Monday, January 24, 2011

Resolutions {only a month late}

Ah, New Year's Resolutions. By now you probably have an idea of whether or not yours are going to work for you. I have been thinking about my personal goals for the coming year, and I've realized that resolutions for me are all about balance. Finding, or rediscovering balance in my life. It's taken a lifetime to figure out what I need personally, and six and a half years of marriage to know what we need daily as a family to stay happy. I feel as though it's a never-ending journey.

My New Year's resolutions for this year are combination of goals that I know bring me balance and happiness, and goals that I hope will bring me greater balance and happiness. If my new goals help, I'll keep them. If they don't bring the balance I'm hoping for, I'll scrap them and try something new.

Over the years my problem has been that I only set big goals. There's nothing wrong with that, but I find there is a disconnect for me unless I plan on a very basic level. So my goals this year are manly small ones that will lead to a greater outcome. I use an iPhone app that twice daily reminds me of my to-do list, and I plan make myself an abbreviated, nifty little 5x7 reminder card that will go on my fridge and in my closet so I can see it everyday throughout the day, for I am a visual learner. I'm excited.

  • get dressed and ready to go out the door after breakfast (regardless of whether we are actually leaving. This gives us flexibility so we can leave, and helps us set patterns for days when we actually do need to get out the door first thing.)
  • do the hard things first (this has been a paradigm shift for me. I used to try to work up to the hard stuff or push it off until absolutely necessary, but I've learned that if I take my day by the horns and get the crap I don't want to do first, then I have the rest of day to do whatever I want. Guilt free.)
  • leave the house with ten minutes to spare (in NYC you never know what you're going to get with your building elevator, public transportation, and other issues along the way, and ten minutes seems to be a good buffer. It means that we are often rather early, but we are almost never late. That is a good feeling.)
  • prepare the night before (I struggle with 'level 2 planning,' so I'm often running out the door with my stroller on fire because I didn't plan ahead for 9-12 "oh, that will just take a second" tasks. We pack lunches, lay out clothes, prepare the stroller/diaper bag, set out the mail that needs to be taken out, etc.)
  • Using and weekly budget review meetings with Kyle (helps us avoid the "how in the world did we go over budget last month!" conversations, and helps with our long-term goals of paying off student loans, saving money for our 'hope for a house' fund, and of course saving for fun things like vacations and much-needed camera & laptop upgrades, etc.)
  • end the day with a vacuumed floor (we do this after dinner), clean counter tops, and an empty dishwasher (so that we can start the day with a clean home and keep it that way)
  • continue deep cleaning on Tuesdays, light cleaning Fridays and
  • continue the mantras "do it now, or it won't get done" and "keep it clean before it gets dirty" (both have changed my life for the better) and add "simplify"
  • Schedule time on my calendar for sewing, crafts, and blogging -I got this idea from Melanie (I have a million projects swirling in my brain and I never seem to get most of them done because I don't make time to sit down and do them. What a pity. I think it's a brilliant idea to make time for fun activities like you make time for boring ones like paying bills and laundry.
  • download/edit/blog photos every day
  • Do something in NYC without kids at least once a week (this could be a date night, going to Trader Joes after Kyle gets home from work, a photo shoot, or swapping babysitting so that I can go shopping in Chelsea or do some photography projects during the day)
  • Read from a book every day (the idea is to get off my computer and back into my scriptures, novels, old text books, or one of my new magazine subscriptions-yay!)
  • Send cards to immediate family members for birthdays and anniversaries
If you're still reading this epic post, I'll tell you a secret. Ok, it's not a secret, but I'd love suggestions. There are two goals I want to make that I am hoping will bring my life better balance- meal planning and running. Any tips on how to juggle a running plan and 2 kids? And any of you have any brilliant tips for meal planning that don't involve extensive graphs or flow charts?



Kendra said...

Running...well, I can't help you there, but exercising with 2 kids is HARD! I try to do it before the kids get up or during Brooke's first nap with a little help from Sesame Street (Tori's babysitter)!I only do 30 minutes on an elliptical machine. As for meal planning. I do it by 2 weeks, but you can do it one week at a time. I just list at least 11-12 meals (leaving room for leftovers and eating out)that I want to make in 2 weeks including old favorites that I know by heart, new favorites that I have used before from new recipes in the past, and brand new recipes! That is my favorite. If you are looking for some good 30 minute meals try cooks country. It is a book that is a collection of cooks country magazines. You can find it on Amazon. I LOVE these recipes. And of course fix it and forget it, and :)I have a hard time commiting to a day for food, so if I have 10 meals with all of the ingredients on hand, then I can have whatever I want from the list. If you have questions from my ramblings, just email me!

