Well, it's the beginning of the new year and it's that time when everyone starts to feel guilty about what they didn't accomplish the previous year and we all resolve to do a little better this coming year. I am no different and I have plenty I would like to accomplish in 2012. Wow, is it really 2012?
Now, I don't consider myself a complete failure in accomplishing some of the things I wanted to do in 2011. And I don't think many of us are complete failures, even if we don't necessarily accomplish everything we hoped to at the beginning of last year. But if we hadn't made any of those "resolutions" in the first place, how much less would we have accomplished?
So, instead of making "new years resolutions" something to laugh at, because we just know we won't keep them, make your goals a little more specific and set reasonable expectations for yourself. If you set the bar too high right away, chances are you will quickly become frustrated at your lack of success and give up altogether. And that seems to be where many "New Year's resolutions" end up around the month of February.
So, start small an specific. And don't hate yourself and give up if you don't completely achieve it--just pick yourself back up and try again. Instead of saying "I'm gonna lose 100 lbs this year" start at--"I'm going to try to lose a pound a week." At the end of January, reevaluate if necessary. Instead of saying "I'm not going to eat out at all this year" start out by trying to eat out half as often each week. You will quickly find out whether such things are realistic expectations.
All that said, here are a few I would like to accomplish this year.
1. Meal plan more. This helps with both eating out too often and going over the grocery budget. See my previous post on this.
2. Pay off two debts. Even paying minimums, I know at least one will get paid off. With a little effort, I think we can manage two.
3. Try making homemade laundry detergent. I hear great things about the stuff, not the least of which is it saves lots of money and gets clothes just as clean! I may have to wait till I have a couple of empty detergent bottles, though. Just letting you know up front!
4. Use less cleaning products. I read somewhere that baking soda and distilled vinegar are the only cleaners you really need. Hopefully I will get around to trying that out this month!
5. Exercise at least an hour a day, starting in April. I say April because that will be about when my 6 week post-partum period will end. I'm sure I will try to do it in more moderate amounts until then.
These are just a few things I can think of that I would like to try. But remember, set your goals moderately and keep in mind what you can realistically accomplish. Once you reach those goals, set another one just a little higher, then you'll be on your way to where you want to be.