Keeping It Simple

Last year I didn't write a New Year's Resolution post, which seems odd for Mind, Body & Scroll. But I did write three resolutions on a slip of paper and tacked it to the cork board in the kitchen. Having a small number worked pretty well, because I accomplished maybe about 50% of each resolution, which I think isn't too bad.

The first was to get into a daily email habit, both at work and at home. I actually got much better at work emails this year, staying on top of my inbox perhaps on a three-day basis. I was busier, and this helped me cope somewhat. At home, the result wasn't as good, and is still a work in progress. I also know when to let it go.

The second was called "2013: The Year of Photo Albums". (A grand title, eh?) I set out to get all our digital photo albums done. I didn't accomplish this, but at least I did our wedding albums, purchasing copies for my parents and my Grandmother for Christmas. I also made one for my brother and his new wife from their wedding in June. Some progress then.

The third was to do a "weekly clearout", which meant each week I'd clean out something, i.e. the bathroom drawers, kitchen cabinets, bookshelves etc. This I failed at totally. I think every week is just too frequent of a task. Also, I only ever cleared out something small, never anything like the attic or the vestibule by our front door, which has clutter from when we moved in, and annoys me pretty much every single day of my life.

I've thought long and hard about what I'd like to work on this year. It would be so cool to actually complete your New Year's resolutions. Do people ever actually do that? I wonder. They have to be doable, I suppose, but I think they also need to be important. I even tried the whole one-word thing, but that wasn't specific enough for me.

One of the resolutions that made the short list was implementing the broken window policy, which I've never been good at. It means doing things straight away, never letting anything get messy. But then I realized that falls under the procrastination theme, something I'm getting much better at battling every day. So it's really more of a longer-term project.

Here are the three I've settled on after much careful consideration (I've had some long plane and car journeys over the holidays). I plan to post them on the cork board again, so I can see them every day.

1) The swimming habit. Since I now have a more "normal" body and have been able to handle regular exercise, I've been very good at getting into the habit of going to yoga. I've got a rhythm that works for me: Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons. I find the Thursday class helps get out any work stress from the week and is an easier night to leave the office at 5.30. And Sunday night gets me ready for the work week. I'd also really like to swim once or twice a week -- even if it's only for 20 minutes or so -- so I'm going to pick a time/times and get into that habit.

2) The writing habit. Participating in NaNoWriMo was a great experience. I wrote over 33,000 words in one month, something I'd never thought I could do. But how to keep going? I discovered that writing during the week was very tough for me, but during the weekends, I could get a lot done between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. I have no idea how I spent this time before the project. I think I might have been taking a shower and/or tidying up the flat, neither of which, even when combined, should take two hours. But yet I could write well-over 1,000 words during these two hours (provided there was a cup of coffee next to me). I hope to finish my first novel during these time slots in 2014.

3) Monthly projects. This is something I've flirted with before. You pick a project you've been procrastinating on and dedicate the month to it. It sets a deadline, which provides some incentive. When I've done it before it worked to some extent, but it's easy to get behind. But I learned through NaNoWriMo that it's possible to accomplish a lot in a month, so perhaps it's time to give this a try again? I'm wondering if it's better to have a two-month time frame, but maybe that means you just won't start until the end of the first month? So I'll start with monthly projects, but if I need to extend the deadline, I will.

So what are your New Year's resolutions? Do you even make them? And Happy New Year, by the way!

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