and commenting on blogs, which is awful. I'm on Facebook a lot, but it's mostly baby-related family/friends stuff (which isn't bad, but isn't what I intended with the goal). I keep trying to get into Twitter and I keep mostly failing.

11. Get a new job.
Got it, doing it, loving it!

12. Play with the baby.
This continues to be my biggest success. He's so much fun right now, and I'm really working on making time to enjoy him. Recently, I've been going to pick him up from day care earlyish at least one day a week and spending some time outside on their playground with him. We've also started taking him to the playground in our neighborhood on weekends. He's such a complete joy most of the time, this goal isn't hard to manage.

So, results are mixed? By my count, I've completed or am on track for 6/12 goals, with another 2 that have some success and 4 than are completely off-track. I'd like to be doing better, but at least I'm doing something.

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I'm impressed with how many goals you actually set for yourself. I'm glad I'm not the only one missing google reader. I hate twitter so much. I miss keeping up with other people's blogs (which is why I'm checking in with yours right now - since I no longer read blogs for a living I want to rediscover reading them for pleasure).

I'm so happy you're enjoying playing with the baby AND that you have a job you're enjoying. Sounds like things are going pretty well right now.

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Resolution 2013 Check-In: Late May Edition

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So maybe keeping tabs on my resolutions should have been one of my resolutions...

Here's where I was in March.

And now:

1. Read 40 books.
I have this one well under control, with 23 books read and 3 in progress. In progress are The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal by Lily Koppel (paperback), Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin (e-book), and Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell (audiobook). Because of commute time, I'm getting through audiobooks a lot faster than I am paper or ebooks, but I think, for now, I'm OK with that.

2. Send birthday cards to my friends/family.
This is a work in progress. I am doing it, but I was late on a couple of cards in May. :(

3. Use the 52 Week Savings Plan.

Still happening automatically.

4. Prioritize visits with friends (at least 4).

Doing well. I've visited one friend for the weekend, another has come to visit us, and a third set are coming this weekend.

5. Complete the Couch to 5K, then reassess.

Still off track--adjusting to the new job has left 0 gym time, and I quit my overpriced gym. However, I joined a new, cheaper gym yesterday and hope to get re-started with this goal later this week/early next week.

6. Blog at least three times a week.

Really not keeping up with this one, and feeling terrible about it. I need to build blog time into my schedule and I just am not having any success doing that.

7. Do something to improve my space every month.

Check--we recently overhauled/cleaned out our basement, which was huge (and yeah, it was precipitated by a cat-related incident, but it needed to happen anyway and I'm so glad it's done).

8. Volunteer.

Right before I started my job, I was all set up with an amazing volunteer opportunity and was SO excited about it. But then time constraints came crashing down and I had to give it up before I even started. This one is back-burnered for now--I just can't find any more hours in my days.

9. Institute a gratitude practice.

I've stopped doing this. It just started feeling really pedantic and forced. I need to replace it with something, though, because I think my level of gratitude has dropped off and that's not good.

10. Re-engage in social media.

I'd say I am moderately engaged. More than I was, less than I'd like to be. Again, time...

11. Get a new job.

Big fat success!

12. Play with the baby.

Still doing this, still loving it. It's hard on weekdays, when dinner/bath/bedtime is squeezed into 90 minutes or less, but we're making it work and I feel pretty good about how it's going.

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Resolution 2013 Check-In: March

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I really am going to start doing this at the beginning of the month. Swearsies.

Here's where I am on those 2013 resolutions:

1. Read 40 books.

Still doing well. I am at 15 books read and 4 in progress. For the curious, I am currently reading The Alienist by Caleb Carr in paperback, Young House Love by John & Sherry Petersilk in hard cover, I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons on Kindle, and listening to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

2. Send birthday cards to my friends/family.

I missed a couple of these in February, because they weren't on my calendar. Oops. I did send out 3 though, and I have a bunch already done for March.

3. Use the 52 Week Savings Plan.

Still happening automatically.

4. Prioritize visits with friends (at least 4).

The first one of these happens this weekend!

5. Complete the Couch to 5K, then reassess.


I stalled out due to injury, but am back at it, sporadically. I need to re-commit tot his one and get back on schedule.

6. Blog at least three times a week.

I was successful until this week, when I missed Monday! Oh well, still on it for the most part.

7. Do something to improve my space every month.

Did some minor living room furniture switching a week or two ago, and it has made a world of difference, so I'll call this one an easy win this month.

8. Volunteer.

Haven't done a thing. Really need to get on this one.

9. Institute a gratitude practice.

This is going really well. Wrote about it the other day.

10. Re-engage in social media.

I'd say I'm still making slow progress here, but I could definitely be doing more.

11. Get a new job.

Ug.

12. Play with the baby.

This continues to be my most important goal, and I'd say it's going pretty well. I spend a good chunk of every day playing with the baby, and an even bigger one just watching him. It's the best thing about this period of unemployment. He is just so amazing.

Once again, I'd say it's been a reasonably good month. With the exception of the pitiful job situation, I'm cool with how things are going so far in 2013. Long may it continue.
 
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Resolution 2013 Check-In: February

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I'm a bit late in the month for this, but how about a check-in on my 2013 resolutions?

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Read 40 books.

Kicking butt on this one. As of mid-February, I should have read 5 books to be on-track. I've completed 11 (3 audio, 4 electronic, 4 paper) and have 3 more (one of each format) in progress. I'm currently at 6 non-fiction and 5 fiction, for whatever that is worth.

2. Send birthday cards to my friends/family.

Doing well here, too. I sent 5 in January and 3 in February! I'm going to expand this goal to include more mail-related efforts, but I'll tell you about that in another post.

3. Use the 52 Week Savings Plan.

This one is happening automatically. 

4. Prioritize visits with friends (at least 4).

No progress here yet, but there are two friend visits on my March calendar.

5. Complete the Couch to 5K, then reassess.

I was doing well with this (completed up through Week 5), until I got sidelined with a stupid injury. I was really enjoying it, too. Hopefully I'll be back to it in a couple of weeks.

6. Blog at least three times a week.

Success on this one! I blogged three times a week every week of January and every week so far in February.

7. Do something to improve my space every month.

Doing pretty well with this one. My focus so far has mostly been on decluttering, but I've also fashioned myself a new nightstand from a thrifted piece and put a new collage of photos in my living room, so I'll call this one a yes.

8. Volunteer.

No movement here. yet. :(

9. Institute a gratitude practice.

I'll say more about this in another post later, too, but I've been very successful with this one and have completed a nightly gratitude list for each of the last 27 or 28 days.

10. Re-engage in social media.

I'm doing well with this one, particularly in upping my participation on Facebook, Twitter, and (especially) Pinterest. Still need to work on getting more comments on blogs, but I am reading more blogs, so that's a start.

11. Get a new job.

Nothing so far.

12. Play with the baby.

I feel pretty good about this one. I spend the largest part of every day with my son, and I spend a lot of it not just caring for him, but interacting with him. This is more and more true all the time, as he gets older and easier to play with. It's an incredible, incredible experience.

I'd say I am doing well so far. Obviously I want some movement on the job front, and I'm a little disappointed not to have done anything about getting some volunteering in, but everything else is in good shape. So far, I feel pretty good about 2013.

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As always, resolutions

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resolution.png
Image via Falling Fifth.

I am an inveterate resolution maker. I can't even remember a time when I wasn't--every year, I have a list of resolutions. Most of them don't make it out of January. Some years ago, I started making lists of goals instead, but it really amounted to the same thing. Then I started with vision boards, which are slightly different, in that they include dreams and things that aren't within my control, but it all comes from the same place.

I've been thinking a lot these first few days of 2013 about whether the spate of new year's resolutions I always make, and the ones I see around me, are healthy. On the surface, what's not to like about committing oneself to eat better, exercise more, save more money, keep a cleaner house, and so on? These are all good things, right? But they're not completely good, because so many of us bite off far more than we can chew and end up discouraged, disappointed in ourselves, and right back in the same place we started. Or, we make resolutions that are so vague as to be meaningless, and then never come back to address whether or not we met our goals, which is its own kind of problem. I thought, for the first few days of this year, that this year I'd give it up--I'd resolve NOT to make any resolutions. But after a few more days, I decided that just isn't me. I may not be perfect, and in fact, my progress at any given goal may be at a snail's pace, but it's worth it just to be trying. I feel better about trying and failing than about not trying at all, I guess? Anyway, my days of thought put me right back where I started--making a list of 13 resolutions for 2013, with the intention of making them as quantifiable and achievable as possible. So here we go:

13 Resolutions for 2013

1. Read 40 books. I've really got out of the habit of reading over the past couple of years, and I want that to change. I figure that if I keep three books going at any one time--one electronic on the iPad, one audiobook on the iPhone, and one paper book, I should be able to meet this goal. As I have in past years, I am tracking on GoodReads.

2. Send birthday cards to my friends/family. This is something I've been inconsistent with in the past, and I really want it to be something I just do. I have a cousin who sends everybody perfectly chosen cards, always on time, and I admire the heck out of it. I'm setting up calendar reminders for birthdays and plan to make myself some sort of card file to organize cards in advance, in hopes that will keep me on this one when things get busier. As a means of tracking, I'll tally up cards sent at the end of every month and see how I do.

3. Use the 52 Week Savings Plan. Being unemployed, saving money is not exactly my strong suite right now. However, when I came across the 52 Week Savings Plan online, it seemed like it would work out. The idea is that you save $1 on the first week of the year and $52 on the last week of the year, with savings corresponding to each week in between. The total saved for the year, if you follow the plan, is $1,378. Ideally, I'd like to save a lot more than that this year, but it all depends on when I get a job and what it pays, and this at least keeps me committed to a bare minimum savings. I already set up direct transfers for every week, so it should all happen automatically, and I'll hopefully be working well before the weekly withdrawals get large enough to make much difference to my checking account balance.

4. Prioritize visits with friends (at least 4). Having a new baby makes socializing more difficult, and I was never that great at it to begin with. So, I really want to make sure not to let my friendships fall by the wayside this year. One way to do that is to prioritize visits with my friends, almost all of whom are far away. I am aiming for at least four overnight or weekend visits over the course of year, either convincing folks to come and visit us here, or going to visit other places.

5. Complete the Couch to 5K, then re-assess. I was in good shape before I got pregnant, and that is all gone now. I want to get back to where I was, but I recognize that it's unlikely I am going to commit the kind of time (1.5 hour gym visits 4-5 days/week) that I was committing before I had a baby, at least not right now. So, I need to start smaller. The plan is to begin with the 30-minute 3 days/week Couch-to-5K program, with the goal of adding in a day of weight training every week as well, and then reassess in eight weeks after that is finished. My major concerns right now are regaining cardio conditioning and core strengthening, and this seems like the most reasonable and time efficient way to start. I would like, at some point, to run an actual 5K, but I am not making that a goal for this year, as I don't know how possible it's going to be (I have a lot of allergy-related trouble running outside, and am already having some joint-related trouble with running at all).

6. Blog at least three times a week. I really, really miss consistent blogging. For much of my pregnancy and the first few months after Buzzy was born, I didn't even have ideas to blog about, much less the time and energy to actually write. That is changing now, so I need to work on the discipline side of things and get back into the blogging groove. I haven't quite figured out how that is going to work yet, schedule-wise, but I am going to start with attempting three posts a week and go from there.

7. Do something to improve my space every month. Mark and I have been talking a lot lately about how we kind of failed ourselves when we moved into this house, as we never thought of it as permanent or long-term, and thus never put much effort into making it a nice place to live. After being here for three and a half years, it's clear what a mistake that attitude was and is. So, even though our time here may wrap up within the next year, we both agree that it's important to do what we can to improve our space, ideally in ways that are transferable. This could be decorating, a big cleaning/reorganizing project, whatever. I'm on a big kick right now and have made several improvements, but the trick is really going to be keeping them going throughout the year.

8. Volunteer. I'm pretty disgusted with myself lately when it comes to how much I am giving back to my community (pretty much nothing). The unemployment financial squeeze has cut my charitable giving down to almost nothing, and I haven't done any real volunteer work in ages. That needs to change in 2013. I'm not sure how or where, yet, but I need to set myself up with some ongoing volunteer work.

