Resolutions for 2010

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

The time has once again come for me to make public promises that I’ll think about every so often over the course of the year and wonder if I’ll actually keep (I mean, let’s call this what it is, right?). Last year started off pretty well in terms of setting resolutions, but I forgot to update the blog in July like I normally do. I attribute this to having just started working from home, but seriously, I was working from home – shouldn’t I have been able to find the time? Anyway, I’ll do this the way I normally do, so let’s jump right in.

Eat right – I would say that, for the most part, 2009 was an improvement over previous years. The more I pay attention to what I’m eating and how much, the easier it is for me to make good choices. That includes when we go out to restaurants. I know I still have room for improvement, however, but now that I’m working from home I’m much more limited in my choices insofar as I can’t just pop out to a restaurant for lunch. That should also save me money.

To help me eat correctly, I want to create an eating “schedule” that tells me what kinds of food I should be eating and when. I probably won’t stick to the schedule too strictly, instead using it as a general guideline. I also want to try to plan out dinners in advance. This is something that Morah and I have always kind of struggled with, but we don’t usually dedicate time during the week to sit down and plan it out. I’d like to take some time once a week to plan out our meals for the week ahead (I did this recently and it worked out really well). Again, this won’t be a “hard and fast” kind of thing, but a guideline. If we don’t want to eat what’s on the list, or if a particular ingredient needs to be used before it spoils, or if we want to go out to dinner, then we’ll do one of those things instead.

Stop drinking alcohol – I’ll explain more in a future post. For now, just know that this one of my resolutions.

Work out more frequently – So, I finally joined a gym. Morah and I talked about what our options were and there was no getting around the fact that a gym is really the best value due to its vast selection of equipment. I also got a personal trainer (holy hell is that expensive), and as much as I dislike going to the gym, I feel like it has been worth it.

Unfortunately, with the cold weather, getting in has been tough. I’m a morning exercise kind of person, and while I normally just walk to the gym (it’s just shy of a mile from my house), doing so in the weather we’ve been having has been something I haven’t wanted to do.

That said, Morah and I are looking into getting a new car, so having 2 cars would allow me to go to the gym any time of the year (I’ll still walk when the weather allows for it). So this one is kind of a toss-up. I’ve made an effort, but not enough of one. Here’s to working harder at it in 2010.

Floss my teeth – Although I still don’t do this as much as I should, I think I flossed more in 2009 than my previous 27 years on this earth combined. Fulfilling this resolution is slow going, but I’m getting more into the habit of flossing. I’ll keep at it this year.

Do my traction – Eesh. I never really did get into the habit of doing this. If I do remember, it only lasts for a few days before I forget, and then a week or so later I remember and think, “oh crap,” and then for some reason never start it up again. But yeah, I need to do this.

Get caught up & stay caught up – Well hey now, here’s a resolution where some decent progress has been made. Let’s see, I achieved (and maintain) inbox zero (which I love and thoroughly recommend), I finally got through my starred items list in Google Reader and manage to keep it empty, and I’ve made some significant progress on cleaning up my hard drive. With just a little more work, I’ll be ready to archive several GBs of files and free up space on my machine.

Now for the bad news: That room full of boxes that Morah and I hadn’t unpacked after the move last year? Not only have we still not unpacked them, but the room they’re in became our storage room and it’s reaching critical mass. We need to move our office downstairs into that room, which means we need to clean it out. Our plan is to do at least 15 to 30 minutes of work on it each day, pulling things out and unpacking boxes, deciding what to keep (and where to keep it) and what to sell or donate. I’m confident we’ll have that room squared away within a few months.

My Google Reader also has some bad news. Although my starred items list stays pretty scant, I have articles that I’ve tagged for business, web design, and web development. I rarely seem to have time to read those articles, and they’ve been piling up. I think I need to just dedicate some time every day to reading them and getting them back down to a manageable number (such as zero).

Build my business – Last January I said that I wasn’t going to be able to build my business very much because that would have been a conflict of interest with my job. However, I quit that job in June to start a company with a couple of other guys, so building my business got an unexpected boost.

We aren’t out of the woods yet, though. Although the past 6 months have been fantastic, our company is still relatively poor and disorganized. I don’t want you to think we don’t have any money or organization, we do, I just feel like we need more of both. We’re actually meeting on Saturday to talk about ways to improve both of those areas, so I feel like we’re on track. The three of us are absolutely dedicated to making this work, and I feel like I made the right choice at the right time.

I feel like I should set at least one tangible/measurable goal here, so what I want to accomplish this year is to get my CMS working to a point where clients can log in and update the basic content portions of their website. I hope to have this done in the next couple of months, but I know I have some high hurdles to overcome in order to get to that point.

