January 5, 2016

Adjusting for betterment and convenience.

How's that for a title? Because I believe that we should be trying to better ourselves in small ways, even when "slow down" is being preached from every angle. I also believe that we need to schedule our lives in a way that makes things easier on us. The more convenient something is, the more likely we are to do it.  This title even has a handy acronym: ABC.

Stuff I just can't do anymore: 

I'm done forcing myself to read. While I do truly love a good book, setting a goal and being disappointed when I can't find a good book really bothers me. It bothers me more than I'd like to admit. Like, in May and October I had some terrible book months. I hated most of what I read. But I'd set a goal of 70 books in 2015, so onward I went.  I mean, I've had GREAT book months this year, like in June and July. But the pressure I put on myself to exceed last year's goal was too much.  I definitely hit 70 books in November so I beat my own record, but now where? 80 books? 100? I can't do it.
I'll still be listening to audiobooks and reading paperbacks and sharing recommendations (and taking recommendations), but no number-oriented goals for next year. In addition, I love re-reading books, so maybe I'll do more of that.

No recipe challenges. Oh God, no recipe challenges.  I became super unmotivated around July, and didn't really get back into it until a few weeks ago. I do love to cook, especially when the weather turns wintry. I love to share recipes too, but there will be no number-oriented goals in this regard either.  That was a futile experiment in pushing myself and I'm not sure how it turned out really.

Stop doing schoolwork at home.
This may sound odd, but I rarely did schoolwork at home in Alaska.  My motto was Work when they're working and If you're working on the weekends, you're doing it wrong. I would often grade math tests at home, but that was it. When I taught 2nd grade in Missouri, they didn't really have grades, so I almost never did a thing at home.
At some point this year, I started bringing papers home to grade. It took me until December(!) to realize I was putting a lot of pressure on myself.  By utilizing my prep period and before-school time, I'm getting more done at my desk. Also, if everything doesn't get graded, it's not the end of the world.

Areas where I can't compromise:

Pilates. This is self-explanatory.  I do Pilates at least 6 days a week and I highly recommend it to ANYONE. I'm trying to get Scott into it. My friend is trying to lose baby weight and I've got her on board now. I probably sound like such a broken record, but if you don't have time to go to classes at the gym or weight train or do whatever it is that you believe is physically good for your body, 5-60 minutes (seriously, you pick how long you want the workout to be) a day on a mat will change your life. If you're interested in joining my Pilates group, here's some information.  As said in this video, I've now learned how to exercise for the right reasons and that is certainly worth the $9 I pay each month.

Walking the dogs. We do a mile loop each day. It's the best way for me to unwind after a day of being cooped up at school. It tires them out too. On the weekends, we do 2-3 loops a day. The neighbors probably think I'm crazy.

Meal-planning. It gives me a ridiculous amount of peace to know that we have a plan for dinner every night. I've been making one grocery trip a week and spending about $100 on average each time. This has been going on for over a month now and it's given me a great sense of accomplishment because I know I'm not making wasted trips.

New things I'm trying:

I'm introducing cardio back into my life. The reason why I've slacked on running (ugh) and classes at the gym is because the gym here has the most inconvenient schedule known to man.  The reason why I didn't follow-through with cardio in Colorado Springs is because the altitude just wrecked my lungs.  EVERYTHING hurts when there's not enough oxygen getting through your bloodstream.  I didn't have time to build up resistance or train so I just let it go and focused on Pilates last year.  However, since Thanksgiving, I've been walking the dogs at least one mile a day and sometimes up to three miles a day.  This isn't sidewalk-walking.  This is put-on-all-your-winter-gear-and-trudge-through-the-field walking.  Lo and behold, I'm in much better shape, cardiovascularly, than I was a few months ago.  I'll keep at it and add in Saturday spin classes or something. Scott still thinks I should be an instructor.  Maybe someday.  My #1 biggest complaint about Colorado Springs (and Ft. Carson) is the lack of gyms/lack of fitness classes.