9. Institute a gratitude practice. For several years, I've read online about people's gratitude practices, from Karen Walrond's gratitude.2012 visual gratitude journals to Miss Britt's Happiness Highlights, there are a million ways to do this. I'm not sure, yet, what the best way will be for me, but I need to figure out something and make it a habit, because I have so very much to appreciate, and I need to make sure I am aware of my gratitude.

10. Re-engage in social media. This is a funny one, since so many people are resolving to spend more time with their computers and other various screens off, but I am resolving to get back into social media. In particular, I want to start reading and commenting on blogs again. I got out of the habit when the baby was born, and it's a world in which I really miss participating. I'm not going to set a specific goal for this one at this point, but I cleaned out my feed reader and am starting fresh, so hopefully I'll be able to keep on top of it from now on.

11. Get a new job. I saved this one until the end of the list as not to be a downer, but I have got to get a new job, and it needs to happen soon. I am not suited to not working, even if we didn't need the money, which we do. The time I've spent at home has been great, but I really need to go back to work. At this point, I am pretty satisfied with my resume and the logistics of my job search, it's just a matter of keeping at it until the right thing comes along.

12. Play with the baby. This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it's really not. It is too easy, I think, to get caught up in the baby's needs, and the ideas I have about what is best for him, and forget to enjoy him. I'm only going to do this once, and he changes every single day, so probably the single best thing I could do for myself this year is to slow down and enjoy being with him. It's something I try to remind myself every day.

So there you have it. Another year, another resolution list. I feel good about it, though. I think everything on the list is accomplishable, and working towards these goals, even if I don't meet every single one of them, will improve my life. What more can there be?

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I miss these kinds of posts from you, Grace. LOVE IT! I think I'll steal some of these for my own.

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Vision board/treasure map

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For the past several years, I've made annual vision boards, or treasure maps. This idea comes from a number of places--it has an astrological aspect, is connected with LOA/The Secret (blech), and is a suggestion of The Happiness Project. People I admire, like Christine Kane and Karen Walrond, make them. The idea, basically, is to create a visual representation, in the form of a collage, of what you would like to accomplish in the coming year. Some folks do it at the turn of the new year, the astrologically inclined do it at the Aries new moon in the spring. I've done both and don't see that it much matters how you define your year.

These have been my past three years' offerings:

2011 (done at the beginning of the year):

2010 (done in the spring):

2009 (done in the spring):

It's interesting, looking back at these three boards, how my goals seem to remain relatively consistent. All three boards include references to pregnancy and motherhood, writing, dogs, and exercise, particularly strength-training. I'm really familiar with my boards, because I've hung them in places I'll see them every day for the past three years (generally in/around my closet). And I can't give you a definite answer as to whether or not they have helped me work towards my goals, but I am pretty sure they have, at the very least, helped me to keep my goals in mind.

This year, the Aries New Moon fell on March 22, and I dragged out piles of old magazines and got to chopping away to create a vision board for 2012. I considered not bothering--what goals can I possibly have for this year beyond finishing out my pregnancy in as healthy and comfortable way as possible and surviving new motherhood? But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I should be a lot more specific than that. Sure, my primary focus this year is going to be on this baby, but that's not my only focus, and I want to do more than survive. So I needed to come up with a vision.

This is what I came up with (click for a larger photograph):
2012 vision board.jpg

A lot of the images on this year's board are similar to ones I've used in the past. There are several dogs here, including a woman hugging a beautiful Pyrenees in a photograph that just about jumped off the page at me. There are also a bunch of babies, and several photographs of moms and/or dads with babies, playing or resting happily. That's pretty self-explanatory and expected. My writers are here, one writing by hand, another propped up on a laptop, and a third looking slightly lonely at an old-fashioned typewriter. My exercising ladies are here, too--a cartoon of a woman lifting weights and a photograph of a woman on an elliptical machine represent my hope to get back to focusing on my physical strength and well-being after the baby is born. More specific is the small picture of the playing cat on the board's right side, which looks a lot like Atticus--I'm hoping hard for his continued health and well-being. A glass of champagne signifies my hope for celebration and fun during what I'm sure will be a stressful transitional time. I also added carefully chosen words this year, including the "confidence" at the board's top left corner, reminding me that it is OK to fake-it-until-I-make-it with this whole parenting gig, and reminders to travel, to seek balance, and to stop worrying. My favorite words are the ones near the top center of the board, "home is where you make it." That's something I definitely need to keep in mind as we face another year living here.

My very favorite item on this year's board, though, is the most aspirational. Towards the bottom, just right of the center, is a woman in a director's chair. The back of the chair reads "Madelyn Pugh, Girl Writer." Madelyn Pugh was one of the first established female television writers, working most famously on "I Love Lucy" in the 1950s. I don't realistically expect to get a shot at writing for TV this year, but I think adding Madelyn to my board, as a reminder that I have dreams, and that even if they get put on hold while I move into my new role as a mom, or while we live out here, or even longer term than that, they're still important, and still part of who I am.

As it has been every year, making my vision board was a really good experience this year. Seeing which pictures drew me in was a good way to viscerally understand my goals and desires, and putting them all together, overlapping, in a colorful format that I can look at every day helps me focus on them. Like my board, I suspect my year will be largely dominated by our new baby, but there are other things here as well, and I think it's good to keep those in mind, and to see them right there next to the inspirational happy baby pictures. I'm glad I took the time to do this exercise, and I'd definitely recommend it to any of you who feel like you could use some help visualizing or even just elucidating your goals.

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Do you get Bust magazine? Because I saw that same pic of Madelyn Pugh in one of their articles and it too inspired me and gave me encouragement that writing dreams can come true.

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2011 Goals Check-In #6

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Wow, half the year gone already! Let's see how I'm doing on these goals:

1. Read 30 books.
Utter fail. Still at the same 13 books I was at last month. Goal for July: read a damn book.

2. Get at least one new stamp on my passport.
Still on hold until the fall, but we're starting to make plans!

3. Blog 5 times a week.
Killed this one--33 blog posts in 30 days!

4. Journal every day.
Dropped this one.

5. Cook dinner at least once a week.
Didn't cook at all this month.

6. Fully fund my 401k.
Still contributing 6%.

7. Save $15,000.
Progress! Last's month's balance was $2,915.72, this month's is $3,919.73. I expect to be able to make an extra deposit of at least $1,000 in July, too.

8. Excel at my new job.
Things are still going extremely well.

9. Make one positive health change per month.
I recommitted to the gym and started paying attention to fruits and vegetables this month, particularly towards the end.

10. Re-institute monthly date night.
We did a movie date earlier in the month, so check on this on.

All in all, a pretty good month. For July, I want to make sure and READ SOMETHING and continue my savings and nutrition work.

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Keep up the good work, Grace!

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2011 Goals Check-in #5

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I think this month has been good. Let's see if I'm right!

1. Read 30 books.
Finished another audio book--Darkly Dreaming Dexter--bringing my total to 13. Just behind where I should be. I need to READ this summer!

2. Get at least one new stamp on my passport.
This isn't likely to happen until the fall.

3. Blog 5 times a week.
20 blog posts puts me just under this goal. I have been trying for five days a week, but I've definitely fallen off a few times. I need to get on some sort of posting schedule.

4. Journal every day.
I've dropped this one.

5. Cook dinner at least once a week.
Well, I've cooked for myself since Mark has been gone. Sorta. I mean, frozen pizza is elevated to cooking when I put extra pepperoni on it, right?

6. Fully fund my 401k.
Not missing my 6% contributions anymore. That makes it a habit, right?

7. Save $15,000.
Finally, finally, finally some progress here! I'm on an automatic-withdrawal savings plan plus I'm putting extra money away as I can. Current savings balance: $2,915.72.

8. Excel at my new job.
I'm not as thrilled with myself this month, just due to not having had a lot of opportunities to excel, but things are still going fine.

9. Make one positive health change per month.
I've not been eating very well, and I've slacked off some at the gym, too (though I am still going at least 3 days/week). Gotta get serious about this again in June.

10. Re-institute monthly date night.
With Mark out of town for half the month, this didn't happen. We'll do it in June.

Hrm. Not as good as I was thinking, actually. But getting on track with saving is what I've been focusing on, so meeting that goal is really important. I'll take it. For June, I've got to read some books, commit to five days/week blogging, and make a positive health change!

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I think I am way behind on my 52 books this year goal.

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April workout summary

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Got my Fitlinxx report today, so I thought I'd share. In April, I increased cardio and decreased weight training. I went to the gym 14 times, so pretty much every other day.

Fitlinxx.jpg

I'd like to see that weight lifting number come up a little bit, but I'm very proud of the cardio. Overall, it was a good month.

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wow... that little gadget is pretty neat. I had never looked at lifting weights in those terms before! I bet it is really motivating... heck I'm motivated to get back into some strength training!

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2011 Goals Check-in #4

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I can tell you before I even begin, it's not gonna be good news this month. But let's see how bad it is:

1. Read 30 books.
I finished one audio book in April, Heaven's Bride: The Unprintable Life of Ida C. Craddock, American Mystic, Scholar, Sexologist, Martyr, and Madwoman by Leigh Eric Schmidt. If I am counting audiobooks, that brings my 2011 total to 12, so I'm still on track, though progressing more slowly all the time.

2. Get at least one new stamp on my passport.
Not yet.

3. Blog 5 times a week.
22 blog posts in 30 days, so I'm still (barely) good on this one.

4. Journal every day.
This is just not going to happen.

5. Cook dinner at least once a week.
Didn't cook at all.

6. Fully fund my 401k.
Continued my 6% contributions. And I'm missing that 6%, too. Ug.

7. Save $15,000.
Stymied by taxes! Current savings balance: $1,165.72.

8. Excel at my new job.
Things remain good on this front.

9. Make one positive health change per month.
I've lost about 8 lbs in the past month, so I'm doing something right. I also stopped putting cream in my coffee completely, which is a positive change, and one I thought would be a lot harder than it actually has been. I'm still sticking with my gym schedule, too, so I'll call this one a win.

10. Re-institute monthly date night.
Took us until the very last day of the month, but we managed this one this month!

That's actually not as bad as I thought it would be. I still see forward momentum. Yay!

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2011 Goals Check-In #3

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Look at me, doing this month's goals check-in on time!

1. Read 30 books.
In March, I only managed to get through one book, Whedonistas (reviewed on Heroine Content). That puts me at 10/30 books in the first three months of the year. Still on-track.

2. Get at least one new stamp on my passport.
Nope.

3. Blog 5 times a week.
I blogged 33 times in March's 31 days, so I'm good on this goal.

4. Journal every day.
Yeah. Not so much.

5. Cook dinner at least once a week.
Failed on this one, too. Don't think I've cooked even once this month.

6. Fully fund my 401k.
Opened the account this week and set it to automatically withdraw 6% of my paycheck!

7. Save $15,000.
Credit cards are all paid off and this one is underway. Current savings balance: $1,164.77.

8. Excel at my new job.
Things are still going well!

9. Make one positive health change per month.
I don't know if I can honestly say I met March's goal. I tracked on some days, on others I didn't. But I'm doing a "Biggest Loser" type challenge with some friends in April and May, so hopefully that will help me get my weight-loss butt in gear.

10. Re-institute monthly date night.
Failed on this count in March--things were just too crazy. We'll try again in April.

Again, a mixed bag. But I feel like I'm making slow progress, and that's something!

3 Comments

Hey, you set a *lot* of goals for yourself and being out of credit card debt is HUGE. Also, I meant to comment quite a while ago on your money post and preach the Roth gospel. :)

I want in on this Biggest Loser deal! I need to get my butt back into gear, especially after what will be 5 days of ludicrously bad eating.

Stumbled upon your blog this evening, FREAKIN LOVE all your list ideas!!! A few months ago I searched & searched for journal list ideas, to no avail. Thank you =)

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2011 Goals Check-In #2

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I'm already behind! I should have posted this at the end of February/beginning of March, and we're already past the mid-way point in March. Guess the 30for30 distracted me.

Here's where I am with those goals:

1. Read 30 books.
In February, I finished two books I had in progress from January:
The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic by Darby Penney
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things (audio) by Randy O. Frost

And added:
Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx (audio)
Obsessive Consumption by Kate Bingaman-Burt (not much actual reading in that one)

That puts me at 9 completed books in the first two months of the year, which is definitely on track for this goal.

