Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!!! I'm a couple of days late......and a dollar short......not uncommon for me.....which is something I'd like to work on changing this year.  So let's talk about change....I'm not a big fan of making the normal 'New Year's resolutions' because I believe 'normal' is a cycle on a washing machine, but prefer to reframe the concept.  For instance, 'setting goals' is a little better in my brain but even going a step further & thinking of change as seeking a "revolution".

revolution - noun
1.  a sudden, complete or marked change in something 

2.  Mechanics - a turning around or rotating
                         a moving in a circular or curving course

Upon deep contemplation, which translates into me sitting in my flannel pj's while drinking hot tea or java with or without a 40lb pooch either on or beside me, revolution simply means movement - rather than stagnation.  Sometimes we, as individuals as well as couples & families, can become stagnant in repetitive patterns of behavior that long ago stopped being effective.
Case in point:  Once upon a time, there was a woman who would cut the end off the holiday ham prior to baking it for her family.  One day, her husband happened to be walking thru the kitchen when she was cutting off the end of the ham & asked her "why are you cutting off the end of the ham?"  She replied, "That's what my mom used to do."  He then asked "why did your mom do that?"  She admittedly didn't know so she called her mom to ask why to which her mom replied "Because that's how your grandma used to do it", but she was admittedly uncertain as to why her own mother did the same thing.  Finally, the woman decided to call her grandmother to solve the mystery.  She called her grandmother, filled her in on the back story, & finally popped the question, "So, grandma, why did you cut the end off the ham all those years during the holidays?"  Matter-of-factly her grandma said "Because the pan was too short!"

What a prime example of an unproductive pattern handed down thru the generations, wouldn't you say?  Kinda funny  But how many times do we, as human beings, continue to repeat the same patterns over & over without really stopping to consider why &  if what we are doing is even productive or helpful???!!!

That being said, here are a few things that need to be revolutionized in my world.......

1.  Declutter

While I don't believe I need a staring role on Hoarders, I have definitely hung onto stuff wayyyyy wayyyyyyyyy wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too long......we won't even talk about how long is "too long" - but a decade with an "s" at the end of it might give you a clue :P
It is time to bless others & let go.

2.   Do it NOW - decrease procrastination

Notice I did not say "stop procrastinating" - because there are times when procrastination is the best course of action.  However, procrastinating generally creates nothing for me but anxiety.
Then I'm anxious about procrastinating AND whatever task I'm trying to avoid - so then I've got 2 problems instead of 1 & if I'd have taken care of the 1st one asap then I WOULDN'T EVEN HAVE THE 2nd ONE!!!  
Insanity at it's finest, huh?

3.  Get more involved

For me, this means getting more involved in some activities with friends & as members of a particular organization in which we belong for the following reasons:  a)  to help me and/or us feel more connected with our fellow peeps b) to be of service to others & c) decrease isolation.  I have found myself, on more than one occasion this past year, feeling disconnected from folks & I would like to work towards changing that.

I'm not saying being a homebody is not is & I enjoy it especially in the winter, however, I need more of a balance in this area.   

4.  Decrease paperwork

This goes along with decreasing procrastination in my brain.  For some reason, we still get paper bills in the mail even though I pay everything online & swear I have opted for paperless billing for most bills.  However, I tend to have piles rather than files (because my files are full & need cleaned out - ahem - but we won't discuss that right now) which need attention.  Bottom line - it's time consuming & B-O-R-I-N-G!   Not to mention, in my profession there is alot of paperwork to contend with so dealing with personal paperwork makes me wanna throw myself off the curb!!! 

5.  Increase time management skills

Some days a girl just wants to have fun!  Forgetta bought the boring paperwork & just break out the paint, stain, or glue to work on whatever project I'm in the midst of completing......hence the reason for #2 & #4.  Plus, I can assure you no paperwork will be getting done if it's sunny, warm harley riding weather, either! 

So, I would like to work towards finding a good balance between my wants & needs in order to become more organized & zen-like instead of looking like a chicken with it's head cut off swirling in a blizzard of paperwork when trying to locate a single piece of gotta-have-it-or-the-world-will-end piece of paper.

This includes continuing to participate in self-care such as reading, meditating, & journaling.  By the way, meditating doesn't necessarily mean I'm sitting on a mountain top chanting in a sheet.....meditating is focused thought - worry is a form of meditation because the focus is on the negative.  I would prefer to focus my thought on something more positive.  

I tend to get up at least an hour earlier than before I need to start getting ready for the day in order to do all of that - problem is my brain is usually waiting for me at the end of bed when I wake up which means some days it takes conscious effort for me to quiet my mind instead of thinking about the bazillion +1 things I need to accomplish that day.  If you're smiling & nodding while reading this then you know where I'm coming from....