De-cluttering.  This isn't really new because I love a good purge, but I've been struggling with the small amount of closet space in this house. I'm convinced this home was owned by people who A) liked unicorns, and B) didn't own clothes, shoes, or a vacuum.  The vacuum has to stay in the guest room closet because there is literally no where else to put it.
Therefore, I've had the line from the Shopaholic books in my head lately: "Cut back or make more money".  This isn't about money; it's about space. So my alternatives are "Move or reorganize". Since I don't see us moving (never say never), I suppose I'll have to reorganize our spaces and that means getting rid of things.  Plus, I don't want something unless it's useful or beautiful/on display.  The important stuff is what I can see every day. I have tubs for other things that I still feel the need to hold onto.  That's why we have sheds outside.  I got rid of two garbage bags of clothes last week and it feels amazing to free up the space.  I have lots of blankets and stuff I wouldn't mind getting rid of because they're taking up space in said tubs, but I think that these would be useful in an apocalypse so that is literally the reason why I still have two giant tubs of sheets and blankets we don't use, ever.  This also applies to the giant container of Folgers coffee that is in our deep-freeze. When things get that bad, we might want Folgers coffee.

Honing in on meal-planning.  I've been meal-planning for the last month and a half (see above), but I'm REALLY going to pull out all the stops.  I've got a set of meal-planning sheets and I *plan* to use them.

Read a/some devotional(s).  Since I'm a failure at all things Bible-reading and since we're awful people and don't go to church (sigh), I've got a few devotionals I need to be reading each day.  I'm piling them, in a neat and Pinteresty way, on my desk so they are the first thing I see in the morning.


So, those are my goals. I don't know that I'd call them resolutions because they're on-going. Resolutions seem to be something that fall by the wayside come January 15th.  

Is there any way you are trying to better yourself or push yourself in 2016?


  1. Oooh! I'm the first to comment! Yay! I'm planning on reading the entire bible on youversion. There's a plan for that. I'm planning on running 1000 miles. I did 800 last year, which has me thinking 1000 is reasonable and doable. I'll be brewing more beer. I'm trying to get a new job at the company I'm at. Should I fix my blogger account? I don't know. Estherdavison@gmail.com

  2. You can do it - especially the work at home. I'd say maybe if Scott is gone bring the papers home to keep you busy but otherwise keep it at work

  3. I need to center myself before I start reaching for more, and I've been struggling with that. I am typically one to add without thinking what's already on my plate. Pulling back is hard for me but I'm doing it.

    I had to LOL at the unicorn comment, but I'm with you on small closets. We have them. And we have no closets at the shore. I'm looking at what I am storing - do I actually need those things? And how I'm storing them. Our basement is where things go to be put in a heap or die and I have to look at how we're using that space as well.

    Cheers to a great 2016!

  4. I like the word "goals" a whole lot better than "resolutions". Too much room for failure in resolutions and then you end up just feeling bad about yourself. If you don't quite meet a goal you can just keep working toward it until you do.

    I totally hear you on the pilates part. This year my goal is to incorporate more yoga into my workout routine. I just feel a whole lot better when I do and my forever sore neck (and posture) benefit a ton.

    I reaaaally need to do the devotional/Bible reading thing, too. I've been majorly slacking in that area for too long and I can tell.

  5. I had a similar post with similar goals :)

    I definitely don't subscribe to the read just to hit a number goal (and, if I'm being honest, I think some people I know--not bloggers--lie about their number and it makes me mad) which is why I set a random, goal of 75. I could have made it higher but there are some big ass books I want to read this year and I'm not going to forgo them simply because they'll take me longer and I won't hit an arbitrary goal.

    And--no work at home is a very important one.

  6. I think these goals are great, lots of things to look forward to in 2016!

  7. I love this post!

    I also really enjoy rereading books. I've got so many new ones I want to read, I haven't reread any for awhile (except for the novels my kids are doing at school--sometimes I need a refresher!).

    I NEED to meal plan. I WANT to meal plan. But when I sit down to meal plan, I just can't. I have done it before. I think my problem is that I just don't want to cook anything. So I don't want to plan it either. ;)

    Have you tried PiYo?

  8. Pilates is on my list for this year. I need to go sign up ASAP - I don't have the patience to do it at home. That and barre I'm hoping will give me my workout mojo back!

  9. i have tried and failed at meal planning several times, but i am determined to succeed this year. i know it will help and stop us eating out not to mention wasting money from going to the grocery 3 times a week.
    i need to get where you are with books. i have had some sucky months - i'm in one right now - where everything i read is 'meh'. but my problem is, i don't hate them all, some i'm just like okay, maybe this will get better? and then it doesn't.

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