2. Get at least one new stamp on my passport.
Nada.

3. Blog 5 times a week.
I blew this one out of the water. I blogged 44 times during February's 28 days. Go me!

4. Journal every day.
Massive fail. Much as I try to be otherwise, I am still just not a journaler.

5. Cook dinner at least once a week.
I'm not sure how I did on this one. I know I cooked a couple of times, but I don't know that it was quite once a week. Partial success?

6. Fully fund my 401k.
No progress yet.

7. Save $15,000.
No progress yet. Still chipping away at the CC. Should be all paid off by the beginning of April, though.

8. Excel at my new job.
Things continue to go really well at work. I have received no indication that I'm anything but loved. So score on this one.

9. Make one positive health change per month.
For January and February, I had two changes--establish a gym routine and get 5 fruits/vegetables a day. The first one is an unmitigated success--I am consistently going to the gym and loving it. The second...not as much. I'm still trying, but I'm only getting my 5-a-day about half the time. I'm going to move to a new challenge in April. March's challenge is to track my daily eating, which I hate doing, but is necessary at this point.

10. Re-institute monthly date night.
Done.

All in all, I'm feeling pretty good about how things are going. Progress is always slower than I'd like, but keeping track helps me see it more clearly.

3 Comments

I've been following your blog for a few weeks now. First time oommenter.

I too joined a gym (February) and I've lost 7lbs, but this isn't as much as I'd hoped. I'm a bit frustrated but still going because I love it too. I feel better, have more energy and my muscles are building. Still, calorie counting is hard and the fruits and veggies are hardest, so I'm with ya there.

Keep up the good work! I like following someone else's progress. Re-energizes me for my own journey.

Great list of goals and they seem mostly realistic . . . all except the cooking once a week. You can fail this one with my blessing of course. ; )

My life is quite different from yours in that I cook pretty nearly every night, and always have. I guess it's all in what you're used to. There are lots of things that are fairly easy to prepare -- and healthy! That's a good way to start. We grill a lot; then we only need to add salad and another side. I also like to make enough for 2 meals, so that "cooking" the next meal is much quicker.

I've found, though, that to be successful, I need to start dinner within half an hour or so of getting home from work. The longer I wait, the lazier I get.

I'm striving for 7 veggie servings per day, and most of the time (maybe 5 out of 7 days?) I meet my goal. Two "tricks" that help are including veggies with breakfast (I have a small glass of V-8 and frequently pair that with eggs cooked spinach/onions/peppers), and having raw veggies as a mid-afternoon snack (usually 2 servings' worth of mini-carrots).

Good luck with your goals; they're all great!

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2011 Goals Check In #1

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Wow, a month into 2011 already! Let's see how I did:

1. Read 30 books.
I'm making great progress here. To meet this goal, I need to average 2.5 books a month. I read five books in January, as well as finishing one audiobook. Another book and audiobook are underway.

Books I read:
1,000 Artist Journal Pages: Personal Pages and Inspirations edited by Dawn DeVries Sokol
Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule
Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life edited by Elrena Evens
Half-Broke Horses (audio) by Jeanette Walls

In progress:
The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic by Darby Penney
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things (audio) by Randy O. Frost

2. Get at least one new stamp on my passport.
No progress here as yet.

3. Blog 5 times a week.
Over the course of January, I blogged 21 times here at WINOW and once at Heroine Content. That's an average of about 5.5 posts a week. Go me!

4. Journal every day.
I started out really well with this one, but fell off drastically when I started my new job. I'm going to try to re-commit in February.

5. Cook dinner at least once a week.
I cooked dinner four times this month (not counting leftovers): crockpot curried chicken, beef & Guinness pie, crockpot black bean and chicken chili, and pot roast. Tha'ts about once a week, and each of those meals actually fed us for at least two nights!

6. Fully fund my 401k.
Nothing doing here yet--gotta start pulling down a regular paycheck first and erase the debt built up while unemployed.

7. Save $15,000.
See #6.

8. Excel at my new job.
Things are going great so far. I'm not sure I've been given enough to do yet to really excel, but I feel competent and like I'm making good progress with what I have been given.

9. Make one positive health change per month.
I actually made two changes this month--I started exercising regularly (I joined the YMCA) and started keeping track to make sure I reached 5 vegetable/fruit servings per day. I've been very successful thus far with keeping to the exercise schedule (two days on, one day off), and have been meeting the fruits/veggies requirements about 2/3 of the time. I'd call that success with both goals. Since I think these two goals are key, and since I started two at once, I am going to keep going with the same two in February and hopefully by the end of next month they'll be habits.

10. Re-institute monthly date night.
I don't know if it has quite been "date night," but Mark and I went to the movies together twice this month, and that is definitely a start. We're planning partake in a fancy meal to celebrate my new job, too, just as soon as I get paid!

All in all, I feel like I've been extremely successful in progressing towards my 2011 goals in January. I only hope to do so well next month and keep the momentum going!

1 Comments

Sounds great - I love it when my blog friends are happy! (I also love Korres and the YMCA, too!)

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New Year, New Goals (plus vision board!)

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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:

2011 Vision Board

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.

2011 Goals

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!

5 Comments

I love it! And I want reviews of all 30 of those books. :)

that post on journalling inspired me too. Got a new journal, and a buncha markers and other supplies sitting on my desk right now, and lo, I've actually been writing things in it! Of course I've also been on vacation from school and work, so its easy to keep it up. But here's to journalling our ways through 2011!!

Love this post! My bf bought me the Lifeboard off my wishlist (yeah I fell for the hype) and I'm working through the journaling part right now. It was suggested to me by one of my 30 After 30 contest winners to collage regularly. This totally appeals to my woo-woo art-therapy training. :)

How inspiring! I have been having a really hard time articulating my resolutions. Maybe I'll try making a collage....(your's is beautiful!)

You CAN so do something creative, you missed it last year but it isn't on this years list. As for the healthy weight, I battled with my weight for years, but I decided I enkoy eating and was sick of feeling guilty about it. So I started to excercise (it takes about a month to become habit and then you WILL start to enjoy it) and I never ever dieted or watched what I ate again. Not only did I lose weight (and maintained a healthy weight since) but perversely, removing the "guilt" aspect from food and eating, actually enabled me to have a more balanced approach to food. Kinda like by dieting and depriving myself of certain foods made me eat more of them, then guilt and shame and oh what a shitty and vicious cycle! I wish you all the best for 2011 and your list of goals

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Final 2010 goals check-in

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This is it, last one! I can't say I am happy with where I stand in regards to my 2010 goals, but at this point in the year, there is nothing to be done but to commit to doing better in 2011!

1. Take at least one overseas trip.

2. Read 30 books.
I'm at 24 read and 2 in progress. Not gonna get to 30. This disgusts me. When did I stop reading?

3. Get to a healthy size.
This was pretty much a fail.

4. Save $500/month.
Again, fail.

5. Give 5%.
I still haven't done the tax math, but I think I pretty much did this one.

6. Start retirement savings.

7. Join something.
This was such a stupid goal.

8. Write a novel.
Decided against this one.

9. Create something.
This is another stupid goal, but I'm going to say I accomplished it, just due to the reemergence of Tiny Shiny Things jars.

10. Remember birthdays and send cards.
I don't know what my actual success rate was here, but it wasn't bad. 70%, maybe? I'm counting it.

1 Comments

On the reading front, I found this blog post interesting: http://inoveryourhead.net/how-to-read-a-book-a-week-in-2010/
My target for this year was to beat my previous best of 24 which I have (26 so far and might hit 27 or 28 if I'm lucky!) but I'd still like to read alot more in life.

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Almost final 2010 goals check-in

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It seems really weird to think that next month's goals check-in will be the last one, the end result of my progress (or lack of) in 2010. And I'm already thinking about 2011 goals. More than anything, I guess this post is a warning (to myself) not to be too discouraged when I do my year-end analysis a month from now.

The goals:

1. Take at least one overseas trip.

2. Read 30 books.
I've read 22 books and have 2 in progress. Probably not going to make this one, unless I get a serious reading bug bite in the next few weeks.

3. Get to a healthy size.
In reality, the progress here has been negative. I haven't weighed myself, but based on how my clothes are fitting, I've gotten larger.

4. Save $500/month.
More negative progress-unemployment is not conducive to savings. At this point, I can only say that this situation had better improve next year.

5. Give 5%.
I think I'm going to end up pretty close on this one, when I get the year-end numbers. Maybe a bit under, but not much.

6. Start retirement savings.
Guess it's a good thing the goal was to START retirement savings. The account is opened and has last year's contribution in it. Not a penny from this year.

7. Join something.
I don't even know what this means at this point.

8. Write a novel.
As I said last month, this one I actually decided not to do.

9. Create something.
I made some Tiny Shiny Things jars last night, which was the first making of anything I'd done in ages, and it felt great. I'm hoping that if nothing else, December will be a month of creativity for me. All may not be lost on this one.

10. Remember birthdays and send cards.
Did much better with this one in November--sent cards to all three of the folks whose birthdays were on my calendar. Late cards, but cards. Baby steps.

1 Comments

Yay! I love these recaps. I was going over my own and ended up googling 2011 goals - and found your blog!

It's been an interesting set of results, some made me depressed (like the family in NoCal that saves a TON of money on a single income...damn Silicon Valley folk :P) others made me feel that I wasn't THAT behind.

Nice to meet a fellow BlogHer advertiser as well!

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2010 Goals Check-in #6

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First of the month again, so let's check in on my goals.

1. Take at least one overseas trip.

2. Read 30 books.
I was at 19 last month and am currently at 20, with two more in progress. Gonna have to step it up a bit to make that 30 book goal by the end of the year.

3. Get to a healthy size.
Still fat. No change.

4. Save $500/month.
Really negative progress. Two months of unemployment pretty much means my savings is depleted.

5. Give 5%.
Still doing what I can here, but I have cut back some (see previous re: unemployment).

6. Start retirement savings.
No change. The account is open, but not yet funded for 2010, and I don't know if it will be. However, since I did open it, and that was the goal, I'm crossing it off.

7. Join something.
Still fail.

8. Write a novel.
Decided not to do this, so I'm striking it off the list.

9. Create something.
I'm planning to use my sketchbook from The Sketchbook Project to meet this goal. But it's still just in the planning stage.

10. Remember birthdays and send cards.
I didn't send a single one in October. Gah. I'll do it in November. I have (checks calendar) three birthdays on my calendar this month. I am going to send THREE cards. Really.

I'm not gonna lie--it's been another bad month for my goals. And some of them are clearly NOT going to be successfully completed in the next two months. So the plan as of now is to just keep trying and do the best I can to finish the year out strong.

1 Comments

If you are fat, then who was the gorgeous Amazon in the London pix?

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2010 Goals Check-in #5

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October 1, so time to check in on my goals:

1. Take at least one overseas trip.
This is happening! Reservations and plans have been made. We're headed to London this month.

2. Read 30 books.
Big progress here. Last month I was at 16, this month I'm at 19, with two more in progress.

3. Get to a healthy size.
Nothing good to report here. I went to the doctor this week, and learned that I am a .3 away from an obese BMI. Yay.

4. Save $500/month.
Negative progress. My savings account is being quickly depleted by my current underemployment. There isn't a whole lot I can do about it right now, though, so I'm just hoping to get this back on track once I get a more stable job.

5. Give 5%.
Still more or less on track.

6. Start retirement savings.
No change. The account is open, but not yet funded for 2010, and I don't know if it will be.

7. Join something.
Fail.

8. Write a novel.
No progress and a a complete lack of desire. Maybe NaNoWriMo will inspire me in November.

9. Create something.
Honestly, I don't even know what this means at this point.

10. Remember birthdays and send cards.
I know I sent at lease one in September. Hopefully that means I'm getting back in my groove.

Things aren't looking great, are they?

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Very belated goals check-in #5

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Remember how I had those goals for 2010? And the last time I checked in on them was in May?

Yeah. I got distracted.

So, since today is the first of the month, I'm getting back on track. Goal check-in time.

1. Take at least one overseas trip.
There are actual plans in the works! Looks like we're going to London in mid-October!

2. Read 30 books.
I'm on my way! I currently have 16 read and more in progress--the 12 Books, 12 Months club should help with this!

3. Get to a healthy size.
I did so well with this one until I started working so much. In the past few months, I've really fallen off and the weight has started to creep back up. Gotta focus here.

