Thursday, January 3, 2013

Looking forward, looking back

I'm not the best at New Year's resolutions. A long time ago, I realized that a day only has as much significance as I put on it, and now that I'm a (supposedly) productive member of society, New Year's Day is a day off work, an excuse to sleep in, and an opportunity to get caught up on laundry.

But that's not to say I just ignore the idea of New Year's resolutions entirely.

There are a lot of things I do that I dislike. Little habits, like biting my fingernails (or even worse, biting my cuticles), and big things, like allowing myself to worry about things until I feel overwhelmed and lock up completely. It's a broad spectrum of self-annoyances, and when I look at it logically I know there's absolutely no way I'll change every single one of them. I'd go crazy. I'd be a robot. My lack of flaws would most likely initiate a vacuum that would cause my house to explode.

But there are some things, medium-sized things, that I want to work on this year.

First, I want to finish Sever. Finishing a novel sounds like a really lofty goal (and a common one that tends to fall by the wayside) but I'm so close to being done (I'd estimate within 5,000-7,000 words) that this is minor. I've lived, slept, breathed this story so long, there's no way I could drop it at this point. I'd also like to have it edited and revised by May, and be shopping it to agents by fall. That, in my opinion, is a lofty goal, because it terrifies me. But I'm also determined to make that happen.

Second, I want to try to worry less. Notice the word 'try' in there. I know there's no conceivable way I could just up and stop worrying - it's part of my nature, and I'm so used to it that I get nervous if I DON'T have something to worry about. But what I want to do is recognize when I'm worrying about something I have no control over, remind myself that I have no control over it, and try to at least make peace with that. Like right now, I'm agonizing over some issues that may be a miscommunication, or may be something that I really looked forward to not materializing the way I thought it would. But the thing is, one way or another, I won't know anything until I have a chance to talk to the people involved. Once I've talked to them, I can either deal with the problem (if it's a miscommunication) or let myself accept that there's nothing I can do about it (if it's the project falling through). In either scenario, worrying isn't going to do me a bit of good, beyond keeping me up at night and making myself miserable.

Third, I want to get back in shape. At one point a few years ago, I was running two miles a day, and I felt great. I fell out of the habit when we moved back to Oklahoma, but now that I have a treadmill I've been using it on weekdays to jog. It's slow going, but I'm starting to notice that I'm sleeping better at night, and I tend to be in a better mood once I've finished my workout. I'm not focusing so much on weight loss - I want that too, but my focus is on being healthy rather than on being thin.

Fourth, I want to eat better. This ties into the resolution above. I work full time, and Hub works full time, which makes for a terrible culinary combination. We ate out at least two nights a week last year, and there were several nights where I 'cooked' pre-made, bagged meals like fried rice or packaged lasagna because I just plain didn't have the energy when I got home to up and cook a fresh meal. I want to do better when it comes to making sure Hub comes home to a meal that, at the very least, includes the basic food groups.

Fifth, I want to go on adventures again. This is no one's fault - Hub and I bought a house at the very end of 2011 after a VERY long period of housing limbo. We both fell into a rut where neither of us wanted to leave home, because it was so nice to have a home. That rut quickly turned into a routine - come home from work, make dinner, watch a movie/read/play online, go to bed, get up, go to work. Rinse and repeat for five days, and then on weekends do laundry, dishes, vacuum, and other chores. Hub and I have talked about this, and we're going to try really hard to just go somewhere, whether it's for a weekend or an entire week, at least a couple times this year.

Finally, I want to stop procrastinating. One thing Hub and I have really been pushing the last couple weeks (as a way to get a jump start on the 'resolution') is not letting things pile up. It's infinitely easier to fold two small loads of laundry before bed on a Tuesday night than it is to fold six huge loads of laundry on Saturday. It's easier to vacuum one room a day - living room on Mondays, kitchen/dining room on Tuesdays, hallway Wednesdays, etc - than to spend an hour vacuuming the entire house one day a week. I can easily apply the same philosophy to writing. It's so much easier to write 1,000 words a day (which has been my goal for awhile) than to not write for a week and then churn out 3,000 words in an afternoon.

I won't lie - 2012 was an awesome year.

But I think, with hard work, 2013 can be even better.

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