Thursday, January 08, 2009

Not so Great 2008

Welcome to my annual New Year’s Resolution report card, where I take the proverbial red pen to my list from last year and rate my performance against goals. Just like last year, my resolution grade point average is well below what one would define as “Ivy League caliber.” However this year’s evaluation opened my eyes to something only a good dose of well-documented self-reflection can reveal; how much I changed as a person during the course of one year. The ability to go back in time and re-read entries is one of the cooler aspects of keeping a blog. While I did poorly on accomplishing these goals set a year ago it is astonishing to realize how little I care about my horrific performance; quite a shock for a type-A overachiever. Some goals are no longer important or relevant in my life, and most things on this list pale in comparison to many of the other goals I personally accomplished during the year. So I will continue to make resolutions, tweaking them yearly to align with where I am in my life, but I will also acknowledge that many of them will be neglected not out of laziness (although it is a contributing factor) but out of changes of personal direction.

Classy Lady: Take one continuing education class on any topic; photography, cooking, ballroom dance, tennis, creative writing, underwater basket weaving, etc.
  • (B) I did take a class, but it was offered by work and related to my career and not personal development outside my job. What I did do this year is learn new skills in cooking and photography not from a class but from others who enjoy the same passions as me. This might not be textbook training but it was fulfilling nonetheless. I am also attending fitness classes and learning more about what my body can and cannot physically achieve.
Let’s Get Physical: I will do something physical (walk, jog, blade, bike, etc.) for 30 minutes a day, every day.
  • (A-) For a great majority of the year I got outside with the dogs and walked at least 30 minutes everyday. The big discovery was The Firm in Minneapolis and how much I love “group fitness.” I am a social animal and am much more successful working out when surrounded by a large number of people. Becoming a disciple of Diva Doug is one of the best things that happened to my body and mind in 2008.
Hydrate: 8 glasses a day, every day.
  • (B-) I ebb and flow (excuse the pun) on this one. My hydration plan is excellent when sitting at my desk during the week, but somehow water finds a more adult replacement every weekend.
Cruelty Free Beauty: By the end of the year all the beauty product in the house, from shampoo to face cream, will be from companies who abstain from animal testing.
  • (C) We did the best we could in this category given some change in life circumstances. Most all of our health and beauty products are cruelty free these days except our toothpaste and underarm deodorant which are both necessary items in our lives and don’t come with acceptable cruelty free replacements (Tom’s of Maine doesn’t address my tartar control needs, natural antiperspirant leaves me stinky). I was well on my way to a completely cruelty free facial regimen and ended up needing the assistance of a dermatologist and some prescription topical treatments which I know were animal tested. All in all we saved a few animals with our changes.
Photos Finished: All photos will be uploaded to the internet within two weeks of taking them.
  • (D+) The photo thing was a bit weird this year; the number of pictures I took fell 50% from last year yet I am still working on completing post-production and sending them to family and friends. What I did notice about working on photos 6 months after they are taken is how many more I am willing to part with; I can let go of the emotional attachment of the moment and make clear decisions on what is a good photo and what is crap.
Loan Free: Pay off car loan by end of year
  • (F) The financial crisis hit this goal hard. My yearly cash bonus came in the form of stock options that were underwater the day I received them. The Jeep will be paid off in early 2009 regardless.
Face First: Reaching an age where facials are necessary and no longer a luxury, I will make the time to get facials quarterly.
  • (A) Best resolution ever, especially after receiving my fourth quarter facial at Ph Orem. If you live in Minnesota, or are ever visiting, you must give it a try; best facial I have ever had in my entire life.
Reading: Finish 12 books. Writing: Post on blog an average of 3 days a week.
  • (C+) I didn’t come close, but for what I lacked in quantity I truly believe I made up in quality. It is amazing going back to some of my earlier posts and seeing how my writing improved and the response I am getting for certain topics. Our brain is a muscle that gets stronger with more use.
Don’t let the sun shine in: Apply sunscreen to my face every morning.
  • (A+) I feel like I’m cheating with this resolution every year since it is a habit firmly ensconced in my daily routine, but it is so important to both my health and looks that it will forever remain on my list.
Variety is the spice of life: Get out of life ruts by trying a new “thing” every month; restaurant, museum, park, sport, stage production, etc.
  • (A+) This is a resolution I am particularly proud of both thinking of and accomplishing. It is so easy to forget that life is about challenging ourselves to grow, learn, and become better people. I meant to keep a running monthly list of these accomplishments but was so busy doing them I forgot to keep the list! I saw a few shows (Avenue Q , My Fair Lady, Jersey Boys), joined a CSA, joined a new gym (that I consistently visit 3 to 4 times a week), rock climbed (on a wall), replaced my whole wardrobe (was seriously outdated!), tried several new local restaurants, and visited a new country (Belgium).
Weight of the world off the shoulders: Relax tense back and shoulder muscles with a deep body massage quarterly and hang on the inversion table at least 4 days a week.
  • (D) The purchase of a memory foam topper for our bed helped many of my back issues but I should really utilize the inversion table more because it feels so good.
Maintain Happy Weight: Get back into the 170s and stay there!
  • (D-) I came very, very close to getting back to the 170s and realized I was dangerously slipping back into the old habits of a recovering bulimic/binge eater. I also realized that I could be happy at any weight which was honestly a much more important achievement than anything the scale could say. I focused on making healthier decisions rather than the number on the scale and felt and looked better for those decisions, even if I never reached this weight goal.
Great Skate:Complete another Inline Marathon.
  • (F) I made a conscious effort to skip the Northshore Inline Marathon after 4 straight years of racing because of scheduling conflicts (deciding between Europe and skating 26 miles was a no-brainer). I attempted to sign up for the St. Paul Inline Marathon and realized that I would be out of town for a family event that weekend. I will skate my fifth Northshore September 2009.

I do think New Year's resolutions can't technically be expected to begin on New Year's Day, don't you? Since, because it's an extension of New Year's Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year's Day isn't a good idea as you can't eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally
on January the second.
- Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary

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