4. Save $500/month.
Mixed progress here. I've been saving $500/month, but I've had to raid the savings a couple of times when I've stretched myself too thin, and I am going down to 30 hrs/week at my day job, so this goal may not be possible for the rest of the year. Of course, if the freelance work continues to move at the quick pace it's been going, it will be. We shall see where I end up at the end of the year. My current balance is only $2,000 more than my January 1 balance was, so I'm not exactly on-track.

5. Give 5%.
Still on-track overall here.

6. Start retirement savings.
Still haven't made a 2010 addition to the account yet. I keep watching it go down and wondering why I should bother. But I will, before the end of the year.

7. Join something.
Still no. I've looked around a bit, but nothing has seemed worth the time and energy investment yet.

8. Write a novel.
Not sure at this point that I'm still committed to this goal. There are just too many other things I'd rather write.

9. Create something.
I ought to know better than to make goals this vague...

10. Remember birthdays and send cards.
Massive fail here. I've been negligent about even my immediate family's special days in the past few months. I have GOT to get my shit together on this one.

Not exactly an uplifting report. Guess that's what I happens when I fail to monitor my progress. Hopefully I'll be more positive next month.

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2010 Goals Check-In #4

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Dude. I totally forgot to do my goals check-in on the first day of May. Got distracted by the Happy Housewife project. Oh well, better late than never.

Here's where I'm at:

1. Take at least one overseas trip.
Still stalled. Summer is now out and we're hoping for fall.

2. Read 30 books.
I am at 11 read and 3 in progress. This is a big improvement over where I was last month, mostly due to audio books and vintage housekeeping books. I'll take it.

3. Get to a healthy size.
The big news here isn't size so much as fitness. My size remains more or less the same, but I am consistently walking and doing the Wii circuit thing 5 days/week. My diet continues to suck, but at least I am moving in the right direction.

4. Save $500/month.
Still on top of this one.

5. Give 5%.
Good here, too.

6. Start retirement savings.
Haven't put anything in for 2010 yet, but I have time and some big freelance checks on the horizon.

7. Join something.
Still nope.

8. Write a novel.
Still writing non-novel fiction, and am happy doing it, at this point. I'm also happy to be doing this big blog project, so no complaints here.

9. Create something.
Still not inspired on this one.

10. Remember birthdays and send cards.
Doing better, but not well. I seem to have a real problem getting things in the mail. I need to figure out some sort of system or way to deal with that.

Though this list doesn't necessarily illustrate it, I've had a good and productive month. I'm writing and reading, which is important to me. Work and freelance work are going well. We've done some gardening (mostly Mark) that improves our living space considerably. Things are all good here.

3 Comments

If you use google or gmail, google has a calendar. You can put in someone's birthday, and tell it to email you a reminder about it -- you can set the reminder to any quantity of time you want. If you set it to a week away, that email can be your reminder to get a card in the mail.

I buy cards in bulk, when one strikes me, supplies to make my own, etc., so that I almost always can produce a card for almost anyone and for any occasion right away.

Hallee

I remember cleaning off my desk one time and finding a sympathy card. I thought, "Geeze - who was this for?" That's when I knew there was a problem - lol. It was a concentrated effort for a couple of years to get into the habit of mailing cards on time.

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Life List (in progress)

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For a couple of months, I've been reading along as Karen Walrdond works on her Life List. As someone who is already really into goals and the importance of writing them down, I've always wanted to make one myself, but never actually done it. So, yesterday, I started.

I'm not finished. This list should have at least 100 things on it. But this is a start, and I'll amend it as I think of more.

Do it. You'll feel better.

  1. Skydive.
  2. See a Klimt painting in Austria.
  3. Sit for a portrait.
  4. Run a dog rescue.
  5. Be someone's mother.
  6. Write a novel I'd want to publish.
  7. Visit Freida Kahlo's house in Mexico City.
  8. Ride in a hot air balloon.
  9. Do a major art installation project.
  10. See the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in all four seasons.
  11. Throw a wine-tasting party.
  12. Go to a barn-raising.
  13. Learn a new sport.
  14. Attend an artistic or spiritual retreat.
  15. Be a godparent.
  16. Speak at my alma mater.
  17. Visit the Elephant Sanctuary.
  18. Get a Ph.D.
  19. Volunteer for disaster relief.
  20. Have a rose garden.
  21. See the Northern Lights.
  22. Sail on a sailboat.
  23. Teach someone to read.
  24. Eat 100 local foods in the regions to which they are local.
  25. Tuck my hair into my waistband.
  26. Go on a trip with my mother.
  27. Organize a major charity event.
  28. Work with a dog visiting elderly hospital/hospice patients.
  29. Throw a surprise party.
  30. Have a dress custom made.
  31. Got to a dog show.
  32. Attend the birth of a child.
  33. Visit the sites of 5 revolutions.
  34. Have a cocktail named after me.
  35. Ride a motorcycle.
  36. Stay overnight at the Chelsea Hotel.
  37. Visit Rogue brewery.
  38. Observe the Supreme Court.
  39. Be in a movie.
  40. See the sun rise in Spain.
  41. Drive an American muscle car.
  42. Go zip lining in Costa Rica.
  43. Have a beignet in the French Quarter.
  44. Take Mark to Crater Lake.
  45. Attend an EPL football game.
  46. Write a collection of short stories based on the old women I've known/heard stories about.
  47. Stomp grapes.
  48. Take a road trip alone.
  49. Attend the Sundance Film Festival.
  50. Host a big family holiday celebration.
  51. Write a song.
  52. Have a non-canine or feline pet.
  53. Publish an article in a national circulation magazine.
  54. Plant a tree and watch it grow.
  55. Embroider or cross-stitch a sampler.
  56. Collect over 100 bottles of wine.
  57. See an animal being born.
  58. Visit Jim Morrison's grave in Paris.
  59. Do 108 sun salutations for Globa Mala.
  60. Take a trip by train.
  61. Learn to make doughnuts as amazing as my mom's.
  62. Go to thrift stores in/around every major U.S. city.

3 Comments

Love it, Grace. I'd meet you in the French Quarter anytime! Well...until I move, that is. :)

These are amazing! I hope you don't mind, but I stole a few of your ideas. I love, LOVE this idea. I started one, too, a while back and haven't finished it yet. I call it my "Can Too List." :) Neat!

Hm. Is it weird that I don't have lots of goals like this? There are very few specific things that I have in mind...more like general concepts that I'd like to achieve. I guess I could come up with things that represent those concepts, but the list that starts to come to mind feels empty to me. Interesting! Thanks for posting this.

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Treasure Map

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Do any of you do treasure maps? It's a bit woo, I'll admit, and I definitely have issues with a lot of the Secret-esque "power of positive visualization" crap behind it. That said, I believe in setting goals (obviously) and I like the idea of visual representations of what you want for your life. So, last year, I made a treasure map.

Last year's map:
Treasure map

I'm not sure how much it "worked." Some of what that map shows came to fruition, some didn't, some is still in progress. I'm amused to see a woman working out with a Wii on the map--I had forgotten that I included that, and I've been using my new Wii every day since I got it. There's also a clipping showing a woman working from home, which I've been doing since September. Other things--learning to knit, selling my bath products--haven't happened and likely won't (they don't reappear on this year's map). Looking at it, I feel an overall sense of progress and growth, which has to be at least part of the point. So, this year, I did it again.

This year's map:
Treasure map

I'm not going to go through every picture or word included, but some things that the clippings I chose for my map make clear are that I want another dog (possibly a German Shepherd), I want to read and write, I want to work on my physical health and strength, and I have fears I want to conquer. These are all worth while things to focus on. I plan to hang the map in my office/walk-in closet, where I will see it every day.

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2010 Goals Check-In #3

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OK. I have got to get a better grip on time. Much like February, March just completely eluded me. Where have I been?

So it's time for goal check-in. And I know before I even begin that it wasn't a good month.

1. Take at least one overseas trip.
This is not in the cards for the spring anymore. Mark's job is too busy, and my freelance work is taking a lot of time as well. We're now hoping for a summer or (more probably) fall trip.

2. Read 30 books.
I'm in the exact same place here that I was last month--four read, three in progress. I haven't read a page in the last month. That's really embarrassing.

3. Get to a healthy size.
I'm back to walking Ata for an hour or so every day, which is great, but that's as far as I've gotten with this. I did just order a Wii, so I'm hopeful I will use that to get some exercise in. And I need to re-commit to a better diet.

4. Save $500/month.
Doing this, and I even managed an extra $500 this month from a freelance check.

5. Give 5%.
I think I might be a little bit under for this month, but I'm close, and I'll make it up.

6. Start retirement savings.
Done and I even have a plan for put my next freelance check in the account to help fund it for 2010.

7. Join something.
Haven't done a thing here.

8. Write a novel.
It's not a novel, but I am writing some fiction right now, which I'll count as progress here. I'm at the point where I can at least pretend I am working towards something.

9. Create something.
I completely failed on the tea towel swap. Ug. Negative progress here.

10. Remember birthdays and send cards.
Still not doing well here--I even failed to send my brother a card this month. I did buy a few new cards the other day though, so I'm recommitting for April. Mark's mom's birthday is a week, so I'll start there.

Now that I'm through the list, it's not quite so bad as I thought. Not great, but not as terrible as I expected. Gotta do better next month.

3 Comments

If you can fund it by April 15, you can make a contribution to your IRA for tax year 2009, if it helps you reduce your taxable income.

You're right; Feb and March just ran on by like a wink. I'm keeping up with my reading, but everything else is sadly, sadly behind. Working on a plan for a yard sale in May, though, so I'm hoping to get re-motivated.

wish i had balls to post my goals on my blog!!!!!!!
You're awesome and you're doing GREAT!

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2010 Goals Check-In #2

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I can't believe another month has gone by without my hardly noticing. Seriously, February has just been a snowy blur. And I'm afraid I haven't made much progress at all on my 2010 goals, but today is the first, so I'm going to do my check-in.

1. Take at least one overseas trip.
Still stalled here. Mark and I have talked about it a bit, but spring is practically upon us, and we haven't made any plans at all. Definitely need to focus here in March.

2. Read 30 books.
I've read four and have three in progress. To get to 30, I need to get through 2.5 I month, so I'm still doing OK here, but need to get going a little bit more quickly. It would probably help if I stopped watching so much TV.

3. Get to a healthy size.
I'm about where I was last month on this. Or even a bit behind that, since the weather has kept me inside for a lot of February. Re-focusing here in March, too.

4. Save $500/month.
Still good here.

5. Give 5%.
Good here, too.

6. Start retirement savings.
Check!

7. Join something.
No progress yet. Not gonna worry about this one quite yet, though, since I'm busy with work stuff right now.

8. Write a novel.
See above--this one is on-hold until a bit later in the year.

9. Create something.
Still fits and starts. I'm working on printing some kitchen towels for a swap (and, as of tomorrow, they're late!). So I guess I'm doing OK here.

10. Remember birthdays and send cards.
I totally fell down on this one this month. I suck. And this coming week is my grandma's birthday, too. Gotta get back on this.

As I thought, February hasn't been a good month for goals. Hopefully I'll have something more positive to report next month.

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2010 Goals Check-In #1

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Wow. We're a month into 2010 already. Time to check in on my goals!

1. Take at least one overseas trip.
No progress yet on this one.

2. Read 30 books.
I've read (or listened to) 3 books so far this year, with three more in-progress. 30 per year is 2.5 per month, so I think I'm in good shape here.

3. Get to a healthy size.
I am working very hard on this goal right now and I'm making steady progress. I am down only a few pounds, but I feel stronger and better every day, and I am making very good choices as far as what I eat, not just restricting calories by eating less of the same crap. I think I'm doing very well with this goal so far.

4. Save $500/month.
I've set up a direct withdrawal from my checking account to my savings and made my first $500 monthly deposit about a week ago.

5. Give 5%.
This one has required a lot of thought. Once I arrived at the amount I felt most comfortable giving (as a percentage of income), I decided to set myself up as a monthly giver to several organizations of which I am particularly supportive (I intend to post about those specific organizations at some point, so I won't go into them here). Those monthly donations add up to about 3.5% of my take-home income. The other 1.5% is reserved for one time donations to things as they come up. Obviously, this month, the big thing was relief for Haiti. Next month, I'll probably give the 1.5% to the V-Day organization. My goal is to even out at about 5% of my take-home for the year, and I think I'm on the right track. My hope is that once I get used to giving 5%, I can increase the percentage to a true tithe.

6. Start retirement savings.
This is done! I opened a traditional IRA, funded if fully for 2009, and plan to fund it fully for this year as well.

