I’ve never really been a resolution kind of person. The few times I have made resolutions I have done them around Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which focuses on repentance and returning to following the commandments. But this year I found myself wanting to make resolutions. Maybe it’s because I’ve now been a mom for a full year, and have been at home with JB that whole time.
If I look back at last year, I started out with the pretty awesome goal of finishing grad school while caring for a newborn. And I did it, with a huge amount of support from friends and family. But just because I can accomplish and awesome goal, does not mean that I must, or even should set huge goals for myself all the time.
Being at home, without any sort of formal evaluation over the past year has made me think that now is a good time for some self evaluation. I don’t need to be like Lisa Simpson during the teachers strike (““Grade me…look at me…evaluate and rank me! Oh, I’m good, good, good and oh so smart! Grade me!”) and the fact is that I have a healthy, happy, thriving one year old, which is probably the best evaluation I could imagine. But I do think there are things I can and should do better.
I signed up for the Apartment Therapy January Home Cure, and find myself waking up each morning excited to get the daily email. I like the home cure because it doesn’t make me feel like I’m behind before I get started, and it seems geared towards working families (unlike some of the ongoing home organization like the FlyLady, who seems to expect that all of the people following her must be women who stay home all day).
I also signed up for a gym in late October. I gave myself a reasonable goal and reward that would motivate me to keep going: we’d planned a trip to Denver for mid- January, and if I could go to the gym twice a week until then, I would reward myself with a snowboarding trip. I didn’t kill myself, there was a week when I had strep… I didn’t make myself go that week. And when my family was in town for JB’s birthday, I didn’t go that week either. But other than that I made my goal. And by setting myself a reasonable goal and a reward I’ve also given myself a new habit. I actually enjoy going to the gym.
In the past, Dan has identified my tendency to get distracted during projects. I’ll be cleaning the house for a dinner party and decide that I need to hang new curtain fixtures. I’ll be planning to plant my garden and decide to build raised garden beds. What I am realizing is that I need to set reasonable goals. I can’t go to the gym every day, and I can’t lose thirty pounds in a month. I can go to the gym twice a week and keep a general accounting of what I eat. I can make a list of all the things that I want to do or change around our house and then slowly knock them out, in order of priority. And I can do something scary. I found out this week that I was selected to be a part of the Studio 360 Listener Challenge. So I’ve been revisiting all of my bookmarked projects, identified so long ago, and looking for projects that can fill the holes in between. Because can I really jump from building a breakfast bar to a floor to ceiling built in bookshelf?
In a way, I’ve been working towards this for a few months – I see it most definitively with my knitting. I don’t start projects that I don’t plan to finish, and I work on a single project until I have finished it, no more multiple projects going at once, or starting something without a plan for how it will end. Perfectionism has been one of my lifelong demons. When I can’t do something perfectly I have a tendency to give up and move on to something else. But I’ve started embracing the idea of “good enough”, of being happy, instead of being perfect. Even when that has meant frogging an entire project and starting over, I finish the things I am starting.
While I’ve identified lots of projects, goals, and yes, resolutions for this coming year, I think the key that it all boils down to is a process of setting reasonable goals for myself.