First of all, happy New Year to all! I hope that 2012 brings hope and blessings to you.
A new year always brings talk of New Year's resolutions. Some people love making resolutions. Others adamantly refuse to make any. Most acknowledge that keeping them is rare.
I think there are several problems with the traditional idea of New Year's resolutions. First, most of them are too vague. If one resolves to lose weight, exercise more, or save money, intentions are good, but what does that actually mean? How much is "more"? How do you know when you've met the goal? What is even the plan for meeting it?
Another problem is being too ambitious. In the euphoric fog of new year hopes and dreams, we think we can overhaul our entire life. We will never touch sweets again, exercise every single day, organize our whole house, etc. However, by about Jan. 15, it's cold, it's dreary, and it's getting dark way too early. Motivation is hard to come by. Suddenly chocolate sounds really good, and burrowing under a blanket is more desirable than working out.
However, I think the turning of the calendar does tend to make one introspective, and who doesn't want a fresh start every now and then? I think making goals for the new year, breaking them down into manageable (and measurable!) chunks, and planning specific ways to meet them is very beneficial. Obviously this doesn't have to be done Jan. 1; if you suddenly get inspired on May 27 to make a goal and break it down and start working toward it, by all means go ahead. However, I happened to have made my goal list the week after Christmas. I'm posting here in hopes of clarifying my thoughts a little more and giving myself a little extra accountability.
I first thought about different areas of my life and the different roles I play. I define myself as a Christian, wife, mother, homemaker, and homeschooler. Most of my goals fit into one of these areas. Others were purely personal or financial, but even those at least partly fit into one of those categories.
After coming up with a goal (or several) for each area, I broke it down into steps needed to achieve it. I don't expect to do everything all at once. These are goals for an entire year, so they don't all need to be done tomorrow! (That certainly would be nice though.) Some really are too personal to post here, but others I don't mind sharing.
I started using You Version in December; they had an Advent Bible reading plan. They offer several other reading plans as well. Some are rather short, but others have a bit more length to them. Most are topical rather than expository in nature. Anyway, I set a goal to complete at least three of their reading plans this year. I will be doing other studies with our church, but I think this will be a good supplement.
One goal that fits with both homemaking and finances is household organization. When we moved into this house, I had a lovely vision in my head for how the house would look. I won't go into the details as to why that never came to be; suffice it to say that it didn't. However, I plan to change that this year! We are going to work for fifteen minutes a day (very doable) on going through items we own. Whatever we don't use and/or love will either be donated or sold (stuff that can be sold is the financial part of the equation). We're going to start in the play room, then move on to other rooms of the house. The last thing to be tackled will be the storage closet downstairs. Once we are left with only beloved and useful items, it will be easy to keep them neat and tidy.
Another financial goal is to write at least three articles per week for Textbroker. I am also going to read an e-book I found on AP style. When finished, I will take Textbroker's proofreading test; this opens up more job opportunities.
I have a list of books I want to read and projects I want to try. The books fall into various categories (some are spiritual, some are financial, some are homemaking), but I will post summaries and reviews after each one. I've already started the first one, an e-book on blogging. I will also post about the various projects as they occur.
I will also continue to tackle the grocery budget and the menu planning. We did much better in December, and I am excited about our progress.
I won't bore you by going on (trust me, I would bore you if I gave you my whole list. I have a detailed outline and everything. I'm a wee bit anal). Hopefully this gives you the idea. Since I plan to continue updating as the year goes on, you'll get to hear more anyway! :)
Again, happy New Year!
This post is linked to Money Saving Mom.