A few days ago I posted about my long-term 2011 goal - to really mean it. I often feel as though I'm kind of stumbling around, letting things happen to me instead of making them happen, which is why I made this resolution. Do things on purpose. Of course, that's an awfully vague resolution, so I want to clear up some of the ambiguity.
The most important thing for me is that this isn't about perfection or set goals - it's about getting better at what I'm doing. I'm going to make more progress in some areas than in others and I have to be okay with that. In 2012 I can continue to work and move forward, but I can't expect drastic changes in only one year. Gretchen Rubin has some great tips about writing and keeping New Year's Resolutions over at The Happiness Project. I haven't decided if I want to focus on one "part" of my resolution per month, with four months of cushion, but I'm definitely thinking about it.
- Take care of yourself. When we get stressed and busy, we tend not to take time to do things for ourselves (many of which can be important in lessening stress). Since I'm going to be student teaching for four months this spring, I'm anticipating a lot of stress and busy-ness, which makes it even more important to take time for and care of myself. I've made a few appointments - hair cuts, pedicures, etc. - during spring semester to help me slow down every once in awhile. I'm usually pretty good about setting my bedtime and taking vitamins, but I am going to make a conscious effort to exercise and eat well even when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I can't think of a single thing more crucial to emotional health than physical health - if you feel well, you'll do well. Student teaching and stress behind me, I will continue to be deliberate about exercise and food. I've been unhappy with myself for too long and it's just not something I want to sustain.
- Work hard. This applies to everything, not just actual "work" (or, in my case, school). What do you want? How much do you want it? How are you going to make it happen? I've been kind of on the fence about teaching, even though my degree will give me certification. I'm not going to let my own personal doubts keep me from blowing minds during student teaching - I'm going out with a bang! Once I finish my Master's in May, I'll be back in St. Louis, job hunting; luckily Boyfriend's job could support us, so I can be picky about the job I take. If you don't love what you're doing, what's your motivation to be awesome at it? Why go above and beyond for something you don't really believe in? It's definitely harder to work your butt off for something that you're not passionate about, but that shouldn't stop you. You know when you had to do group work in school and there was always the ONE person in your group who didn't do anything, and everyone else had to pick up their slack? Don't be that person. It's called initiative.
- Save money. I spent a LOT of money this fall and it didn't feel good. I wasn't buying things that I needed and honestly, I kinda felt out of control. While I like nice things (who doesn't? :wink: ), I've never been so reckless with my money. I even established Fiscally Responsible October! Because I won't be able to work during student teaching and I'm not sure how long I'll be unemployed after graduation, it's really important that I work on my savings in 2011. I'll be using a lot of the same methods I used during October, especially using gift cards and wishlists.
- Get dressed like you mean it. I know from experience that things like making your bed, taking a shower, and getting dressed every morning - even if you work from home, have the day off, etc. - can make you more productive. You're ready for the day! But sometimes we all fall into bad habits: showering at the last minute, staying in pajamas all day, going out in slippers... you get the idea. Even KNOWING how much better I feel when I get ready, sometimes laziness takes over. I also live in fear/wild hope of being nominated for What Not to Wear (pretty sure that $500 for clothes and getting to hang out with Stacy & Clinton would outweigh the embarrassment), so I try to keep it in mind when I leave the house: if TLC were secretly filming my style right now, would I be ashamed? If I see you in the checkout at the grocery store, am I gonna think, "frumpy," or "fantastic"? Dress like the fabulous human that you are! Like my boy Oscar Wilde says - you can never be overdressed or overeducated.
- Appreciate what you have. This might be the hardest one. It's so easy to forget everything that we've been blessed with and focus on what we want, or what's not going exactly the way we'd wanted. To be honest, I'm not totally sure how I'm going to keep myself grateful in 2011, so I'm open to any and all suggestions.
- Be kind. I tend to be the kind of person who forgets birthdays and ends up sending a FB message at 10pm. But come MY birthday, I expect EVERYONE to remember and recognize it (marvelous presents are also welcome, of course). I've put all of the birthdays from my memory and FB into Google calendar and I'm going to send cards in 2011. No more FB comments! (Isn't getting mail more special anyway?) I also really hate talking on the phone so I kind of dread hearing my phone ring and usually let it go to voicemail. But some of my friends prefer talking on the phone, so I'm going to return phone calls and maybe even start picking up the phone!? :shock: For both of these reasons, I can be bad at keeping in touch. Why should this be, given the miracle of the Internet? I have no excuse and am going to make more of an effort to stay connected to my friends. This kind of goes along with being grateful, since making the people we love FEEL loved is so important.
- Push yourself. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow and develop. To be comfortable outside of my comfort zone is what I'm aiming for; change doesn't scare me, but doing new things sometimes does. I'm going to try new things, eat new foods, do things that scare me, and work as hard as I can to get what I want. I'm going to find my limits and boundaries. But here's the problem: pushing yourself enough to grow but knowing when to give yourself a break. Never feel guilty for being mindful of what you need.