7. Join something.
No progress on this goal. I'm still not even quite sure what I was thinking when I made it a goal. It is pretty far outside my comfort zone. Probably I'll put it off for a few months, unless something that seems perfect appears.

8. Write a novel.
Again, not one I'm working on right now.

9. Create something.
I'm doing a bit of this, in fits and starts. I've made a few bath products in the past couple of weeks, for the first time since we moved here. I'm working on some printed tea towels for a swap. Baby steps.

10. Remember birthdays and send cards.
I sent out a passel of birthday cards in January! I didn't realize how many people I know were born at the beginning of the year. With my Google calendar all set up to remind me a week before anybody's birthday, I hope I have this goal well underway. One thing is that I need to find somewhere better than Target to buy cute and funny cards--if I am going to go to the trouble of sending them, I want them to be cool. Really, I should be combining this goal with #9 and making my own cards, but I don't think I'm quite there yet.

All in all, I'm very happy with my January progress. Here's to a good start!

3 Comments

Great job!! I'm doing okay on my book reading, but sadly, that's about it. Le Sigh.

On #8, have you done NaNoWriMo before? I did it for the first time in Nov '09 and had a *blast*!

Great goals! Mine are very similar. Good luck!

What a good idea, I need to write down my goals and put them on my blog. :-D

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2010: The Goals

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I posted a lot about my goals in 2009, and I felt, at year's end, that doing so helped me to stay on track, keep motivated, and constantly re-evaluate my progress. So, I'm going to do the same thing in 2010. I won't even attempt the weekly goal check-ins I did at the beginning of last year, because that's overkill, but I will try to check in on my goals monthly.

Several of my goals are going to be repeats or slight variations from last year, so I'm going to start with those:

1. Take at least one overseas trip.
This didn't happen this year, but I feel quite sure it will in 2010. However, I'm keeping it on the list to remind myself to make it a priority.

2. Read 30 books.
I read only 29 books in 2009, and completed only 24 of them. Reading one per week, as was last year's goal, is probably not going to happen, so we're going for a slight improvement instead.

3. Get to a healthy size.
Last year, two of my goals were to improve my eating habits and exercise regularly. I sorta half-completed both of them, making progress, but not enough progress. I need to continue with that in 2010. I'm not 100% sure what a "healthy size" for me right now is, in terms of pounds or clothing size, but I know it's smaller than I am right now. So, this goal is non-specific. Making non-specific goals is, generally, not a good idea, but I'm allowing an exception for this one.

4. Save $500/month.
My savings goal last year was $100/month. This year, with no more credit card debt, I am increasing it substantially. I want to have an additional $6,000, if not more, saved by the end of 2010. I've already set up the automatic withdrawal, so this one is already in progress.

OK, now on to new goals...

5. Give 5%.
As I've mentioned before, I want to start giving to charity in a more substantial and well-planned way this year. I've decided to commit myself to giving 5% of my income, as a start. I know I could and should do more, but I also know I have been doing less, and given my other financial goals and obligations, 5% seems like the best number for right now. My hope is to increase it next year, or maybe even partway through 2010, depending on how it goes.

6. Start retirement savings.
I'm 30 years old. I should have retirement savings. I know this to be true, and yet I haven't done anything about it. In 2010, I need to fix this.

7. Join something.
This is sort of an odd one, I guess, but necessary. I need to get involved in something this year. A book club. Some sort of volunteer effort. Something. It would be too easy for me to never leave my house this year, and that's not good for me.

8. Write a novel.
Participating in National Novel Writing Month was one of the best things I did in 2009, and I fully plan to do it again in 2010. Next time, though, I am going to make an effort to plan ahead and write a novel that doesn't suck quite so much.

9. Create something.
I haven't been doing much, if any, art within the last year. I need to step away from the computer and get my hands dirty once in a while. This year, I want to create something.

10. Remember birthdays and send cards.
This has been on my list before, but fell off last year, and I was the worse for it. It is important to me to remember birthdays and send cards. I'm going to set up a reminder system right away to make sure this remains a priority this year.

10 seems a nice round number, so I think I'll stop there. I vow now, in the last hours of 2009, to work towards these 10 goals in the upcoming year. Near the beginning of each month, I plan to update my progress towards these goals and my plans to continue with them in the upcoming month. Anybody who'd like to participate with me, either here or on your own blog, is more than welcome.

Happy 2010!

1 Comments

I think you, and your goals for 2010, sound awesome! Found your blog through sooz's tea towel swap participant list - i'll be back for sure! Fingers crossed for the both of us that 2010 is a happy and productive year!

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The me I don't like

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As I mentioned before, I'm starting to think about my goals for 2010. Part of that is thinking about the person I want to be, the traits I want to cultivate in myself. I have a pretty good handle on the parts of myself I like and want to see more of--my generosity, my curiosity, my love of animals. I recognize the person I am when I like myself, and I'm proud of that person.

The harder question, for me, is what don't I like about myself? What characteristics do I want to erase, or at least minimize?

The first thing that comes to mind is that I lack self-control. I have a hard time denying myself things, or forcing myself to do things that I don't want to do. I don't have a ton of respect for self-control for its own sake, but I do recognize that there are times in ones life where self-control is a very valuable characteristic, and it's one I'd be smart to cultivate.

The next thing that occurs to me is that I'm not patient. Again, I'm not 100% sure patience is quite the virtue it's cracked up to be, but I do know that people who are honestly patient seem to be happier. I also know that my life in the next few years is going to require patience beyond what I have--I don't like it here, I'm anxious to move on, and it's going to be several years before that happens. Hence, cultivate patience.

The third thing is one I have been working on for years, but it continues to plague me. I have a short temper, and am occasionally thrown into a rage that, while not violent, is curse-filled and nasty. It's an immature and ridiculous thing for a 30 year old woman to throw tantrums, and while I don't do it as much as I used to, I still do it. I'm a work in progress there.

Finally, I hate how often I don't stick with things. It is one thing to try something, realize it doesn't work for you, and move on. I'm fine with that. But I try something, realize it does work but it's difficult or inconvenient, and make an excuse to let it drop. I really dislike that about myself. I have a drawer full of journals with three entries each in them, bins of craft supplies for hobbies I learned and then discarded, and so on. I don't want to be a person who quits on things just because they aren't convenient.

So, as I continue brainstorming my goals for 2010, I'm going to keep in mind not just the good things about myself, which I want to strengthen, but also these things, the sad-but-true things, that I want to downplay. If you've got any ideas on how to do that, please do comment.

1 Comments

This is very interesting. My goals tend to focus on tangible improvements, or increasing already-positive attributes. I left room for some extra goals, and I think changing a few negative habits would be a good idea.

I'm not sure how to do that successfully. I grade goals on a points system - last year out of 100, next year out of 1000. I'm not sure how I could assign points to correcting flaws in personality - other than perhaps having an independent arbiter.

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Checking back in--I did it!

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First, the big news: I DID IT! During the month of November, I wrote a novel. It's not great. It's not even good. But I wrote it, start to finish. I won. And I have to say, it feels great.

Between that and the fast-approaching end of 2009, I was reminded of my goals. You know, the ones I was updating every week until I completely lost the plot? I thought it would be nice for me to check back up on those, since we're now 11/12 of the way through the year.

So:

#1: Read one book per week.
Fail, sadly. I've read 28 books this year, and only completed 23 of them. I might get 2-3 more in before the end of the year, but there's no way I'm hitting 52.

#2: Watch one movie per week.
Check! I've watched 71 movies so far this year.

#3: Take at least one overseas trip.
Fail. However, we are beginning to talk seriously about a trip to Ireland this spring, so I'll just roll this one forward to 2010.

#4: Improve my eating habits.
I have been up and down on this one, but I'm pretty happy with where I'm at right now. I've cut way back on coffee (I'm drinking a lot of tea), I'm not drinking soda, and I'm trying to be more portion conscious. It's imperfect, but it's definitely a start.

#5: Exercise regularly.
Again, up and down. However, I've been making a regular practice of taking a long walk with Ata nearly every day since I've been working at home, so I'm going to put this one in the win column. It's not enough, I'm sure, but it's way more than I was doing last year at this time.

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
Done. In fact, as of right now, since we sold the house and paid off the car, the only debt I have is my student loan. I feel pretty fantastic about that.

#7: Save at least $100/month.
Done and exceeded. I have more in savings right now than I ever have previously. It's not as much as it should be, but it's growing steadily.

#8: Learn a new craft.
I didn't so much learn a new one as re-dedicate myself to an old one, but I'll talk about that in a minute. When I made this goal, I thought I meant knitting or embroidery. Those are still things I would like to learn, but my artistic side led me in a different direction in 2009, and I'm fine with that.

#9: Journal and blog regularly.
Sadly, fail. I did blog very regularly during some periods, but these last couple of months have found me seriously slacking. However, I have been writing regularlyl--as in every day--and that is what this goal was really about. So, I think that gets me credit for #9 and #10.

#10: Sell our house and move.
Done, successfully and with relatively little pain.

#11: Practice cooking.
This turns out to have been a win. I've been cooking dinner at least once a week since we got settled in here. That may not sound like much, but given how little I have cooked over the course of my relationship with Mark, it is. Turns out the key was getting a Crock Pot.

#12: Make my home more livable.
This goal came with us when we moved, and we're slowly working on it. This house doesn't come with the natural perks our last one did, but we're making it our own, with art, a little bit of new furniture, etc. It's also being kept much cleaner than our old house was, thanks in part to my working from home. I think I've met this goal.

#13: Build my freelance resume.
Things have continued to go well in this area. I've done a good bit of grant work, continued to build tenure as a technical writer, and I think I'm more marketable as a freelance writer all the time. I never actually made a new resume, as there hasn't been a need, but I keep telling myself I will. Maybe in January?

So, by my count, that's 8/13 successes; 2/13 partial successes; and 3/13 failures. I'm pretty damn happy with those numbers, and I am definitely going to make myself a list of similar goals for 2010 (with a couple of reappearances from here) and try to hold myself to them as well as I did this year.

2 Comments

If I cooked once a week, it would be a revolution. And we HAVE a crock pot.

I'm proud of you on the credit card debt. Good job, sweetie.

Congrats on finishing your novel, Grace. That is so awesome.

And you rocked your goals, good for you. I haven't looked over mine in a while so I might need to before the end of the year to see what still needs and can be accomplished.

Hope you and Mark are doing well in your new place.

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The inspiration of the mundane

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A few years back, one of my New Year's goals/resolutions was to publish a piece of writing. Not long into the new year, I was able to do that, with the help of the incredibly lovely Karen Walrond. At that time, Karen had just started up an online magazine, Indigo Leaf, with the goal of providing a forum for previously unknown writing talent. I wrote a piece about Mary Prankster as music to grow up to, if I remember correctly, and Karen accepted it for publication.

In the grand scheme of literature, or of reviews, or even of online magazines, my little piece in Indigo Leaf wasn't even a ripple. The magazine didn't last too long (I'm not sure what happened with it, you'd have to ask Karen), what I wrote was serviceable, but not a masterpiece. But the importance, to me, of meeting that goal is hard to overstate. It was the first time in a long time I'd thought of myself as a writer. And I kept writing--I wrote for another online magazine, As We Are (also know defunct). I started blogging more seriously. I even started (and then stopped, and then started...) a journal.

Today, as I struggle through the beginnings of my National Novel Writing Month novel--my first real attempt at fiction in a long, long time--I'm drinking tea out of the Indigo Leaf mug Karen sent me as a thank you for the piece I contributed. That mug is a reminder, every day, that I set a goal and accomplished it. It doesn't matter at all that the article on Mary Prankster didn't catapult me into a career as a high-powered music reviewer. What matters is that I did it. This mug proves that. And it's going to go on proving that every day until the end of this month, at which time I will have a 50,000 word novel. It may not be a publishable novel, it may not even be a good novel, but it will be something I set my mind to doing and did. And if I do someday write a great novel, or even a publishable one, it will because I wrote this novel first. And that, in turn, will be because I wrote that piece for Indigo Leaf, and because I have this mug staring me in the face, reminding me that I can do this.

4 Comments

You know we would welcome your writing talents at Can I Sit With You? any day, my dear - especially since you've been so generous with your related skills.

Well don't tell Skye, because apparently she has other plans for your post NaNoWriMo time! But Jen & I would certainly be grateful for a tale of yours.

