2009's goals reviewed

Orange journal
“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” ~Voltaire

Regarding New Years Resolutions, Mark Twain said this on a January 2nd years ago. "Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community." That is good for a smile isn't it?

It's the clean slate time of year again. A new beginning. Since I started my new job, I've not been quite on top of things and have felt thick-headed for a couple of months. I'm pulling out of the mully-grubs and think I'll be more energetic soon.

Christmas is a glorious time of year in our family. I love love love it. This year was wonderful. Even with my lower energy, it was a beautiful time.

Today is the day where I review my 2009 goals. They are listed below, with the status of my success (or not).

1)- Give up fiction for January and Lent. Status: January was a success but during Lent I read CS Lewis and Angela's Ashes.

2)- Give blood 4 times. Status: Accomplished. I may have saved 8 lives. That feels good.

3)- Clean up my recycling act. Status: Accomplished. It was tough for a few months, but now my fine little city has curbside recycling and now it's a easy as pie.

4)- Work towards running 10K. (This was my loftiest goal of the year.)Status: I so crashed and burned on this one.

5)- Keep laundry current.  Status: I think I did pretty well. But I must admit it's all in the huge-capacity washer. I never want to go back to a normal-capacity.

6)- Keep bathroom floors clean. Status: I did ok. I could do better.

7)- Keep up my Club Fit regimen and continue to intensify it. Status: I did very well. But as of February of 2010, I'm dropping my gym membership. My new job schedule makes me choose between being home with the kids or the gym. I choose the kids. I bought a treadmill over the weekend and plan to gradually buy weights too.

8)- Buy a new carbon fibre paddle for dragon boating. Status: She's beautiful and very high quality, the kind the national teams use. I got a great deal. :-)

9)- Buy a new PFD for dragon boating. Status: Purchased.

10)- Get fence fixed. Status: Completed. Thanks to my hubby.

11)- Drop Melaleuca. Status: Did it.

12)- Lower grocery budget by $25 a pay period. Status: I'm guessing I had about 50% success. However, the prices keep going up and I'm abandoning that goal altogether. 

13)- Work on Christmas Child Shoeboxes throughout the year. Status: Did very well and we sent some nice boxes to Chile.

14)- Vacuum at least once a week. Status: I did well, but also Gordon kicked in with this chore.

15)- Get to know new neighbors. Status: Got somewhat acquainted with 2 sets of neighbors, but not with nearly as many as I'd hoped. Strangely, I don't think they want to know me better. :-)

16)- Build a website. Status: You're looking at it. I had a ton of help from Jeff. Jeff if you read this, thanks again. There are many things I could do to improve it but right now I'm staying busy enough just getting blog posts written.

17)- Take swimming lessons. Status: I did. Believe it or not, I was one of the better ones. It never occurred to me that I'd be in class with adults with a fear of water. Lucky for me, my fat keeps me buoyed right up, so I don't have much fear of drowning. It's the best advantage I have with my weight issues.

18)- Take square dancing lessons.Status: I tried, I really did. I didn't find a club that was taking newbies. Furthermore, I couldn't keep the hubby interested in being my Dosido Boy. I guess I gave up on this idea, although I still think Gordon and I could have fun and get lots of exercise. Crazy, I know.

19)- Blog more steadily; pace better. Status: I think we'll all agree that I crashed and burned in this category too. However, did you know that since I've had a blog for as long as I have and since I continue to post regularly ("regularly" is not defined) I'm in the top 5% of the world's bloggers? Just a little trivia.

20)- Lose 20 pounds. Status: I lost 11.6 pounds. :-) Bwah ha ha ha. And then I gained 15. Not good.

21)- Improve photography skills. Play along with Mindi's challenges. Status: I played until the game ended. See my collages here. I think I got better. I learned a lot and had fun and feel better about the pictures I take.

22)- Embrace winter. Status: This conscious effort made this winter wonderful. There were days when I'd wake up to more snow and my first thought was, "Isn't that pretty?" instead of cursing thoughts. Also I got a new coat and realized for the first winter ever that perhaps my former coats just weren't warm enough. Freezing every time I got out most likely took some wind out of my winter sails. But this winter I was never horribly cold. Thank you God for my new coat. I didn't even know I needed one, it just kind of happened.

23)- Read Deuteronomy and the Psalms. Status: I did well until I went to Arkansas in October. Then I got all sloppy spiritually and haven't recovered.

24)- Actively participate in my new book club. Status: The book club fizzled.

25)- Practice thinking about what I'm thinking about. Meaning, clean up my thought life. Status: In the areas I had in mind when I set that goal, I had a lot of victory. Other areas became a problem. I learned some strategies that helped me.

26) Join Weight Watchers. Status: I did it and had 2 very successful months and lost 11.6 pounds. Summer came, I got busy and quit and subsequently regained the weight.

27) Volunteer at a Seniors' Home with Deborah and Hannah. Status: Probably the best goal I had all year. We go every Saturday and LOVE it.