 6.  Don't sweat the small stuff - let go

Easier said than done for this Type A personality :)  
I am driven by goals & accomplishments......others I live with - eh......not so much.  This opposite effect can make for some mighty fascinating conversation around our household, at times.  Obviously, I haven't exactly accomplished wrangling my paperwork into some kind of friend says "yet stands for Your Eligible Too" - I love that.  

An example of this very thing looked like this I'm about 10 mins from walking out the door to work I'm giving my hubby a list of 'honey-do's' before he had to head to the job site......

Me:  The kitchen needs cleaned - cabinets wiped off & dishwasher loaded.
         The laundry room counter was clean - now its not - all that stuff needs put away.
         The floors need swept (we have wood floors in most of the house).
         The dining room table needs cleaned off & the bathroom needs cleaned again.
          Oh, & can you feed the dogs & cats, too?

Him:  What makes you think I don't have some of my own stuff I need to do before I leave later?

Me:  C'mon - this stuff might take an hour to an hour & a half - it's no biggie.

(Kissy, kissy, huggy, huggy & I was off to work)

Fast forward to 5:30 pm............

Him:  Hey, I didn't get everything done you asked me to do earlier.......I swept the floors, loaded the dishwasher, & cleaned off the table though. 

Me:  Ok

 Annnnnnnnd................the world is still spinning on it's axis & did not explode because everyyyyyyyy single thing was not done.........progress for me right here!  I want more of this attitude this year!

7.  Progress - not Perfection

This tends to go hand-in-hand with #6........because I have high standards (sometimes so high in the sky that I can't even see them) then I think you do too or you
As you can guess, this expectation of myself & others does not always work & I find myself having to adjust & come down to earth.  Perfectionism can sneak up on me if I'm not looking for it so I have to be on guard by asking myself questions like:

What is my expectation?
What will happen if only some or part of this or it is completed?
Will it matter in a year from now?

8.  Get up & MOVE it - on a consistent basis!

My body that is.  In my profession, I am quite sedentary.  I can sit for several hours a day while working.  Not good - for my neck, back, or waistline!  I find if I don't exercise in the morning then I don't usually do it at all.  

We make time for what is important to us.  I know I feel better overall, am more mentally alert, & have more energy when I'm consistently exercising.  We all know the benefits.  But, (listen for my perfectionism & rationalization here)......sometimes I might not have an hour to spare for some exercise in addition to getting ready for work so I'll skip the workout INSTEAD of just doing what I can which might be 20-30 mins.  What I am learning is to apply the 'something is better than nothing' principal to this area of my life. 

9.  Continue to save and pay off debt

Debt are the chains that bind many of us unfortunately.  I have worked hard to get us an emergency fund in the bank for those lovely little monthly emergencies that tend to rear their ugly heads every now & again ......... you know the ones like..........

  • the fuel pump that suddenly goes out on your car
  • arctic cold fronts that tax your heating system spinning your electric meter in the ground
  • birdfood..........hey - birds need to eat to especially in the winter! (just seeing if you were still awake)
  • the washing machine suddenly decides to pee all over the laundry room favorite!
Having a cushion to help absorb these weird yet consistent life hassles decreases my anxiety.  In addition, hammering & chiseling away at our debt also helps to decrease my anxiety & has helped change my perception of $. 

10.  Utilize my creativity more

I have discovered over the past several years that I'm pretty darn creative.  I've learned a whole lot about upcycling, recycling, & repurposing items.  I don't particularly love sanding but I really like the finished product of whatever piece of furniture I've redone.  I've gotten pretty chummy with staining, waxing, distressing, & antiquing not to mention I'm the fastest draw in the midwest with a hot glue gun!  

Couple these skills with scrapbooking along with art journaling - look out Martha Stewart!  

Creating is my meditation..........the world just melts does my stress.......most of the time........unless something goes drastically wrong with staining, painting, or it takes alot longer than originally anticipated because of life getting in the way, running out of said materials due to mistakes, & or trying a new technique which looks really cool in my head buuuuut doesn't quite match the vision in reality........

All I can say is.......thank God for a hubby who can be a life saver in these emergencies due to his construction background & ingenuity! 

Nevertheless, I want to abandon myself to creativity as much as possible this year whenever the whim hits me to stretch myself & help me grow.    

If you've made it this far reading this novel.........BRAVO!  and Thank you :)

What are your goals, hopes, dreams, & aspirations for 2014? 


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