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2009 Goal Progress Report: Week 33

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Skipped last week, but I'm still on track:

1. Read one book per week.
Finished one audiobook, Leaving the Saints, and moved on to another, Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamist Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall with Liza Pulitzer. I also have three or four more books downloaded for the cross-country drive, so that ought to help this category. But I still haven't finished Edgar Sawtelle. Let's just say I'm not going to finish Edgar Sawtelle and move on, shall we?

2. See one movie per week.
Added one here in the past two weeks: Public Enemies. It was just OK.

4. Improve my eating habits.
I've actually been working on this. Mostly, I am focusing on drinking more water and replacing my bacon biscuit breakfasts with fruit, yogurt, and granola. Baby steps.

5. Exercise regularly.
I think packing and hauling boxes fills this requirement right now.

9. Journal and blog regularly.
I've been falling down on this one for sure. Haven't picked my journal up at all and am only blogging sporadically and not well. This will change after we get to Virignia. Right now there just really aren't enough hours in the day.

10. Sell our house and move.
This is the bulk of it now. We get our moving truck tomorrow and leave for Virginia on Sunday. It's really happening.

All in all, I think I'm doing as well as could possibly be expected under the circumstances. Once we get there and get settled, I definitely need to re-focus on some of these goals. For now, it's all about keeping on.

3 Comments

Those are great goals and so similar to ones I am always trying to achieve! I read Edgar Sawtell don't feel bad if you don't finish- if you are anything like me the end will dissapoint!

I'm impressed by your progress, Grace.

do you get your audiobooks on audible or do you have an awesome library?

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2009 Goal Progress Report: Week 31

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Getting back on track with weekly updates.

1. Read one book per week.
I finished the audiobook Look Me In The Eye this week and am on to Leaving the Saints. Still reading Edgar Sawtelle, though I hope to finish it this weekend. It's not bad, it's just not compelling me to read it quickly.

2. See one movie per week.
I continue to exceed my goals here. I've seen four movies in the past week: Gran Torino (OK); Chocolate (awesome); Shaolin Soccer (nowhere near as good as Kung Fu Hustle); and Death Race (truly terrible).

4. Improve my eating habits & 5. Exercise regularly.
Put my big ass on the scale and saw just how out of control my failure on these two goals has gotten. It's bad. I'm not going to talk about how bad right now, but bad. And honestly, I don't feel capable of focusing on it until after the move, so I'm just letting it go right now. Once we're in Virginia, though, these two goals are going to be front and center.

9. Journal and blog regularly.
I've blogged every day this past week and journaled every day but one. Good progress.

10. Sell our house and move.
We are, thank God, under contract. The option period ends at midnight tonight and we close on August 31. So we are where we need to be. Moving plans in the works--sounds like we're going to do it ourselvse with a Penske truck and a prayer, sometime around the 23rd. Three days to drive 1,500 miles (since we have all the animals, we have to stop a lot). Not exactly looking forward to that part, but it has to be done.

11. Practice cooking.
Hey, I made enchiladas and lasagna!

13. Build my freelance resume.
I was supposed to get to work on actually updating my resume with the stuff I've been doing, but I haven't gotten to it. I'm going to put it off, because things are very busy right now, but should be calmed way way down in September. So I will do that then.

All in all, not bad. I'm glad to be reading and journaling more--making time for those things was something I said that I needed to work on last week. For this coming week, I want to maintain that progress and keep moving towards being moved. Packing is up next, so there won't likely be a ton of time for anything else.

6 Comments

Good progress this week. It makes me wish that I had set goals like this so that in theory I would have a blog post per week, lol.

This is quite a list! I love that you put reading a book above moving. A girl that has her priorities straight!

so glad the house is moving forward, that's terrific news, i hope yu were able to ge something like your asking price

as for your movies, chocolate is exactly th kind of mvie i should love but it just didn't work for me ... the french actors speaking english that is supposed to be french was distractig but there was something else , not sure -- and shaolin soccer is way better than kung fu hustle :)

Just an tip for road trips with animals- all Motel 6s and most Red Roof Inns allow pets. Good luck with the move!!

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2009 Goal Progress Report: Week 30

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Did you noticed how I just stopped reporting on my goal progress over two months ago? I didn't mean to--I'm not hiding anything--I just kind of forget.

So back to that.

Here's how I am doing now, in Week 30 of 2009:

1. Read one book per week.
As per my GoodReads list, I've read 21 books so far this year, including the 2 I am currently working on and the 3 I didn't finish. Not so great. Need to read more books.

2. See one movie per week.
All Consuming tells me I've seen 43 movies so far in 2009--way more than 1 per week. So I'm good here.

3. Take at least one overseas trip.
This hasn't happened yet and no plans are in the works. In all likelihood, this is going to become a 2010 goal.

4. Improve my eating habits.
Major failure here lately. Truly terrifyingly bad.

5. Exercise regularly.
Again, failure. I have big plans for after we move, but I'm totally stalled at present.

6. Pay off my credit cards.
Still done. No new balance. Going strong with the responsible credit card use and proud of how well I am doing.

7. Save at least $100/month.
I amended this goal to $1,000/month in May, and that hasn't happened. However, the reason it hasn't is because we've been able to pay cash for the work we've needed to do pre-sale on our house, rather than use credit, so I think it's OK. I am still saving at least $100/month, though, and now that the house repair stuff is mostly done, I should be able to increase that from August on.

8. Learn a new craft.
No progress on this front. All the crafting supplies I've acquired are in storage. Given that and the present time constraints, this one is on hold.

9. Journal and blog regularly.
I'm going to give myself half credit here. I've been doing great with the blogging, but I just picked up my journal again last night after having abandoned it in January.

10. Sell our house and move.
This is in progress. We had an offer on the house, and we have several more possibilities, so I don't think it should be too much longer. We've also secured a rental in Virginia and started our other preparations for moving. This is right where it should be.

11. Practice cooking.
I've done a whole lot of nothing here.

12. Make my home more livable.
Amazing what putting your house in show-ready condition will do for this goal. Our place is lovely now. Livable, not so much, given that we have to keep it sparkly clean all the time and half of our stuff is in storage. However, knowing what it feels like to live in a less cluttered, more vacuumed space has me commited to better general housekeeping once we aren't under the strain of showing anymore.

13. Build my freelance resume.
Things on this front continue to go well. I am working on a smallish project right now and there are more in the pipeline. I need to actually put a new resume together, though. I should make that a goal for next week. Or maybe two weeks from now, actually. By Week 32, I should have a new and updated freelance resume.

So, all in all, progress remains pretty steady. I'm happy with the financial and home situations, and with the professional stuff I've done. I'm less happy with the way I've treated my health (eating and exercise) and with the time I haven't made for reading and journaling. So I need to try to maintain the progress in the first areas while concentrating on the second areas. Not an easy thing to do, but I'm definitely going to try. Making concrete goals and having a public place to note my progress has been infinitely helpful. I definitely recommend it.

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 18-19

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Another two-week update. I can't seem to get it together to remember to do these posts every Friday. To keep myself honest, I am going to check in here on all 13 goals:

#1: Read one book per week.
I gave up on Wicked and am about to start another audio book, but I can't remember which one. I'm still reading Under the Banner of Heaven. Slowly. Haven't had much time.

#2: Watch one movie per week.
Watched two movies on DVD--Vera Drake and Oliver Stone's W.. W. was about what I expected--interesting and funny, and good acting by Josh Brolin, but ultimately full of pretty cheap shots. Vera Drake was start-to-finish excellent.

#3: Take at least one overseas trip
Sadly, if this happens in 2009 it is going to have to be towards the end of the year, as we have a packed schedule through September. This may have to roll forward and become a 2010 goal.

#4: Improve my eating habits.
This is where I need to be putting my focus now, but I haven't been, and it is to my detriment. It would definitely be easier if my stress level weren't so high right now.

#5: Exercise regularly.
I am averaging one gym trip a week right now, which is better than 0, but isn't sufficient. This is the other thing I really need to be working on.

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
Check.

#7: Save at least $100/month.
This goal has been amended to $1,000/month. Hasn't happened yet for May, but it will as soon as my next freelance check comes in (should be early next week).

#8: Learn a new craft.
I haven't picked the cross stitch back up in weeks, just due to being busy, but I did order some beautiful silk thread from Ebay that has me wanting to. I'm planning to take stuff with me over vacation (leaving next Thursday!) and hopefully do some of it then.

#9: Journal and blog regularly.
Ug. Journaling is a total fail. I don't even know where the journal is. Blogging I am trying to keep up with, but I'm not getting more than 1-2 decent posts a week right now, which is not enough to feel like I'm meeting this goal. I'm having a lot of blogger's block, where I can't think of anything worth writing about. Who wants to read yet another post about how busy I am or what makeup I like, you know?

#10: Sell our house and move.
This is becoming a reality. Right now, M. and I are trying to decide if we need to apply for a small home equity loan to do the work we need to do on the house before listing it. It's something we've sort of put off deciding until after his defense and our trip, but we should have a decision made and be starting to put a plan into work by the end of this month, with a target move date of late August.

#11: Practice cooking.
Total fail. Haven't even though about it. This one is kind of back-burnered for the summer, I think, since Mark is home during the day and therefore can cook and I am still working overtime.

#12: Make my home more livable.
This has fallen by the wayside for the last few weeks with both Mark and I being so busy, but will come crashing back to priority status as of tonight, since his parents are coming into town tomorrow. Nothing like impending (not)in-laws to make you clean up!

#13: Build my freelance resume.
Nothing less than resounding success here. I am doing freelance grant writing, at a professional level, and have as much work as I can handle right now. I am going to have to make some decisions in the near-mid future about what direction I want to go with this and how dedicated to it I can really be, but right now I am focused on getting much needed experience, and it's happening.

Not a bad show, I don't think.

1 Comments

I had to put Wicked away too, it just wasn't keeping my attention. You've done really well on lots of your goals, Gracie.

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 16-17

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I missed last week, so I'm catching up for two weeks worth:

#1: Read one book per week.
I finished both The Secrets of the Fire King and An Unquiet Mind. I started the audio book Wicked (which is lame so far) and the book Under the Banner of Heaven (which I can hardly put down).

#2: Watch one movie per week.
I saw two movies: Dragonball Evolution (good God, don't bother) and My Fair Lady (incredibly offensive).

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
DONE!!!

#7: Save at least $100/month.
Done, and this goal is under revision.

#13: Build my freelance resume.
This is turning into one of the most productive goals I have this year. I'm buried in freelance work, much of it very very exciting.

Y'all, I'm doing well. But there is definitely room for improvement. My diet and exercise are...not. And I am not blogging as often as I'd like to be. Nor am I working on my house or cooking. I am hoping I can focus a bit more on these things in the future weeks.

2 Comments

Congrats on paying off your credit cards.

I read the book Wicked and was disappointed. I wouldn't worry if you don't finish that one.

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A very special Earth Day announcement

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This is a funny post to be writing in light of my last series of posts, but I can't not share this with you all.

Look down at my sidebar. Scroll down, I'll wait. See that debt reduction bar that's been there for months? See how it says 0 now?

Yep. I'm out! I made my last payment this morning and my credit card debt is now 0.

For those who haven't been playing along for months, I started my debt reduction campaign in January 2008, with nearly $12,000 in debt. That debt had been accumulating since July of 2005 when Chance died and I put my half of his $6,000 vet bill on my credit card. From there it grew.

Since January 08, my progress has been up and down. Some months I did great, other months my debt actually grew. But I've been able to hit it hard with my new job and freelance work this past month or so, and today I finally finished paying it off.

I can't tell you how I thrilled I am, both not to have it over my head anymore and to have finally achieved a financial goal I'd set for myself.

I'm still not a financial rock star by any means. I have a student loan, a car loan, and a mortgage. I have no retirement and next to no savings. But now, with this hurdle out of the way, I can begin to tackle those ones.

Truly, this is a great feeling.

17 Comments

Congratulations!

Congratulations! That's a huge accomplishment.

Supercongrats!

Congratulations! I totally remember when we climbed our way out of 12k in credit card debt. I still revel in that accomplishment sometimes. Go you!

Grace, that is so awesome. You rock, lady! Big and much deserved Congrats!!!

Paying off my debt was the best day ever. Congrats.

Congratulations! What a great feeling!

You're a beast!

That is seriously inspiring. Maybe it means that one day, we can be just like you!