Work on my personal websites – Ouch, here’s another one I failed. Although this blog saw a lot of action early in the year, once I started working for myself, the number of posts dropped dramatically. Although my visits and pageviews are up compared to last year, my pages per visit and time on site have gone down. I really liked the direction I was going at the beginning of the year, and I’d like to try to get back to that. Plus, I just like writing and I want to get back into it.

One of the things I’ve been meaning to do with the blog is update the template and switch from MovableType to WordPress. That would be a huge project, but one that I think is worth it (because it would give me more control over things).

I also have a couple of other personal sites that need some love, so we’ll see about keeping those updated as well.

Get outside – I did manage to get outside a bit last year, especially once I started working for myself. Although I’m not at the point where I can take a siesta every day, I did lay out in the sun on our patio furniture several times over the summer. It was fantastic and I look forward to it again this year.

I also want to spend more time working on our landscaping and gardening, which I’ll talk more about later in this post.

Do more urban exploration – This is another one that suffered from me being self-employed. I’d like to say I’ll work on it again this year, but to be honest, I probably won’t make it much of a priority. In light of some of the other things I want to do, I’m going to take this off of my list for the time being.

Have a kid – I cannot describe how excited Morah and I are that she’s pregnant. I’m happy to be able to cross this one off the list (keep an eye out for it again in a few years, though). Also, don’t forget that if you feel so inclined, you can buy us great baby stuff from our baby registries, which are listed in the navigation links to the left.

Build a nursery – Pretty self-explanatory. It’s something we need to do, but I don’t want to half-ass it. Actually renovating the room is a big step toward getting the house the way we want it, so this is more than just “clean out that room upstairs and put a crib in it.”

Do my stretches – My personal trainer showed me some stretches and together we discovered just how inflexible I really am. She told me to do some certain stretches twice a day, and much like my daily traction for my back, I don’t do my stretches. This is something I really need to do, and in future blog posts about my resolutions I’ll combine doing my traction with doing my stretches (since I’ll probably do them together in real life).

Build a garden, grow some food – When I was in high school, I had a garden in my backyard. I loved it. I was first exposed to growing my own food in kindergarten and I loved it then. There’s just something about working in the soil, nurturing plants, and eating the results that just makes me happy and helps relieve any stress I may have. Morah and I had talked about building a garden this past year, but we had so many other things going on that we never really got around to doing it. We bought a lot of fresh produce at the farmers’ market, but a lot of it is stuff we could have grown ourselves. We did manage to grow some tomatoes and herbs, and let me tell you how there’s no greater pizza than one topped with your own just-picked ingredients.

We have a list of vegetables we’d like to try to grow, but we’ll probably start kind of small and work our way up. I would love to be able to grow most of the produce we eat, and my goal is to grow enough of certain things that we’re able to can the excess and use it during the winter.

Prepare to get chickens – Originally this resolution was going to be “get chickens,” but Morah said we should probably wait another year, and honestly, I know she’s right. That doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for next year, though! I want to learn what I need to know about raising chickens so I can have a plan in place for when we do get them.

Some of you may be wondering why we want chickens at all. For the eggs, of course! From what I’ve been told, each chicken will lay an egg near daily. I’m looking forward to fresh eggs.

Reduce garbage output – Continuing along this line of lower-impact living, I want to significantly reduce our garbage output. Morah and I already have the smallest garbage bin the city offers (I think. There might be a smaller one. I should look into that) and we rarely fill it up. One of the things I want to do in the spring is get a compost pile started, which would vastly reduce our organic waste output.

I have a couple of other ideas, the goals of which are to limit how frequently we need to put our garbage can out to be picked up. My first goal in that respect is to be able to consistently put our can out every other week instead of every week. It will take some planning (and perhaps a second garbage can in the house), but it’s an interesting experiment. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Learn French – Morah took French in high school and college, whereas I took Spanish. In hindsight, I wish I would have taken French. It’s not too late for me to learn, however, and I’ve been using a number of resources to learn the language. It’s going pretty well, but I still can’t say very much. I know a bunch of vocabulary words though. And like Spanish, I have a hard time remembering which gender objects are. Oh well. By the end of the year, I’d like to be able to have a basic conversation with someone in French, so that’s my goal.

Learn to play the piano and the bagpipes – A couple of Christmases ago, I got a bagpipe practice chanter and tutor. I can play my scales and I know the notes, but I’m still trying to perfect my fingering. Also, the cat doesn’t like it when I play.

I’ve also wanted to know how to play the piano for a long time, and I found some videos on YouTube that, although they seem incredibly basic, promise to teach me… Well, they promise to teach me the basics. I can already do a lot more on the piano than I used to be able to do, and Morah knows how to play, which will help me learn.

I’d like to dedicate more time to both of these, with the eventual goals of (1) actually playing the Great Highland Bagpipes, and (2) moving on to learn to play a concertina (can you tell I like weird instruments?).