Melissa said...

My menu planning was very concise before I sold my iphone: I'd use the phone to make a list of menus and after adding ideas to that I used a shopping app to keep track of what I needed to make that. Nowadays I just make a list with pen and paper. So fancy! Sorry, I'm not much help with that! I also have a list of fall bake classic recipes. Sometimes I forget about things that I used to make often, like chicken spaghetti, and it is nice to have a list of faves for when I don't have something I'm craving or a new recipe to try.

The Broderick Family Blog said...

I don't have any suggestions for you, but I do want you to know how amazing you are! I really enjoyed reading your goals and am excited to "borrow" some of them. :)

Bombshell Char said...

So Les, if you haven't already I think you should read these books; French Women Don't Get Fat, and French Women for All Seasons. I love them, and I think they could help you with a lot of your goals; reading, healthy/delicious meal planning, living in balance, etc. They're written by a French lady living in NYC, so most of the stuff she writes about is very accessible to you, and they're all about finding pleasure in living. Actually, the philosophy they teach reminded me of you the first time I read them and I've been meaning to suggest them to you for a long time. Perfect opportunity!

Courtney said...

I love this! I feel like I have been making the same kinds of goals for myself lately too. Especially just doing the crap I don't want to do first and be done:)! So running with 2 kids can be hard, but it's so, so funny and worth it. Just know that you will be stopping a lot, but it seriously was one of my favorite things to do when I had 2 little ones. My kids always said the funniest things about things they would see, and it become a fun bonding experience. Just try to set a time you want to do it every day or every other day so you know, ok that time is for running. Also you should read The Historian...made me want to drop everything and go travel Europe:)

Jane said...

Run with your kids! Or call me and I'll come watch them :)

Lindsay said...

I only meal plan a few days at a time. First I'll look in the fridge/pantry and see if there's anything that needs to be consumed soon before it goes bad and incorporate those items first into my menu. Then I look through the ads of my local supermarkets and drugstores for sale items that also could be incorporated into meals. I make a list of the meal possibilities I have using all these items, and then I draw up a menu (usually only about 4-5 days worth of meals...that's how long we usually last before we run out of milk and I have to go back to the store). After that I just fill in the holes with ingredients I need to make those meals complete and that becomes the "for-meals" part my shopping list (the other part of my shopping list is for replenishing my pantry with sale items). I don't assign certain meals for certain days except in rare cases. Planning only a few days at a time (instead of 1-2 weeks like some friends of mine) allows me more flexibility in cooking what I want (from my list) when I have the time/desire to do so.

Good luck with your goals! They all sound great!

Anna said...

You might be interested in these printables (some free, some paid):

As far as meal planning--like others, I plan a few days in advance (maybe up to a week) and then sometimes follow it better than others. Trying to use what needs to be used and work with what's on sale.

You also might like this:

As far as exercise, I really like the 30 Day Shred--it's a DVD, only 20 minutes but the workout is so intense it's great. Running has never worked for me, I get too bored.

gbrooks said...

You have some mighty fine menu planning tips already, but here's what I do: I plan 2 weeks ahead on Sunday. That translates to 8 meals or so because we go to Sam's brother's once and we eat out once. And then there has always been a day where something happens and dinner is in a hurry so I go to our old standby of spaghetti. I assign the meal to a specific day.

As for exercise, I think that all that walking you do counts for something! I try to do specific distance walking along the beach 2x a week and then ballet class (which acts as me time) once a week. We walk with kids in strollers and we stop halfway to let the kids out to play in the sand before we turn around.

My resolution this year is to simplify too!

Catherine said...

Great resolutions post, I hope you get some balance to your life. Looks like you've got some great comments regarding your meal planning. As for running, I get up before the kids are awake and go for a run or when they were small I would run with them using a sports pushchair designed for different terrain. Another option is to just do lots of walking during the week and go for a couple of runs in the weekend when your husband is home to look after them. Hope this helps somehow. It is hard trying to fit everything in when your kids are small but being keeping up yor fitness is going to give you more energy in the long run. (Sorry about the pun!)

Miss B. said...

thank you for the Mint recommendation. I can't wait to get started!

Amy said...

Love your goals. I might "borrow" a few too. And we started using and LOVE it. So easy to navigate. Thanks!