Yay you! Hopefully I'll be close on your heels!

Yay! That's wonderful Grace. Way to go.

I first realized I was truly an adult when we got a little extra money and I thought, "alright! We can make an extra loan payment!" Tragically practical, but it sure does feel good to get those balances reduced.

Grace, you rock.

Awesome! I admire you very much!

Congratulations. That is a true accomplishment.

Grace, that is just wonderful!! Many many congrats, it must truly be a great feeling.

Christine

Congratulations Grace, I know that this was a day you've been looking forward to for quite some time.

Wow! I know how long and hard you've worked on this. Congratulations! That's really an amazing achievement.

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 15 (belated)

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This is way late, but I want to keep up the habit, so I'm slipping it in here. Last week's progress:

#1: Read one book per week.
No progress here--didn't finish either book.

#2: Watch one movie per week.
Saw A Man For All Seasons for the Oscar project. Liked it quite a bit.

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
Made a big payment, and making another one this week. Currently, I plan for the entire CC debt to be gone by the end of the month. BIG SCORE!

#8: Learn a new craft.
Since I am pretty much too busy to think, last week seemed like an excellent time for this. I've taken up cross-stitch, with the hope to move on to embroidery after a bit. I've only done one little flower thing so far, but I like it a lot and plan to do more. Once I have something worth showing, I'll post a picture.

#13: Build my freelance resume.
This is going very, very well. I have several freelance grant applications in the works and am feeling really good about it.

Not a bad week, huh?

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 14

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It just occurred to me that I haven't done last week's goals update. Totally slipped my mind. Now that I look at my lack of progress, I think maybe I forgot on purpose. Oh well, next week will be better.

#1: Read one book per week.
Still listening to The Secrets of the Fire King, but it's almost done. Started reading The Unquiet Mind and am about 2/3 through it.

#2: Watch one movie per week.
I watched Oliver! for the Oscar project last weekend and hated it. Then M. and I saw The Watchmen in the theater and loved it.

#4: Improve my eating habits.
Dismal failure here this past week, but I'm back to tracking points now.

#5: Exercise regularly.
See above.

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
This past week has seen the balance go up, rather than down. However, that trend will reverse this week, so I should have better news to report on Friday.

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In which I get my woo on (Treasure Mapping)

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Have you all heard of treasure mapping? You can read about it here, but bascially, it means making a collage of your wants/goals for the next year. It's much like the vision boards Karen and Alex did for New Year's, but done on the Aries New Moon instead of at the New Year.

And yeah, it's a little bit woo. Or even a lot. But I did it anyway, last night. And here is my map:

Treasure map

It was a worthwhile exercise just to do it, I think. We'll see how it holds up, but I'm glad I tried.

3 Comments

I did this last year and as nice as it was to see it hanging on my wall every day it ended up reminding me of what I hadn't accomplished instead of what I had. So, no TM for me this year although I might try it again one day.

Cool idea!

What is "woo"?

I've done this a couple of years ago, made 5 of them for different areas in my life. I still like looking at them and remarkably (or perhaps not) they still ring true for me. Of course I like looking at yours in the picture and exercise my amateur psychology muscle a little bit. ;-)

Christine

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 13

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A bit better this week...

#1: Read one book per week.
I finished The Last Days of Dogtown. It was neither bad nor particularly good. I'm still listening to The Secrets of the Fire King. Some of the stories are very good, some less so.

#4: Improve my eating habits.
I've haven't been perfect here this week, but definitely better than last week.

#5: Exercise regularly.
I've been to the gym twice this week and gone on three dog walks of 40-60 minutes with the very quick-paced Pepper, so I feel pretty good about this category.

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
I am watching that balance dwindle and very much enjoying the feeling!

#13: Build my freelance resume.
Looks like I have a bunch of new work headed my way in the next week or so. I am feeling pressed for time and definitely need to work on organization and time management to get everything done, but it's still a good thing.

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 12

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It hasn't been a very good week...

#1: Read one book per week.
Audio: I finished Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist Wife yesterday and started Kim Edwards' short story book, The Secrets of the Fire King today. I've also re-started my membership at paperbackswap.com to try to keep myself in audiobooks.
Paper: Still reading The Last Days of Dogtown. It's not bad at all, but not terribly compelling either.

#2: See one movie per week.
I didn't watch a whole move this week. I watched the first half of Day Watch, but hated it so much I went to bed instead of finishing it.

#4: Improve my eating habits.
I've been sick to my stomach pretty much all week, so I've only been eating what I think will stay down at any given moment. Lots of saltines. And oddly, this seems to have caused weight gain, rather than loss.

#5: Exercise regularly.
Total fail. Haven't done a bit of exercise all week.

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
Set to make another several hundred dollar payment today!

1 Comments

#4 - that's just water retention. Don't worry about it. Also, when you don't eat your body holds onto its resources. Give it a week or two, things will get back to normal.

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 11

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I've gotta say, y'all, I am pretty proud of how this is all going.

#1: Read one book per week.
I finished last week's audio book, Four Rooms, Upstairs and have moved on to Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist Wife .More impressively, I've finally started an actual paperback book, The Last Days of Dogtown.

#2: See one movie per week.
Mark and I watched In the Heat of the Night this week for the Oscar project. Really good film and Sidney Portier is fantastic. You should see it if you haven't.

#4: Improve my eating habits.
Still trucking on the WW and healthy eating. Still not perfect, but really doing better all the time.

#5: Exercise regularly.
Fell down on this one this week--I've only been to the gym once. In my defense, I haven't been feeling well. Unless I feel worse, though, I've got to go this weekend.

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
Last week's balance was $4,300, this week's is $3,500. Gotta love that.

#9: Journal and blog regularly.
I'm back to blogging nearly every week day and I'm really enjoying it again. I also decided to go to BlogHer this year, which I'm super excited about already.

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 10

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Another good week, I'd say!

#1: Read one book per week.
Again, all audio. I finished Jennifer Traig's Well Enough Alone and have moved on to Four Rooms, Upstairs. For next week, my goal is to add an actual paper book.

#2: See one movie per week.
Saw The Man Who Cried (horrible) on DVD and Slumdog Millionaire (eh) in theater.

#4: Improve my eating habits.
Probably didn't do quite as well as last week, but still working on this one and focusing on increased vegetables and making healthier choices every day.

#5: Exercise regularly.
About the same as last week--been to the gym twice for 30 minutes of cardio each time and will go again tonight. Next week I plan to increase to 35 or 40 mintues each visit.

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
I am down to one credit card, and the balance is down to about $4,300. I will have this goal completed before summer!

#7: Save at least $100/month.
Done.

#9: Journal and blog regularly.
The journal is now completely abandoned, but I am back to blogging regularly and am enjoying it again!

#13: Build my freelance resume.
I completed a large volunteer grant editing project this week. It is work I am particularly proud to have been a part of and it's great resume fodder.

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 8

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Did better this week!

#1: Read one book per week.
I finished the Blum audiobook and have moved on to Jennifer Traig's new one, about her hypocondria (I think?). I am excited about it, because I really enjoyed her first book. I also gave up on the newest Toni Morrison. It's excrutiating to read.

#2: See one movie per week.
Watched Patton. Wow, that was long. Also Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo. Sometimes you just need junk food, and Harold & Kumar are freaking hysterical.

#4: Improve my eating habits.
I've done pretty well with my eating this week. Not perfect, but a big increase in veggies and fiber, and I'm down a few pounds.

#5: Exercise regularly.
Been to the gym twice this week. Starting w/ 3 30-minute cardio sessions/week and moving up from there. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
I've made over $1,000 in extra CC payments this month. Which has really only gotten me back to where I was before I started losing ground at Christmas time, but at least I'm on the right track again now. I'm playing to pay off at least $1,500/month now.

#9: Journal and blog regularly.
The journal has fallen completely by the wayside, but I've gotten back into the blogging groove this week, and as well as taken steps to insure I start prioritizing blogging a bit more (see the ads post),

Good week!

2 Comments

Wow, Grace, good job on your goals this week!

When do you listen to audio books most? I can't seem to fit in more than three books a month, even with audio books.

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 7

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OK, another one-day late progress report.

#1: Read one book per week.
I finished the Nafizi book, and it never really worked for me. I have since moved on to Howard Blum's American Lightening, which I'm not loving either, but is OK. Again, I haven't actually read a book (rather than listening to it) for weeks.

#2: See one movie per week.
I saw The Wrestler last weekend. Wow. Fantastic. Really, really fantastic.

#4: Improve my eating habits.
I've rejoined WW and am paying attention again. I hate it. That's all I'm going to say right now.

#9: Journal and blog regularly.
Obviously I haven't done well with this. Gotta make this a priority for next week.

1 Comments

I really want to see The Wrestler, but it's hard finding some time to go to the movietheatre. Too bad Rourke didn't win, I guess he insulted too many members of the Academy in the past. :-)

Christine

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 6

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I'm not all that proud of myself this week...

#1: Read one book per week.
I'm about halfway through listening to Azar Nafisi's "Things I've Been Silent About," which is just OK. I haven't even picked up either the Abzug book or the Morrison book all week. Life has been in the way, folks.

#2: See one movie per week.
Continued the Oscar project with "The French Connection" this week, which I liked, but didn't love. I think "Patton" is next, but I'm on-hold now and trying desperately to find time to see this year's nominees before next weekend.

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
I haven't made any extra payments yet, and am in fact still behind from last month, but I am down to one balance holding card, and it's at 0% for six months, so I ought to be able to keep from paying any interest (beyond the balance transfer fees I already had to pay), so at least I did something. I am thinking I will be able to toss a few extra dollars that way at the end of the month, too, as I'll be getting two paychecks.

Yep. Not a ton of progress. But I was really focused elsewhere this week. Next week will be better.

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 5

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I'm late, but I'm keeping up!

#1: Read one book per week.
I finished listening to "Sacred Time," which I enjoyed. I am still barely into the Bella Abzug book and have also started Toni Morrison's newest, "A Mercy." I'm still doing a lot better listening than I am actually reading. Hopefully it's just a phase.

#2: See one movie per week.
I finished "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," but haven't seen anything since then. I really want to watch all the major Oscar nominees, but I'd better get to it if I'm going to get that done.

#6: Pay off my credit cards.
I actually ended up spending more than I paid last month, which sucked, but I've already paid $1,200 this month (got my tax refund!). So I'm still working on it.

#7: Save $100/month.
Done.

#13: Build my freelance resume.
This is where I've made the biggest progress this week--I met with three new grant-writing clients in Oregon, as well as taking on an unpaid assingment editing a school charter application. It's all good stuff,

Once again, not great, but not too bad either.

1 Comments

Hey, I'm a convert to the audio book. And some books on music can't be experienced any other way, really. Daniel Levitin's This Is Your Brain On Music in audio includes music snippets to illustrate what he's talking about, and snippets he didn't include I found I had some of on my iPod anyway, right there at my fingertips. Other books have original music, which is also cool. And you can't beat hearing the authors read their own work, imo.

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2009 Goal Progress Report, Week 4

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This week, I've done well:

#1: Read one book per week.
I gave up on listening to "Wolf at my Table" less than halfway through. It's nothing like Burroughs' other books and I just couldn't handle it. It's miserable. I started another audio book, "Sacred Time," which I'm enjoying. More importantly, though, I finally finished "Crescent" and have moved on to a Bella Abzug biography.

#2: See one movie per week.
I've actually seen 2.5 movies in the past week. I watched "The Other Boleyn Girl" on Wednesday night and "Kinsey" last night, and then the first half of "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" tonight. Gotta love Netflix online.

#8: Learn a new craft.
Not exactly new, but I made myself some cool bulletin boards last night. I'll try to remember to take a picture and post about them this weekend.

#11: Practice cooking.
I made meatloaf and baked potatoes on Wednesday. Not great, but serviceable.

]#13: Build my freelance resume.
This is more something I am doing than something I did this week, but next week I am going to Oregon, where I will attend some business meetings with freelance clients. In preparation, I am putting together a professional writing portfolio, which is something I should have done a long time ago.

Good week!

1 Comments

You are doing so well with your goals!

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2009 Goal Progress, Week 3

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Forgot to do this yesterday. This week hasn't been quite as ambitious as previous ones, but there has been a lot going on.

Progress I have made:

#1: Read one book per week.
I may just need to change this to "listen to one book per week." I finished Escape and started Augusten Burroughs' Wolf at the Table (which I hate so far). Both are audio books. And I'm STILL not done with Crescent.

