Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Art of New Year's Resolutions - 2014

Boats at Versailles

I think everyone loves the idea of a fresh start, and that is the appeal of making resolutions on January 1. It seems, though, that most resolutions fail, so I often find myself wondering if I should bother. However, I am fresh off the success of last year's resolution to "read more books," and I am feeling motivated to accomplish some things in 2014!

Why do resolutions fail? In doing research, it seems that most fail either by being too large, too small, too vague,or too unattainable. I also read, however, that people are resistant to change, so making a long list of resolutions that require big changes in your life may not give you the best chances at success.

Goals that are written and planned out are more likely to be kept. Success with resolutions is also linked to accountability, and that is why I am writing my goals in this blog!

For me, this year, I am choosing to improve on some things, and to add back in to my life things that I enjoy. I would love to make a resolution to spend 4 months touring Europe this year, but since I know that one isn't going to happen, I am choosing more reachable goals. In 2014, I want better balance. I am setting goals in different areas of my life:  physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and artistic.  Thank goodness I have been going to the gym regularly for the last 3 months, so I don't have to make that a new goal!

Physically, I plan to keep exercising, and to get enough water to drink! Believe it or not, I actually have to work at staying hydrated. I am tempted to commit to a 5K race, but the last two times I did that, I ended up having to drop out (cancer treatments in 2012 and a broken ankle in 2013). So this year, I am NOT committing to the 5K and am hopeful that publicly NOT committing will give me better results. If my body cooperates and gets through the next several months in good form, there is a hike I have always wanted to do just calling my name.

Intellectually, I am going to learn some new computer skills (Excel), define my TBR (to be read list) and commit to reading certain books this year. I also wouldn't mind reading more books than last year (I read 66 in 2013). On my list so far are "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin and "Gift From the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. There are so many books on my shelf waiting to be read! Here are 5 more I am committing to read this year:  "Night" by Elie Wiesel, "The Kitchen House" by Kathleen Grissom, "Off the Map: A Journey Through the Amazon Wild" by John Harrison, "Custom of the Country" by Edith Wharton, and "Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare.

For my emotional goals, I am going to do something each month to connect with friends and family in a non-electronic way. This means going to lunch, having people over to play games, writing actual notes and letters, planning specific things to do with my husband and children, etc.

Spiritually, I am going to make time daily for prayer and scripture study. This is sort of a constant goal for me, and at times I do it really well. Sometimes I lapse, and that is why this one is always on the list!

And on the creative side, I am going to draw, write, and finish a couple of nagging projects (a scrapbook for my daughter and a cross-stitch Christmas stocking for my son).  Now, just a thought about the whole drawing thing. I am married to an artist (hence the title of the blog). Not just any artist, but a really talented, skilled, professional, recognition-earning artist. I know people who don't want to play Pictionary with him because...well...they find it intimidating. So, for me to say "I am going to draw" is a big deal. I have dabbled in art over the years. I took classes in high school. I have taken a couple of classes on the side since then. Mostly I have a love-hate relationship with art.  I have never worked at it enough to get what I see in my head and what my hand puts down on paper to look the same (many of you know what I am talking about). But when I leave art for long periods of time, I miss it. In 2014, I am going to do that drawing of the boats in the pond at Versailles that I have wanted to do since I took the photos in 2008. I am going to draw some birds in my birding journal. And the best part of all is that I know my art-husband will be my biggest fan!

Henry David Thoreau said "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

I am excited to get going on these goals this year! What are you imagining in 2014?

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