I explained at about this time last year that I’ve never been all that big on New Year’s resolutions. They seem to set you up to fail – big goals that get repeated every year, because every year you don’t meet them, and then you feel guilty. Not the best system for boosting energy and happiness and confidence, which is really what most resolutions are about.
But this year feels a little different. Last year, my goals were basically to keep my kid alive and not to get consumed by the craziness of going back to work. Hey! It turns out when you set relatively simple goals, you can meet them.
With work in check (thank you, somewhat normal 40-hour-a-week job) and the chaos of living with a toddler somewhat contained, and the calendar turning to 2014, I started to think about what I want to accomplish this year. Not resolutions – goals. Some of them are stretch goals. And as everyone knows, you don’t always meet your stretch goals – right?
- Buy jeans that fit. Every to-do list should include something you can already check off, and this is mine. I’ve been walking around for the last 15 months in ill-fitting and/or faded jeans from Old Navy, and at Christmas it occurred to me (with a gasp) that I was starting to fall into the curse of mom clothes. I’m still too cheap, though, to pay a lot of money for nicer jeans, and then to get them hemmed. So I was glad when Liz told me to look at American Eagle – and then all their jeans went on sale! Two new pairs, on sale, and in my closet.
- Turn on the crock pot. It turns out that when a small person depends on you for meals, your old standby of “pour Go Lean Crunch into a bowl with some milk” for dinner doesn’t quite cut it. But neither does cooking up an elaborate feast (read: boiling water for pasta and cooking veggies that take even 15 minutes), when said little person goes to bed a half hour after we get home. So: crock pot. We’ve made some hits so far (shredded buffalo chicken, pasta e fagioli) and had some misses (improvised tortellini soup that was more of a spinach stew). But I’ve got a ton of recipes left to try, and if the past week is any indication of what’s to come for the next two months, plenty of cold weather to justify soups and stews and other slow-cooked stuff.
- Open (and finish) a book. Maybe two. Trying not to get carried away here. I’ve been reading Steve Jobs’ biography for literally two years. I bought Lean In about three days after it came out and have yet to open it. I’ve been reading Nurture Shock so long that I have had to re-read chapters because I don’t remember them. So I’ll count it as a success if I finish any of the three of those. If I hit all three – and maybe even find another book I like? – bonus.
- Hire a babysitter. Teddy’s been around a while now, and as much as I like cozy nights at home on the couch in my sweats, I’m in danger of breaking the world record for consecutive evenings spent that way. It’s time to get out (and not only when friends and family volunteer to hang out with the kid)! It will be good for us, and good for Teddy. And we can use the money I saved by buying American Eagle jeans, plus a second mortgage on the house, to pay the babysitters.
- Get organized! We spent the first weekend of 2014 de-junking our bedroom and Teddy’s closet – success! That just leaves every other room in the house. I’d love to Pinterest-ify our house and get closet organizers and bins with pictures so Teddy can help organize his toys and cute canisters for our cabinets – but mostly I’ll be happy if I can find two shoes that match each other, and my clothes, when I’m getting dressed.
- Get on the treadmill. Our old treadmill got daily use, to the point that we actually took it apart and scrapped it when we moved because we’d worn the thing out. The new one? It has sat alone in the cold basement more than I’d like to admit. (Hey, at least down there it hasn’t become a clothes storage space.) But after two years of only sporadic exercise, the time has come to get my butt back in shape, and running is simply the best way I know how. So, I’ve been bundling up as if I’m running outside and heading downstairs and getting reacquainted with my iPod. Anyone have any new running songs for me? Mine are apparently all from about 20 years ago.
- Let go of some guilt. I mentioned stretch goals, right? Here’s a tough one, for me. I’ve really, really wanted to get back to running/volunteering with my Cancer to 5k group, which I had to give up when I got pregnant and couldn’t run anymore. That group helped me so much when I needed them, and I’ve felt guilty that I haven’t been able to give back nearly as much as I gained from them. But I really just haven’t been able to – last fall, I’d just had Teddy, then we moved, and then this fall the weekends just seemed too crazy to make it work. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m still volunteering (for my thyroid cancer support group), and my weekend time with Teddy and B is just too short to sacrifice a half a morning every Saturday – even for a good cause. It’s a choice, and it’s the one that makes my Saturdays happiest, and I need to be OK with it. I’ll get back to the CT5K races again, one day — and maybe Teddy will even be with me.