#12: Make my home more livable.
This is where the real progress came this week. I spent a whole bunch of time cleaning out and reorganizing our office, and it's now usable! And then we reorganized our living room a bit and bought a new cabinet for our audiovisual equipment, which is great, because it looks better now and it's behind glass, so it collects less dust. There is still, of course, an endless amount to do, but we're definitely making progress.

1 Comments

Dear Grace, I want to let you know that I came across your writing this p.m and really enjoyed several of your Blogs. Actually, I was reading about one of the first female war correspondents and stumbled into your work. I think your doing some excellent work and I commend you for leading such a thoughtful life.

Thank-you Grace you have made me think about some things more closely.

Best,

Luci

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2009 Goal Progress, Week 2

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In direct rebuttal to my last post, here's my progress report for this week on my 2009 goals.

#1: Read one book per week.
I finished listening to Unaccustomed Earth yesterday and started another audio book, Escape. I'm still not finished with Crescent, though. It just isn't compelling to me. I'm nearly finished with it, though, so I'll finish it. Eventually.

#2: See one movie per week.
I've seen several movies in the past week: Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (haha!), Rocky (ug), and Tipping the Velvet (good).

#8: Learn a new craft.
I've started gathering stuff and making Jars of Whimsies. I don't know if that counts as a craft, but it's sure fun.

#11: Practice cooking.
I'm continuing to cook. I made that great curry the other day, and I've been trying to look for more recipes to try.

#12: Make my home more livable.
I'm working hard on this. I've made a home management binder, and I'm spending this weekend tackling my horror show office.

#13: Build my freelance resume.
Exciting news on this front this week. I'm going to be changing jobs in a few weeks to go back to technical writing on a contract basis. This is actually freelance work, but will build that resume.

So all in all, another good week!

8 Comments

LOVE, Love, love Sarah Waters' Tipping The Velvet!! You should read the book also, it's so much better, more involved, and different than the movie.

I also recommend her following books, Fingersmith and Affinity. Waters is my second most favorite author. Although I was a little disappointed in Night Watch but still enjoyed it.

Wow, that's brilliant!

I cook quite a lot. Here's one of

my favorite recipes. It's simple but has incredible flavors. And, it gives me a chance to use the LaCrueset I got for wedding gifts. :)

http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1654704

I also wanted to recommend that you take a look into trying mosaics as a crafting project. I think you'd like it.

You can buy tiles, but even better you can thrift for plates and such to break/cut to make your own tiles. And, you can thrift to find tables or boxes or whatnot to tile.

I went through a mosaic kick for a few years and it's quite easy to teach yourself.

If you're looking for a good basic cookbook that will help teach you great tricks, try the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It's on the pricey side, but every recipe is exhaustively tested and flawless.

What's a jar of whimsy?

Congrats on the job stuff!

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I'm not working on it

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Remember the other day when I was going on about how great it is that everyone's blogs are full of resolutions and goals this time of year and we're all bright and shiny-eyed and committed to bettering ourselves in 2009?

Well, I'm kind of over it.

I'm all about betterment of the self. I probably write more about my own efforts at self-betterment here than about anything else. I'm goal-oriented. But I'm 100% sick of my goings on about it right now, and of all of yours as well. Not because I don't think we should all be committed to being better people, but because I'm starting to freak out about our collective need for perfection.

So today, I'm going to tell you a few of things that are wrong with me that I'm not trying to fix. This is the stuff I'm not working on, the stuff that you are just going to have to accept about me as is if you want to be friends. If you want to do the same, either in the comments or on your own blog, I encourage it. I think we could all use a little time out to embrace our flaws.

1. I have zero hand-eye coordination. Seriously. It's pathological. I had to take a special class in elementary school for what was then referred to as "physical retardation" or something like that. Basically, it was three half-hours a week of trying to get me to learn to throw and catch. I hated it. My coordination hasn't improved much since then, either. I can drive adequately, but that's about the end of what I've learned. I am bad at all sports. I bump and bruise myself daily. I can't even play Tetris.

2. I don't floss. Ever. And I'm not going to start.

3. I can't sew. I've tried, I've failed, I'm done.

4. I only finish what I start about a quarter of the time. My follow through is severely lacking. I am a much better plan-maker than plan-doer.

5. I am not above picking fights to entertain myself when I'm bored.

6. If I don't like you, I probably won't bother to hide it or even be civil to you if I don't have a pressing reason to be.

7. I have a strong tendency to think things are not worth doing simply because I'm not able to do them.

8. If you grew up wealthy, I'm likely to take an unfair automatic dislike to you.

9. I bite my nails, and my cuticles.

10. I'm incredibly lazy and will sleep 12 hour stretches if allowed.

11. I drink, often to excess, and I'm a lousy drunk.

12. I quite regularly don't answer my cell phone just because I don't feel like it.

OK. I feel better now! You?

13 Comments

Turns out we're the same person!

This is a great idea.

I often don't answer my phone either, and I don't care. For all they know, I was doing something important.

I take terrible care of my fish, such that they keep dying mostly I think because of my use of weekend feeders.

I have very little actual craft SKILLS despite doing crafts frequently and with great enthusiasm

I don't really know how to clean well

Thank you for posting this. I'm working on my goals for 2009 (I haven't sent my 2008 holiday cards yet -- timeliness with certain things would be on my list) and seeing everyone's lists was beginning to make me think that there wasn't anything in my life I shouldn't be trying to improve. It is so nice to hear someone else say that it is okay to be imperfect.

I don't feel better necessarily, but I do feel more normal.

Why Grace, you're human after all, I knew it! ;-)
I really like your post, because I'm all for honesty and I've blogged myself about the fact that so much blogs seem to make the world perfect and happy and good, and how much that irks me.
I'll think about my bad sides (I have many, lol) and write a post about it this week on my blog. You've inspired me!

Christine

I can't make myself a bag lunch. You know, with like a sandwich and an apple and something to drink. In elementary school the best I could manage was to take a juice box and apple sauce. In high school I would buy a candy bar and a coke. Now I've made peace with it and I eat Lean Cuisines or buy lunch from somewhere.

I'm loving numeber 3...boy I can relate, sewing, knitting, crafting.

I had to take remedial PE too. And I bite my nails and cuticles something awful (though it is a goal to fix that). And I'm often full of disdain for those I consider beneath me!

I see no reason why the world shouldn't revolve around me, and I don't plan on addressing that attitude in 2009. Or perhaps ever.

I did this over on my blog, and actually binkin did on her blog as well (hers is http://littlebirdhouse.wordpress.com) in case you're interested.

Take care,
el

Self improvement can suck it.

I could've written this. But I didn't because I'm too lazy to blog.

Oh, I don't want to get started on my shortcomings. Except to say my ex said I should be voted "Least likely to answer their phone."

Floss - get the Glide. Honest. And then do it. You can prevent HEART DISEASE. Please?

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2009 Goal Progress, Week 1

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Once again, I'm following Rachel's lead, and instituting a weekly post detailing any progress I've made towards my goals for 2009. What would I do without her to copy-cat?

#1 Read one book per week.
I finished Mary Roach's Bonk this morning. I'm still working on Crescent, though.

#2 See one movie per week.
I saw both Doubt and Frost/Nixon last weekend, and fully plan to spend some quality time with my Netflix this weekend.

#4 Improve my eating habits.
I'm instituting a practice of drinking a glass of water for every cup of coffee I drink at work. Baby steps.

#6 Pay of my credit cards.
I paid $700 towards my credit cards this month. Unfortunately, that didn't do much more than undo the damage I did last month, but at least I'm back on track now.

#7 Save at least $100/month.
Done!

#9 Journal and blog regularly.
I actually haven't been blogging much this week, but I have been journaling. I feel kind of stuck with the blog, like I don't have much to say. I'll work more on that next week.

#11 Practice cooking.
I did really well with this one this week. I made dinner three times! Chicken with rice, pizza, and pasta. Go me!

Not a bad starting week, all things considered...

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Woo-hoo! Grace that is awesome! You're moving right along and baby steps SOOOOOO count. It's only the 9th, sister!

PS. if we were still in school we'd so be cheating off each others paper, lol.

Baby steps is right, I'm working at a lot of the same things this year... keep telling myself that even a bit of movement in the right direction is still movement.

Great week!

Good job. I'm especially proud of you for cooking 3x. You can do it!

You are doing so well!

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Goal #11

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I have cooked twice in three days!

On Saturday, I made a dish recommended by an e-friend. It was some roasted chicken breasts over a sort of sweet-and-sour blend of pineapple, garlic, colored bell peppers, honey, etc., with rice. It was pretty good. Not great, but edible.

Tonight, I used some of the leftover chicken, along with some homemade pizza crust dough I made yesterday, and made a pizza with some pesto, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, and cheese. It was really, really tasty.

Looks good too, huh?

Grace's pizza!

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did I say honey, lemon, and cilantro for the chicken? I feel like I didn't say the whole recipe!

Sorry!

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Goals for 2009

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All over the Internet, bloggers are listing their New Year's Resolutions. I love it. My favorite lists so far are Karen at Chookooloonks' "9 for 9", The Princess at Flood Lizard Kingdom's "So, 2009, what shall we get up to?", and Crunchy Turtle Rachel's series of goals/resolutions posts. And so, now, I add my list.

Things I Want to Accomplish in 2009


  1. Read one book per week. I've already been over this one. Reading is really important to me, and I need to make time for it.

  2. See one movie per week. Pretty much the same deal as the books, though much easier to accomplish.

  3. Take at least one overseas trip. I have no idea if this is going to be doable this year or not, but Mark and I have talked about celebrating his graduation with a trip. We'll see.

  4. Improve my eating habits. This is something I focused on for a while last year, then stopped. I need to re-commit. I don't have to be perfect, but I do need to be better.

  5. Exercise regularly. See above re: eating better. I know I feel better when I exercise. I have to make myself do it.

  6. Pay of my credit cards. I am about 2/3 of the way there. I should be able to do it by about halfway through 2009. At my current rate, I have 6 more months to go, and I should be able to speed that up some with freelance income and/or tax rebate.

  7. Save at least $100/month. I know $100/month isn't enough, and I fully plan to increase this substantially as soon as the CCs are paid off. Until then, though, I want to keep up the saving habit with $100 monthly contributions to my savings account.

  8. Learn a new craft. I'm not sure what it will be, but I want to learn a new craft this year. I felt like I got a long way with bath stuff last year, and I want to do something new this year. Crocheting, or embroidery, or felting...not sure.

  9. Journal and blog regularly. I'm really glad to have gotten back into journaling and hope to be able to keep it up in 2009. Blogging I am pretty much in the habit of, and I don't think continuing to blog regularly (if not daily) should be too much of a problem.

  10. Sell our house and move. Obviously this is a big goal, and it's something we're going to have to do this year. It's going to take quite a bit of work. I hope to take these challenges on with the best possible attitude.

  11. Practice cooking. The phobia I have developed of cooking is ridiculous. I need to get over it. I'm shooting for cooking 1 dinner/week to start.

  12. Make my home more livable. Mark and I had a long conversation this weekend about how gross our house has gotten and what we need to do to make it more livable. Mostly, this has to do with the battle against dog hair, but it also has to do with both of us (me especially) given a little more time to chores. So I am trying to figure out a routine to deal a bit better with my household responsibilities, and we're going to make some furniture purchases (cabinets with doors to protect stuff from the hair, for example) to make it easier.

  13. Build my freelance resume. I currently have some opportunities to do freelance side work on grants and similar stuff for private companies. This is exactly the type of work I need to build a resume in the hopes of doing this stuff for myself at some not too far-off point. I have to focus on that.

Like Rachel, I plan to post period updates on how I am progressing towards these goals. I feel pretty positive about my chances of checking a bunch of them off!

That is probably plenty for now...

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re: #10--where are potential new locations? we should talk, because where you lot end up will affect my rank list. (i'm currently looking at providence, worcester, new haven, and research triangle, with rochester and chicago on the less likely end.)

Grace, those look so great! Looking forward to seeing you progress and cross them off!

That is an ambitious and inspiring list! I'm sure that you'll do awesome : )

I need to take hints from you on #12. I've been supremely slacking in that department and now that we've lived in the same place for 3+ years it's time too look at some of the places I usually only clean when I move...

well, nuts. not for y'all--those are all great locations--but for me.

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