Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolution (long version)

New Year's eve passed me by.  I worked on New Year's Day.  But I've been thinking about resolutions and new beginnings since about the middle of last week.  As much thought as I've given this topic, I felt like I should have been able to synthesize and summarize all my New Year's musings into a brief post.  Too bad: that's my perfectionist self; the one that only wants to present the polished, finished version of things to the world.  That thinking has kept me from posting about this topic, for fear of airing an unkempt heap of random thoughts to the world.  But no more.

If you want the shortened version, choose the other post. 

I love the itch I get this time of year--as newscasters and commentators do end-of-year recap and wrap-up shows, there is momentum to sum up the recent past and think ahead to what the next year will bring.  It seems like a natural process to me, and thus I've been thinking about what I want my next year to look like.

I started by reviewing previous Resolutions that have (and have not) worked.  Some successes:
  • Always bring a reusable shopping bag
  • Buy nothing new (except food and essential necessities) - this is a movement known as The Compact
  • Send everyone (family and friends) a birthday card in time for their birthday (not my success; I borrowed from my Sweetie)
  • Write a letter (as in hand-written) to the grandparents once a month (again, not mine; borrowed from my talented and much-loved daughter)
What do these have in common?  How were we able to succeed in these endeavors for an entire year, while other things, like "walk the dogs every other day" or "floss daily" or "write in journal three times a week" have bit the dust?  And why does picking one small thing that might actually succeed seem like not enough to count as a Resolution?  (Oh, there's a whole blog post buried in that last sentence.)

This year's big idea: I want to have less stuff at the end of next year than I have right now.

Doesn't sound too daunting of a big idea.  It certainly beats years when I wished desperately to pretty much wake up a different person than I had been the day before (or the year before, in the currency of Resolutions).  My laundry list included getting in shape, eating better, staying in touch with family and friends, tackling every To Do item I've ever written on a list, getting organized, restructuring my finances, rethinking my career, etc.  You name it, and I wanted a New Year's Resolution to make it come true. 

Thank goodness I have come to terms with my lack of Super Powers.  I'm satisfied enough with who I am that I no longer want to change everything.  (Of course I don't mind tweaking.  But I am more realistic about what I can actually achieve.)  But still... there remains the basic problem with me and New Year's resolutions: narrowing my focus.  (Reminder to self: I can do anything, I just can't do everything.) 

Here are possible Resolutions to go with the big idea

  • Do 15 minutes of decluttering per day.  Follow FlyLady's zones for which area of the house to accomplish this in.
  • Make a list of all my fabric projects, and work to eliminate half the items on the list (whether through completing them or sending them away into the Universe) by the end of the year.
  • Resolve to complete one fabric project each month.  (Make a list of what counts as a completed project, so you can't cheat and sew on a button.)  For any month in which a project is not completed, must get rid of *two* UFOs as penance.
  • Commit to bi-monthly clutter-busting sessions with my clutter buddy.  (She, of course, would have to agree to this also; can't say as I've asked her, but we have had successes in the past by working together.)

I read an article about New Year's resolutions (How to choose a real resolution that you can stick with, on WeightWatchers.com) that reminded me about making SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding, time-limited) from my vague "be better in the new year" ponderings.  The declutter ideas above have at least the beginnings of being SMART tested.  They have all tried to put some specificity behind "have less stuff".  So... good for me.  Even before I read the article!

And yet.
And yet--I am not satisfied with the idea of only picking one Resolution.  In the back of my mind, I am adding to the mental list.  I am throwing some other, hidden resolution-like logs onto the fire.  Things like "finances" and "get organized" and "call your mother".  Aargh.  If I keep this up, I will be holding myself responsible for keeping (or breaking) resolutions I haven't even admitted to others.  I just want to be satisfied with a simple choice.  One small change.  Do-able.  Something to focus on, instead of my constant battle with the ADD-fueled next-thing, next-thing, next-thing.

What was I doing again?  Oh yeah, picking a New Year's Resolution. 

January 3rd.  And counting.

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