28) Phone my daddy more often. Status: I didn't do too well here. I seriously have a telephone problem as any of my loved ones will attest to. I hate that about myself, apparently I hate the telephone more though.

30) Don't buy junk food, ever. Status: Right after Christmas is a really awful time to assess that one. Seems I did horribly right now. Generally speaking, I don't buy junk food. However when I do, you can be darn sure I eat it with enthusiasm.

2009 ended with me a bit melancholy and blue. I was dreading this assessment of my 2009 goals, dreading seeing all the failures. But having just reviewed the list, I'm not as discouraged as I thought I'd be. I had some successes, quite a few actually. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I had some success and need to focus on the donut instead of the hole. (In light of the previous paragraph, I guess that's a silly pun.)

Soon I'll be writing out my goals for 2010. I'm looking forward to really figuring out what I want from 2010. I haven't got my head around it yet though. But it's coming. Stay tuned.

For my thoughts on baby steps and how they have helped me so much, read this.

‘Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.’ ~ Spanish Proverb

‘It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop.’ ~ Confucius

slowly getting fitter

Runners "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." ~~ Mother Teresa

Another snippet of wisdom from Mother Teresa: When asked how many people she had helped on the streets of Calcutta she guessed 30,000. She deflected the reporter's praise with, "I could never have carried the 30,000th if I hadn't carried the first."

Another common phrase: Don't despise small beginnings.

I've said before that my mantra has become "Baby steps, baby steps." (Anyone who has seen What About Bob gets the picture of a paranoid, obsessive compulsive man chanting "Baby steps. Baby steps." I love that movie.)

Three years ago I was a sedentary person. I hated that about myself. I wanted to be like the women I saw who were active. I envied the women I'd pass who were jogging. (I have enormous respect for the women who jog with their babies in strollers.) I envied the active families who did things together; hiking, bicycling, sports, etc. I was embarrassed by my lack of energy, stamina, and breath. I also saw myself as a poor testimony to God's ability to change lives. Granted, he had changed a huge part of my life, but not my losing battle with physical activity.

Two years ago I began making ever-so-small changes in the way I ate. I quit buying cocoa because my biggest weakness was no-bake cookies. I started buying more fruit and vegetables and incorporating them into every meal. I went from 2% milk to 1%. In a nutshell, I started taking baby steps toward better foods. With nothing but painless "baby steps," things began to change. I think I lost 15 pounds that year. It's true that 15 pounds isn't much, and by dieting I could have lost that in a couple months, but I never dieted. I just took baby steps in the right direction. Those 15 pounds lost were painless and the weight is still coming down, slowly but painlessly.

My girls have always been active. Super active. Not necessarily in organized sports, but active nonetheless. As preschoolers, they hit the outdoors at 7:30 each morning and played hard till bedtime, breaking only to eat. A few years ago I decided I had to get active because I saw my girls, Rachael particularly who'd once been an incredibly active child, starting to mirror my lethargy. That was my wake-up call. Fortunately, I had the success of my baby steps in the eating department to draw from and decided to start taking baby steps in the physical activity department. And baby steps they were. My first set of baby steps was vowing to park far from entrance doors. It didn't matter if there were 20 empty spaces next to the door, I'd park near the end of the lot. Sometimes I'd take the stairs instead of the elevators. I parked in the lot next to our church parking lot. I still do all these things and it's been a few years. But I've added things along the way too, lots of things. I could never have done those things without the baby steps, the initial little things.

Years before I made any of the above changes I was aware of how my body was not glorifying God. I believed that God changes lives, that he gives us abundant life. I experienced those changes and that abundant life in many areas. But I always fought and lost in my eating habits and weight. For years I prayed, "God change me. Change my desires. Help me get victory over these things."

I'm on my way! God is giving me victory and I know it's his doing not mine. Yes, I'm the one who actually has to go to the gym and do the work. Nothing sounded less appealing to me than the gym four or five years ago. (Now even my van is trained, I don't even think about the gym. The van just seems to take me there after work. :)) Every day after my workout, I thank God for the strength and energy and especially for the desire to be active. The desire came from him, that part I'm sure of.

Last week I read Psalm 28:7, "The Lord is my strength, my shield. He helps me and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving." I immediately thought of the changes he's made in me. I have grown to love physical activity and I don't for a second take credit for that. I KNOW he's changed me. I would still abhor it had I been on my own. He has changed me. He has given me significant victories and is continuing to. And the really cool thing is I'm not measuring my success by my weight. Yeah, it'll be really great when I weigh what I weighed in high school :-), but if that never comes, my life is so much better than it was before these changes started happening.

I know some of my readers struggle with the same things I've struggled with. It's not everyday that you'll see me giving advice, but today I'm going to. Here is my advice:

1) Pray fervently that God will change your desires (give you a desire for better foods and an active life).

2) Start taking baby steps. (Maybe introduce a new veggie or fruit into your life every week; have one fruit a day; park far away from entrances.)

And when you get discouraged remember this: Every baby step in the right direction is just that -- a step in the right direction.