Keep to-do lists – I often think of things I need to do, and then promptly forget them because I don’t write them down (for example, I know there are resolutions I wanted to put on this list, but because I didn’t write them down, I can’t remember what they are). I need to start keeping to-do lists that I refer to frequently to ensure I’m getting done in a timely manner the things I need to get done. That includes printing out this list and hanging it up where I’ll see it every day.

Create a schedule – My last resolution for 2010 will, I suspect, be the most important. Many of my failures last year can be attributed to a lack of time. With more resolutions on this year’s list, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to see that my time will be stretched even thinner. So what can I do without sleeping less? I think some careful scheduling is in order.

Right off the bat, it’s clear that I won’t be able to do everything everyday. For example, if I want to learn to play two different instruments, as much as playing them both every single day would help, I don’t have the time to spend on both of them everyday. But if I play piano one day and pipes the next, and then switch back and forth like that, I can make progress in both areas (and hopefully will be less likely to burn out on either one). The same is true of most of the other things I want to do.

There are a few things I’ll need to do everyday, however, such as my traction and stretching, as well as work. For a start, I think it will help a lot to have fixed work hours. So far I’ve been working whenever I feel like it, which thankfully is a lot of the time. The downside to this is that I don’t really have days off from work, and I often find myself working in the evening when I could be doing other things (like some of the stuff on this list).

One of the first things I’m going to do this year is make a few schedules. Daily schedules, weekly schedules, and possibly monthly schedules. I’ll tweak them as needed, and hopefully before long I’ll have my time balanced in a way that I can accomplish everything I want to and still have time to relax. Actually, free time will be built in to the schedule. If I want to spend it working, then I will. If want to spend it reading, cooking, playing an instrument, hanging out with Morah, or anything else, I’ll be able to do it.

Now throw in the fact that our kid is due to be born in June, and my schedules may go out the window before I get to my July resolutions update post.

So that wraps up my resolutions for this year. Here’s to an exciting year. And remember: “Life change, life change, life change.”

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  1. Kristi

    Good resolutions–some of those sound pretty ambitious! I like the flossing one, because that’s something I need to do more often too.

    Good luck with the nursery–I can’t wait to see Baby Brown!

  2. re: Eating schedule.

    How do you know what to buy at the store if you don’t have a schedule? ^_^

    re: Flossing

    A word of advice my dentist gave me: if you are brushing your teeth after lunch, don’t floss then. Morning and night are fine, but twice a day is enough. It seems counter-intuitive to me though. :-/

    re: French

    OK, and a word of advice my Spanish teacher gave me: the genders aren’t that important. You can say the wrong gender and still be understood. BUT, if you hesitate because you’re going to say the wrong thing, you’ll say nothing. Silence is not interpretable.

    So, no worries. And as I always told my English students, you learn more from making mistakes anyway. ^_^

    re: To-Do lists

    The REAL reason I started replying. ^_^ You know the Google tasks-lists? (The “Tasks” link under Contacts in Gmail, for example) There’s this extension for Chrome that can pop that open on any computer I’m at. I have the same task list whether I’m in the office or the living room.

    It’s like RTM, but free. Any time I think of something I need to do, I hit the button and add it to the list. Quick and easy.

  3. Phil Peltonen

    re: raising chickens – We had a flock (20 or so) of chickens when I was a kid and I remember hating them with a cold, bloody passion. For more recent information on the pros and cons of chicken ranching, talk to Morah’s uncle Danny. He had chickens until a couple of years ago.

  4. @Phoenix – re: “How do you know what to buy at the store if you don’t have a schedule?”

    To date I’ve made lists based on what’s in season and what I feel like making. Wait, is this some joke I’m missing? Now I’m all confused. -(

    re: “if you are brushing your teeth after lunch, don’t floss then. Morning and night are fine, but twice a day is enough.”

    When I floss, it’s usually just before I brush at night, so only once a day. If I have something in my teeth that I can’t get out with a toothpick, I might floss then, too.

    I typically brush twice a day, although lately I’ve been forgetting in the morning because I sit down at the computer and transition from goofing around to working without bothering to shave or brush my teeth. I’m hoping my schedule will change that. I’d also like to start brushing after lunch, since it will be much easier to do.

    re: “Silence is not interpretable.”

    A damn good point. I’ve been watching some videos on YouTube and the guy who makes them often points out that you can say something wrong and still be understood, so not to worry about it too much. He also teaches the way people actually talk, which is definitely not how most language books teach.

    For example, he says to introduce yourself you would say, “Je suis [name],” which means “I am [name].” A textbook would tell you to say, “J’mapelle [name],” meaning, “I am called [name].” But no one in France says it the second way, they all use the slang version in the first example.

    re: To-Do lists

    I do use Google Tasks a bit, but it’s a bit cumbersome on my iPhone. The Notes app works pretty well as long as I remember to check it. I’m also a fan of having a note on my desk covered with To-Do items. That seems to work pretty well for me.

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